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.
Under the guidance of a Presbyterian pastor and a local doctor, J. Wilson of Corning, Iowa will be subsisting on a diet of only beer and water this Lent. Wilson is re-creating the traditional observances of Franciscan monks in the seventeenth century, who would follow a liquid fast. “I could drink bacon grease if I wanted to–it’s a liquid after all–but I’m just simplifying this whole landscape to beer and water,” he wrote on his blog.
“It’s not something I’m taking lightly. My health is important to me. I’ve got a wife and two kids that are very, very important to me. So, it’s not like a joke,” Wilson told KCCI. Each day, he plans to drink four pints of his own Doppelbock home brew, unless his doctor begins to see any complications. Wilson, who is a newspaper editor, is consuming 1,200 calories per day, and intends to avoid inebriation. Technically,
For most people, New Years marks a clear point for making a lifestyle change that is intended to last a lifetime. Lent on the other hand, for the religious, is a time of temporary self denial or restriction to increase focus. There are several reasons that a greater percentage of people are successful with Lenten fasts than New Years habit changes. Even if you do not celebrate Lent, these ideas may help you be more successful with your own behavior change.
The first reason many are more successful with habit change during Lent (even if it is temporary) is that they are striving to sacrifice for something that has personal meaning to him or her. Religion is one outlet for existential energy for many people. Existential energy is about those things that give your life meaning, becoming a better person, and those things about which you are passionate. When we strive after these things, we often feel more energized and more motivated to meet the goals we have set for ourselves.
Starting with Halloween, it’s a slippery slope through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and Valentine’s Day, a fast run full of overindulging and dietary no-no’s. Mardi Gras is often the crowning glory in a literal Fat Cake of Food. After so much indulgence, it’s almost with relief that we observe the calendar shifting to the more penitential observance of Lent. A solemn time of fasting and sacrifice, Lent is most commonly observed by Catholics and many of the Orthodox and Protestant religions.
Lent is observed as a 40 day period of time that begins on Ash Wednesday and culminates on Easter Sunday, although many religions differ in how to count the days. Traditionally, Lent is a time of spiritual discipline, in which you give up a favored food, be it dessert, coffee or chocolate. In the Middle Ages, a more strict observance of Lent required a total abstinence from any meat, eggs and dairy products of all kinds, feeling that a more sparse menu would lead to a greater religious experience. Modern rules have changed in most religions, but almost all observers of Lent use the time period to improve themselves.
Tuesday, February 24 is Mardi Gras, which is the 24-hour food fest that ushers in the six weeks of Lent, the 40 days of abstinence leading up to holiday, Easter. Similar to Thanksgiving, this is one of those holidays that is dedicated to eating – a lot.
With a name that translates to “Fat Tuesday,” there is really not much hope for getting through the Mardi Gras’ festivities without loosening your belt a few notches. And since concocting a low-cal and low-fat version of the paczki might require a veritable culinary miracle from the heavens, we’ve drummed up some healthy Mardi Gras favorites from the Diets in Review kitchen. (more…)
With Lent beginning next Wednesday, February 25th, Catholics around the world will have to forgo eating meat each Friday and opt to eat meals centered around veggies, grains and fish. Eating fish is pretty “in” these days considering the massive amounts of research which has elucidated the powerful health benefits of eating a diet that regularly contains certain fish like wild-caught salmon.
Most fish are a lean source of protein and provide you with a healthy dose of essential fatty acids and other nutrients. But lean white fish, when dredged in breadcrumbs, deep-fried and smothered in artery-clogging tartar sauce is not so lean after all.
As Lent beckons your need to swap out your burger or roast beef sandwich for fish, how does your favorite finned sandwich fare from fast-food restaurants in regards to nutrition? Here is a comparison of the most popular fish sammies and their stats: (more…)