Lent-Trying Something

This photo has nothing to do with the post. I’m shamelessly poaching Hannah’s photography because I prefer blog posts with photos.

Hi, you two (or three maybe). I’m determined to use this blog to keep me writing and to help me be accountable.

I am trying something for Lent. Inspired by Elizabeth Foss, (scroll down to crafting in the kitchen and you’ll see her thoughts about making changes for herself while caring for a big family-comments are interesting, too). I’ve been reading about eating Paleo. What appeals to me about it is cutting out the sugar and grains and eating more vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds. Cutting dairy does not appeal to me (I love cheese) and the meat! Yikes! I like meat but really think I could cut it out altogether and not miss it.

I’m still researching it and am not convinced that it’s entirely possible without access to clean meats and fish. I wouldn’t mind eating more fish but if all I can get is farm-raised or Asian caught, I’m not good with that. Grass-fed beef is possible but expensive and not readily available. I’m thinking the same thing for the fruits and veggies. I can’t buy totally organic but I’m thinking non-organic has to be better than boxed mac and cheese, right? I’m really thinking a limited amount of grains and dairy will be the right balance for me in the end.

Physically, I’m hoping that my rosacea calms down. My face actually hurts when it is full-blown and I’m wondering if this is an inflammatory reaction to grains. (I grew up with 4 boys and currently have a 14 year old one in the house so if you were going to say “Your face hurts me, too” or something along those lines…your hilarious). While I am not overweight, I am weak, stiff, achy and fearful of injury which keeps me from trying things like weight training, boot camps and spinning. Even when I walk, my hips ache afterward. My energy is pretty good, but I’ll accept any improvement in this area. I sleep really well, so that’s not an issue.

I’m not imposing this on anyone else in the family. I will cook for them as I usually do and try to modify my meals. Luke wants to try it, too. He is always hungry and filling that need with cereal, toast and things like Ramen noodles. He understands that none of those things is nutrient-dense. Mark is easing into a change. I completely get that. I refuse to be the Paleo police.

While Lent is not a time for superficial experimentation, it is a good framework for discipline and self-denial.  Although I don’t crave sweets, I do enjoy bread, cheese and pasta. We all agree that the biggest challenge will be a practical one. This change will take some planning and prep. I’ve only prepared for the first few days and only loosely. I feel like I can wing it for myself but not for Luke. He thought it would be more practical to eat grains when we’re not having some sort of seafood for dinner. I agree with that.

I had to jump back in here to add that the gospel reading for Ash Wednesday always admonishes against broadcasting a fast. I realize that posting this could be viewed as a violation of that guideline but that isn’t my intention. First of all, as I mentioned above, I think I only have a couple of readers. I wanted to put it out there as a way to hold myself accountable and record my reaction to this change if I have time. To the extent that I throw myself into the paleo conversation (pro or con), that’s fine, too. I think that might require a broader readership, though.

In addition to (sometimes instead of) giving something up for Lent (in this case sugar, grains, dairy, beer and wine and my sunny disposition-just kidding) I also try to add some spiritual practice. I’m looking forward to reading “Consoling the Heart of Jesus“based on the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. Apparently, I’m supposed to be a Saint by the end of it. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

2 thoughts on “Lent-Trying Something

  1. Kel

    Hi Beth,
    Just wanted to chime in with some encouragement. I don’t know if you heard a whisper of it before Christmas, but I have headed this way with our diet. We’re not giving ourselves a paleo label (especially since we do eat dairy) but, we’re grain-free and sugar-free and high fat.
    I tried this way of eating within the vegetarian framework at first, but it got very redundant very fast (think cheese and nuts and not much else). I came to realize after lots of reading that I no longer believed the veg diet to be working for me or, quite frankly, healthy for me, which was why I started it to begin with.
    We’ve been at it since July and I’ve lost 15 lbs. (haven’t exercised AT ALL) and no longer have those mid-afternoon slumps. I’ve always had a decent will power against sweet treats, indulging occasionally but, no longer even think about them and most surprisingly, no longer miss bread or pasta in the least. What’s most amazing to me is that I’m not hungry all the time. I think I thought a constant state of slight hunger was normal… I attribute this change mostly to eating lots of fat. Surprisingly, my protein levels are about the same as before.
    Well.. you’re going to be wishing you didn’t have any readers after this diatribe, but I wanted to let you know I’m cheering you on. 🙂 I also should mention that at least for me, coming from where I was, there was a very definite transition period with physical symptoms, which weren’t all positive or pleasant, but it passes. Let me know if you want more details or encouragement, or good recipe sites. 🙂

  2. Beth

    Wow, Kelly, thanks for the encouragement and for reading my little blog. I welcome diatribes but don’t consider yours one at all. I didn’t know at all that you had changed from your veg diet. I thought you looked great at Christmas, but then again, you usually do. I tend to notice people’s skin because of my battle with rosacea (honestly, I don’t really battle it, just suffer with it) and yours looked particularly vibrant-along with your hair. I’ll be emailing you with questions, I’m sure. One huge challenge is foods for Luke on tournament weekends. He tends to eat bagels between matches and a 12″ Subway (or 2) at some point during the weekend. I’ll email you. Miss you.

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