Famous Fasts in History Upton Sinclair

About the famous faster Upton Sinclair, history and biography of the author of the Jungle.



Reformist Upton Sinclair, author of The Jungle and other works espousing social change, lived in his early years on a diet of fried chicken, ham, roast beef, pastries, fruitcake, candy, ice cream, and other rich foods. When he began suffering from indigestion and headaches (particularly during those times when he did more writing than exercising), he decided he was overeating. About that time he met a woman who had cured a number of ailments through fasting--rheumatism, intestinal infection, deafness, and neurasthenia. Soon after, he became an ardent advocate of fasting and even wrote a book about it, The Fasting Cure. Sinclair's first fast ran for 12 days. He reported that on the third day his headaches disappeared, that on the fourth hunger and weakness left him, that on the fifth strength (both mental and physical) returned. He lost 14 lb. in the first four days and 2 lb. thereafter; he finally broke the fast with fruit juice followed by milk. One effect of the fast was an increased desire for physical activity. He began body-building in a gymnasium and went from a thin, "spiritual" person to a muscular, ruddy-faced athlete. After three years of vegetarianism, he embarked on a diet of broiled beef and hot water, and thus became a customer of the meat industry he had so vigorously criticized five years previously in The Jungle.

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