It’s almost that time of year again. Lent. Ten days from now is when i have to start really getting creative. I’ve decided to give up sugar for Lent! I didn’t say sweets. I said sugar. I’m giving up all added refined sugars and will only eat natural sugars- of course those found in fruits and veggies are allowed (i’m making my own rules, by the way!) but those found in breads, chocolate syrup, dressings, cookies, desserts, ice cream, peanut butter, gatorade, juices, sports gels, etc, etc, etc are not allowed.
This may not sound all that difficult but when i started really looking at ingredients on stuff, i was shocked. I eat a pretty healthy diet but that healthy diet still consists of chocolate milk (the chocolate has loads of sugar), toast (breads are loaded with sugar), peanut butter (guess what, sugar!), tortillas (sugar), sports beans (sugar), and so on. The bad thing is how sugar is hidden in so many products- it doesn’t have to say “sugar” to have sugar. It might say sucrose or high fructose corn syrup or about 20 other code names. Pictured above, by the way, is my homemade sugar free oatmeal honey wheat bread 🙂
I do plan to get quite creative with my baking though. After lots of research on “healthy” or natural sugars, i’ve decided to allow agave, pure honey, pure maple syrup and possibly molasses. Also, the sugar substitute, Truvia, may find it’s way into some of my recipes. It’s a natural, plant based sugar from what i understand. I have a week to do a little more homework on this as well.
This is going to be pretty difficult but that’s the point, right?! I’m really a sugar freak so rather than picking one item, chocolate, i’m going all in! Go big or go home! Let me say, though, that i’m not willing to be unhealthy and give up all carbs which are typically made with sugars- i’ll just have to bake my own breads, make my own granolas (yay, i already do this one!) and really plan ahead for all meals and snacks. My goal is to lower my sugar craving and hopefully learn to eat an even healthier diet than i already do.
What is Lent anyway? Lent originated in the very earliest days of the Church as a preparatory time for Easter, when the faithful rededicated themselves and when converts were instructed in the faith and prepared for baptism. By observing the forty days of Lent, the individual Christian imitates Jesus’ withdrawal into the wilderness for forty days. Because Sunday is the day of the Resurrection, we skip over Sundays when we calculate the length of Lent. Therefore, in the Western Church, Lent always begins on Ash Wednesday, the seventh Wednesday before Easter. In many countries, the last day before Lent (called Mardi Gras, Shrove Tuesday, Carnival, or Fasching) has become a last fling before the solemnity of Lent. For centuries, it was customary to fast by abstaining from meat during Lent, which is why some people call the festival Carnival, which is Latin for farewell to meat. (explanation borrowed from Ken Collins)
Anyway, there are plenty of people who observe Lent and plenty who don’t. People also have their various reasons for why they do it- religious or not. Maybe it’s just a time that you give something up just to see if you can and that’s all it really means to you. Maybe it’s a time of discipline in which you see if you can add something positive to your life. Maybe it’s truly a time when you reflect and repent.
I happen to like the 40 days of discipline it requires of me. It’s kind of like a little game i play with myself every year. I like it when things are difficult and i have to actually work at them to succeed. Weird, i know. However, it’s not going to be all about giving something up this year. I’ll also spend time each day writing in a journal- this is my reflection piece and i’m looking way more forward to it than eating a bunch of sugar free foods.
If you’re choosing to observe Lent, good luck! oh, and i would love to hear what you’re doing!