Lent: 7 Things

1)This Lenten fast has gone extremely well this year. I really and truly do not actually want to go back to my old eating habits of tons of sugar, meat and dairy. Honestly, I've never felt this physically good. No doubt Dan, or anyone else who has seen my latest status update of wanting to curl in a fetal position around a bowl of mac'n'cheese, will be surprised to see me write that. Monday and Tuesday have been a little rough in terms of stress. Sometimes I consider all the ridiculous minutiae of planning a wedding (totally unrelated, I know) like timelines or event programs, and I simply want to hide. Ironically the only person who could actually make me feel better about it was the woman ripping out my  hair with hot wax.
These little details add up to be this enormously heavy load pressing down on me. But my mantra these past 40 plus days has been, "That [insert forbidden food] will not make it better." It's true. If anything that bag of crisps or cookie will just make me feel worse; I'll regret eating it as soon as that last morsel of sugar and butter slides down my esophagus. I'll have an urge to go running for a half hour to even the balance, but I'll be too tired, which my mind will assume is me just being weak and pathetic.
This is the complicated relationship I have with food. I doubt I'm alone.

What's been a big help with eating better is Cook Smarts and the weekly menus I get every Thursday. I think, even after Lent, I'll keep making the vegetarian versions of the meals so Dan can eat them, and maybe every once in a while make a meat dish. For the most part, when I've finished eating the meal I'm aware that I'm done eating (we might have some tortillas and salsa while watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Netflix). Lately, however, we've both been hankering for something sweet for afters.
Bill Phillips, author of Body For Life, prescribes a strict diet and exercise approach to losing weight, or becoming healthy. For 6 days of the week one eats a very clean and lean selection of foods. But the 7th day, he says, is a "free" day when you eat whatever the hell you want. Deep-fried Mars bars? Why ever not? Treat yo'self. The thing is, after 6 days of eating the stuff your body can actually use, you find yourself not craving the deep-fried Mars Bar.
No doubt I'm going to swoon with that first bite of chocolate nougat and caramel. But, I haven't actually been counting down the days to that minute.
I can live without it.

2)We went to my first Palm Sunday service. My friend and her mother were singing the Hosannas. My biggest hang up about church is the way everyone does the readings. We're hearing statements made about momentous events that, to a large degree, shaped the world we know and live in. And they read them as though they're delivering the morning announcements in high school. Actually, the morning announcements were delivered with more panache to my recollection.

I also had some difficulty paying attention to the sermon. My childhood has not been the kind where I spent every Sunday figuring out how to sit still. During my sophomore year in college I attended mass because it was something to do. But I quickly became a little disappointed with the experience.  People would show up in their pajama pants; they'd stay long enough for the Eucharist and then immediately leave. But the thing that really made me give up on attending church was the realisation that no one else was really paying attention to the sermons. This happened after the Pastor made an analogy that 3 blind men declare to one another that they're holding, respectively, a rope, a hose, and a wide piece of leather. What they're really holding is the tail, trunk and ear of an elephant. "And so," Father Whosiwhatsit said, "they are all correct."
I sat up straight, at that, with a big frown on my face. Nobody else did. They were happy to nod in agreement because they had long ago learned how to go into power save mode, or were busy shushing their children who hadn't quite mastered that technique. Of course, I understand what he was trying to illustrate: what the different religions of the world have grasped is only part of a much larger picture. But come on! If a blind man were to come up to you, holding an elephant's trunk and says, "lookit! I have a hose!" please tell me you set him straight.

3)The temptation to just end it early has never been so great. There are small pesky parts of my brain that point out 2 facts:
         A: It's Thursday! Good Lord, are two more days really going to make any major difference? If you just had a bit of cheese on your sandwich? Really?Really?!
         B: It's Thursday! It's Maundy Thursday! Jesus sat down to a bang up meal today! In fact, he's been in Jerusalem since friggin Palm Sunday! How is it your problem that he hasn't eaten anything since then? Dan pointed out that he came to Jerusalem to die, but did anyone at the time know that then? Besides Jesus? Last night we were at a diner and it was so so painfully obvious that someone would bring me a chocolate milkshake if I asked them too.

4) But then the lamb roast I'm preparing would taste of failure and embarrassment.

5)Soon I'll be able to fill my mouth with the delicious sugary creaminess of a Cadbury Creme Egg. A poll published in Real Simple magazine (I think) showed that people prefer the Reese's peanut butter eggs. What?! How can this be? Have they never had a Cadbury Creme Egg? Have they never even seen the commercial with a clucking bunny?

6)I also really enjoy the malted chocolate eggs Cadbury makes. I know I'm reaching now, with the 7 things. But basically you could just send me Cadbury products my whole life and I would never ever complain.



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