Do you participate in the religious observance Lent? This year, it begins on March 1st and ends on April 15th.
For the first time, I’m joining millions of others and committing to temporarily (or in my case permanently) giving up a habit (or in my case addiction) or pleasure.
Those of you that know me well are privy to my need to have my morning “fix.”
For Lent, this “fix” will no longer include (wait for it... coffee). I can hear the sound of church funeral bells in my head, even as I say it out loud.
Coffee has been a staple in my daily life for 20 years. Except when I was pregnant or sick, I’ve had a Cup of Joe every morning without fault.
My husband will be the first to tell you that without it, l’m not very affectionate in the early morning. He’ll often ask me if I’ve had my cup before a morning kiss because he is painfully aware that pre-coffee affection is simply a robotic effort on my part.
I know what some will say. Gosh, you’ve already given up so much just by not eating meat, eggs and dairy. What the what?
Although true coffee-lovers will deem my abstinence utter hypocrisy, there are actual legitimate reasons for my decision:
#1 – Over the years, I’ve noticed that coffee, in all of its jolting ability, can also wreak havoc on my stomach. These side effects were initially an occasional occurrence. Now, however, it’s more frequent – even when I’ve switched brands, potency, or the amount I drink. It simply makes me nauseous for at least an hour most mornings.
#2 – I haven’t really enjoyed a cup of coffee in over 18 months. I’ve been drinking it simply for function and survival. There was a time when I actually enjoyed coffee’s taste because I loaded it with mostly half-and-half. Since becoming Vegan however, the almond creamer hasn’t given coffee that same umph I once enjoyed. These days, it’s just okay.
#3 – I really hate the idea of being an addict. I don’t enjoy being so dependent on something in order to be functional or fully alert. How do I know I’m addicted? In the past whenever I’d attempt to stop drinking it, I would become sluggish, irritable, tired, and I experience intense headaches – textbook withdrawal.
I use to think I was a cheese addict and would never be able to eliminate it from my diet. Yet here I am – a year a half later and still cheese free.
So, because I love a challenge, I decided to participate in a little experiment this year. I decided to let go of my coffee addiction in observance of Lent. If I can kick that habit, I’ll make it permanent.
In preparation for this herculean feat, I started a little early in order to avoid those pesky withdrawal symptoms and to be fair to those poor, innocent victims namely – my husband and kids. So, over the month of February, I’ve slowly decreased the amount of caffeinated coffee that I pour into my cup and replaced it with decaf (which still contains caffeine, but significantly less.) By the time March 1st rolls around, I should be free of my coffee shackles!! I’ll replace that need for something warm in the morning with decaf green tea.
So what’s the point of all of this sharing?
I want to challenge my meat-eaters and vegetarians to give up meat or dairy (or both) for Lent. I’m posting this early so that you have time to prepare.
Click the link for the EatPlants4Life Pantry Staples List, so you will be fully armed for those 40+ days. Sign up for the EP4L Newsletter for FREE, then send me an email at email@example.com. Once your subscription is confirmed, I’ll even send you a printable copy!
If you’re a meat eater, you can start early by eliminating meat products from your diet several times a week or choosing to have meat once per day. If you’re vegetarian, go Vegan. Start replacing real cheese for dairy-free options created by brands like Field Roast, Daiya, Follow Your Heart, and Kite Hill. Next, scroll through the the EP4L recipe section and check out cheese recipes like cashew-based Boom Bangin’ Queso, Creamy Basil Dip/Spread, and Vegan Parmesan.
To be fully prepared, click the titles and check out these helpful articles:
The hope is that you’ll feel the difference in your body and level of energy when replacing meat or dairy with plant-based options. You’ll be surprised when you discover that it’s not as hard or as expensive as you thought. Visit www.peta.org to get more tips on getting started, recipes, and support. If you’re not already on the VIP list, sign up for my weekly newsletter and let me help you through it.