This is my current favorite detox smoothie recipe. Find the recipe here.
It’s almost a week into March, and yesterday, it was Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of the Lenten season (at least if you’re a Christian, like me). During this time of year, I’m usually thinking about my “Lenten sacrifice,” that thing or practice or activity that I’m going to fast from for the next forty days. I look at the updates of my friends, and many of them have said sayonara on Facebook and “see you on Easter,” which tells me, of course, that they’ll not be “liking” and sharing and PM-ing me any time soon. Others are saying farewell to desserts, posting photos on their feeds mourning their cupcake deprivations or whatever.
It’s like everyone’s doing a detox of their habits, their appetites, their cravings. Kind of like these popular detoxes that I see all over my Instagram feed. Everyone wants to eliminate the “toxins” in their lives, both in a physical and spiritual sense.
In detoxing (which is something I’ve been trying to do more of), the “cleanse” or the detoxification process is described by practitioners as a “reset” of our bodies. To put it simply: By taking our bodies off of solids and replacing it with a juicing system or liquid diet that is nutrient-dense, we “reset” our bodies to flush out toxins. The result? Apparently a more “aware” sense of health, a clean feeling of wellness. I agree, to some extent, though I’ve yet to experience a full detox. (I only do moderate ones.)
When it comes to detoxing myself from habits, appetites and other indulgences, I can see how it’s kind of a “reset” for my lifestyle, my way of thinking. In fact, I know I could use a good detox from a couple of things, especially bad eating habits, my tendency to work too much, and other “addictions” of the sort. (I wish I could detox from social media, except that it’s core to my work. Oh well!)
Since it’s Lent, I’m being practical about it and choosing one thing to set aside for this short period. It’s no holy task; I don’t want to make some big declaration about my form of fasting. I simply want to make a concrete effort to connect a bit more deeply with my soul.
So what’s my practical application of this spiritual fast?
Behold, my weakness, my indulgence, and the one thing I’ve had too much of:
Yes, that’s it. A latte.
I love lattes. Comfortingly warm or poured over ice; cold brewed then swirled with milk and sugar… sigh. I’m hooked on the stuff.
So what does giving up lattes for forty days have to do with the betterment of my soul?
A lot more than I actually thought at first.
See, I used to think lattes meant little to me, until I decided to start taking my coffee black once in a while. Now when I think about forty days of black coffee (and some days, no coffee at all), I kind of feel a bit stupid that it is such a big adjustment for me. But it is, because for someone who’s always added milk to their coffee, all black is not an easy transition!
At this point maybe you’re thinking, “Martine, really? Isn’t there something ‘bigger’ that you could give up or fast on for the next forty days?”
Well, I know me, and I know I like my coffee creamy. It’s a seemingly little matter, but really, it is a big deal for me. Why? Well, it makes me admit a lot of truths about myself, like —
(1) I like my coffee fatty (or maybe more correctly, I like milk that tastes like coffee), and
(2) it’s hard for me to let go of things I’ve gotten used to.
Giving up lattes this Lent is going to give me space to think, to reflect on my “crutches” and dependencies.
Indulging myself in what I’ve been used to has made it difficult for me to, say, keep my weight and health in check. I know to some people, denying themselves a latte will probably do nothing for their spiritual well-being, but that’s them.
With me, it’s going to be a real struggle. And that’s good, because then I’ll have the space I need to grow.
The important thing when fasting or delaying gratification is to fill up that void with something else, and something that will be better for my soul. For me, that means healthy habits, because I have to start there! I don’t know what my soul will look like or what my appetite for coffee will be by the time Easter chimes in. Still, I know it will be good. I hope I’ll be healthier, more energetic, and hey, maybe I’ll look better, too. A little deprivation has always been good for me.
In the end, I hope to be a bit more aware and conscious, mindful of the way I live.
Are you like me, doing exercises at this time in “delayed gratification”? Are you going through Lent (if you’re a Christian)? How has deferring enjoyment and sacrifice been “good for your soul,” or have you ever thought about it being good for you? Let’s chat, shall we?