With everyone recovering from their Mardi Gras hangovers (both food and alcohol induced), we hope no one is giving up water and Advil for Lent. The 40 days (and nights) leading up to Easter is known as Lent and is observed by Catholics as a way to fast and abstain from the vices and worldly enjoyments that may take them from their faith or even concentration on living a pure life. Catholics are expected to “give up something” during Lent; it could be any number of things like diet soda, television, sex, smoking, alcohol, or social media.
One thing all Catholics must give up is meat on Fridays, considered a day of abstinence. Fish and vegetarian dishes become go-to meals during Lent. Fried fish sandwiches and cheese pizza seem to be standards of the Catholic diet during this time because they’re easy and accessible, especially if you’re used to a drive-thru menu.
Whether Meatless Monday or Meatless Friday, we say embrace it and use this as an opportunity to overhaul your dietary habits. Only good things can come of it, right?
We’re making the next seven Fridays a snap and planning the meals for you. These are seven of our most popular meatless and fish recipes for dinner. (more…)
Whether you observe Lent for religious purposes, or just use the time as an opportunity to reflect, realign and restate your New Year’s resolutions, the 40 days that follow Mardi Gras can help you adapt to healthier habits.
The following suggestions will help you brighten your perspective during this thoughtful time of restraints so you don’t experience success-stealing withdrawals from your favorite guilty pleasures. Turn your old bad habits into new healthy habits by incorporating mindfulness meditation and yoga, and by repeating positive affirmations.
The next time you find yourself craving left over Valentine’s Day candy for example, instead of rushing for the half eaten heart shaped box of chocolates, stop and take a moment to think before you act. Feeling powerless over food cravings can lower your self-esteem, leading to more cravings. Break the vicious cycle by pausing, connecting with the feelings and sensations associated with wanting to eat the candy, and then let go of the need to oblige your desire. Easier said than done? Not if you practice, again and again. The more you partake in mindfulness meditation, the more natural it becomes. Eventually you will be the ruler of your cravings, rather than a slave to them.
For many, Lent is a time to give up something for the purpose of honoring the 40 days Jesus was said to walk through the desert, lured by the devil on many occasions. Christian or otherwise, Lent can be observed by anyone wanting to experience discipline, inner strength and conviction. Whether it is a vice we’ve been battling with, an addiction we need to curb, or simply the wish to deny ourselves our favorite luxury, the essence is in finding the devotion and dedication to let go of the inner demon of temptation.
Forty days is a long time to live without something you’ve been used to doing or having. Some of us make it easy on ourselves, while others will go all out in an effort to really challenge themselves. I have heard vegetarians say they are going to give up meat for Lent, and just recently my father told me he was going to give up listening to his Wayne Newton albums. Both are absurd, the prior for obvious reasons, and for those of you who don’t know my dad, he is definitely not a fan of Wayne Newton.
But for those of you who are actually going to give up something that will make you squirm, cringe, and want to renounce your devotion, the following meditation will help you stay the course.
The day before you start a cleanse, head out to a yoga ashram or decide to diet can feel much like a Mardi Gras celebration, as Mardi Gras is also the day before restrictions, deprivations and abstinences begin. The hours leading up to long stretches of time without participating in any guilty pleasures seem to be the hardest. Binging on alcohol, candy, and junk food, because we know we’re not going to have it, is what hurts us more than eating or drinking in moderation.
Some lively yogis who like to party believe in the ‘detox-retox’ cycle. It means you sweat the toxins out in your hot yoga class so you can party like a rock star later, and then go to yoga to detoxify again. If this were true, no one would suffer from the consequences of living an unhealthy lifestyle no matter how much we ate or drank. Unfortunately, the ‘detox-retox’ cycle contributes to health and well being about as much as binging on alcohol on Mardi Gras aids in the benefits we might gain from the following forty days of abstinence called Lent.
During the Lent season, or the period between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, many people who observe these holidays abstain from eating meat on Fridays. While this might sound tedious to dedicated carnivores, Friday doesn’t always have to be a pizza night. If you’re already tired of spaghetti and scrambled eggs, think about incorporating seafood into your breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
If you observe Lent, keep your meals interesting on Fridays throughout the season with these spectacular seafood recipes that are filling, healthy – and even family-friendly.