An Iowa man says he is serious about Lent -- the 46-day period between Ash Wednesday and Easter. So serious, in fact, he's celebrating the Christian practice by doing what ancient monks did: giving up everything but water and beer.
J. Wilson, a homebrewer, says he became fascinated when heard the story of how ancient monks used to make a special brew called doppelbock, or "liquid bread," when they were forbidden to eat food during Lent. That gave him the idea to try it himself.
"The idea came to me a couple years ago, and it didn't really make sense then, my wife quickly pointed out," Wilson, 38, told the Chicago Tribune. However, the non-denominational Christian admits, "I did not live the life of a monk at that time."
Now -- at least for the next 44 days -- he will. The Tribune reports Wilson has been planning for this for awhile:
But with preparations that began in August, including bulking up from his normal 140 pounds to 160 since Thanksgiving, Wilson says he was ready to give it a go. He says he already was down to 157 pounds by Thursday.
He's living on four 12-ounce Illuminator Doppelbocks a day, brewed for him by the Rock Bottom Brewery in Des Moines. Each beer contains just under 300 calories and is roughly 6.7 percent alcohol.
And while it might appear he's simply given up sobriety for Lent, Wilson says he plans to consult with a doctor during the fast and does not intend to be drunk at any point.
"I do call myself a Christian," Wilson tells the Des Moines Register, "but I've never given up anything so much as a bar of chocolate previously, and here I am this Lent giving up everything but that really wonderful thing called beer."
You can follow Wilson's journey as he blogs about it on his website, Diaryofaparttimemonk.com.