Lent officially began last Wednesday, and traditionally, every year, I honor the time with a personal sacrifice. As we end the dark days of winter, this is a perfect time to think about cleansing and letting go before embracing the energy of new beginnings in spring. Giving up something in your life that may not be serving you well anyway can only bring good. It reminds you of your own inner strength to overcome attachments to those things and/or habits that could be harmful to us in the long run. In the past I have given up chocolate and even wine. This practice is not only beneficial to our health and well-being, but it is incredibly empowering.
This year I am giving up refined sugar. This includes evaporated cane juice and brown rice syrup. Basically anything with added sweetener that is somehow processed, I am striving to eliminate from my diet. So far this experiment has been very revealing. My favorite Kind bars and even Vega protein bars all contain added sugar. Larabars do not. They are sweet simply by the nature of the dates that give them their consistency (at least the non-chocolate ones are). So I am eating them in lieu of other bars. I keep them on hand when I am out and about, so that I can have something immediately after a workout, or if I’m out too long without food, and my blood sugar drops.
Other added sugar has revealed itself in the acai juice I have been drinking (in moderation) due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. I cut that out and am focusing on whole fruits. I use a lot of frozen fruit, especially in the winter, when most fruit is not in season. It is my opinion that fruit that is flash frozen soon after picking is superior in the healthy properties and life force (Prana) it has, than fruits that have been shipped over a long distance, losing their essence and vitality along the way.
This leads me to the final revelation in this Lenten journey. I love yogurt, and I already knew the amount of added sugar in the yogurt I consume, so I have had to cut it out. I am now on plain yogurt with whole fruits, and it’s super easy, especially with frozen fruits so available. I just mix up a small bowl of plain yogurt and frozen fruit the night before, and leave it in the refrigerator until morning. I sometimes add some unsweetened muesli, and voila! Breakfast!
I am now also contemplating removing yogurt entirely from my diet, as I am deeply considering veganism. I know there would be a lot of changes to get the necessary probiotics that are essential to a healthy gut and strong immune system. I am contemplating it nonetheless.
Are you giving up anything for this Lenten season? How has it impacted you so far, less than a week into the Lent?
Diana T. Moore, Ph.D., RYT 500
Yoga Teacher * Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist * Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant