The Halloween candy, the Thanksgiving turkey, the Christmas cookies, and the Valentine’s chocolate have all been eaten and enjoyed. Now it is time to move away from the “eating” portion of the year and move on to the “fasting” portion! 😂 Today is Ash Wednesday, the Easter Season is upon us again! To commemorate this time of year I embark on my annual, Lenten Fast.
What is Lent?
Lent is the 40-day period in the Christian religion that leads up to Easter, starting on Ash Wednesday. The whole point of it is to symbolically recognize the sacrifice Jesus made when He wandered the desert for 40 days and was tempted by the Devil, before His crucifixion.
The date that Ash Wednesday occurs changes every year based on the date of Easter (which also changes every year). My understanding is, Easter always falls the first Sunday…after the first full moon…after the Spring Equinox…and is also related to when Passover occurs. Passover is a holiday from the Jewish faith that isn’t usually celebrated by Christians, but the Christian religion has its roots in Judaism so some of the traditions still share similarities. (Does this make anyone else’s brain hurt? This is why I’m a nature girl and not a religious scholar. 😉)
Why do people fast for Lent?
During Lent, many Christians choose to “fast” from something. I grew up Lutheran, which, for those who may not know, is kind of like Catholic, we just don’t have quite the same dedication. 😉😉
Many people who follow my religious tradition choose to give up something for Lent. Usually, this is some type of favorite food, but it could also be a toy, a game, or an activity you enjoy, such as social media or video games. It really doesn’t matter what you give up, the point is that you sacrifice something.
The Catholic faith outlines more of a regimented Fast, whereas Christians of other denominations tend to just give up something they are sure to miss as a personal sacrifice. I am not aware that any of the denominations in the Protestant faith require a Lenten Fast, it is solely based on personal choice.
Previous Lenten Fasts
I didn’t start participating in a Lenten Fast until I was in high school and I’ll admit it, I failed miserably at my first few attempts. Six weeks is a long time to give up things you really enjoy! But in the last several years I’ve been able to stick with my Fast fairly well.
In the past, I’ve given up sweets (i.e. donuts, cookies, candy, ice cream, basically anything that could be construed as a dessert). The caveat to this is my birthday which “almost” always falls during Lent. So, God and I have an ongoing agreement that birthday treats are exempted from consideration. 😁 (It’s not my fault that this is when I was born! 😉)–Some years my birthday doesn’t fall during Lent…it falls on Fat Tuesday** instead. 😝
**Because Lent always begins on Ash Wednesday, the Tuesday directly preceding it is known as “Fat Tuesday” as you “get fat” gorging on the foods you won’t be enjoying for the next six weeks. 😁 (Fat Tuesday factors into Mardi Gras celebrations, as well.)
What am I giving up for Lent this year?
A few years ago I outlined my long journey of trying out a low-carb lifestyle over Lent. As we learned then, I am apparently the only person in all of humanity who doesn’t benefit from this diet. 😝 Spoiler Alert! It actually made me utterly MISERABLE and literally left me depressed (and I do NOT use that term lightly).
This year I will be following a similar Fast as I have the last several years, which basically consists of refraining from “junk food”. What will that look like? For many years I gave up sweets-only for Lent (cookies, candy, etc.). In past years, I have also given up cheese, gum, and soda. With this newer Fast, I give up anything I consider to be junk food. That includes everything listed above as well as fast food, chips, really greasy pizza, fried foods, etc.
A couple of years ago Mr. Trekker’s doctor put him on a low-salt diet called the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). Since I do most of the cooking and I figure it’s good for me too, we’ve implemented these low-salt changes permanently. If you’re interested in this diet and are looking for recipe ideas, check out this cookbook. I’ve found many useful recipes in it!
Related posts: Easter Ends the Lenten Fast!; More Yummy Low-Carb Foods; Yummy Low Carb Foods; Yummy Keto-friendly recipes!; Final Thoughts on Low-Carb Lent; A Sustainable Low-carb Lifestyle; Wired to Eat (A Book Review)
Water Challenge to Lose Weight?
This year I’m also going to try to implement a “water challenge” into my Lenten fast. The basic idea is that you should drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day. (So if you weigh 180 pounds, you drink 90 oz of water each day.)
I’m very curious to see how this works. In college, I participated in this study where we drank a lot of water for a week or so and I remember being hungry ALL THE TIME! (Drinking a lot of water is supposed to “jump start” your metabolism.). They claim it helps you lose weight too so…we’ll see!
What I hope to get out of my Lenten Fast
As always, I am hoping to lose a little weight from the Fast (that is always a welcome–if not somewhat selfish–side effect of the Lenten Fast for me 😇). Also, I’m still trying to beat that soda addiction by giving it up for 6 weeks. I LOVE soda, I could drink it all day, EVERY day (and we’re talking the full-sugar stuff here. I’ve never liked the taste of diet soda and my IBS doesn’t tolerate it anyway). I don’t allow myself to drink a lot of it, but it’s always been a guilty pleasure of mine (and yes, I know it isn’t good for me, clearly that isn’t enough motivation to get me to stop drinking it 😝).
I have been doing better with my soda addiction in recent years, now that I’ve discovered sparkling water. Side note: I am SO glad this type of stuff is easily available again! Do ya’ll remember “Clearly Canadian”? I used to LOVE that stuff when I was a kid! Am I dating myself? 😳😝
I find I usually need SOMETHING fun to drink during the day to look forward to. I drink a lot of water, as well, but I need something else. Fortunately, a few years ago, I discovered fruity, green tea. I’m not a big fan of it hot, but I LOVE it ice cold. I can even take it sans sweetener (though I’ve got a soft spot for the green tea frappuccinos at Starbucks, and there is NOTHING “low-sugar” about those! I don’t know what it is, there’s no love lost between my palate and “green”-tasting veggies, but a drink that tastes like sweet, grass? I LOVE it! 😜 Go figure.)
Other than slightly stained teeth and a few stained dishes, I’m not aware of ANY negative consequences for drinking green tea (especially assuming you take it without a sweetener). That’s one of those few items that you really can’t drink too much of.
A Lenten Fast should be an adventure!
I’m always excited about the challenge a Lenten Fast brings. It is a struggle, as it is supposed to be. They don’t call it a “Fast” for nothing! 😉 But it should also be an adventure, a time to try out something new during a time frame that isn’t that long anyway. 😁
Do you participate in a Lenten Fast? If so, tell me about it in the comments!
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