Friday, February 15, 2013

Giving it Up (for Lent)

Although I am not nor have ever been a Catholic, I take part in Lent. I take it as personal challenge. In previous years I've given up refined sugars, coffee and similar things. This year I decided I wanted to try something harder. This year I was going to fast.

Going into this I knew that I was not going to be able to last the full 40 days. I haven't fasted at all since I was teenager and doing the 30 hour Famine. So I decided to modify things a little. I was going to do a broth fast from Monday to Wednesday and then slowing reincorporate food into my diet, by adding one meal on Thursday, two meals on Friday and back to normal for the weekend. I also cut out refined and artificial sugars during fasts which meant no Diet Coke for me.

Lent starts on Ash Wednesday, so I only had one day of full fasting in my first week. It was a nice way to ease into things. Day one was really easy - not a single tummy grumble all day. I was amazed. I thought it would be harder than that.However, I still felt bloated and not 100% intestinally and I was starting to realize that my body needed this fast more than my mind or spirit.

On the second day I ate a fairly light dinner. Some toast and eggs. I didn't want to do anything too big. I had no problems with the meal, but I also decided to indulge in a diet coke because, well, I like coke dammit. I had to after the meal, but I had noticed something. I have occasional jaw pain and when I was eating I realized that I had no trouble with pain at all. Later that night when I went to bed, I started having jaw pain for a few brief moments as I was trying to fall asleep. As soon as it happened, I thought about some reports I've read of aspartame causing pain symptoms.

So this made me think a little more of what I'm putting in my body. I try to eat healthy, but I have my crutches. I like pop. I like sweets and I like easy food when I can find some that I can eat. I do, however, eat a lot of lean meats and oodles of vegetables. Healthy isn't going to cut it anymore. I need to start eating cleaner. Of course knowing something and acting upon that knowledge are two very different things.

It's going to be a real effort after Lent to get myself on the right track to eating a lot cleaner than I do. Of course, I'm going to start small and work on it so that I can make the changes last. First thing to go, sadly, is the diet pop. If I want some sweet fizz I'm going to have to find a different way to get my fix. Maybe one of the recipes I saw on Dr. Oz once - club soda, sarsaparilla extract and agave syrup as a sweetener.

Either way. That is what I realized within only two days of starting Lent. I wonder what other realizations I will come to as the weeks go on.

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