March 10, 2011

40 Days


Commonly a time where self-indulgent people everywhere choose to give something up....we often hear about people giving up a certain food (chocolate, anyone?), or soda (mmm, bubbles), and these days there are crazy people everywhere even giving up Facebook (crazy I tell you!).

Forty days without chocolate, Dr. Pepper, or putzing around on Facebook when I should be writing cover letters & applying for jobs? EEK.

Try forty days without running water, or 40 days on minimum wage, or 40 days without any internet whatsoever (gasp!).

Ok, that last one is a joke. Hopefully if you're reading this you know me well enough to know that every once in awhile I throw a little sarcasm in to spice things up. But only a bit. :-)

But seriously. It's ONLY 40 days. And maybe it would do well for all of us, church goers or not, to try a measly 40 days without something. However, I would argue that it's not just about giving something up. For me, it's about what I mentioned above - honoring the things I eat, and the products I use, and all the things I take for granted - honoring where they came from; honoring the hands that contributed to their production; acknowledging my own privilege in being able to CHOOSE to give something up. There are plenty more people in the world who have no choice, who don't even know when their next meal is, and here I am choosing to give up (gasp!) chocolate. What a sacrifice.

These are things I will reflect on for the next 40 days. In the midst of the various things people choose to reflect on during this time of year, this is where my heart lies right now. And, as a method of accountability, here are the things I'm going to be intentional about these coming days....

1. I will not be spending ridiculous amounts of money on fancy coffee drinks when I can easily make my own. No, I'm not quitting coffee. This would be unwise and detrimental to myself and all those who come in contact with me (my therapist agrees with me). But let's talk about the many reasons I should NOT be frequenting Starbucks every day...I'm spending crazy amounts of money!! Why is this bad? Well, there's the obvious reason of I don't have a real job and can't even afford health insurance so what the hell am I doing spending $$ at Starbucks?!! Ultimately, though, there are much better places and things I could spend my hard-earned part-time money on, and Sbux is not it. And when I make my coffee myself, I can choose fair-trade options, I can know where it came from, and I can know what I'm putting in it (instead of all those fatty delicious calorie-laden syrups that Sbux adds). Overall, I think this should be healthier for both my wallet and my waistline.

2. The only sweets I will eat are those that I made myself, or that someone close to me has made themselves. I'm smart, you see - I'm not doing the typical "I'm giving up sweets for Lent!" That's just crazy. And I've done it before. It doesn't work for me. Easter comes and I gorge myself on ice cream and chocolate, and then think constantly about these things pretty much everyday thereafter. (Yes, I'm admitting this to the whole world right here - please don't judge).

My reasoning for this one comes from reading in the last several months all of Michael Pollan's books about the US food system. In Food Rules, Pollan talks about how readily available and cheap so much processed food is in the US. Back in the good ole days, if someone wanted fried chicken, or french fries (or you name it), they couldn't just run to McD's or KFC and pick up a box. They had to spend the day cutting and peeling and battering and frying, which takes awhile! Not to mention all the cleanup that comes with it. Ick. an effort to honor where my food comes from and what goes into them, I'm going to make my sweets myself - that way I know exactly what's going in them, and reducing my intake of processed foods...which is a long-term goal of mine. This will ultimately be healthier for me as well because it will cut down on the number of sweets I eat. Plus, I can't wait to see how homemade ice cream turns out! And I'm also on the lookout for a Nutella recipe. :-)

3. I won't be using plastic bags at all. If I go to a store and forget my reusable bags - well, I'd better not buy more than I can carry in my own 2 arms. When I need to clean up cat poop, well, I'd better figure out a more environmentally friendly way to dispose of it. Need I say more?

What practices are you giving up or adding for Lent this year?

Check back next week for an update on my Lenten practices :-)


Rachel W. said...

Wahoo!!! Glad you are BLOGGING! And I like what you're saying about how we are privileged to deprive ourselves. So true.

I'm giving up dairy and eggs. I know, I've been trying to be vegan for awhile now, but this season, I'm really doing it. If I don't know if there's dairy in a granola bar, I'm not going to eat it. So far, this has already been TERRIBLY difficult. But helps me connect with foods I'm eating.

Miss you!

Danielle said...

Hi! I've been considering getting back to my blog too.... one of these days. I think your Lenten sacrifices are excellent choices. In general my grocery store rule is that I don't buy store bought cookies or cakes - if I want to eat stuff like that I make it from scratch & it definitely prevents bingeing on an entire package of Oreos! (Not a steadfast rule, but it helps.)

For Lent I'm giving up sleeping in - not that I do that an extraordinary amount anyway with Bill deployed. However, my goal is to be up, dressed & generally ready for my day BEFORE the kids are up. I'm hoping that helps me feel a little more in control of the day/less scatterbrained & prepares me for Baby Beer #3 (just found out they think it's another girl!) come June. I'm shooting for 5:30 am (ugh!) on weekdays in hopes of an hour to myself. Pray for me!

I also decided to give up watching non-news television in the evening unless everything on my to-do list has been finished. (Which is rarely the case.) This will encourage me to do more reading, get through some of my perpetual projects and/or get to bed earlier, thus helping me get up earlier. However, after watching 2 hours of CNN tsunami coverage from 11pm-1am last night & rolling out of bed at 7 am this morning, I think I also need to limit myself to 30 mins news coverage if it's after 10pm.

So, Day 2 of Lent & I already need to recommit, sigh. Recommitting now. It's only 40 days!

Have fun trying out all your new recipes. FYI: I have found lots of sweets - cookies, brownies ;) , banana/pumpkin/zucchini breads, etc freeze incredibly well. So you can make a normal size batch, eat a couple servings & not have the rest staring you down every day for the next week begging to be eaten before becoming stale... I'll let you know if I come across a homemade Nutella recipe. Have a great week!