This year, for the first time in quite a while, I decided to give something up for Lent. At first I thought, "junk food", but then I realized I would lose my will to live if I had to go 47 days without any empty calories. So I settled on just half the junk food equation: sweets. Note that I did not give up sugar because honestly, sugar is in everything: ketchup, potato chips, bread, yogurt, mayonnaise, etc. And yes, I could - and have - given up sugar entirely in the past, and purchased sugar-free versions of the aforementioned goods. But that was not my goal. My goal was to eradicate foods that were sweet for the sake of being sweet, not those that happened to have incidental sugar. FURTHERMORE, I am not eating any sugar-free chocolates or ice cream either.
So, things I will not be eating during Lent:
Candy, chocolate, ice cream, cookies, brownies, pastries, whipping cream, pie, and cake.
Things I have not given up during Lent:
Nachos, perogies, cheese buns, bagels, crackers, peanut butter, french fries, poutine, popcorn, and trail mix (the kind without Smarties).
Not exactly a model of restraint, am I.
Also, I kind of fudged things a teensy bit. Usually, Lent starts on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday. But my daughter is turning three (THREE!!!!) on Easter Sunday, so I'm going to throw her a birthday party the day before, and I am darn well going to eat cake that day. So I started my 47-day sweet-free existence a day early, so I can end it a bit early. Behold, for I am bending religion-based self-deprivation exercises to fit my will.
Well, see, my birthday always falls in Lent too. And so the idea of giving up sweets... not so exciting. And then one time, I went to this amazing medieval mid-lent feast... I think you might have been there. Anyway, I discussed this with the cook, and she believed that SUNDAYS were considered exempt from the fasting.
So I went with that. Because bending religious self-deprivation exercises to your will is clearly a long standing tradition.
Ooh I DO remember that feast!
My sister tipped me off to the "Sundays are exempt" thing and the Wikipedia article I linked to substantiated that claim. And if I was actually FASTING, I would probably eat myself silly on Sundays. But as I'm only giving up one, not-even-strictly-required food group, I figure I can tough it out for the Sundays too.
There are other things you can give up. Like the Internet (!!! way harder than sweets), swearing, negative self-talk, sarcasm, or sleeping in. Etc.
although I am so off the realm of religious it is ridiculous to even mention it with respect to any of my beliefs, I have often given up something for Lent. I don't know why, but it always struck me as a decent idea in and of itself even without any religious context (and I have to fully admit that I have NO IDEA what that context even is). But this year, I couldn't think of anything I was willing to part with. I toyed with giving up cheese, but then decided that starting something that I would fail at was silly. Because, really? Can I really live without cheese? No.
47 days without chocolate is not going to be easy. I might consider cashing in on the Sunday rule ;).
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