Lent and eating

(Belated) Happy Easter everyone! Just wanted to share a few thoughts that I had over the Holy Week, regarding religion, spirituality, and physical training.

"Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general."
- Mark Rippetoe

Jesus Christ was a strong person. So strong, that He actually conquered mortality. He was able to break free of worldly limitations. And He offers us the same freedom, if only we follow His example.

This is what I believe that Lent is about. This season is a reminder for us that we don't really need much in order to live good and fulfilling lives. In fact, if we examine Jesus' example, we'd see the value in practicing self control and training ourselves physically as well as mentally in order to endure more. In learning to master our own emotions and preconceptions, we can express ourselves more honestly and clearly to the world. When we temper our hearts and souls to not mind the little things, we will be able to see the larger view. When we complain less, we can help more. When we crave less, we can give more.

Of course, reminders such as this, along with all rituals and symbols, have meaning if and only if the values they represent are truly learned and applied. They remain relevant only as long as we open ourselves up to them and let them make us stronger.

One of the easiest ways we can examine ourselves and how we are able to respond to the lessons of the Lenten season is to look at our food consumption. Abstaining from luxury foods is one of the most popular Lenten practices. We tell ourselves that to be good Catholics, during Lent we will abstain from the delicious desserts that we otherwise would enjoy regularly. Most of us are actually able to go through the motions quite well.

But what happens after? All to often we see ourselves bouncing back to our old ways with a vengeance, just like Lent didn't happen at all. No change, no lessons learned, no growth. Just like all those haphazard jumping into and out of detox and other faddish diets.

Personally, with my quest to clean up my diet (which does not necessarily coincide with Lent) I have realized that we need not much more than cheap, fresh, locally grown produce in order to make our bodies flourish. Most of everything else is indulgent luxury. Moreover, imported, processed food are often too nutritionally imbalanced and cost too much resources to manufacture and transport that a purist would see that consuming these foods regularly can actually be an injustice.

I admit, though, that I haven't been able to totally stay away from these. I still indulge myself from time to time. This usually happens when I'm celebrating an occasion, or out with friends or family. But at the least, I now recognize that I don't need to eat sweets and other luxury foods regularly in order to stay happy, and have been consuming them less and less.

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