It’s that time of year again! Can you feel it in the air? A mixture of incense and penance hangs about the head of every practicing Catholic. It’s Lent! Yes, I know other Christians observe Lent, but it has only recently reemerged in the Protestant culture as a mainstay of Protestantism. (My Lutheran friends get props, they have always emphasized it.)
I LOVE Lent. There’s something about using a specific amount of time to reflect and refocus, while also trying to make a personal sacrifice that appeals to me. It’s like a God-sanctioned diet where you examine your spiritual and physical life.
I normally rock out Lent pretty hard-core. One year I gave up sugar completely, another year coffee. Yes, I did almost DIE during the coffee year. The year Jacob and I started dating we decided to Fast from solid food until sundown on Wednesdays and abstain from meat on both Wednesday and Friday.
But in all honesty for every Lent I can remember I have had at least one incidence of cheating. GASP! Yup, I am a big hairy Lenten cheater. Either I invoked the “Sunday rule” which states Sundays are not part of Lent and therefore you can have the item you gave up, or I bent the rules of my sacrifice. When we fasted from solid foods, we would go to Jamba Juice on campus and get these HUGE smoothies. Which ended up having over a 1,000 calories. When I gave up coffee I’d let myself have diet cokes, justifying it by saying I gave up ‘coffee’ and not ‘caffeine’.
The “Sunday cheating” stopped my senior year of college when our campus priest, Father Bolton, preached a sermon about that and gave the analogy that Lenten sacrifices are akin to Jesus’ time on the cross, He didn’t get to take a break from that, the least we could do was to keep our Lenten sacrifice. Well didn’t I feel like a HUGE bum after that.
As I approach this Lenten season I have felt called to really think about my faith and examine my life. For a variety of reasons I have felt a little out of sync with my faith life lately. I feel like I have been using the whole infertility thing as an excuse to let other things slide, like eating healthy and being active. I was on a gym kick for a while but since I started Metformin, which causes me severe exhaustion, I have let myself lay around instead of trying to at least do some type of physical activity. I have been upset that I can not run like I used to. But instead of trying walking instead, I just gave up (Ok but seriously, doesn’t it piss you off when you go to the gym and all the treadmills are taken up by walkers? I know when I walk on the treadmill and it is busy at the gym I get dirty looks from the runners wanting a treadmill, like they are secretly judging me for not being a runner. Or maybe it’s in my head…). Am I berating myself for this? No, I went through hell, miscarried, and am now on a drug that makes me feel like poop everyday, I understand this. But I do need to refocus and try to live a well-balanced life both spiritually and physically.
At first I thought I should give up sugar. This was inspired by the fact that Metformin, the drug I’m on, is a diabetes drug that lowers blood sugar (and in the process also happens to improve egg quality for Infertiles). What happens when a person without blood sugar issues, who happens to already have low blood sugar, takes it? Hellooooo malaise and exhaustion. Sometimes if I don’t eat right when I take the Metformin I literally start falling asleep about an hour later. So as a solution I have started eating a lot of candy and carbs. Not healthy. I mentioned this to my friend and fellow blogger, Emily, and she said I needed to focus on eating whole grains and protein to get my blood sugar to the right levels. Which is totally right, but candy is SO much tastier.
But then I got an even BETTER idea. Tuesday’s with Morris blogger had lent me a book awhile back, “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan. I won’t go into details about it, but it has got me thinking about what I eat and how I eat. And so I proposed to Jacob that we go Vegan for Lent.
His response was to raise his eyebrow and look at me incredulously. I didn’t push it, but a few hours later I said,
“So, seriously, about going Vegan, what do you think?
And he did his famous sigh that he does when he lets me have my way and says,
“Ok, but I want some provisos.”
So here are our Lenten-Vegan Terms and Conditions:
1) We will abstain from consuming all animal products with the following provisos:
a) “Happy” chicken eggs are allowed. By “happy” I mean free-range organic eggs.
b) At church functions Jacob often has to eat and it would possibly look elitist or rude if he brought his own food. So if he has to eat for a church function and cannot avoid meat, it is ok.
c) Likewise if we have to eat out for church or other business we can eat fish if we are unable to find a vegan option.
d) Any instances of cheating will be publicly posted on this blog to keep us accountable and publicly shame ourselves, because what’s a good Catholic without a little shame right?
Given my love for tracking and charting things there will be a follow-up post where we both weigh-in to see if going vegan contributes to weight loss. We are also going to have a ‘Mardi Gras’ in which we go out to dinner and eat meat like it’s going out of style. Which it is for us, for the next 50 or so days. We will weigh in weekly and I will post it here along with my reflections and possible rants about how much I miss meat, especially bacon.
Oh BACON, how I will miss you so. But I hope this will help to refocus my life. I feel like we live in a culture of excess and I have given into that excess. Often in our own churches we preach the ‘prosperity’ gospel in which we give into the lie that God says ‘excess’ is ok, and it’s ok to just be who you are and not try to improve yourself. I want this to be hard, because it will be a reminder to me every day of what my faith is worth to me. It’s not something I blog about a lot because no one likes the blogger who constantly shoves their personal religious views in your face. But my faith/spirituality is very important to me and is a part of who I am.
So stay tuned for the ‘Great Vegan Adventure’!
And pray for the hubby, his wife is totally RUINING his life 🙂