April 8th, 2011
01:19 PM ET

Man hits 31st day of beer-only Lenten fast

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

The story of Iowa newspaper editor and beer blogger J. Wilson,  who is drinking only beer and water for Lent, has gained a lot of attention this week.

On Friday morning he checked in with CNN Newsroom and explained his fast to Carol Costello.

Read Wilson's story here: For Lent, can man live on brew alone?

Wilson is 31 days into his fast, with 16 more to go.  He drinks four beers a day during the week and five beers a day on the weekend.  He told Costello he was enjoying his breakfast brew during the interview, which was conducted by phone.

The tradition of a beer fast dates back hundreds of years to German monks.  That's where Wilson got the idea for his fast.

In researching extended fasts, he learned the first three days are typically the most brutal.

He told CNN Friday that the first day he felt a lot of hunger pains.  But by day two the pains had largely disappeared.  He said he thought the fast would be much harder than it has been so far.

To date, Wilson has dropped about 18 pounds. He plans on breaking his beer only fast on Easter Sunday, in keeping with Christian tradition about Lent.

Watch an Explain it to Me video on Lent.

Watch CNN Newsroom weekdays 9am to 3pm ET and weekends. For the latest from the CNN Newsroom click here.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Content Partner • Lent • TV-CNN Newsroom

soundoff (313 Responses)
  1. Mario Palias

    I hope someone took away his car keys.

    April 9, 2011 at 1:37 am |
  2. greenmtnboy

    Anyone on this site calling this man an "alcoholic" is an extremist. To the teetotalers out there, get over yourself. 4 or even 5 beers as this article states equates to 1 beer every 3 hours of awake time. You think he's walking around drunk on that kind of ratio?? How can you "Christians" be so anti-alcohol. When Christ turns his freakin' blood into wine every Saturday night/Sunday morning......oh I get it, you'll get into heaven before me (beer lover) because you only eat the bread (body) and I drink the wine (blood)......

    April 9, 2011 at 1:34 am |
  3. Dan

    Big deal and religion is stupid.

    April 9, 2011 at 12:47 am |
  4. orangeish

    @wzrd1 "american swill" is such a cop out. Of course the buds and the millers of the world suck, but micro brews are from coast to coast. There is a staggering amount of good American beer, if you know where to look.

    April 9, 2011 at 12:06 am |
  5. Bob Saget

    Do you morons understand that this is a blog and the actual CNN news site? Seriously walk in traffic now.

    April 8, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
  6. paul

    Amazing! I don't think I would be able to think straight after 31 days of nothing but beer.

    That being said, this story isn't news or "news worthy." I'd expect this kind of reporting and delivery from Fox News, not CNN.

    April 8, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
  7. jibb

    How many times do you think he had to change his underware per day?. 🙂

    April 8, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
  8. Wes

    Funny how many people think this isn't news, yet they read it and commented on it. This is probably the hightlight of their day so I guess I shouldn't crap on their parade. "Oh, that's a crappy editorial. I think I will tell everyone how I feel about it". No one cares!

    April 8, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
    • RM

      LOL, comments or lack there of, doesn't make this news. This is like Reality TV or an accident you just can't look away from, you just read and can't help but comment. Regardless of the number of comments, this isn't news, this is entertainment and CNN is well aware of that..

      April 8, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
  9. Reality


    "In Florida the legal limit for alcohol measurement is .08% BAC (breath alcohol content). At that measurement you are legally drunk and will be arrested and taken to jail if you are caught driving a car.

    If you weigh between 90 – 109 pounds and have 12 ounces of beer, four ounces of wine or one and a quarter ounces of 80 proof liquor (a shot glass is one and a half ounces), your BAC will been between .05 and .08%. At this measurement you are considered definitely impaired and your chance of an accident is increased up to 300 percent or more. If you have another drink your BAC goes up to .08% or over, and if you have any more alcohol, another beer, another shot or more wine, you are considered legally drunk. Your function and judgment are seriously affected.

    Consider the fact that when you have consumed two 12 ounce beers, or two shots, or two small glasses of wine you are considered legally drunk and cannot drive without taking the chance of getting arrested for DUI.

    If you weigh between 110 – 129 pounds and have 12 ounces of beer, four ounces of wine or one and a quarter ounces of 80 proof liquor your BAC will be the same as noted above, and you are legally drunk.

    If you weigh between 130 – 230 pounds and have the same amount of alcohol as mentioned above, your BAC will only be .01% to .05% and you are not considered legally drunk, but some loss of judgment and coordination occurs, and your thinking will be dulled."

    April 8, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • beer guzzler

      B. A. C. stands for blood alcohol concentration

      April 8, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
    • duh

      But he isn't drinking the beers altogether; he's drinking them throughout the day. Having a beer and then another 4 hours later will not make your BAC over the legal limit.

      April 8, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • Bacman

      beer guzzler: actually BAC stands for 'blood alcohol content'

      April 10, 2011 at 6:52 am |
  10. RMB

    At the bottom of the story, the following were listed under "We Recommend":

    'I'm through,' Palin says CNN Political Ticker
    Maryland man glued to Wal-Mart toilet seat CNN US
    Religion to go 'extinct' in 9 countries, experts predict Religion

    April 8, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
  11. xxlawman87xx

    I like beer it because its good. i drink beer because i should. If there was a song to sing, I sing it and beer you bring. I drink when i am sad Cause the beer it makes me glad. Nows there nothing left to sing so let go drink beer. BEER IS GOOD...BEER IS GOOD...BEER IS GOOD.....AND STUFF.....BEER IS GOOD....BEER IS GOOD.....BEER IS GOOD......lets go drink some BEEEEEEEEEER, BEEEEEEEER.. (sorry I just could not resist) this is from a song my pschostick...(beer song) ENJOY

    April 8, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • Casey

      love that song!

      April 8, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
  12. bd

    An interesting side note; some thoerize that slaves in egypt under the pharoahs are believed to have been fed a drink similar to beer as a large part of their meager caloric intake.

    April 8, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
  13. Chuck

    “Beer makes you feel the way you ought to feel without beer” - Henry Lawson

    April 8, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
  14. JustMe

    I think a lot of people will use this as a diet plan.

    April 8, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
  15. pierce

    And my dumb wife thinks drinking a six-pack a night is too much!!!
    Boy, will her cheeks be red.

    April 8, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Pierce nakeButtocks, perhaps, instead of trolling, you should research remedial math.
      Three per day vs your six pack that is NOT your abdominal muscles.
      Alcohol giveth the desire, but taketh away the ability to perform.
      So saith your saint, Saint Al. Al Cohol.

      April 8, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
  16. pete

    Yeah, but he might be sponge worthy !

    April 8, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
  17. johnny

    This man will never drink beer again!

    April 8, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
    • Bill

      Not true....for those of us that have a passion for beer it will never get old. have you ever craved a fifty year old lambic, or a rare imperial stout so much that you would drive half way across the country to get one?. True beer lovers will never stop seeking out the next perfect brew until they draw the last breath!

      April 8, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • Daryn

      Most Americans cannot understand the draw of real beer (or the nutritional value). Of course, the yellow fizzy water that passes for beer in American probably could not sustain someone like real beer, so I can understand their perspective. Ditch the yellow fizz, drink a real beer!

      April 8, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
  18. John

    It's hunger pangs, not pains. And liolio, I can't believe you bother to comment on non-newsworthy stories. You have no one but yourself to thank for their perpetuation.

    April 8, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
    • pierce

      who are you to criticize when you use a girly word like perpetuation?

      April 8, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Pierce Rectum, I was unaware that we had male and female words in English.
      Perhaps it's just that I don't understand the perspective of a girlie man.

      April 8, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • Andrew Hoelzel

      You are a genius. Thank you for pointing that out. Are you telling me that someone can not have hunger pains? They always have to have pangs?

      April 8, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
    • Rhonda

      Hey, hunger pangs are painful!

      April 8, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
    • srh

      Perpetuation is from the Latin perpetuationem, which can be masculine or feminine depending on its usage.

      April 8, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
  19. liolio

    I just can't believe this is news worthy!

    April 8, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
    • Jovial Evil

      Yeah it's so terrible that this story isn't about death or politics or war. Go back to Fox news.

      April 8, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
    • gail

      This is crap, with all the things going on in the world we report on some moron alcoholic who chooses to live on beer? I agree, this is totally not news worthy. Come on CNN, get your S*&# together!!!

      April 8, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
    • Bill

      It is absolutely news worthy. This country is so stuck on conservative, religious extremest views that it can not see what history has explained for hundreds of years. BEER IS FOOD, it has been for years and always will be.

      Let it be known that I am 37 years old, and do not think that there should be a 'drinking age'. I would rather my child (if I had one) drink a beer than eat a happy meal any day!.

      Cheers....I raise my glass to all the friends of beer!

      April 8, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
    • nameless

      ...but you still read it and commented on it. haha you loose.

      April 8, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
    • Casey

      Gail, if your going to make a statement. At least try to sound intelligent. First off, you have no idea if he is an alcoholic. Just because he chooses to do this does not make him one. Do I think it's a good idea? No. But he seems to keep his health in check, so what does it matter. 4 beers total in a day does not equal alcoholic. Look up the definition.

      April 8, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
    • RM

      I'm with Gail here.... why is an alcoholic who's giving up food until Easter newsworthy? Lucky me, I do know my "fair share" of alcoholics, they give up food most days for beer, nothing new here. If you don't think 4-5 beers everyday is a problem then maybe you're an alcoholic!?

      Regardless of the alcohol content most of us would agree that if you are simply drinking 4-5 sodas a day that is too much, doesn't mean you won't continue drinking the soda, just means you know it isn't good for you.

      I wish I was Pothead, then I could smoke weed until Easter and make it on CNN news!

      April 8, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
    • Norman

      I think it's a fun story! Lent is a time for fasting and reflection for Christians. I think different ways, different Christians observe it is interesting. 'News' is what is new. This is certainly a new idea to me!!!!

      April 9, 2011 at 1:08 am |
  20. Mattmchugh

    This makes me think of a line from The Grinch: "a wonderful, awful idea."

    April 8, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Not really, look up the nutrition of beer, not the American swill, but REAL beer.
      People have survived on it quite well for thousands of years.
      One only would need some modest supplements to survive for 1000 days!
      The FUN part? One could make beer, extract the alcohol and STILL do extremely well, with only modest supplements, long enough to literally make it to Mars at our current state of technology.
      Still a wonderful, horrible idea?

      April 8, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.