Hunger experience : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

The response from Dr. Herr to my totally pollyanna post "total schizophrenia" got me thinking:

"Totally pollyanna dude! You may have gun training, but have you ever gone hungry for 72 hours?"

Hunger is the bottom line issue here, isn't it ? The longest I have gone with no food or liquid intake except water was 11 days (11 full consecutive 24hr periods). I maintained a full university and PT schedule with long hikes for all 11 days. Not a new age meditational thing with light activity. My experiences as follows:

1st day - felt good 2nd day - felt hungry and irritable 3rd day - felt very hungry 4th day - felt ok, a little weak, hunger feeling dissipating 5th day - weak, no hunger, tongue covered with gunk 6th day - weaker, could still function mentally and physically OK 7th - 9th days - gradually weaker, not feeling hungry, still functioning adquately. 10 - 11th days - much weaker, not feeling hungry, substantial weight loss. Noticable performance degradation in tasks, both mental and physical. End of 11th day - broke fast with fruit juice.

I once laughed when a read newspaper article breathlessly reporting that a person had actuallly SURVIVED 3 DAYS WITHOUT FOOD ! You can go 60 days if you take it right to the wire, as Mitch Snyder at CCNV in DC used to do (fasting advocate for the homeless in D.C.) - before he killed himself.

Well, any interesting hunger experiences, please submit...

By the way, Dr. Herr, I have a couple AR15's in .223, but frankly it just doesn't have the power - I actually prefer 12 ga slugs for all social work if possible, though range is a problem.


-- Runway Cat (, December 04, 1998


Totally asside from the fact that youcould do it, the only thought that comes to mind is "WHY IN @#$@ would you want to??"

from someone who CANNOT fast because of a hypoglycemia situation.

i don't eat every 4-7 hours and WE GOT PROBLEMS so I'm stocking up a BUNCH since I have been through the disaster shelter scenario (as a shelter worker, but the feeding schedule is the same!)


-- Chuck a night driver (, December 04, 1998.

ps Cat:

From your sig I assume you work or play at or near an airport.



-- Chuck a night driver (, December 04, 1998.

A close friend of mine was partially disabled from the after-effects of polio. Somewhere about 1949 he went on a fast, how long I don't know, dropped about 40 lbs., came down with polio, damn near died. Never recovered full functionality afterwards. His mind was not affected, just his musculature.

Polio may be rare now, but there are many other serious risks to an impaired immune system. Which is one consequence of extended fasting.

As the saying goes, "Do not try this at home."

-- Tom Carey (, December 04, 1998.

Hunger is not the bottom line issue here.

The bottom line issue is water. You're just as likely to lose access to drinkable water as you are to lose electricity, phone service and access to food.

Without electricity for more than a month(?), no more Western Civilization as we know it. Without water for more than three or four days, you're DEAD.

-- Kevin (, December 04, 1998.

Water is definitely the bigger issue. For what its worth- and, yes, I know this may sound wierd. Once went on a semi-fast, ate only a cup of rice a day for two weeks to see how it felt. Bicycled 8 mi. a day, went to school, including PE. Was hungry, but otherwise fine. Motivation: curiosity as to how it feels to live off the standard fare of an Asian refugee camp, after reading it described as too little to live and too little to die. Have since fasted for three weeks voluntarily several times. Once out of curiosity,(it was suggested to a friend as a treatment for hypoglycemia, with the claim that it balances metabolism. Don't know if this is true), hereafter because it gets accumulated gunk that is stored in fat out of your system. The hardest part was adjusting to richer food afterwards (esp. any fat) and the first three days because it takes that long for your body to really settle into feeding on reserves instead of complaining. A daily enema makes a big difference in how you feel, because it cleans out the minimal crud you are not burning but certainly don't want to reabsorb. If I go without food now, I get woozy soon, but this probably would actually get better with a fast- something I would, however, prefer to do in the summer. You freeze like crazy when you fast for any length of time.

-- prickly pear (, December 04, 1998.

During a time in my life (12+ years ago) when I was trying to be "holy" (I know, I know, no arguments please), I went on many different type self-imposed fasts, 3 days to as long as 21 days. This was with only water, water, water. I worked a full time job (thankfully it was sit-down type, at a desk), except for the longer fasts. Yes, it can be done, and usually with great health benefits to follow. For me the hardest part was in the early part of the fast when I had to shake the effects in my body of caffine (coffee). Learned to get off coffee BEFORE I cut out food.

The energy level diminished, but not as bad as I thought. Used to have quite a few books on fasting, both for religious as well as health reasons. Lot of literature out there if you're interested. You won't die or be harmed physically for deprivation of food.

I had the luxury of our western culture and returned to a healthy food diet. Millions of people in the world don't have this option. Post-Y2K? Who knows.

-- Joe (, December 04, 1998.

Kevin, quite correct, WATER is key. Also will and cooperation is important too.

Short version of the story ...

In 1994 went hiking into a side river canyon off the Grand Canyon with a group of seven. We were told, by the experienced Navaho natives, to leave half of our drinkable water on the upper trails for the trip back up. We did. It was a hot July. Went through way more water than we planned, and didnt take enough food -- down longer than we had planned to be. While climbing down the canyon trails we could see and hear the sparkling ribbon of turquoise river water below, so we figured wed be okay. When we got down to it, almost out of drinkable water, we discovered that georgeous turquoise river was a salt river. The only one in North America.

Ended up drinking sulfur spring water, filtered with a water pump. It does not quench thirst. A few tried drinking the salty river water, and ended up retching all night. Most of us were too dehydrated to even try the climb back up the steep and treacherous canyon trails to reach the water stash. Weakened, we headed seven miles downstream to the Big Colorado River, which we knew was drinkable. Working as a team, following our group intuitions, we all made it down to the headwaters and got helicoptered out.

Moral of story: Water is King, Food is Queen. Given a choice, Ill take water every time. Even carry it with me most of the time.


-- Diane J. Squire (, December 04, 1998.

I too embarked on a 3 day fast. Water. On 2nd day while at fulltime job, I drank a small amount of orange juice. 2 smll dixie cups full. Totally revived the jitters, and increased mental ability also. Third day just water. Later on I read that fasting food is good for the body, given with small amount of juice, it is a body cleansing as well a spirit enhancement. MUST HAVE WATER. While we may go without food, it wont kill us, but water is a'must'. As many of us tend to 'waste' food in America, when y2k hits, I fully plan on rationing the food intake and indeed look forward to losing the excess pounds I have now. How many 'think' we have enuf food stockpiled and we may not? It will be ration time in 2000, and a perfect way to shed those unwanted pounds. 1-800-get-slim. Jenny will be outta business.

-- consumer (, December 04, 1998.

My understanding is that survival is problematical after 100 hours without any water. I'd like to learn the minimum amount of water required (per day or per 100 hours) to ensure survival.

I'm sure it is related to temperature/humidity, physical activity and individual physiognomy, but there's likely a range of minimun requirememt.

I'll look. Perhaps someone knows.


"And we alone shall feed them...." the Inquisitor continues, "Oh, never,never can they feed themselves without us! No science will give them bread so long as they remain free. In the end they will lay their freedom at our feet, and say to us, 'Make us your slaves, but feed us.'" (Dostoevsky)

-- Hallyx (, December 04, 1998.

Hallyx, when our patients stop being able to drink or swallow, we know that job will be over within four days, usually earlier.

Many cancer hospice pts actually do die of dehydration as part of the natural dying process. It would be cruel to try to delay that passing by giving IV fluids. When the body is getting ready to stop, it does not want food or fluid. It is not too bad a way to die, if one is dying anyway.

If one is healthy and has more living to do, death by starvation and dehydration is another matter entirely. Still, it is not the most painful way to die by any means.

Water is the most important survival item to store. A family should also try to store some canned soups. Rationing water and eating beans, rice, & wheat can lead to constipation. Having some "juicy" canned foods -- peach/pear slices, for example -- will help keep the body system better lubricated.

Ashton & Leska in Cascadia, who watch death up-close all day & night

xxxxxxx x

-- Leska (, December 04, 1998.

R.C., Interesting subthread. I didn't intend to provoke commentary on fasting. I was focusing more on the group dynamic to little or know food and their attendant hunger pangs on days 2 & 3. Personalities change dramatically. I suspect its one thing to voluntarilly begin a fast in the midst of otherwise normal life versus a crisis situation with multiple other demands and privations.

I have a 12g as well, but its not practical for my wife. The AR-15 would do her just fine I think.

-- RD. ->H (, December 04, 1998.

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