The advent of Pancake Day (next Tuesday, add it to your diaries) has got me thinking about more than just pancake toppings. In Christian circles it’s known as Shrove Tuesday, the final blow out before the austerity of the Lent fasting season. What puzzles me is how many people I know who aren’t religious but nevertheless give something up for Lent. We’ve only just left January, the month of detoxes and dryathons behind us, yet people are already clamouring to give up something else, usually food or drink related. Why do we have this constant need to do without and purge ourselves? Odds are the most sinful thing we’ve done since January is eat some chocolate. I don’t see much wrong with that (bonus points for ethically sourced, locally produced etc)!
If January is the month of doing better (e.g. going to the gym, eating cleaner foods), then Lent is a time of doing without. Mostly we’re giving up things that we don’t really need in the first place but do to excess anyway. I’ve never consciously given up anything for Lent. I do remember trying to stop eating crisps for a while (the foodie nemesis to my self-control) and I did once joke about giving up sex for Lent (those crazy university days).*
Regardless, we’re still depriving ourselves without getting to the root cause of why we feel the need to give something up. Guilty and sinful feelings are a great way of repressing and ignoring the messages our body is sending to us. I believe that most adults don’t even know how to read their bodies. I know I find it difficult after years of following the usual cycle of diet, guilt and deprivation. For example, we eat until our plates our empty (and perhaps go back for seconds or dessert), not until our body tells us that we are full. We try to get up early to go out for a morning run, when sometimes staying in bed and resting is a better idea. The trick is being able to distinguish your body’s real needs from our inherent laziness.
How about this Lent we don’t give up anything, not even cake or a duvet day are out of bounds. Let’s try and listen to our bodies. Soon it will become second nature and we’ll no longer have to guilt ourselves into making the right choices.
By the way, if you’re stuck for pancake toppings I’ve got a post with plenty of inspiration coming up on Monday!
* I see that the Lent mechanism can be a useful tool for people who want to stop habits that are genuinely bad for them (excessive alcohol consumption perhaps, or smoking). It’s great to be able to give things up communally because there’s a support environment, but I don’t think Lent is the place for it because it’s too casual a setting with no accountability.
This week’s likes:
Gearing up for a weekend away – Discovering lots of amazing stuff on the web (I feel another Links to Inspire coming on soon!) – Online stalking dream homes
Watch – War and Peace
Eat – Strawberry porridge/ Bagels with pineapple cottage cheese/ Avocado and orange blossom honey/ Boiled eggs/ Pomegranate seeds with yoghurt/ Roast veg bowl/ Carrot and turnip curry/ Pitta pizzas
Listen – BBC Radio 4 late night women’s hour podcast on purity/ Black Label Society
Read – The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (highly recommended if you want to lose yourself for a weekend)/ Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (I’ve been meaning to re-read this for ages)
Craft – I’ve been developing my Tunisian crochet skills with a simple sunglasses case pattern. I’ve almost finished the second half and will be sewing together soon. Hopefully next week you’ll see a picture of the finished item! With the leftover yarn I’m thinking of making a crochet collar and have been browsing for the perfect pattern. I’ve also bought some lovely gold yarn to start a crochet shawl. That might be my holiday project (I’ve never made a shawl before). I’ve also bought some jewellery making supplies so I can finally finish a necklace I started thinking about last year (I’ve heard that good things come to those who wait…)! Keep your eyes peeled for a tutorial on that.
This week’s blog posts:
Just in case you missed any of the blog posts from this week:
- I put together a delicious creamy yoghurt and mustard dressing that will liven up the drabest of dinners. Recipe here
- I posted my thoughts on the links between freedom of speech and creativity here
What are your favourite pancake toppings? Do you find it hard to listen to your body? And are you giving up anything for Lent?