Wondering what you should give up for Lent 2011? Well most folks seem to turn to food when it comes to this spring deprivation ritual. But which foods could you really go without for 40 days? Here are ten food ideas and tips on how to do without them!..
Lent 2011 starts this Ash Wednesday March 9th. Lent is a yearly ritual in the Roman Catholic religion. It is a fasting ritual, a time of sacrifice. But even if you aren’t Catholic – it can still be a satisfying challenge to ban yourself from something for a period of time.
Rewarding Fast? I vividly remember my sister once gave up chocolate (including her obsession – Girl Scout Cookies) for Lent when she was a kid. My mom and dad froze entire boxes of Thin Mints in the freezer so they would be waiting for her at Easter. Somehow she made it and said the Thin Mints had never tasted better than they did after 40 days of chocolate-fasting. So maybe there is a foodie reward in the end..
Here are a few food ideas to give up for Lent 2011
1. Chocolate (aka cocoa powder..)
Classic “give up for lent” food. This means no more cocoa, chocolate candy bars, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, chocolate-speckled granola bars, chocolate ice cream and more.
How to do it: You can always try carob as a chocolate sub – but I’m personally not a big fan. Instead, during your 40 days, try embracing other decadent treat flavors like vanilla, lemon, caramel, berry, coconut, nuts and more. Instead of a chocolate milkshake try a cinnamon-caramel-nut milkshake. The cinnamon and nuts (try pecans) will add warmth to a vanilla bean ice cream shake. Add a drizzle of caramel sauce and a twirl of whipped cream and you may be forgetting about chocolate. At least for a little while.
Yikes, am I nuts for even mentioning this? Maybe. Probably. I am surprised that you didn’t read ‘coffee’ and simply skip to the next one. But you’re reading so at least your intrigued. It is totally possible to go coffee free for 40 days. I have actually done a few “coffee fasts” in my day and always feel great off-coffee. I used to be a “Venti Triple Latte” two times a day girl. Really. But that took its toll. I was popping antacids like candy and my sleep cycle was pitiful. So I dropped coffee cold turkey for about three months. I felt much better. Nowadays I only drink coffee on weekends – brunch. So once a week usually. Wanna try coffee-free for 40 days??
How to do it: My simple sub for coffee was chai. A chai latte. There are several ways to make a chai latte, but I needed one with a real kick to it so I used this combo – I call it my “Poor man’s Chai”: 1 chai tea bag (or fresh chai masala tea spices – use diffuser or strain from a stove top brew), equal parts milk (I used soy) and water, a generous dash of cayenne, dash of cinnamon and a dash of ginger powder. Stir well Add frothed milk if desired. Sweeten to taste. I like agave syrup. The spicy cayenne and chai will wake you up, I promise. The easier way is to use the “chai concentrate” beverages – this will replace the sweetener and water. Just add milk and my added spices. They are more expensive than tea bags – but pretty yummy. If you do the “coffee fast” don’t load up on caffeine drinks like soda. Try to really do ‘less caffeine’ and see how you feel. You may be surprised ..that you survived!
There are a lot of reasons to give up dairy. Food allergies, other health reasons – or maybe you simply want to try it and see how your body reacts. Giving up dairy for 40 days may seem nearly impossible since most of us ‘grew up on milk products’ – but there are plenty of dairy substitutes nowadays that can make it doable and even delicious. No-dairy means no dairy cheese, dairy milk, dairy hot beverages, whipped cream, cream-based soups and pasta dishes and more. Read food labels too – for hidden dairy. If it says “contains milk” you’ll want to pass.
How to do it: First off, you’ll need a good milk substitute to store in your fridge. Soy, hemp, rice, almond or grain milk. Here is my non-dairy milk guide to help you get started. I advise trying almond or soy milk in a plain flavor – and go with the fridge-section cartons as opposed to the shelf-stable ones. For items like cheese and ice cream try vegan Daiya cheese (it melts!), and creamy coconut milk-based ice creams. They are quite delicious. Coconut Bliss is a very satisfying vegan ice cream brand with rich creamy flavor. Or try a delicious sorbet frosty treat. For your morning coffee you can try soy creamer or soymilk beverages from Starbucks, they even do Soy Frapps now – or make one at home. Craving Mac and Cheese? Try a dairy-free cheese sauce. Craving whipped cream on your soy cocoa? Try Soy Cream. Craving mayonnaise? Try Vegenaise. You can use it on sandwiches, creamy salads and much more. Here are 50 Uses for Vegan Mayo. It is a super yummy vegan mayo substitute. Lastly, if you are craving cheesy pizza, just check out this pizza recipe and see how delish dairy-free cheese can look.
4. Soda or Cola
Sugary soda can be anyone’s vice. One, two, three times a day some folks crack open a can of their favorite sugary bubble beverage. For lent 2011, you can certainly break free from “the soda habit” for a few weeks. This means giving up all your fave brands of dark cola. If you want to take your “soda” fast even further, try giving up all sugary fizzy beverages. This means, root beer, ginger ale, orange soda, grape soda, cream soda and lemon lime soda will also apply.
How to do it: Try Kombucha for a fizzy less-sugar (good for you), not-a -soda-pop sip. Satisfying substitutes for soda can be plain or flavored sparkling water, kombucha as mentioned and spritzers in general. To make a spritzer, add something non-fizzy like grape juice, orange juice, cranberry juice and more then add plenty of crushed ice and top it off with sparkling water. Fizzy sweetness without the “soda pop”. Or check out these 7 Spring Sprtizer recipes.
5. Ice Cream
Maybe you don’t want to give up all things dairy. But perhaps just giving up ice cream is the way to go. Now this will also include and non-dairy ice creams like coconut milk based concoctions.
How to do it: I have to perfect substitute for ice cream. A shake! Well a frozen banana shake to be exact. Tates like ice cream. Start freezing extra ripe bananas in your freezer now – and you’ll be sipping creamy, luscious shakes all lent long. You’ll be blending these frozen bananas with different flavors and ingredients. Like chocolate, nut butters, fruit, spices like cinnamon and sweet accents like maple syrup. Here is my favorite “sub for a real milkshake” recipe: Easy Energy Banana Almond Shake. You can also perfect your sweet smoothie recipes to satisfy your cravings for frosty cool sweet bliss. Healthier than bowls of ice cream too! The other doable option is sorbet. It’s technically not ice cream – but can come in delicious flavors like rich coconut, chocolate and more.
There’s nothing sadder than a kid giving up cookies for lent. But one year, I successfully did it. I didn’t really know how I made it 40 days without chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles, sugar cookies, peanut butter cookies and more. But I did.
How to do it: You’ll need to keep your mind off of cookies. No watching Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster – that can only end in disaster. Stick to non-cookie desserts like bars, pies, parfaits, sundaes, cupcakes, cakes and more. But don’t think of this as a free ticket to indulge, restraint on your “can eat” desserts is still a good idea.
Going vegetarian for lent is a popular trend similar to the idea of Meatless Mondays. You can go meat free for 40 days if you simply focus on changing the orientation of your meal ingredients. Instead of making meat the main event – switch over to beans, nuts, soy/hemp for complete protein, lots of nutrient-dense fruits and veggies, grains and more.
How to do it: Start by veg-ing up your favorite recipes. Pizza, pasta, taco night – all can be made meat-free with a few creative substitutions. If you adore meaty lasagna. Try a veg version. If you are used to chicken and pasta – try one of the vegetarian chicken substitute. Again, some of them are amazingly yummy. Check out my Go Veg Guide for recipes, tips and advice.
Alcohol is another vice that could be a fun fasting challenge.
How to do it: Stick with luxurious spritzers and sparkling waters as dinner time bevies. I specifically like string ginger ale or ginger spritzers. You can even make your favorite ‘alcoholic’ drinks virgin. Like sangria and daiquiris. Take your alcohol-free time to try new beverages like kombucha (mentioned above), coconut water and more.
Blasphemy. Giving up dessert? Now I’ve definitely lost it. But it could be an interesting fast – but not for the faint of stomach.
How to do it: Hmm. I’m drawing a blank. No seriously, dessert isn’t a must-have food group. Instead of “dessert” you can still snack on sweet foods like fresh and dried fruit. Sweet tea, smoothies, yogurt, heck, even cold cereal could be a “not dessert” classified sweet treat. If you can dandle this fast, I applaud you.
10. Fast Food/Takeout
I love this idea. Giving up fast food, takeout and all things not made in your own kitchen for 40 days of lent is a pretty fun idea. Wow, what a superb Martha Stewart-y creature you would become. Not to mention all the money and calories you will probably save.
How to do it: Well you’ve come to the right place! Family Kitchen has all the inspiration you need for going fast-food free for forty days. Good luck!!