A few of the bloggers I follow have posted about Lent, the 40-day period prior to Easter. Christians use this time to spiritually prepare for the commemoration of Christ's death (Good Friday) and resurrection (Easter Sunday), through increased time in prayer, fasting, self-denial (i.e. giving up something for Lent), repentance, and increased charitable giving. Growing up Catholic, Lent was a big deal in my family. My parents, brothers and I usually gave up something we enjoyed, like a favorite snack or pastime, or focused on ridding of a bad habit, along with increased church attendance and donations to charity. I usually gave up candy or chocolate, though one year I gave up chewing my fingernails. Over the past few years, I've focused on doing something to deepen my relationship with God, such as praying more throughout the day or being more conscious of praying before meals.
This year, I'm focusing on eating better. I have quite the sweet tooth, and my lower activity level due to runner's knee has resulted in a few extra pounds. A co-worker told me about the Daniel Fast, a 21-day partial fast where one eats mostly fruits and veggies, drinks only water, and eats no meat, bread, artificial sweeteners or processed foods. With those guidelines in mind, I've decided to do a modified version of the Daniel Fast.
Why am I not doing the full-blown Fast? Here's why:
1. I have milk and juice in my fridge that will expire before Lent ends. I don't believe in wasting food, so I am making exceptions for those food items that have a shorter shelf life.
2. I can give up most meat easily, but I find that seafood is good for my body, especially my joints. Plus, future hubs grills a mean salmon.
3. Special occasions. My birthday is in early April and I want to celebrate it with pasta, chocolate and wine, gosh darn it! I also want to be able to eat out with my friends. Rachel and I went out to eat at Hell's Kitchen on Wednesday night before the Sarah McLachlan concert, and I enjoyed my glass of Surly Furious and bowl of PEI mussels. Gotta love happy hour!
So far, I've noticed that my body feels so much better. Eating a more plant-based diet makes me feel much healthier. This will also force me to experiment a little more in the kitchen. I'm making a batch of vegetarian chili later today.
In other news:
--I got my taxes done this morning and Uncle Sam was good to me. I'm sure I'll be using my federal and state refunds to pay for the MRI costs my insurance won't cover.
--My right knee was feeling sore this week, so I've been taking it easy. I may go for a short walk in a few hours.
--Be sure to check out my fiance's blog: Wait... You Run?
What's on tap for you this weekend? Do you observe Lent or go through periods of time when you give up or do something for spiritual or personal enrichment?