Reflections on the January Beverage Fast

Well, first and foremost I want to get it right out in the open:  We quit our water-only beverage fast before the month was up.  Specifically, we went 17 days drinking only plain, unadulterated water. 

It was incredibly interesting and worthwhile 17 days though, I must say, for a variety of reasons...which I will get to in a bit.  I’m glad we did it.  And I was glad we quit when we did.  

But, for 17 days the water-only fast was interesting to say the least.  To become so aware of how much non-water beverage is consumed around me was quite an eye-opener.  So many people drink so many different beverages!  Coffee, hot chocolate, beer, wine, soda, milkshake, lemonade, ice tea, hot tea, fruit juice, sparking water, sparkling juice, sports drink, cider, and on and on and on it goes.  That was really interesting.  I suppose I always knew that there was so much non-water drinking going on, but when I was tuned into it I was really floored.   It was a lot. A lot.

I was shocked to learn that some people do not like water and, in general, do not regularly drink it.  Even people very close to me, as it happens.  I am baffled and a bit disheartened with this realization.  I didn;t even realize that was possible.  I mean, I like to drink my tea and all, but I also drink my eight glasses a day.  Water is life!  Water is us!  Water is so critical!  It seems utterly unnatural to not want to drink it.   To be fair, I also know plenty of people who drink loads of water AND lots of non-water beverages.  My father, who seems to always have a water bottle nearby, told me he could never do the fast because he wants to drink coffee in addition to all that water.  I find that perfectly grand.  It’s the ones who don’t like water at all that make me wonder.

I caught a cold during the fast and was certain I'd be the worse for not drinking an abundance of hot tea--my usual approach to treating a cold.  But, I tried drinking plain hot water and, you know what?  It wasn't bad at all.  In fact, I quite enjoyed it.  The warmth and fluids are highly medicinal, even without an herbal infusion.  I was surprised.  The cold didn't seem to stick around any longer than usual either.

I lost seven pounds in the first 12 days.  That wasn't the intent of the fast, but I certainly was not upset by the little side-benefit.  As I told my sister, I guess they don't call it beer belly for nothing.  (I rarely drink soda, never drink milk, and I hardly ever sweeten my tea so all my beverage calories come from beer.)

So, why did we drop out of the fast early then since it was proving so interesting?

Well, its pretty simple.  We felt like we’d gotten the interesting experiment what we wanted out it and it was Friday night and we wanted a homebrew.  So, Matt made the decision to crack one and it took no arm-twisting for me to ask him to fill me a glass, too.

There was one other factor.  It was socially awkward and isolating.  That was perhaps the most interesting realization.  Just like with food our social events are frequently circled around drink.  Frequently!.  Matt and I are already "left out" from time to time because of our boycott on flesh, dairy, and eggs.  But, there is a moral, ethical reason for that which, for us, makes it worth doing.  There was no moral or ethical reason to exclude ourselves from tea with my grandparents and beer with Matt's brother.

And that was that for the beverage fast.  But, it was a good experience.


  1. I admit, sadly, I am one of those people who dislike water :-/ I do like a COLD, iced glass of water, but hate warm water. I know the importance, yet can't make myself love it.


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