Everyone knows that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner but do you know what else is around the corner? Lent! Ah yes, that time when Christians give up certain luxuries (usually some kind of decadent food) as a form of penitence and also as a way to remember the 40 days that Jesus spent fasting in the desert while he was tempted by Satan. For the last few years some of my friends have decided to take Lent and turn it into a contest to see who can actually make it through the entire period without giving in to their temptations. There’s no prize at the end, just the satisfaction of knowing that you did it. And even though most churches actually discourage fasting or any form of penitence on Sundays (that’s why Lent goes for 46 days, not 40) we usually keep the challenge going for the entire 46 days.

I have never gone quite as hardcore as my friends. Last year, one friend decided to give up baked goods entirely. This year another friend has decided to give up alcohol, meat and junk food. I usually go a bit easier on myself. One year I gave up Taco Bell which actually wasn’t much of a challenge because I hardly ever eat it when I’m in Toronto. I’m prefer to take advantage of the drive-through when I’m back home.

This year I decided to take stock of my eating habits and figure out which foods I could give up that would actually provide a challenge. And of course, I’m using it as a bit of an excuse to try to eat healthier. Believe it or not, foods like pizza and french fries don’t pose much of a problem. Instead, I decided to give up all solid chocolate and….juice! It sounds crazy but I’m kind of addicted to juice. I can easily knock back three cups of apple cider without even trying. I can’t imagine eating eggs for breakfast without having a glass of orange juice to go with it. And of course, the chocolate is kind of a given. I actually tend to avoid baked goods that don’t have chocolate in them because I figure there is no point in eating them.

So, that’s my challenge for this year. Starting next Wednesday I will be giving up chocolate and juice straight through till Easter Eve. I can’t wait to see what happens!