Technically, assuming I make it, I’ll only go 39 days sans sugary foods. That’s because I didn’t actually settle on what I would abstain from until our Ash Wednesday Vespers service. But so far, I’ve been “successful”. I say that in quotes because even though I have managed to not indulge in cookies (you know we were smack dab in the middle of Girl Scout cookie season when all this came about right?), brownies, ice cream, cokes, sugar sweetened coffee & lattes, sweet tea, etc, etc, (I need to stop listing these because I’m only so strong!) I have found some substitutes for them.
Substituting feels a bit like cheating to me. Part of the intention behind my choice was the acknowledgment that I over consume those foods since I use them for the purposes of comforting myself. Happy? Have some ice cream! Sad? Make some brownies! Need help waking up? Drink lots of coffee with Coffee-Mate French Vanilla creamer! Need an afternoon pick me up? Drink a coke! So sugar free forms of these items only takes the sugar away, not the reason behind consuming them.
I’m also adverse artificial sweeteners. I’ve never really enjoyed food and drink sweetened with any of the variety of sugar substitutes out there. But in an effort to not go completely insane I’ve allowed myself the occasional diet soda, sugar free cookie or other such artificially sweetened item.
Coffee has, by far, been the hardest to adjust for my taste buds. I considered giving it up altogether since I wouldn’t be using my normal creamer choice. But that’s just crazy talk! I got some out that new artificial sweetener, Truvia. Yuck. I tried to drink the coffee without any sweetener. Double yuck. Then a couple of my tweeple (twitter peeps) recommended agave nectar. Hallelujah! I like it!
It’s been both easy and difficult to “give up” sugary foods. I take my vow very seriously, so saying no and denying myself those treats isn’t really that hard. However, I have to think so much more about food now. I honestly consumed all those items without a second thought. So adjusting to not grabbing a cookie or a piece of chocolate when I just “want a little somethin'” and not having a Sonic Cherry Coke in the afternoon as a pick-me-up and not soothing my PMS woes with a pan of brownies means having to find an alternative. Too be quite honest, I’ve not been a very pleasant person to live with the past 2 1/2 weeks.
And then there’s the religious aspect. This Lenten abstinence is supposed to be a reminder to me. It’s supposed to prune and shape me not make me lust after cupcakes in magazine ads. I still have a ways to go with this whole experience. I’m still getting the hang of making this a faith building and strengthening exercise, not just an exercise in self-discipline.