A one-legged man, a rocket scientist, a Buddhist, a Jew, a Christian, a Muslim, a body-builder, a historian, a heart surgeon, a neurologist, and a 100-year-old all walk into a bar.
Then the door slams behind them.
Realizing they’re trapped in the bar, this diverse group of strangers quickly becomes frantic. People start blaming each other, yelling, and arguing.
The Buddhist, the only one not making a fuss, saunters to a corner of the bar to meditate. There he finds a note written on an old piece of parchment. It says, “Doors will only open when all agree.”
He shares the note with the bodybuilder, who bangs his huge fist on the bar to silence the crowd and read the message to the others.
“Oy vey!” says the Jew. “We’re never leaving.”
Once again, the group erupts into argument, this time on what to agree on.
Then there’s a jolt.
The far wall of the bar starts moving. It turns 180 degrees to reveal a platter of food on the other side. The whole group is speechless.
Something In Common
“Please, go ahead and help yourself to some of this food,” the heart surgeon politely offers to the bodybuilder.
“No thanks. I’m hitting the gym as soon as I get outta here, and I fast before my workouts. It boosts my energy, adrenaline, and human growth hormone levels.”
“Good for you,” replies the heart surgeon. “I’m fasting too. For three days. To lower my LDL cholesterol.”
Hearing this, the one-legged man hops into the conversation, “Fasting saved my life! I was obese and diabetic—that’s how I lost this leg—” as he points to his prosthetic, “but when I started doing extended fasts regularly I managed to permanently lower my insulin levels. I’m not diabetic anymore!”
“I do it because it’s spiritually cleansing,” says the Buddhist.
“Me too,” add the Jew, Christian, and Muslim, all at the same time. They then look at each other, surprised to have been on the same wavelength.
The historian eagerly adds his two cents. “In my research I’ve found countless famous proponents of fasting. Ben Franklin said, ‘The best of all medicines is resting and fasting.’ Mark Twain echoed, ‘A little starvation can really do more for the average sick man than can the best medicines and the best doctors.’ And way further back Paracelsus wrote, ‘Fasting is the greatest remedy—the physician within.’”
“Wow, the odds of us all being in the same room is astronomical!” chimes in the rocket scientist. “I fast too, but to keep my brain sharp. The blood and energy that would otherwise be used by my digestive system goes to my brain. Fasting also releases ketones, which are like rocket fuel for my brain.”
“This is all news to me,” says the 100-year-old. “But I guess you could say I’ve been fasting all my life. I never believed in the hogwash on the radio about ‘eat three, four, or five meals a day.’ One or two big meals later in the day has always been enough for me.”
“Maybe that’s what’s keeping you so sharp,” suggests the neurologist. “By giving your body a chance to replace old and damaged cells with new ones, fasting has been shown to possibly prevent degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.”
The whole group nods their heads in interest and agreement.
With that, the door magically unlocks and opens wide. Everyone cheers.
The one-legged man proposes a toast. “Here’s to fasting! The one thing we can all get on board with!”
Everyone raises their glasses of fasting-friendly drinks like tea, coffee, and water. It is undoubtedly the driest cheers this bar will ever see.
One Last Unexpected Event
As the now amicable group continues to chat about the many benefits of fasting, in wanders a rep from a to-remain-unnamed energy bar company.
Everyone turns to look at the new arrival and the bar goes silent.
Nervously she glances down at a paper in her hands then back up again. Smiling hesitantly, she asks, “Hey…. um… is this the ‘Keep Them Hungry and Snacking’ conference?”
She’s about to have a really bad day.
For an eye-opening (but jaw closing?) introduction to fasting, how and why to do it, and why not eating doesn’t have to be as hard as you think, I can’t recommend The Complete Guide to Fasting by Jason Fung more highly. The easy-to-digest science and examples he shares might have you second guessing the need for your next meal or snack.
And if you’re still wondering why the heck you’d want to not eat, I understand. I was once in the same boat as you. But maybe my experience with a three day fast might change your mind. You can read about it here.