So, yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the first day after Carnival and the beginning of the fasting period. I started fasting in 2008 in order to lose some kilos I had gained. My mum was fasting every year and since she saw my frustration, one day she asked me if I wanted to join her. Losing a bunch of kilos should not be the first reason for you to do a fast but you might understand, that this was a quite convincing side effect that made me repeat the fast every year. OK, there were two years I didn’t even try to fast and another two not completely successful attempts (the first time I broke the fast, I had actually met my future husband, so it is good not to be 100% accurate and keep a clear connection to reality), but you learn how to improve within time.
What you don’t do:
Well, there are many things you have to take off your diet plan. I follow the traditional fast and added some contemporary aspects. Traditionally you can’t eat or drink any products containing animal fat. That would be any kind of meat, milk, eggs, yoghurt and other dairy products. Usually you would also not eat anything containing sugar. I don’t drink alcohol or coffee in that period but I keep my habit of drinking green tea. Use no regular oil or butter when cooking. A bit of olive oil is fine.
A modern addition to my method is that I only consume whole grain products. This year I will even substitute whole grain noodles by noodles made from corn, which are gluten free. Too much gluten can have very bad effects on the body, such as spots and stomach aches.
Another very interesting addition is that I try to buy nothing for myself during this time. So I try not to waste money on clothes, make-up or similar. We often overconsume. We spend and spend and spend or money too easily. But since I love buying things I can at least buy nice things for others and for our place.
What you do:
Use olive oil when cooking. Use honey when you need a sweet taste in your meals. Eat of course plenty of fruits and vegetables and use your creativity to try new recipes.
You will need to plan your meals a bit in advance not to end up hungry in a lunch break. Check which veggie restaurants are close by or take some left-overs from the evening before. Always have an apple ready.
Try to have three meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Try to have dinner, if possible, until 7 pm. If you get hungry between the meals, eat an apple or another fruit. In the long term you won’t need those little snacks.
If you want to meet your friends, and you are allowed to choose the restaurant, then go for a veggie one. If not, you might want to eat a bit before leaving, just in case the country you are living in doesn’t necessarily offer tasty veggie dishes at regular restaurants. I really suffer in Brazil when fasting and eating out. But well, it is actually also about suffering a bit and being stronger than you thought you were. Your mind learns to take control over your body.
The fasting time is the time between Carnival and Easter (also called the lend). The bible mentions 40 days but doesn’t count Sundays. And btw., I think you should not relate this beneficial procedure to any kind of religion. It is simply healthy for your body, strengthens your mind and helps you to fit again in all those almost unworn jeans in your wardrobe.