Monday, February 28, 2011


{from here}

Every year, I try to give something up for Lent. One year, it was Coke. For the past couple of years, it's been Facebook. This year, I'm thinking of trying a couple of different things, and I'd like your thoughts.

Originally, I was going to -- again -- give up Facebook for 40 days, this time deactivating my account so I won't receive updates via email. I am still going to deactivate, but not for Lent. In fact, today is my last day as a member of the Facebook generation (for now. I hate to say forever lest someone immediately identify me as a hypocrite should I rejoin the ranks later). I've enjoyed sharing pictures and keeping up with friends, but the truth is, this space has become far more rewarding. Facebook often leaves me with feelings of inadequacy, guilt, even anger. But through blogging, I've developed relationships, improved my writing, received encouragement and feedback and constructive criticism... I just prefer blogging. In truth, of course, both can be time-sucks, so I'm giving up one, and it's Facebook.

For Lent, though, I wanted to do something different and a little bit more sacrificial, something I really loved. As a result, I'm contemplating the consequences of giving up sugar. Now, let me quickly clarify: I am not trying to lose weight. Nope. That's not what this is about; I'm a pretty petite person, and I have no desire to become even more so. Instead, this is about overall health. My face is a disaster zone. I am worn out and exhausted at the end of the day. I get the occasional headache. I am grouchier than normal and can be short with those I love. Although I have an idea of a couple of other causes, I've done enough reading to realize that I may not be putting the best things into my body. At 25, I figure it's probably time to start paying closer attention, and what better time to start than with 40 days of sacrifice breathing down my neck? Sugar is the first step, though I've been trying to read up on a couple of 30-day cleanses to see if those might be options worth considering. (A raw food diet seems to be popular, but maybe out of my league. Thoughts?)

In addition, last year I read an article or heard a sermon -- I don't know where -- about how Lent is not just about giving things up: It's about replacing with good. Forgive me in advance if this seems silly to you -- the Lenten tradition is a newer one for me and for Jordan -- but those thoughts led me to the realization that I'd like to spend the 40 days of Lent giving back. Last April, our book club read 29 Gifts, and it inspired me to embark on my own 29 days of giving. I loved the lessons I learned from opening up my eyes and pocketbook to needs around me, so I've decided: why not up the ante? While I'm have major withdrawals from leaving sugar in the dust, why not focus on the needs and wants of others. If nothing else, it will distract me from the Coke Jordan will inevitably be drinking.

Basically, I'll be doing 40 days of fasting and 40 days of giving.

Here's where I'd like your advice. Have you ever done any type of cleanse? Was it difficult? What were the results? Have you ever given up sugar? What were some of your favorite meals? Do you have any resources you'd recommend for embarking on something like this?

And finally, the big question: Who wants to join me?

Lent begins March 9, so you've got some time to think about it. And I'm not asking you to give up sugar. (Although, wouldn't it be fun and inspiring to do it together?) I'm just suggesting that some outside moral support might be beneficial while I live a life without Coke and you live a life without... well, whatever you think you should be living without. (Coke is just my own personal weakness, see?) We could all blog our progress; wouldn't that be fun?

Anyway, really, I'm dying to know: Is giving up sugar really that hard? And are there really health benefits to avoiding it? Is there truth to this raw foods concept?

Meat and cookie lovers want to know.

(P.S.~ I may or may not have been inspired by this.)


Kari said...

Thanks for letting me know when Lent starts. I have been wondering, and I keep forgetting to look it up. (I am not making it to church quite yet.)

I did the South Beach diet one time, and I was amazed at how good it made me feel. After that first part, anyway. I think our bodies were made to eat fewer sugars/carbohydrates.

No matter what you end up doing, I think Lent is a great time to be more mindful of what you eat and why you eat.

M said...

I completely agree with your ideas about facebook....sometimes it seems like its just perpetuates my high school social insecurities - which is ridiculous bc I am in my 20's! I'm not sure what I'm going to give up for lent this year...but when I think of it, I'll let you know!

Carie said...

I'm giving up dairy for Lent. It is going to be so hard, since I'm a cheese junkie, but hey that's what sacrifices are all about.

There is a glandular "diet" (not actually a diet) and it has worked wonders for me in the past. It's not really a cleanse, but you'll get the same effects from it. It's easy to figure out what type you are, just read the basics about each one.

And yes, the raw food/veggies concept is for real. I'm home from India a little over a week and already feel sluggish and yucky from all the additives and whatnot in our food. In India I feel great! Maybe that's my solution, just stay in India :)

God Bless on your Lent adventures!

*Priscilla* said...

Hey, Annie! The parents of a little girl I babysit just finished a cleanse called the Clean Program, and they absolutely loved it! If you want more information, I can ask the mom to email it to me. Just let me know! :)

jenna said...

Hmm... You have given me a lot to consider... Maybe it is time for me to challenge myself to a higher health standard.. I am going to have to get back to you on this one.

Jessica said...

matthew and i have considered taking part in lent. as you know, it's not something our church really takes part in, but i see no reason why we can't. i'll have to mention this to him and see what he thinks for this year.

it's not completely related, but i believe wholeheartedly in the benefits of living more naturally. when we first started trying to treat my pcos, we did it by cooking everything from scratch and giving up lots of processed foods. i am far from perfect on this, but in 3 months of eating better, my cycle got back on track...and that is from having a nonexistent cycle! so i think giving up sugar will certainly be beneficial! i think it will be very difficult too! several years ago when i gave up coke, i told matthew in all seriousness that i needed to be admitted into rehab. it was THAT BAD! but it felt oh so good when i overcame it.

Marli and Memory said...

Who-hoo! Go Annie! Yeah, it's okay. We are right there with you with no Facebook. Although, we have never had one, Mem and I are supporting you 100%! Go Blogger and yea for no sugar! ;)


Anonymous said...

hmm I need to give up something. I gave up chocolate last year and it was more difficult than I thought it would be. I'll have to think about it..

let us know some ideas you might have for your 40 days of giving! I think that it is key to not only give up but to give too. i think that makes it complete. :)

Marli and Memory said...

this lent thing sounds interesting. way to go on giving up facebook... that sounds tough even though i've never had one.

Anonymous said...

I agree with what you said on how fb and blogging make you feel. They make me feel the same way, which is why I gave fb up in November, reactivated last week, and deactivated again after only four days of being back on.

I've been thinking of giving up pop for a little bit because I drink so much, and while my skin is fine, my teeth are not. My dentist could tell I had been drinking a lot more pop in college when I went last summer. So I think I'll join you in fasting, but I'll just be giving up pop. I think if I were doing this on my own I wouldn't get very far, but I think the accountability will definitely help!

Laken said...

Excuse me, but are we related? Or long lost best friends? Or something? Because you always say exactly what I'm thinking about.

For the past few years, I've given up sodas for Lent and then always drowned myself in Dr Pepper as soon as Easter came around. But this year, I've already gotten rid of all sodas in my life so I have been thinking that I need to step it up this year.
And sugar was exactly what I was thinking! I've done a little research about it so far and the health benefits seem substantial.

Sooo... count me in. I'll do it with you. Yay for moral support!

Hello. My name is Amber. said...

Hello! This is my first time commenting. It's funny that for Lent you're also considering your diet/health and what you put in your body. I am petite as well, and like you, I don't need to lose any more weight. Yet, I've been considering my crappy diet and how it affects my skin, hormones, and mood. So let me know what you choose to do. I am pretty sure that I want to change my diet for Lent.

Anonymous said...

I've never done a cleanse but I have recently given up soda. Due to my caffeine addiction it was quite difficult however I feel so much better now. I'm also a vegetarian by choice. I don't like the taste of meat in general but I'm also trying to avoid hereditary heart problems.

In my opinion the benefits only come when the lifestyle change is holistic (i.e. you lower stress, dig deeper spiritually and exercise regularly). As far as resources go one of my friends used "THE COMPLETE CANCER CLEANSE"...I realize you don't have cancer but some of the principles still apply.

Good luck...I'll be working on an self-improvement contract which includes a holistic lifestyle shift at the same time :)

jenna said...

I am taking all of this seriously into consideration. I am ready to give up cokes. Not just for lent, but I think in general (eek!). I am going to start with lent and then let it continue on from there. But I also feel the need to step it up and be more serious about my health in general. Not sure if I can give up all sugar, but something has to change. I still eat like a college student. At 25, that is just no longer acceptable.

I want to hear more about how you are going to incorporate giving into Lent. I think I would like to join you in that!

Elizabeth Dean said...

Um, I miss you on FB already.

As far as Lent goes, i went vegan once for lent (I was vegetarian at the time so it made sense to me) and it made me one of the meaning, crankiest, groucho marxiest person ever.

As far as giving up sugar for Lent, all I can say is: be prepared. Sugar is very connected to a lot of things, like hormones so prepared to be perhaps crazier than normal. Might even resemble pregnancy hormones. You'll feel better but it might not be for three weeks to maybe not even after Lent.

I'm not trying to scare you away, I'm just trying to emphasize that this will be a major shift.

As far as raw foods go, please steer clear. No sugar is enough. What raw foods people don't like to advertise is that they buy fancy equipment to 'cook' their foods. This is not all raw salads sans dressing. Most of their food is gross, both in appearance but also in taste as well.

Leslie said...

I'll give up sugar too...I was doing so good and then Valentine's Day rolled around. ugh. And so I feel tired and exhausted and have a constant dull headache again. March 9th it is.

And I feel the same about facebook. My blog is my fave. Facebook.....bleh.

angela hardison said...

thanks for the shout-out, and glad to have inspired you!

you should totally do it. for me, giving up sugar is really hard. it gets a little easier with more time... but it's still really, really hard sometimes. there are girl scout cookies in my cupboard that i keep thinking about, but still haven't eaten (i deserve a medal! haha).

the health benefits to avoiding sugar are abundant. here's some nice info via the lovely gwyneth:

eating 50% raw has been great for me, but if you're trying to choose between the two i would definitely say go with the no sugar.

and good luck!