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Forgoing Food

What would you give up if it meant that you could live forever and have eternal youthful? Sunlight? Your soul? Food?

That question came up recently when reading a novel that included vampires, and it gave me pause. Much as I enjoy fantasy, for some reason the food part of the equation had never struck me. In most modern vampire mythology (the Twilight series excluded) vampires are creatures of the night, and they are considered unholy, so the sunlight and soul sacrifice are usually a given. But to forgo food?

Would I want to live forever, but never be able to eat? I understand that in most vampire stories, the vampires don’t crave food, nor do they need it. The problem is, food, for me, is one of life’s great pleasures. It’s not the only one, to be sure, but I can’t imagine giving it up for eternity. Luckily, I’ve never been tempted by the idea of living forever, and I doubt that it will ever be offered, so I suspect I won’t have to make that choice.

Then I came back to reality, where people may voluntarily give up eating, when I watched the movie Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, by Australian Joe Cross. It’s the true story of a man who was about 100 pounds overweight and suffered from an autoimmune disease that kept him on a small pharmacopeia of medication and put him on the path towards an early death. He decided to “reboot” by going on a diet of fresh fruit and vegetable juice for 60 days, with no solid food, to shed pounds and allow his body to heal.

It’s wonderful that this approach worked for Joe, and many of the others he inspired, allowing them to find their own path to wellness. And since he did start eating again (albeit a very different diet than the junk food he’d previously been consuming), 60 days seems quite reasonable compared to the centuries a vampire might live. Still, I don’t think I’d want to go that long without eating, or even the 10-day reboot some people did. The sight, smell, taste, texture, and sheer enjoyment of food are all too integrated in my life.

Perhaps if I was as sick as Joe, I could go without, but perhaps not. I’ve never been one for such drastic and immediate changes, and I am personally glad that so far, that’s not something I’ve had to face, allowing me to view the question as entirely hypothetical. And I will do everything I can to make sure it stays that way, since I have no desire to forgo food.

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