Ah February!  The shortest but most vicious month of the year: winter is still in full force but the holidays are long gone and the days are still short.  By this point many of us find ourselves depleted, lacking energy and a bit blue.  What to do?

You may have heard of detox programs, these are all the rage with diet companies these days.  Detox is a take on a very old concept: Lent.  In fact, most religions have a period of fast or ‘cleanse’, think of Ramadan for Muslims or Yom Kippur for the Jews.   Lent is conveniently placed at the end of winter (the change of season is the best time to detox) and after the holidays when most of us need some cleansing after rich, abundant meals.

What does lent involve?

Although lent has many spiritual facets, the part surrounding fasting involves resisting the temptations to indulge.  Many variations on this concept exist but the most common notion is to eat one main meal per day with two small frugal meals in the morning and at night, with no snacks and abstaining from meat on Fridays.  On the other hand many choose to eliminate one thing that they feel they indulge too much in, such as meat, dairy or sugar.  To me lent is about putting an end to bad habits and instilling new ones.  Here are a few suggestions of lent ‘resolutions’:

  • Eating less or no meat
  • Eating less or no dairy
  • Eliminating sugar
  • Minimize alcohol consumption
  • Portion control
  • Reduce or eliminate caffeine

Lent this year is from today (February 13) until March 30th.

How will lent help you survive February (and March)?

Lent is about cleansing ones system, in order to make your body work more efficiently to ultimately leave you with more energy, allow you to think more clearly and concentrate better.

You don’t have to be Catholic to follow these ‘detox’ guidelines and you don’t have to pay a lot of money to attain its benefits!  Regardless of your faith, I guarantee a few days of drudgery and a healthy, calm, slimmer and ‘better in your skin’ end of the month.

A few days of struggle for a happier you

The first few days will be hard, you may feel more tired, short tempered, your breath may smell, a headache may appear; some people describe the feeling as having a hang-over, especially if you are kicking dairy, caffeine and or sugar.  Don’t despair!  Once you surmount these elimination symptoms (3 to 5 days) you will start feeling good.  To help your body cleanse itself make sure you drink a lot of water.  Exercise, warm baths and saunas also help as they get you to sweat out your toxins.  The reason why these reactions occur is because we form a sort of addiction to these foods, our bodies need to get used to functioning without them and need time to eliminate their residues.

Are you ready for the challenge?  Who knows, after the next 40 days you may like how you are feeling so much that you will not want to go back to your old habits or you will jump on a big chocolate rabbit!