February 20, 2015 by Ray Yanek
Here’s the deal–it’s Lent, I’m Catholic, and I most assuredly don’t need any fire and brimstone to come raining down upon my ass. I would look terrible as a pillar of salt as white makes me look fat, and getting struck down by lightning isn’t high on my list, either.
So, with a healthy dose of abject terror, I decided I would give up something for Lent. What I would give up, I decided, was a bad habit that I could replace with a positive habit, and thus align Lent with The Consistency Project.
I’m already doing pretty well with writing and exercise, but the one area I have yet to tackle is the one that I perceive will be the most difficult to change and stay consistent with–my diet.
Yeah. That one. The one quite fond of pizza, Doritos, and various immaculately hoppy,
sometimes malty, craft-brewed bottles of liquid mana.
I struggle in this area, so I figured I would need a kick starter, something like the threat of an omnipotent god with his thumb poised high above me.
For the dual purpose of avoiding a divine squishing and instilling healthy habits then, I decided I would–wait for it….
Eat ‘clean’ for my 40 days in the desert.
The problem? Even though I’ve heard the word ‘clean’ bandied about for a long time, I wasn’t entirely sure what it meant. After doing some research, I still wasn’t entirely sure what it meant because there were thousands of definitions and levels of strictness.
Actually, this looseness of definition was part of the reason I was drawn to this manner of eating.
For me, the basic working definition of clean eating is one I took from Cooking Light magazine. They offered two, simple premises:
- Choose whole, natural foods and seek to eliminate or minimize processed foods.
Processed foods are anything in a box, bag, can, or package, and although there are always a few exceptions to the rule (like a bag of fresh green beans), the majority of your foods should be fresh.
- Choose unrefined over refined foods.
While it may not be possible all the times, you can up your intake of whole grains like brown rice, millet, amaranth, and quinoa. Beans and legumes are also important. Clean sugars include honey, maple syrup, and dehydrated sugar cane juice.
Yeah, I know. I wrote a post called “Living the Crash Diet Life” where I swore off challenges like this, but I didn’t go into this blind like I have many of those other changes.
This is manageable though and the basic guidelines I posted above are doable, namely because if you read point 1 above carefully, it says “eliminate or minimize processed foods.”
Minimize gives some needed leeway.
For the 40 days of Lent however, I plan to eliminate. This should help to drop a couple of pounds and kind of reset the system and retrain my taste buds. After the 40 days though, if I’m in a pinch or running around to one of the 1000 events my kids are involved and I need something quick, I’ll do what I have to do and not feel terrible about it. Perhaps, somewhere down the line, I’ll throw a cheat day in as well, but the ‘clean eating’ will become the baseline, the go-to, and that should be sustainable.
I should be able to stay consistent.
So there it is, my Lenten resolution to better eating.
Wish me luck and if you have any tips or advice, please leave me a comment!
And yes–in a couple of months I will post a picture of me in a half-shirt with a flexible tape measure wrapped in the shape of a heart around my midriff.
Wait or it….