How To Have a Beneficial LentRead Now
It's the Lenten season, and you or some of your friends are probably planning on fasting from something until Easter. This is well and good, but be careful to put serious thought into what you're fasting from. I've heard of people fasting from soda (good), cigarettes (good), meat (good), dairy (good), social media (good), alcohol (mmm...okay.), coffee (...seriously?). Be reasonable about what you can live without for forty days. You don't want to get a week into your fast and then drop dead, because that's no way to reach your goals. Below, find a list of things you shouldn't fast from, and reasons why.
Sometimes I hear people piously claiming they're going to fast from coffee for forty days. I always chuckle, and then realizing they're serious, I intervene. Remember, you're only human. Studies show that going more than a week without coffee results in agonizing death 100% of the time. Are you sure you're ready to die, and if so, is this really the way you want to go? If you insist on giving up your life this Lenten season, please consider choosing a less tortuous way. Consider fasting from water, sleep, food, or air. These are all viable options that will accomplish the same end as a strict coffee fast, but with far less pain to you and your loved ones.
"But there's a first time for everything," I can already hear you protesting. "I heard of a Buddhist monk, a zen master, who fasted from coffee for forty days once," you argue. To these objections I reply simply: Look at yourself. Are you a history maker? Do you wear an orange robe? Are you even bald? Case closed.
Or maybe you're the history buff who plans to counter with the nobody-had-coffee-two-thousand-years-ago-and-they-were-ok argument. Please. They also didn't have instagram or twitter back then probably. Is that really the life you want to go back to? That would be like saying you can live strictly on whole foods without McDonald's or Taco Bell. Don't be daft.
"But Mormons don't drink coffee and they're doing fine." Are they though? Is living in a desert with a huge support group, strong family values, a world class choir, and a clean lifestyle your idea of "doing fine?" Just stop.
"But I read on the internet about somebody who quit drinking coffee and their gut health improved, they had more energy throughout the day, and they slept better." Listen closely, because I'm only going to say this once: Guts are gross. Stop talking about yours, and definitely stop talking about some stranger's on the internet. Also, sleep is boring.
That's all I have to say about a coffee fast. I'm sure you can agree that it's one of the worst ideas you've had in 2020. If you still insist on trying it, don't come running to me when you drop from severe coffee depletion in a week or two.
2. Nothing. Feel free to fast from anything else.
Have a blessed fast.
Peter Embry lives in East Texas with his wife, six children, and English Springer Spaniel, Jasmine. He stays sane by Eastern Orthodoxy, cold showers, coffee, and smoking brisket and pipe tobacco.