With the Catholic holy season of Lent now in full swing, many college students choose to use the 40-day period to eat healthier and shed a few extra pounds.
Although many people associate fasting with not eating altogether, fasting actually involves omitting one or two items from a daily diet.
While most Catholics and some other students choose to fast by not eating meat on Fridays, others choose to go the extra mile and give up something for the entire period of Lent.
“Lent has traditionally been used as a time of giving up something we enjoy or rely on,” said Dr. Sarah Stockton of www.gracefoods.com.
For many people, this involves giving up food in an attempt to start a new diet. Some give up foods they feel are unhealthy, such as chocolate and fast food.
Lauren Courville, a biological sciences freshman, said she has given up some indulgences for Lent.
“I have given up snacking and eating after 7:30 p.m.,” Courville said. “If it wasn’t for the Lent season, I would have never had the extra incentive I needed to eat healthy the way I wanted.”
Some restaurants have incorporated special Lenten menus into their offerings to help people maintain their goals. For example, Taco Bell has a Lenten menu that omits meat from most of its meals.
The Web site www.gracefoods.com offers helpful tips for people wanting to decrease the amount of meat in their diets. Among the suggestions:
1) Make the transition a gradual one by decreasing the amount of meat and “luxury” foods you eat during the weeks before the season begins.
2) Find a friend who will help you keep to your strict diet.
3) Remember, it is better to eat small amounts of food than none at all.
4) Be sure to include a variety of fruits and vegetables.