Few things in this world are as satisfying as cracking open a cold beer or pouring a cocktail after work. In that brief moment before the liquor hits your lips, anything is possible and the universe is infinite. But what if that moment were all you had?
Jules, a VICE contributor and our resident "I'll try anything once" guy, made the foolish choice to go on an all-alcohol diet for five days. He crafted a detailed meal plan (which you can look at below) that satisfied all of his daily nutritional needs – kind of like the Soylent diet, except with booze.
The way he tells it, those five days were the most hellish experience of his entire life. He eventually dropped the meal plan and started randomly taking shots to occupy his free time. He shit blood, lost part of his vision, and spent most of his days in a dark, drunken purgatory.
VICE: You had a very detailed dietary plan that you went through. How did you change your normal, everyday routine?
Jules Suzdaltsev: It’s probably important to note that I don’t really have an everyday, normal routine. I heavily undereat throughout the day, and then I’ll just get stoned and kill 1,200 to 1,500 calories. So I tend to eat really, really poorly, but I don’t get fat, because I don’t eat enough. This was probably the first time I’ve stuck to a consistent meal plan. The best way to describe it is like a very limited juice fast with alcohol. Basically, every day, I tried to hit between 1,500 and 2,000 calories and, in some small way, balance it out so it wasn’t all carbs or pure sugar. Unfortunately, alcohol by itself has, like, next to no caloric content, so it was all really dependent on a bunch of different mixed drinks: beer-based stuff, cheladas, Bloody Marys… I think Bloody Marys are what kept me alive.
How did you feel after the first day? Did you take a huge shit? Did you pee a lot?
The first day, I think I undershot how much I should’ve been drinking, because it had almost no effect on me. The first day of actually doing it, my poops were pretty normal and everything seemed pretty sober. The second day, I bought a whole bottle of champagne and I had to finish that, because… I opened it. That got me, like, drunk. That, plus tequila. Every time I had tequila, I would be immediately drunk, and uncomfortably drunk. Not fully smashed-drunk, but I definitely felt it. Nothing else would do it quite so quickly. Basically, the second day of doing it, I was just shitting straight-up Bloody Mary mix and pissing. Just pissing and shitting piss out my ass.
Was the colour of your shit different? I mean, were you shitting red?
Yeah. Yeah, it was red. It was fucking horrifying. I was not only shitting red, but I was also shitting so often that my asshole started bleeding a little bit, so it was kind of this nightmare of, “I don’t know how much blood this is or how much Bloody Mary this is.” In retrospect, I’m fine, and it was just a rough asshole from shitting, like, 15 to 20 times per day. All that is more kind of juice-fast-based. I’ve never done a juice fast, but I assume it’s not super different.
Did your mood change when you started this? Did you feel yourself becoming more aggravated?
Oh man, yeah. I really hated doing this. I felt like I had two of my favorite things taken away, which are eating and smoking weed. Not being able to do either, and also having to be between kind-of-drunk and very-drunk pretty much the whole time, was really depressing. I know alcohol is a depressant, but it was just super aggravating how I didn’t feel happy no matter what I did, and how nonstop-hungry I was. I couldn’t stop thinking about how hungry I was, no matter how heavy of a drink I would make myself. On the third day, I gave myself an eggnog drink that I made incorrectly, so it was way too many calories. I think it was a 1,000-calorie eggnog. And I was still starving! Just absolutely starving, the entire time.
Did you throw up at all?
I came really close. On the third day, I did this thing, which I think was kind of cheating. I promised myself everything I would drink would be something that I could order from a bar. Just so that I didn’t start making, like, protein vodka shakes. I wanted to know what it’s like to do a cocktail diet. On the third day, my last drink of the day was something called a zakuska, which is just the Russian practice of taking a shot of vodka and chasing it with a pickle. I needed something. I took the shot of vodka and was not prepared for it, and I kind of had to gag it down, and then I was facing the toilet for a minute or two. But I never ended up puking. I never got to the point of puking. I did almost puke yesterday, but that was… Yesterday was sort of like a hard-core run. It was many shots, and then a Bloody Mary, and then I just fell asleep for the rest of the day. Had I not fallen asleep, I would’ve puked.
Were you not drinking water at all? Was it just alcohol?
No, no, I was definitely drinking water. I probably had water in between every shot.
You absolutely would’ve died if you didn’t drink water, I would imagine.
Yeah, I probably could’ve drank a lot more water than I did, but I didn’t exclude water from my diet.
How yellow was your pee?
Surprisingly, it looked like – you know how they say in gym rooms something like, “If it’s iced tea, you’re dehydrated; if it’s lemonade, you’re cool"? I was all lemonade! My piss was totally… it wasn’t clear, but it was definitely healthy-looking.
You said earlier that you fell in a toilet on Friday.
I mean, I went to the toilet and the seat was up. I live in a house of girls, so usually it’s not, and I wasn’t thinking about it. I sat on it and fell into the toilet. So, I think that was probably the worst thing that happened all week. Also, my lower back has been hurting for a while. I thought that was probably because I’d been sleeping weird, but I realised that’s where my kidneys are. I hope that goes away. It’s probably fine. I mean, there’s no intense pain anywhere. I feel relatively healthy right now, and it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could’ve been. Did I mention that I had to buy hemorrhoid ass wipes because I was just shitting so much that I couldn’t use regular toilet paper anymore?
Was your asshole too raw?
Yeah, it was way too raw. After the first day, it was just raw city. I’ve had the stomach flu before, and that’s exactly what happens when you shit a ton. So I would say again that it's similar to the juice fast.
Did you black out at all? It sounds like there are some things you don’t remember. Was there a point when your brain just shut off and you weren’t remembering stuff?
I would say no, honestly. I think I might’ve blacked out yesterday – or, rather, I passed out yesterday, but it was kind of an intentional pass out, because I knew it was going to happen. But in general, I don’t… I remember as clearly as normal what’s happened over the last couple of days. Probably a little worse, but I don’t have any big missing pieces that aren’t just attributed to the fact that my memory isn’t very good.
What was the worst part about it – besides being hungry? What was the thing that was the most upsetting?
I had a fucking ocular migraine yesterday, which is this thing that I’ve probably gotten less than ten times in my life. Basically, the entire centre of my vision just becomes a blind spot. It’s kind of like going blind, except that you can see everything that’s going around in the periphery. Just not in front of you. It’s really horrifying and annoying when it happens. For some people it hurts, but for me it doesn’t hurt. I’ve been to a doctor and everything. It has something to do with pressure behind the eyes, and how dehydrated I was that morning, because that’s the most identifiable part of it. I hadn’t had water the night before, so I woke up like that. That sucked. I wasn’t expecting that. I never expect them, and they fucking suck. They only last, like, an hour or two, but they're not fun.
So contrast that first day with the last day. It sounds like you were in pretty bad shape. But what, specifically, was your fifth and final day like?
Probably the weirdest thing was that on the first day, I didn’t get drunk at all. And starting on the fourth day, I had a Coco Chanel in the morning, and immediately afterward I knew that I was drunk. Being drunk continued on through yesterday, on to this morning. Right now, I’ve definitely had a coffee and some eggs and I’m more awake, so I’m not fucked. But yesterday, I was just really drunk all day, which sucks. Being drunk all day – compared with being high all day – is so boring. I felt time passing; agonisingly, annoyingly passing. It probably didn’t help that I pretty much didn’t stick to the diet at all. I spaced out, in an hour, whiskey, rum, vodka, tequila shots, and then closed it all with a Bloody Mary. Which was probably a mistake.
Why’d you stop doing the diet on the last day?
It just felt… Because the other days, I hadn’t been getting as drunk as I thought I would. The second-to-last day, I felt like I was kind of hitting a stride of being able to be drunk. So I really just wanted to capitalise on it to see how drunk I could get and what would happen. I was pretty worried about puking. I definitely thought I would puke after every shot, but I never did. Although, they weren’t full shots. They were those little plastic party cups, so I guess that’s half a shot. It felt really horrible to drink half a shot and think about mixing another drink, so I just stuck with one shot an hour and then something so that I didn’t, like, not wake up after I passed out. But by the fourth shot, I was not… The last one was tequila, also. So it was intentionally, like, “I’m fucked.”
So are you basically back to normal, then?
Yeah. I’m probably going to smoke a little bit later, and that will probably just make me feel better; help me not feel hungover. It really only took a day, though. Last night, pretty late at night, I ended up having a salad because I felt like it would be a terrible idea to try to choke down another drink versus just not eating until today. I’ve got shit to do.
The salad was your first meal?
Technically, the pickle was my first solid food on the third day, and the salad was my first meal. It was amazing. I hate salad, and it was like a Caesar salad from Crepevine, and I felt like I should pray beforehand. I was so, so fucking hungry. I can’t understate how hungry I was the whole time.
Was there anything remotely pleasurable about this experience?
Oh, yeah. I went out at one point. I wanted a cop to breathalyse me, because I had no idea how drunk I was. This was probably, I think, the third night. Yeah, this was Friday night. I knew the cops would be out, so I went out to try to find a cop to breathalyse me and walking around in the bar crowd with a lot of other people who were also very drunk – although not like me, who got drunk sad and alone – but still, that feeling of camaraderie of being drunk, I definitely understood that. I understood that for the social usefulness that it is to get drunk. For the first time ever, I understood that. So that was probably the best. I don’t know – overall, not a lot of great moments.
Then I guess you would not recommend this to other people?
Um… I would say this: First of all, God no. But I would also say that it didn’t kill me. I talked to a lot of people before I did this: The Safeway sommelier, all of my friends, everybody I told I was doing this said absolutely not to do it and that I would definitely die, and it ended up being not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I thought I would be stumbling around drunk for five days, but probably because I spaced out my drinks and didn’t drink in excess, I didn’t get as drunk as everybody thought I would. But as a weight loss thing? It’s really stupid. I weighed myself before and after, and I lost one pound. That’s not a thing.