Day 6 & 7 LENT

It’s not just about the food.

The cultural and religious references defining lent have been engrained since my early upbringing. Greek culture like countless others, defines the period of lent as a way to “cleanse” the body, and ultimately the mind by abstaining from any meat, eggs, cheese or animal bi-products for 40 days before the coming of Easter, Pascha, Pasqua, Πἀσχα. All organized religions practice some sort of cleanse, renewal, in order to prepare for spiritual and mental advancement, not many follow what traditions ask of us.

For the 20 plus years I’ve lived outside of Greece, this tradition has taken a new meaning for me. Although the mark of Kathara Deytera (the official beginning of lent) as a jumping off point is lovely to partake in, I left behind the idea of eating Taramosalata and boiled Octopus, and focused more on what behaviors, thought processes, ideas and babits I needed to abstain from and ultimately do away with. It’s not just about quitting animal meat, or losing weight, but revisiting what truly unhealthy habits, we must let go of.

If we are to honestly connect with our bodies and minds in a healthier way, we have to make a concerted effort to let go of habits, behaviors, though processes that cause damage, hold us back, and keep us from our highest potential. It may be hard or easy, but ultimately rewarding to remove personal obstacles to our growth.

For the next 40 days make a choice, stick to it. A new goal, a new habit can replace an old damaging one. Removing sugar is not effective if you’re drinking 4 cups of coffee a day and smoking. A short run or a long walk can replace a cab ride, aiming for a meaningful conversation instead of pointless chatter. Abstaining from meat can be coupled with a holistic approach to food and how you prepare it, healthier food choices overall, healthier body and mind choices in the long run. My 40 day cleanse short list I’ll share with you here.

  1. remove all alcohol, spirits & coffee
  2. short run 3 times a week and weight training
  3. writing every day for this challenge
  4. spend quality time with friends and family
  5. schedule a self care session once a week.
  6. Shorten my time online that’s not work related.

write down your short list for lent. Share this experience with your loved ones, ask them to keep you accountable to your journey. See you on the other side.

Day 12. Lent- Σαρακοστή

How an old tradition translates into the modern age.

Every “clean monday” which is the first day of lent prior to the celebration of Easter in Greece, heralds the period of 40 days of preparing our bodies and minds for the coming of Easter. Even though I’m not in the least bit religious, I have followed a version of this transition over the years and especially while living in Greece.

Every Καθαρά Δευτέρα (clean monday), Greece celebrates this season of lent with cooking and serving foods that don’t have any blood in it  (fish, animal meat and it’s derivatives- dairy and eggs). Shell fish and mollusks (octopus, squid) are served in abundance, including fish roe salad (taramosalata), beans, greens (χόρτα), olives, and a shit ton of tahini. (no it’s not a condiment).

Aside from indulging in the amazing cuisine, I’ve always taken a moment to take out, take a break and reassess three things that I can definitely do without for 40 days. This period of time between our carnival season (απόκρεω – which literally translates to obtaining from meat) and Easter is a time for self reflection, removing of heavy foods that tire our digestion all year and removing things, ways of thinking and habits that no longer serve a purpose. With all the modern fad diets out there, claiming they are the next best thing. This simple ritual cuts through the overwhelming information out there about “juice cleansing” and magic pills, and brings attention to our personal responsibility to live well, treat our bodies with respect and find moments for quiet self reflection. 

With that in mind here are the three things I’m giving up for lent, and three things I’m replacing them with. 


  1. No sugar and alcohol or any processed foods.
  2. Engaging in harmful, gossip like conversations.
  3.  Electronic screen time or eliminating all screen time aside from my work and writing.


  1. Daily Yoga and Meditation practice
  2. Make time to have more meaningful conversations.
  3. Reading and researching about the subjects that inspire and enrich my knowledge. 

What can you do without for 40 days and what would you replace it with?

I look forward to hearing stories about your personal “lent”.