Whole30 for Lent

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Although I am no longer a practicing Catholic, I have been observing Lent for the past few years. One of the things that I like about the Roman Catholic Church is how the church calendar follows the seasons. In December is Advent, the anticipation of the birth of the Christ Child. In late winter and early spring is Lent, a time for penitence and reflection leading up to the death and resurrection of Christ. The readings from the Bible follow this pattern as well, and the sermon is based on the readings, not vice versa. For this reason I do get something out of going to a Catholic mass, even though I don’t agree with all the teachings of the church. I am not a fan of the modern services that have become trendy in Protestant churches now. They pick a topic and then pick a few verses from the Bible out of context to justify the point they want to make, and then give it some sort of catchy name that is similar to a video game or a tv show. That just seems backwards to me. Also, there is no change to observe the seasons, neither in the readings nor the mood. The mood is “happy happy joy joy” all the time. If this works for you, then great! Everyone is different. I am just explaining why it doesn’t work for me.

I observe Lent with no sense of obligation. It is a personal choice. Last year I gave up Facebook. The year before that I gave up Facebook games. These were choices that led me to spend more time with my family, and 40 days is long enough to break a habit or start a new one. This year I am doing Whole30, which is a very strict version of the Paleo diet: no grains, legumes, dairy, sweetener of any sort, white potatoes or alcohol. Also no Paleo desserts, junk food or baked goods. I realize that this is almost the antithesis of traditional Lenten fasting, but I am going “meatless” on Fridays. (I still eat fish.). The other thing that is forbidden during Whole30 is weighing yourself and measuring your food. You are supposed to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. I like this idea of trusting my body rather than obsessing over the numbers. I’ve been eating Paleo for long enough to know what my portions should look like, so this has freed me from calculating the calories of everything I cook.

So, how many people knew that Lent was actually 46 days long? Yeah, me neither. The Sundays in Lent don’t count. If I were doing a traditional Lenten fast (no dairy, meat or oil), I’d be all about chowing down down on some meat and fat on Sundays! But the key to Whole30 is to break old habits, and indulging once a week would not be helpful. I don’t know if I’ll make it 46 days. I will reevaluate how I feel on Day 30. I am hoping that eating 100% clean will help my back, but I know that I am grasping at straws at this point.

For the next month or so, starting yesterday, I’ll be posting recipes that are Whole30 compliant. For the most part these will be savory dishes, but I will include some fruit-sweetened treats. Larabars are allowed on Whole30, so I plan to make some homemade versions. If anyone else out there is doing Whole30 for Lent, please leave me a comment. It would be great to support each other.

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