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Have You Ever Done A Fast?

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What’s the longest amount of time you’ve gone without food?

Aside from a few “required-to-fast” doctor appointments, I don’t think I’ve ever even skipped a meal. I never understood how some of my friends could concentrate in school without having eaten breakfast.  And the kids who did those 30-hour Famines were so inspirational… but I never wanted to do it.


Have you heard about the yogi in India who says he hasn’t eaten for 70 years?

What do you make of the story? At first, I thought it was ridiculous and most-definitely not true.  But apparently, they’ve gotten doctors to watch him 24/7; so now I don’t know what to think!  It seems impossible, and yet, how can he be pulling the wool over the eyes of an entire team of doctors? (Unless they’re all in collusion…)

In any case, just imagine how many yummy things this guy has missed out on eating if his claim really is true!

Questions of the Day:

What’s the longest you’ve ever gone without food? What are your thoughts on the yogi story? And if you could go without food for the rest of your life, would you?

It’d be cheaper, and one would have more time to spend on other things (no grocery shopping, nor time allotted for meals).  But I’d never want to do it!  For me, food is not simply fuel: it’s something that gives so much enjoyment; something that can be shared with others.  Delicious recipes, comforting memories, bonding over the table, all of this would be lost if we had no need to eat.  But I know that many others subscribe to the notion of “eat to live” so I’d love to hear other opinions.

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 

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  1. The yogi story sounds really interesting. Love the name “Zuke Me”s – really cute. :) Thank you for your comment on my blog. :)

  2. Katie says:

    Katie! OH my gosh, THANK YOU for featuring me the other day! I know I’m late in thanking you, but it meant SO much to me. Even just that tiny little “shout out” from you sent my page views from like 5 to like 5 BAZILLION! :) Thank you again for making me feel famous and giving me the thrill of a lifetime with just one tiny mention!

  3. Valerie says:

    I saw that story yesterday on the MSN homepage and I must say, I can’t believe it. There MUST be something else going on. I’m also wondering why it just came to light now if it’s been going on for 70 years.

    P.S. Thanks for the shout-out :). I hope the tortilla trick works for you!

  4. Cara says:

    I fast once a year on Yom Kippur (the Jewish day of atonement) and that’s enough for me!

  5. The only time I could not eat for 70 years is if I was dead!

  6. Sarahishealthy says:

    I could never do it! Like you, I ate breakfast every day throughout high school. And I was STILL hungry by lunch!

  7. abby says:

    i am an eater, katie! i agree that food should be more than fuel. i’ve come through some very disordered eating, but now i am finally learning to enjoy my food, not fear it :).

  8. Living without food sounds like a life I wouldn´t want to live.

    I have done short term prayer fasts, but nothing long term.I don´t know if I could do it!

  9. Rosie says:

    ick, the longest I’ve gone without eating on purpose was a 12+ hour thing I had to do for a surgery! i sooo much love food more than that <3 (too much, actually–haha!)

    i wonder if that yogi thing is true… i don't think it makes any sense. unless he's evolved to do photosynthesis or something! :O but then he would still need a nitrogen source so maybe he has roots. 😀

  10. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Abby, above. At the time of my ED, if you’d told me I could just take a pill and get it over with and not have to worry about calories, etc, I would’ve done it. I was so scared of food. Sounds silly, huh? Now I realize that food is a way to share good times with friends, grandparents, family, etc. I’m so glad that ED chapter of my life is over and I can enjoy my food now!

  11. Rosie,
    Maybe he’s not real!
    has anyone ever seen “Stepford Wives”?

  12. the longest i went was 2 days… lol but i was 15 and a yoyo dieter. not healthy! im not a believer in the story only cuz they can say there are ppl watching him but hmm yea 70 years? so basically he’s breatharian? hmmmm.. lol. but can i just say how much fun it was to read this post today! hehe totally livened it up. actually ur posts are always fun! thats why im here every morning! lol xoxo

  13. Effie says:

    The longest I ve gone without food during the day is 3 hours. I could never fast!

    This yogi does not seem very healthy though:)

  14. See Kelsey, once again, SWEETEST comments ever :)

  15. Kara says:

    Yes, Katie, I think you have something there with the “Stepford Wives” thing! He could be a robot. Hey, stranger things have happened!

  16. Mary says:

    Yeah, I think they’re in collusion (btw, love that you used that word!). It sounds like a good way to get publicity.

  17. Beth says:

    I can never imagine giving up food for good! For me its definitely fuel but food it love and food is fun and so much more than just fuel. I don’t really know what to make fo the guy who hasn’t eaten in 70 years… kinda freaks me out!

  18. eatandrun says:

    He needs a grandma who makes him cookies with love! :(

  19. Inspired says:

    Although I am not a “foodie” I do enjoy my meals, and I can’t imagine a life without candlelight dinners, Christmas cookies, or hot oatmeal breakfasts.

  20. vegangal says:

    hi katie happy wendsday and oh my gosh i liked reading this post so interesting and strange too. i do not think i believe that this man really doesnt eat for so long he would be dead but i think maybe he just doesnt eat very much or drink too. xoxoxo

  21. Jenny says:

    I was one of those kids who did the 30- hour fasts for charity, but never after that!

  22. Jess says:

    I was a breakfast skipper, way back when. I also did the sleep til noon thing. But now, I pretty much eat like clockwork. I find that it gives me much more energy.

  23. Oh WOW!!! I can’t imagine going without food for so long!! I’d be miserable! Food is just too good to not eat..

  24. Jennifer - jcd says:

    No food for 70 years? Poor guy! The longest I go without food is when I am sleeping! I don’t know how people can function for more than six hours without eating something. If I could go without food, and get my nourishment elsewhere, I wouldn’t want to. Shopping for food, making meals, and tasting great food are all too good to pass up.

  25. Kristie says:

    I fasted for 3 days in high school a few times – for religious reasons (not dieting thank goodness) – but I definitely was nowhere near as active as I am now.

    Even if it would be $50 a week cheaper, I say give me food! Not even just for the social aspect, but I just LOVE food :).

  26. I’ve definitely fasted a few times. I used to every Friday during Lent (though you are allowed one meal). Other than that, I’ve fasted for medical reasons…blood tests & surgery prep!

    I would never, ever want to give up food!! I have too much fun baking, cooking, & eating :)

  27. Katie says:

    I would never give up food, unless forced to! I love to cook and bake and it is my stress reliever. I fasted once because I had to and it was TORTURE. I hate being sick mostly because I can’t eat anything!

  28. Marina says:

    I think the longest period without eating for me was 12 hours, more or less. I wouldn’t live without food, I love it too much :)

  29. Ilana says:

    Isn’t that story so interesting? I read it yesterday when I got back from yoga – where, coincidentally, the yogi leading the class told us about how he once witnessed a fellow yogi stand in tree pose for a full 48 hours, 24 on one leg and 24 on the other, facing the east, without moving for those two days, not to eat, nor drink, nor rest. I can’t imagine the mental huevos necessary for such an endeavor – I can never shut my mind off long enough!

    Sad to say, I’ve gone without food for a few days consecutively. I wasn’t exactly the healthiest back then… But also, I’m Jewish, and we have several holidays where you fast from sundown to sundown, or just during the day, as a way of “purifying” and “atonement.” I only fast on two or three of these days, per year, and usually only during the day, and I usually have to at least drink water.

    I deeefffffinitelyyy wouldn’t give up food. Food is amazing! Definitely one of life’s greatest pleasures.

  30. Demelza says:

    The longest I’ve gone without eating is about a week, but it wasn’t really purposeful, it just sort of happened. During Christmas break when I was sixteen I had a lot of really sad things going on, so I was just really depressed and one day I made my way to the futon in our library and then didn’t move from there for about a week. :/
    I remember my brothers trying to cheer me up, one of them sat with me and started playing the Grey’s Anatomy series for us both to watch so I guess I’d have something else to think about, haha. But yeah…sad times. I didn’t even want to drink anything, so my mom bought a bunch of bottled water and made me drink some every day. ._.;

    As for the yogi, at first I thought “that’s ridiculous. No one can go without eating for ONE year, much less seventy-five.” But then I realized, well, technically I suppose there are ways. He could use a feeding tube or just drink liquids and not have to actually chew anything. That would count, right? Heh-heh. So, basically, even if he’s not technically “eating” he can still be getting some form of nourishment. Maybe that’s why we haven’t heard of him ’til now? It was just a slow news day and the media thought, “This would be a great story if we just left out a few teensie details…;]”

    Personally, I would not want to go without eating. The scents, the flavors, all the wonderful textures I would miss out on…I think I love my fruit too much. I don’t know how I could live without the satisfying crunch of an apple or the sweet juiciness of plump grapes. Plus, I find cooking, grocery shopping, and baking to be way too much fun!

  31. i’ve fasted for 24 hours. in fact i do it once a month! often i fast for 14-16hrs (mind that 8-9hrs is spent sleeping). it’s called intermittent fasting and I do it because often I just am not that hungry! I hug my fats so hard that my blood glucose is stable for much longer than a diet very high in carbs. I don’t hate carbs, I just follow the primal blueprint lifestyle.

  32. Oh I have never done a fast. I don’t think I have gone more than a day without eating, and that would have been because of some extraneous variable. As for fasts and cleanses with the intention of being “cleansed,” I really do not believe in them. You body just breaks down muscle during those periods, and that isn’t going to do anyone any good.
    Alright. I am very skeptical about this starving yogini. Im going to go research this…

  33. I’ve never really fasted, and honestly, I think that’s a crazy-ass idea! We need food for fuel! And I love to eat. I’ve tried a juice fast that lasted for about 5 hours….and then I gave up and ate like I’d been starving for days. I live to eat.

  34. L,
    Let me know if you find anything out. I’m pretty darn skeptical too!

  35. Yes, I have fasted – quite a bit, actually. I’ve juice fasted (pretty extensively) and have also fasted on water + herbal tea, and then also on water alone.

    The lengths/conditions of my fasts have varied over the years, depending on when and why I’m doing it and how I feel “led” to go about it.

    To date, my longest juice fast has been 52 days. Yes, that’s 52 days without any food, no nibbling on the fruits or veggies as I juiced them. Nothing.

    I’ve also completed several 30-day juice fasts. I documented all 30 days of the last one here:

    I’ve also fasted for shorter periods (1-3 days, 5-7 days, etc.).

    One of the main reasons I’ve been so drawn to juice fasting, and fasting in general, is the healing aspect.

    In my 20’s, I was very ill and even had to wear Depends. Yes, crude, I know. But very true. I was seriously depressed to think I’d have to live the rest of my life this way. And surgery didn’t even work. I had tried everything I personally could – and then I discovered juice fasting. I studied quite a while before I attempted my first juice fast, and I’ve been in love ever since.


    Juice fasting has been SO healing to my body, my bladder is excellent now and I no longer have a problem! It’s also helped my body with other issues I had (such as hormonal issues, etc.) and I’ve lost over 100 pounds. Not from the juice fasting, mind you, but because the green juices helped my body become more alkaline and helped with cleansing/detoxing, etc.

    Juice fasting (or other fasting) isn’t for everyone. Some people can’t – or won’t – ever be able to complete a juice fast.

    I love the peace and healing I feel from fasting and will always keep it a part of my life.

    For me, it isn’t about “going without food” or “missing out on eating” – it’s about a physical, mental, and spiritual journey that is so much greater than most people can imagine.

    And this is why I started my blog. 😀

    Anyway, didn’t mean to leave a novel comment! This is just something I’m very passionate about; however, having said all this, I certainly can’t fathom someone not eating for 70 years!! That’s craziness! I don’t know what to make of it!!!

    Thanks for the post, Katie. Love, love, love your blog!!!

    Healthy hugs,

  36. Marianne says:

    I actually did the 30 hour famine when I was in jr high school. All of us who did it got to sleep over at the school, so we could all hang out with the other people who also weren’t eating. The timing kinda sucked though, because I had to write the national math contest exam the next morning, but I still did well :)

    I used to not eat breakfast waaaay back in high school, mostly because I was too lazy to get out of bed early enough to make it. And I often miss out on meals if I sleep in, but not because I purposefully skip them.

  37. I’ve probably gone days without eating in my life, but I’ve never purposely done a fast. I definitely know I enjoy food too much to go 70 hours without it, let alone 70 years! 😛

  38. Demelza,
    A week isn’t 70 years, but oh my goodness, it still sounds like an eternity to me. If you ever feel sad like that again, DO NOT hesitate to call me up, and I will come running over to wherever you are–arms full of chocolate! :)

  39. Michele,
    Thanks so much for sharing your story. I emailed you too :).

  40. You’re most welcome! And thanks so much – got it!! 😀


  41. Tanya says:

    Yeah, I just heard about that guy too. I couldn’t believe it, so maybe he drinks water, juice, etc….but doesn’t actually eat, like someone mentioned above.

    I’ve only done the 12 hour fast for blood tests, LOL! I love food. Well, once when I was sick I only ate like 2 small crackers in 24 hours. Does that count?? :)

  42. I would NEVER want to go without food and have never fasted. I get hungry and grumpy if I go just a few hours without food!

  43. Serena says:

    I love food, ha! I don’t know what I would do without it.

  44. Danielle says:

    Yayy, I’m lovin’ the new name 😀

    There’s no way that guy went 70 years without eating…unless he was was morbidly obese x100 when he came out of the womb!

    And I would never want to give up food! It’s def. something I enjoy beyond fuel 😀

  45. Katie says:

    I would be SO sad to fast for my whole life!! I love eating, it’s the highlight of my day! Maybe this guy has transcended all of that…either way, I wouldn’t want to try it.

    I once fasted for 3 days, just to say I could do it. I was really grumpy.

  46. Quix says:

    I would never want to do that! I would like to eat whatever I felt like and stay a perfect and healthy weight but I certainly would never want to not eat! Food is so…yummy! 😉

    I did exist on a box of crackers, coffee, and caffeine pills for a week in college – so not healthy.

  47. I did a all liquids except dinner fast in middle school. I feel like chocolate milk from the cafeteria during school lunch was not a healthy thing.

  48. She-Fit says:

    I highly doubt that that man has gone 70 years without eating… it’s just physically possible. I NEVER skip a meal… I probably go at the most 5 hours without eating and that’s stretching it. I just love food way too much :)

  49. I love food to much to ever give it up for very long. When I skip a meal, my blood sugar drops, and I am not very pleasant to be around. Chris immediately shoves a banana or something in my face and tells me to eat whenever I start snapping at him. Poor boy. 😉

  50. Rachel says:

    Wow I don’t know about that yogi story. He must be eating something, but I’m surprised he could live on so little food that no one notices.

    Yeah, I can’t understand how people can get through class without eating breakfast. Some of my roommates don’t eat breakfast until 3:00pm, and then their lunch is normal dinner and dinner long after that. I need to eat soon after I get up!

  51. Rachael says:

    Sadly, I used to relish counting the days without food – I would have coffee (black) and “meal” coffee (coffee with non-dairy creamer). Eight days of that and water was my max, at which point I would start blacking out and seeing stars. Not a happy time. Times have definitely changed, though, and I think I would be hard-pressed to give up not only the taste of food, but the rituals and companionship that surround it.

  52. Damjana says:

    Thanks for the shout out! :) I was surprised to see my name in your post that makes me feel kind of famous like Katie above ;).
    Well, I’m one of those people who fast a lot. The longest I’ve gone without food was 28 days last year during Lent. I still haven’t reached the borderline, so I’m playing with the idea to walk the Camino pilgrimage 800 km without food.
    Sometimes I’m so tired of food, I’d rather not eat anything.
    Yesterday I had for dinner zucchinis+cauliflower thanks for the idea !!

  53. I just went on a 7 day hunger strike of sorts, to raise awareness about world hunger. World hunger affects 1.2 billion people, which means that 1 out of 6 human beings who do not have enough food to eat. The saddest part of it is that the planet produces more than enough food for everyone to live comfortable. Hunger is not caused by lack of food, but by inequality and oppression.

    I chronicled my 7 day journey, exploring the causes and potential solutions to the crisis on my blog and at Conducive Chronicle. Check it out –

  54. Cynthia K says:

    Katie, I have been laughing since I read one of your previous comments….”The Stepford Yogis” would make a great new twist to an old story :)

    When I was young & lived with my dad, we went to a church that had 24-hr several fasts every year. I tried a couple of times but couldn’t make it past lunch without caving in and running for food!

  55. I read the story about the man and don’t know if I should believe it or not, it sounds so… out of this world 😀

    I’ve never given up for for long, even the 12 hours one needs to be without food before blood tests is impossible for me 😀

  56. Cynthia K,
    Sounds like a good reality tv show, no? 😉

    Thanks for the link; I will definitely check it out. I try to tell people all the time that one of the benefits of a vegetarian world would be a better distribution of food due to the fact that it takes so much more land/feed to raise livestock than if you were to feed people the actual grain.

  57. Marlene says:

    About fasting: The whole premise of a fast is not because one does not love food, but because one does love food. It’s not as if since one loves food, one cannot or should not fast. Kinda like someone saying, because I love meat, I will never give it up. Exactly because one loves food, one gives up food, possibly for many reasons, but of them, possibly to focus solely on God and show our trust and dependence on Him, cry out to Him, or to experience solidarity with the poor who do not have abundant access to food.

    Anyway, I’m sure you realize this, but it didn’t quite come across to me. Then there’s all these people commenting later on about how they could never do a fast.. because they’re not understanding the purpose of a fast. It’s not hating on food. It’s supposed to be the exact opposite. If we hated food, a fast from food would be utterly worthless.

  58. Danielle says:

    Katie, it’s funny that you mentioned not eating for medical reasons, because that’s exactly what I had to do yesterday! I couldn’t eat for six hours, and even that was tough for me!

    I do see the point of letting your intestinal tract stay empty for a while… it seems, intuitively, that the body should have a chance to clean out and reset. Also, I spend so much time thinking about the next thing I’m going to eat, it must be good to take a mental holiday from that, as well!

  59. Thanks Marlene! I’ll be honest and say that I really don’t know much about the subject, so I really appreciate everyone who’s taken the time to enlighten me in this comment section (such as Michele and yourself). :)

  60. Julia says:

    That poor Indian man :( I agree, he’s missing out on some seriously tasty things in life!

    I won’t count the ED days as far as foodless durations, so the longest I’ve ever been without food (or, much to my chagrin, water) was 12 hours.

    This past fall, my doctors thought I was diabetic, so ordered an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test. The test required 12 hours without food or water. After “fasting” I had to drink this nasty syrup that was well, pure glucose, to test my tolerance. Luckily though, my results came back negative. No diabetes here 😀

    I eat every 2 hours though. I’m just one of those people that kind of feasts throughout the day. I guess it comes with being a runner!

  61. BJ says:

    Katie, there’s a group of people called Breatharians who do not eat food at all. I read about several of them (even a very few in the US) awhile back…and can’t remember if they drink water or not. At any rate, there’s some documented cases…pretty amazing. Not only do they miss out on peanut butter and coconut, but also CHOCOLATE!

  62. amandatrombley says:

    I’m fascinated by this guy! I don’t know that much about breatharians so I looked this up. They do nibble on How odd..but I guess I’m glad they do!

  63. Greenling says:

    When I was in the Sinai desert, I came down with some form of gastroenteritis and was knocked off my feet for a while. Even when I was capable of standing upright again without having to sprint behind the nearest rocky outcropping, my group was on a camel trek for the next few days, so I just decided to keep my insides empty until they had healed up, or at least until we got back to places with plumbing. I just sipped water and ate the occasional bit of something salty/sugary to keep from dehydrating or having my blood sugar go haywire. It was actually not that bad; I almost feel it was appropriate to be a little hungry in such a sparse environment. I felt kind of like I could connect to the land more strongly for that little thread of commonality.

  64. Kayla says:

    Thanks to disordered eating, I used to try and fast all the time. The longest I got past the eyes of my parents was 3 days. But I used to only eat dinner. So I guess I’d eat once approximately every 24 hours?

    As for going without food, I think further into my recovery I might want to eat. But I’ve wished all the time that I would never have to eat again, so I would choose to never eat again. Less stress about the numbers. I’d never have to eat a fear food.. Which on a bad day is all food. Life would be simpler for me.