Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What is Lent?

In short, Lent is the Liturgical year from Ash Wednesday through Easter Sunday.  This season is observed by many religions such as Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, Methodist, Anglicans, Presbyterians, and Baptist, among others.  This is usually a time of preparation of Holy Week.  Ash Wednesday starts the 40 days of preparation through pray, penance, repentance, observation, self denial, and alms-giving.

It is customary for people to give-up something for Lent, a self-denial or sacrifice.  It varies from person to person or some may take on more during this preparation time to bring themselves closer to God. 
I am taking this time during the 40 days to give you  health information, history, and recipes.

Ash Wendesday
This is day one of Lent and it is a day of fasting and prayer.  Usually the person will fast for two of their meals and have a normal meal for the third.  The meals given up are a representation of the sacrifices done for them through Jesus physical sacrifice.  This physical sacrifice in fasting also helps us to better understand and experience the sufferings and hardships of many who are oppressed by hunger, poverty, and/or separation.  It brings an understanding of those in need and the suffering and Passion of Christ Jesus.

One of my favorite quotes come from Father Slavko Barbaric, "Through fasting our hearts become pure.  We find it easier to see what we have, what we need, and what we don't need".

Fasting is not just about self denial.  It is a big part, but it is very helpful to the body as well.   Over time our bodies build up toxins as a result of of chemicals in foods, water, pollutants in the air, and other means.  The body then tries to rid itself of these toxins and releases them from the tissues.  The toxins get released into the bloodstream and we experience effects such as erratic emotions, low energy, and more.  We feel symptoms of diarrhea, headaches, depression, unable to focus, and irritability just to name a few.  One of the fastest and safest ways to clean out these toxins is during a Fast.  Fasting has always been a natural recommendation for illness to allow the body rest and recover.  While fasting can help with illness, it is very beneficial to do on a regualr basis to allow the digestive origins a rest. 

What happens when we fast?
  1. The toxins continue to release while the toxins coming into the body are reduced. 
  2. Energy usually used for digestion is channeled to the immune function, cellular growth, and elimination   process. Inflammation is reduced throughout the body.  
  3. Tissue oxygenation is increased due to fewer fats and white blood cells can be moved around more freely.
  4. Fat-stored chemicals that you find in pesticides and herbicides are released as well.
  5. As toxins release and are eliminated from the body we experience a clarity of mind and body.  
 In short, Fasting speeds up healing time and allows the liver, kidneys, and colon to rest.
 That sounds like a nice benefit to me. I bet next time you miss a meal you will be think a bit more positive about it. 

My menu for today.  I will be drinking water all day.  This is a great chance to really replenish my body with this much needed resource.  Our bodies are 2/3 water and we tend to deny it this resource in exchange for coffee, soda, juices and such.  I will be spending my morning meal in prayer and reading. (I am curious as to the traditional Lental meals that where practiced hundreds of years ago.) 
For lunch I am having a vegetable salad and side of fruit.  This is my meal for the day.  I will be giving up Breakfast and Dinner for my mind, spirit, and body to cleanse.  I will take the time to allow my body to heal, my spirit to be refreshed, and mind to focus on what I truly need and what I can do without. 

I hope that through this 40 days you will be enlightened to the history and understanding of this wonderful event.  I can not think of a better time in all the year to cleanse our mind, body, and spirit than Lent.  

Mixed bean Greek Salad!

Serves 4
1 cup cooked Garbonzo beans
1 cup cooked red Kidney beans
2 sprigs green onion, chopped
1 vine tomato, chopped
1/2 medium cucumber, chopped
4 tbsp Greek Vinaigrette
Green Leaf Lettuce, Shredded

In mixing bowl add all ingredients together and mix with dressing.  Over a bed of green leaf lettuce add the mixed bean salad.  Absolutely delicious.
Calories 231, Carbohydrates 35, Fat 7, Protein 9.

For Roman Catholics we also have a special Mass of distributing the ashes.  You can read more about it here. Ash Wednesday

Fun Projects
I have a few posted on my Pinterest Board and will be adding more through out 40 days.    Kelley-Lent/Eastern Board
Color Pages for Ash Wednsday
Additional Family fun Projects

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