The Fasting Cure – Lessons from fasting in the early 1900’s

Written By Katherine O

The Fasting Cure – Lessons from fasting in the early 1900’s

Author(s): Upton Sinclair

Publish Date: 1911

My favorite line from his book on fasting, “surely it cannot be that medical men and scientists will continue for much longer to close their eyes to facts of such vital significance as this.”  Yet for over 100 years since he penned those words, they largely had. 

Upton Sinclair was an American Pulitzer Prize winning writer, political activist and the 1934 Democratic Party nominee for Governor of California . He’s most famous today for his book The Jungle. An iconic novel that horrified as it exposed the disgusting and dangerous conditions of meat packing plants in Chicago in the early 1900s. 

Sinclair also happened to be an enthusiastic faster who shared his knowledge on the subject both in Cosmopolitan Magazine (very different than the modern Cosmo magazine) and in this book, The Fasting Cure

I share this with you because I think it is powerful to consider how long fasting has been with us and how many of the reported benefits he describes are the very same ones we talk about on our calls. 

Some of the highlights:

  • He shares a number of personal stories as well as readers stories who have benefited from fasting. 
  • The book is essentially a reprinting of two articles Sinclair published in the Cosmopolitan magazine. 
  • But, the book also includes comments, anecdotes from readers’ letters, and notes expanding on the articles.
  • Despite some backlash, the book became bestseller.
  • Sinclair shares about his personal fasting believing that it restored him to what he calls, Perfect Health.  “I had taken several fasts of ten or twelve days’ duration, with the result of a complete making over of my health”.
  • Sinclair favored a raw food diet of predominantly vegetables and nuts. For long periods of time, he was a complete vegetarian, but he also experimented with eating meat. Which is particularly understandable given the practices in the Meat Packaging Industry in the early 1900s (which he helped expose). 


You can find the full text of The Fasting Cure here: 


  • Here are a few other fasting resources you may enjoy:
    • Why We Get Fat: And What You can do About it–What’s making us fat? And how can we change? Building upon his critical work in Good Calories, Bad Calories and presenting fresh evidence for his claim, bestselling author Gary Taubes revisits these urgent questions.
    • Top 5 Ways to Break Out of a False Start – Did you tell yourself you were going to start a 24 hour fast Monday or you were going to finally try your first ever 72 hour fast and then, you just didn’t? You didn’t feel like it. Or you already licked your thumb that had yogurt from making the kids lunches. Or Mercury is in retrograde, so clearly it is a bad time to start a fast…Yup. We’ve all been there. Here are 5 ways to prevent the false-start phenomenon.
    • Some of Dr. Jason Fung and Dr. Megan Ramos’ other books: The Obesity Code, The Diabetes Code, and The Cancer Code


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