Lent

For a couple of weeks, I have planned to give up sugar for Lent.  I wasn’t going to be rediculously legalistic about it.  I mean, there’s sugar in bread and spaghetti sauce and some brands of peanut butter.  I’m not going to spend hours in the grocery store reading labels.  But I wasn’t going to eat candy or pop or sweets at all, or things like jelly and pancake syrup and yogurt, things that I know have sugar in them.  However, I’m rethinking this.  I tried it a couple of years ago, and I lasted about a day. 

There’s just so many things out there!  Sweets and pop are such a part of our food culture.  When I eat supper with Tara and Chad, we take turns bringing dessert.  On Good Friday, my dad will make pudding with melted chocolate chips for dessert, just like he does every year.  How could I not eat it?  (Especially after not having eaten any sweets for six weeks…)  I would be giving up alcohol by default, because everything I like to drink has pop in it.  And chocolate, because obviously all chocolate has sugar in it.  I would always have to eat breakfast at home, because I couldn’t stop for a muffin or a smoothie.  I would always have to pack my lunch, because getting a candy bar from the vending machine would be out.  So now I’m giving up candy, pop, dessert, chocolate, alcohol, and a long-standing family tradition, and committed to being prepared for breakfast and lunch every single day.  It turns into not a sacrafice, but an inconvenience, a huge restructuring of how I plan my meals. 

How did sugar permiate our world so completely???  It’s an unneccesary component of food.  It’s calories with absolutely no nutrition.  It’s addictive, and it causes so many health problems.  Did you know that the minerals that your body needs in order to digest sugar are in sugar cane, but they are stripped from it during the process of turning the cane into refined sugar?  Obviously it’s not a big deal, because we don’t eat only sugar, so our body has those minerals available from other sources, but still… 

I realize that the whole point of giving something up for Lent is to make a sacrafice, and it’s supposed to be hard.  But I want to give up something that I can just give up, and not make all these exceptions.  And something that I can have back again on Easter, guilt-free.  Last year, Sarah and I both gave up watching Friends.  I bought season 10 during Lent, the last season to complete my collection.  On Easter I opened it up and started watching it.  See?  Guilt-free.  It’s not something that I shouldn’t be doing in the first place.  It’s a sacrafice of something that is perfectly okay to do, something that I like.  Giving it up for awhile and then getting it back makes the season of Lent significant for me.

Maybe it should be something that’s completely unrelated to food or eating.  For me, food is all wrapped up with issues of good and bad, healthy and harmful, vegetables and dessert.  🙂  Until food can just be food, I probably shouldn’t feed those issues by making it something to give up for Lent.

So, then, what?  I have three days to think about it.

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