Lent: 7 Things

1) It would be so super easy to fall into a pasta rut for the next 33 days. There's such a variety of it; it's so versatile and fits all the vegan requirements I can think of. More than any other food, I think, I love pasta. It's my comfort food for sure and it's quick and doesn't require hardly any thought. However, that's not really what I want to do. Before Dan and I moved in together I felt like I had to work hard to think of other meals besides pasta/meat and potatoes/pasta. Beans, for instance, rarely ever entered into my consciousness. Fish was a terrifying proposition that I dealt with by covering in a lemon butter sauce at every opportunity.
Cooking for 1 is a tricky proposition in any case. Sometimes I'd make large vats of something and just work away at it for a week; taking it in for lunch, eating it for dinner. By the last spoonful I would thoroughly sick of whatever it was and not make it again for another 3 months.
Sharing the cooking space with Dan helped a little bit; I picked up a few tips, observed a few tricks. But I still didn't have the knack of just tossing together an awesome meal the way he does (my personal favourites are the shrimp tostadas he makes). The internet provided some assistance, but I'd always forget to buy some ingredient or other when shopping and then have to scramble a little bit afterwards.
Then I heard about this concept: Meal Plans. They range from the ingredient being delivered to your door, to the actual meal, or just a week of recipes e-mailed to you. At first I rolled my eyes. Have we really become so busy and submissive as to not be able to feed ourselves? We really need to have someone tell us what to eat?
But, you know, I was intrigued. So I signed up with one that's free and promptly got an e-mail on Thursday that I had a meal plan with instructions and a grocery list. I started off with a poached salmon with a garlicky herb sauce and roasted cauliflower, moved onto portabello mushroom wraps using the sauce herb sauce as a spread, used the leftover cauliflower to make a soup and finished off with a tofu pad thai.
I impressed even myself.
Now, I can count. That's 4 meals, what about Friday? They recommend using leftovers for Friday, but I figured this could be a pasta day.
It's gotten a little tricky with the Lenten diet restrictions. Steak fajitas are rather off limits right now, but she usually suggests vegetarian substitutions.
What I have noticed is that since I've demonstrated the ability to tackle things like roasted portabella mushroom wraps, I use the menu more as a suggestion. It just helps to look at what they have in mind for Thursday's dinner on Wednesday night.

2) Alright, I confess, I'm not doing this solely for spiritual or nutritional reasons. There's a wedding in May I'd like to look my best for (since I'm the bride, gah!). More importantly there are some beaches in Mexico that I want to look my best for. I've really committed more to exercise and accomplished some goals I'm pretty satisfied with (running 5K in 33 minutes!). But I know weight loss only starts when your calorie intake is less than your calorie output(?). I have to be careful about starting along that slope as it's a slippery one. Now, please, do not say as my co-workers and family members do: you're not fat. I KNOW!
But it feels more like I've been in a stalemate since I've graduated college, where with exercise I was able to keep the scale precisely at one number. I'd like, now, for there to be some movement in a different direction.
Though it's not so much numbers that I'm fixated on. 150 lbs of muscle is not such a bad thing. But I'd like my arms to be a little more toned, and my thighs to be a little sleek. These are reasonable desires, I think.

3) You need to be a little flexible with this diet. As I said before, I'm allowing eggs in the diet because there are only so many bowls of granola I can consume. I will also confess that I still use chicken stock to make soups. There! My conscience is relieved! The thing is, Lent is not about misery and vegetable stock just makes me so unhappy.

4) I also once wrote that the hardest thing about Lent is explaining the dietary restrictions to someone that wants to feed me. Well, it still is.The funny thing about it is they think Dan, the vegetarian, put me up to it. In fact I was the one who insisted that this meant we couldn't even have sugar in our coffee. But it's not even the notion that I may be inconveniencing someone by saying, "that lasagna looks delicious, unfortunately I can't have any until Easter." They also give me this look; the "are you mentally sound?" look.
Would they look at me that way if I said I could never eat porcine products because I'm Jewish or Muslim? We don't think that's crazy (I do, however, think it's a shame there are people in the world who will never know the joy and magic of bacon wrapped scallops). We just say, "Oh gosh! I'm sorry," and dismiss it, I think.
Why is it crazy that I choose to eat healthier than I normally do for 40+ days?
You know who is really crazy? People who eat meat every day, 2 times a day. Because they have it so often they'll never get that chance to really, sincerely savour a juicy chop and to know the richness of that meat and flavour. They've dulled their taste buds to it.

5) There are people who take this Fast WAY more seriously than I do. My mother remembers a Greek Orthodox boyfriend of hers checking the ingredients on boxes of pasta to make sure there was no egg content. Imagine having that guy over for dinner!

6) I don't think it's coincidence that we're supposed to cleanse our souls as winter's on its way out. Christmas coincidentally falls around the Ancient Roman party of Saturnalia, All Saints Day just happens to be at the same time as the Celtic Samhain, and Easter, as it's called  in the English speaking language, takes its name from the Norse Goddess, Esther, deity of springtime. You could almost think of it as the new year approaching and thus the appropriate time to shed your excesses in time for the renewal of life and freshness.

7) Or you could remember, like I just did, that Easter correlates to Passover. That being said, around Palm Sunday I get a little annoyed that the Fast has to continue until Easter Sunday. After all, Jesus was in Jerusalem. It's not my fault if he didn't take advantage of the food available to him.


  1. On that note, I will have to remind Greg of ur fasting, cause u r coming for dinner on Sunday, right? And our fast has not yet begun! And Passover will not be til long after Western Easter this year, but will corrolate to Eastern Orthodox Pascha.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts