Ohio resident Del Hall is forgoing all food in favor of beer for 40 days.
Regardless of religious affiliation, making a concerted effort to avoid vices or adopt good habits over a period of 40 days can be a beneficial way to reset the body, mind, or — in the case of most observers of Lent — spirit. In that vein, while some people might choose to ditch drinking alcohol during the holy period between Ash Wednesday and Easter, Ohio resident Del Hall has been making headlines this past week for choosing to do the exact opposite. Hall's Lenten fast has the 43-year-old brewery employee giving up food entirely and drinking only beer for nearly six weeks. Seven days in, he posted an update video (below) for curious onlookers to follow his progress, which includes losing over 16 pounds thus far. I reached out to find out more about just how he's approaching this all-beer diet.
To kick off Lent and cap off what Hall admits was an indulgent Mardi Gras, on Ash Wednesday he opted to drink a Paulaner Salvator in tribute to the Paulaner monks who inspired this fast. In the Seventeenth Century, the monks developed a doppelbock beer specifically for fasting on during Lent, so Hall set out to recreate that tradition with a bit more variety in mind. After all, with 7,000-plus breweries in America right now, why limit yourself to one style, let alone one beer?
Given that Hall works as director of Sales at Cincinnati's Fifty West Brewing, the ability to take on such a fast is a bit easier and less expensive than it might otherwise be thanks to his access to free beer, he told me via direct message. But drinking two to five beers per day for 40 days means there's plenty of room to branch out. Hall chose IPAs on day two and said he's looking forward to upcoming travels as a chance to try out some regional and local brews.
Amongst that diversity of beer styles, I wondered if Hall was choosing particular beers to satisfy his appetite at various points in the day, but he says variety is really the goal. The one factor Hall is paying attention to, however, is calories. "I haven’t noticed that my satiety has changed with which beer I drink, but I’m also mindful of getting enough calories per beer. So I haven’t had any light lagers or wheat beers yet. I’ve definitely been drinking more stouts than I normally do...but also a variety of stouts, not just one."
Finally, I asked whether Hall had any advice for anyone else attempting this not particularly "healthy" regimen which, it should be noted and as he states explicitly in the above video, he's not promoting as any kind of "beer diet" (to be fair, he still drinks water and black coffee for breakfast) and weight loss isn't the goal, it's just a side-effect. "I’m only on Day 9, so obviously I can’t comment on the whole process yet, and I would never give anyone health advice. This is an N=1 experiment. You have to be very self-aware and cognizant of how you are feeling. It’s definitely not the 'healthiest,' but then again neither is the standard American diet!"