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Let There Be Lent

   

I was raised by an outspoken atheist, my progressive, self-assured and deeply intellectual dad, and by a more moderate mom who rightfully claimed “not to know.” And so as such there was no organized religion in our home. None. We lived between suburbs, largely Catholic and Christian ones, and I always wondered if we shouldn’t just hedge our bets. According to my friends, the downside of NOT believing seemed pretty grave. Would it kill us to go to church?

And the FOMO was real. Friends all flocked to church on Sunday, midnight mass on Christmas, something called CCD on weeknights. And maybe most impressively, all partook in a ritual that fascinated me: the 40 days of lent. I’m giving up gum, they would say. I’m giving up soda or cartoons or popcorn or chips. It’s maybe no wonder that I’m so drawn to a life of detoxification and cleansing. I wanted in.

Life works in mysterious ways. Years later I met my husband, Laurent. And while he isn’t a churchgoer, he is devout, praying nightly, giving thanks and most of all, practicing a mighty lent.

Laurent is an all or nothing kind of guy. If he isn’t enjoying a steak au poive at La Goulue, drinking a glass (or a bottle) of Bordeaux or at Felix celebrating France’s victory in the World Cup, he’s training for an Ironman or sparring in the ring. As a wine distributor, he spends his days in French and Belgian restaurants. Evenings he hits the gym and comes home to a perfectly combined vegan dinner. He’s married to me, after all. But when he allows it, the bad outweighs the good and it’s time to reign it all in.

Lent is his clean up, his repentance, his almsgiving. It’s also his get in shape for summer plan. The 45 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter are conveniently spaced between the extravagance of the holidays and beach season. Sun worship has new meaning.

Like a pied piper, he recruits others along the way. Of course I joined him from the get go. In those days it was a big deal to give up alcohol, wheat, dairy and sugar. But as the years pass, lent leaves its mark. And so the next year seems less extreme. The process can change lives. One year I convinced Kerrilynn to join. She hasn’t touched a drop of alcohol since. Two years ago, I was already following a rather clean diet and so, inspired by a talk at CAP by my now mentor Gil Jacobs, I decided that for lent I would recommit to the practices of juicing and food combining. The process outlived the forty days of lent. It’s my way of life now, effortless and euphoric.

My views on religion and spirituality have changed a lot since childhood. Let’s just say I may be a bit more like my agnostic mom, less interested in the trappings of organized religions and more interested in the energy and offerings of the Universe. But it’s interesting to note that most religions practice some type of fast and taking care of our physical bodies is for many a way of expressing gratitude.

This year, lent starts on March 6. If you choose to join, do it for your self. Your reasons may have nothing to do with the traditions of Christianity (mine don’t) but you can still embrace the energy of the group. You might consider adding something healthy instead of giving up a vice. Forty days is habit forming and Spring is ripe for rebirth. 

Don’t go it alone. Enjoy Fat Tuesday, then lean on this, our guide to our favorite companions for giving up what’s got a grip on you:

Alcohol When Kerrilynn quit drinking, she leaned heavily on a nightly ritual of drinking herbs. Need a nightcap? Try this.

And our brilliant friend Ruby has written the modern manual to getting and staying clean. Find it here.

Sugar If refined sugar is your vice, here are some apt replacements: lucuma, raw honey, mango and Cookie Drip!

Coffee Swap your coffee for a calm, clean focus. Or forgo caffeine entirely with this morning magic.

Dairy A spoonful of our best seller adds creamy deliciousness to hot drinks and smoothies alike.

Food combining If you’re curious how this might work for you, learn the details here. Still the best guide to the cellular cleansing life.

To book a colonic or consult with Gil Jacobs, text 347-933-3590

Wheat Find our favorite gluten free breads here: Vegan Mario, Grindstone Bakery, Breadblok

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