It’s that time of year again…

You know…that church season where you give stuff up? Yep, I’m talking about Lent. I know this may sound odd, but I actually kind of look forward to Lent. Besides the true meaning behind the season, it gives me sense of self control and accomplishment. That is, if I get through Lent without whatever I chose to give up. Now I realize that giving something up for 40 days may not seem much of an accomplishment to some people [especially if you give into that item after the season is up], but it really should seem like an accomplishment. Those first 40 days could be the start to a lifestyle change. It happened to me!

During college, I gave up what I considered some pretty ordinary things—candy, chocolate, and eating the food from the restaurant I worked at [which is super hard by the way.] But then I started to give up things that I thought had more substance—pop and fast food. Now while I didn’t drink pop or eat fast food in excess, I certainly consumed my fair share. I knew these things weren’t good for me, but I’m a firm believer [and still am] in that you can consume anything in moderation. So even though I consumed these things in moderation, I thought “what the heck” and gave them up for Lent. Fast forward a few years and I still don’t hardly drink pop or eat fast food. Pop has become too sugary and syrup-y for my liking and fast food tears me up. This doesn’t mean I won’t go through a drive–thru, or drink a pop every once in a great while. Because I do. But I try to make smarter choices about these items. I’ll order a turkey burger instead of a “all-beef” patty from the drive–thru, and maybe drink a can of pop, rather than a bottle. Although, I’m finding it hard to even drink a full can nowadays. I usually only get through half of a can now before I call it quits. But I must admit…I love me a good whiskey & coke. My ultimate Lent test was last year—I gave up cheese. Holy cow it was hard. And no, I didn’t make it all the way through. It was like 3 days into Lent and I ate a sandwich with cheese on it, completely forgetting that I had given up cheese. Oh well!  I knew cheese would be extremely difficult to cut out of my diet, so I did that one for a real challenge. Not because I wanted to stop eating cheese permanently. I love cheese.

So this year I’m giving up any and all food with corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup. When I tell people this, I get the similar reaction to that of last year’s—jaws fall open and is usually followed up with some sort of comment like “it’s in everything. how?!” Well, to be honest…I don’t eat that much food with corn syrup in it. The bread that we normally buy has corn syrup in it, but bread is fairly easy to switch out. I will miss one of my favorite “frou-frou” cofee drinks—a caramel macchiato. But I can always order a different flavor or get the sugar free caramel. I will miss consuming certain juices and jellies, but there are other options. And for my whiskey & cokes…I’ll switch to vodka tonics for now. No biggie. So I’m really hoping that giving up corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup won’t be all that difficult. I’m just going to have to be super careful with what I eat and drink!

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