Starting today through April 18th, lent is a special time for all; especially Christians. Lent always begins on Ash Wednesday and concludes on Easter Sunday. This six week period is a time for the individual to refocus faith by choosing to abstain from one or more items/practices. Common options for those participating in Lent are to abstain from meat, fish, eggs and fat or give up one item such as social media or alcohol. Christian or not, try participating in Lent and see how eliminating one unhealthy practice for 40 days can positively affect your life. Below are a few suggestions of what one can “give up” for Lent.
- Caffeine – with our fast paced lifestyles, caffeine is a stimulant to get us through our day. Excess intake of caffeine can disrupt sleep, increase nervousness, and temporarily elevate blood pressure. If you use cream and sugar, there is little to no nutritional value coming from those added ingredients and calories. Use herbal teas or lemon water to fulfill the sensation of having caffeine.
- Alcohol – alcohol can add on calories, affect function of vital organs, and alter sleep patterns. To replace alcohol, try tomato juice with sparkling water and lime. This recipe is refreshing but also helps to meet vegetable intake.
- Desserts – desserts are very popular to eat after having a meal. Try skipping dessert and eat a piece of fruit. A great way to get the sensation of dessert is to bake an apple and sprinkle cinnamon on top.
- Candy – to curve a sweet tooth, instead of consuming a piece of candy try eating a piece of fruit or nuts. The crunchy and sweet can be of similar consistency to that of candy.
- Sweetened beverages- these beverages offer a lot of extra calories and typically do not key nutrients to keep the body functioning the best. Sparkling water or adding fruits and vegetables to water can give a refreshing taste and be very hydrating.
- Unhealthy snacks- fasting from chips, cookies, crackers, and sweets will decrease your overall sugar intake. Try snacking smarter by eating vegetables, roasted chickpeas, and fruit.
Remember, the awesome thing about this time of year is to test your discipline and have a reason to break a negative habit.