2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

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2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby iChef » Fri Feb 25, 2011 8:22 pm UTC

Every year from Ash Wednesday until Easter Catholics around the world observe a holiday called Lent. It is a period of forty six days in which we renew oaths to God (through prayer), ourselves (through fasting) and to others (through increased alms giving). The fasting aspect is most familiar to those outside the church and is the reason you heard about Catholics eating fish on Fridays. This is also the reason for Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday. That day is set aside to cook a large feast and remove all the foods you cannot eat during Lent from your house. In modern times most people only observe fasts on Ash Wednesday, the Fridays during Lent and on the Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter). I usually observe the traditional way, fasting on everyday of Lent with a very strict fast on Good Friday.

I have found this practice to be very beneficial, not only in a religious way, but for many other reasons. It is good motivation to quit bad habits. It helps me appreciate and think about the food I eat every day. It is also the time of year I clean out and organize my kitchen to use up forbidden products and finish up many of the dry ingredients I buy and forget about, like beans, pasta and rice. I usually give up things other than just meat, I gave up driving my car one year (when I lived closer to work), I usually quit drinking soda for the time every year and have known a couple people who have quit smoking during Lent.

This year I couldn't think of anything out of the ordinary to do, when I decided to share the experience. I want to ask my fellow readers to participate in fasting with me this year. This doesn't have to be religious at all. Don't have to go to church, read a Bible or anything like that the rules are pretty simple:

Lent this year is from March 9th until April 23rd
On Ash Wednesday (March 9th) and then every Friday after that we are permitted one full meal per day.
This meal may not include any meat, but fish is OK. We can also have a small amount of food in the morning, but not a full meal. (some toast or maybe a piece of fruit)
Giving to charity or doing volunteer work is also encouraged.

After Lent I get a greater appreciation of the things I gave up, and I feel it is a really beneficial exercise. When I couldn't decide what else to give up during Lent this year I decided to give myself the following rules.

I will do the regular observances described above. I will not eat meat on any of the days of Lent at all (not just Fridays).
I will not eat any meat or fish on the Fridays of Lent and follow a total fast on those days.
I am doing volunteer work at the local recycling center once a week.

And here's the kicker. I will give up anything else that any of you decide to give up as a part of this challenge as long as it doesn't interfere with my work or my health. I think this will be an interesting experiment. Anyone else who participates please post what you will be giving up and I will follow suit. We can keep track of everyone's progress here. This doesn't have to be connected to religion in any way. Just a way to appreciate the things in life many of us take for granted every day. At the end of the experiment I will be having a large feast to celebrate. If anyone is in my area and would like to attend all participants are welcome.

So what are you (and I) giving up for Lent?

*Sorry if this is in the wrong section, I couldn't decide if it was SB, general or food it may be moved if necessary*
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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby Aaeriele » Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:42 am UTC

Last I heard, Catholics aren't the only Christian denomination that observes Lent...
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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby TimelordSimone » Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:46 am UTC

Aaeriele wrote:Last I heard, Catholics aren't the only Christian denomination that observes Lent...

I was going to point this out.

I might give up alcohol for Lent.
Not that this would be a tremendously big deal, since I've only drank alcohol twice since the New Year.
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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:50 am UTC

Aaeriele wrote:Last I heard, Catholics aren't the only Christian denomination that observes Lent...

I think where the confusion comes from is that Lent was dropped in the Protestant Reformation, so it is sometimes assumed only Catholic and Orthodox Christians still practice it. I'm sure iChef didn't mean offend anyone.

EDIT: and what the hell, put me down for "no alcohol for Lent". The fasting thing I'd have to think about, because it could affect my performance at work, but I could definitely cut non-fish meat from my diet for 40 days.
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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby Cathy » Mon Feb 28, 2011 4:12 am UTC

I was raised Roman Catholic, and the way I was taught the Lent sacrifice was slightly different; one either gave something (or somethings) up, or added something to your daily life that you don't normally do. Presumably what you add during Lent is something healthy that you want to get used to doing, and hope to continue doing after Lent.

Mine is as follows: I will make myself (and anyone else who comes to dinner) a dinner from scratch at least once per week.

It sounds lame but college studentcy has not been good for my diet.
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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby Coffee » Mon Feb 28, 2011 1:56 pm UTC

I'm going to try to say Angelus at least at noon every day. As for fasting other than on Fridays... that would be impractical unless I gave up running and lifting.
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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby felltir » Mon Feb 28, 2011 2:06 pm UTC

I'm going to give up /b/.

Meh?
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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby roband » Mon Feb 28, 2011 2:18 pm UTC

I actually just came onto the General board, looking for a thread about giving things up.

I won't be able to fast, due to work (among other things), but I had already decided that I wanted to give up swearing in anger for a while.

This seems like a good way to keep track of it. And if I can do it for 49 days (I'll start now) then I'll be impressed.

I hope you don't mind me using your Lent thread for this.

edit: I just failed. Already. Grrr

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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby Jahoclave » Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:46 pm UTC

I give up pretending that grad school is an excuse to be an alcoholic and just admit that I have a proper substance abuse like any good American writer should.

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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby mmark9094 » Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:39 pm UTC

...What if someone gave up xkcd for Lent?

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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby thicknavyrain » Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:43 pm UTC

I'm going to give up procrastination on my romantic impulses. No matter how small a gesture, I will do one romantic thing every day for the person I'm in love with.
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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:49 pm UTC

One year, I decided to give up meat for a month and try my hand at vegetarianism. It was hard to do in the dorms eating cafeteria food, and I thought our cafeteria had pretty good food. I think I lost a couple pounds, but felt hungrier, and compensated by probably eating more than I should have been.

The next year, after watching 300, I decided to give up weakness and trained like a madman for a month, drinking gregariously, railing coke and adderall, fucking like a wild animal, and going bare foot as often as possible, taking many trips to J-tree, and cutting video games out of my routine. It was pretty fun, but I think a little too intense for me.

Those both had little to do with lent, but involved giving something up for a period of time. I mean no disrespect to lent at large.
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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby garren101 » Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:08 pm UTC

These past couple of years I've given up video games for lent, but I recently started playing Persona 4 for the first time and I don't think I could drop that right now. So instead, I'm going to give up drinking pop, and I'm going to devote at least one hour of every day, or evening I have off to reading. Whenever I give up video games I fill the void with reading, so I figured I would augment that a little this year.
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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby Marbas » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:12 am UTC

I dare someone to give up corn for lent.
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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby charolastra » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:46 am UTC

I keep Passover more or less. And eat lots of coconut macaroons. Mmm mmm.

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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby philsov » Tue Mar 01, 2011 3:33 am UTC

On Ash Wednesday (March 9th) and then every Friday after that we are permitted one full meal per day.


tbh this is the first time I've ever heard about "one full meal only" for ash weds and the "fish fridays". Huh. As per wikipedia, this is.. an Episcopal thing, mostly. Which would explain this, I guess. I was raised Catholic.

I dare someone to give up corn for lent.


Incredibly easy :). I rarely eat it, and for the most part avoid corn syrup. Of course, avoiding corn-based alcohol (gasoline) is a bit out of my bounds though.

As for myself, I don't know. I want to do something more than give up XXX food. Maybe force myself to read some sort of philosophy/religion text over the duration of lent? Don't suppose anyone here has a recommendation?
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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby Coffee » Tue Mar 01, 2011 4:52 am UTC

philsov wrote:
On Ash Wednesday (March 9th) and then every Friday after that we are permitted one full meal per day.


tbh this is the first time I've ever heard about "one full meal only" for ash weds and the "fish fridays". Huh. As per wikipedia, this is.. an Episcopal thing, mostly. Which would explain this, I guess. I was raised Catholic.

I dare someone to give up corn for lent.


Incredibly easy :). I rarely eat it, and for the most part avoid corn syrup. Of course, avoiding corn-based alcohol (gasoline) is a bit out of my bounds though.

As for myself, I don't know. I want to do something more than give up XXX food. Maybe force myself to read some sort of philosophy/religion text over the duration of lent? Don't suppose anyone here has a recommendation?


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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby Marbas » Tue Mar 01, 2011 6:40 am UTC

You also have to avoid anything made with cooking oil. Grain alcohol. That means no mayo, mustard, or ketchup. It's also used to sweeten your toothpaste. Corn starch and flour too.

The list goes on really. It's quite absurd how much corn you consume.
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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby philsov » Wed Mar 02, 2011 12:30 am UTC

"The Great Divorce" by CS Lewis.


*goes onto Amazon*

Good description, awesome review rating curve, and christian-leaning which'll work since I've become increasing secular so this ironically suffices for outside of my usual comfort zone.

Thanks Coffee

Edit: Woo! Went out and bought it. 140 pages with moderate size font? Should be a lightish read. Whatever, I'll take my time and chew it well :D
Last edited by philsov on Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:57 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby jerome_bc » Wed Mar 02, 2011 2:38 am UTC

Interesting! I was raised as a Catholic but never really paid attention; I actually knew more about Ramadan than Lent. For Lent I will give up all animal products; I'm ovo-lacto-vegetarian and I've been wanting to make the switch to a vegan diet. It's a good excuse to clear out all the animal products I have left.

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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby TimelordSimone » Mon Mar 07, 2011 8:48 pm UTC

TimelordSimone wrote:I might give up alcohol for Lent.

Yeah, that ain't happening. Staffs Uni Summer Ball is during Lent.
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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby emceng » Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:32 pm UTC

I can understand some of the confusion over Lent being just a Catholic thing. Attending Lutheran services as a child, it was never stressed. I recall having Palm Sunday services, and Easter Sunday services. There may have been a handful of other things going on at the time(evening events and such) but we didn't really do anything specifically for Lent.

It is an interesting idea though. I lack the self discipline to do something like this though. I won't give up alcohol(due to the social aspects) and I don't have any other major vices that I think need modifying(or they would not work well for the exercise, like extreme procrastination). There are dozens of things I could or should do, but none that I would actually follow through on.
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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby philsov » Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:42 pm UTC

in my college days my friends and I celebrated "phlent"* -- that is, "lent, but the week of spring break does not count against you". >_>

Just a thought for you lightweights.

*my name is phil. hence, "phil's lent".

There are dozens of things I could or should do, but none that I would actually follow through on.


imo you're pre-empting yourself before the gates even open. Just see how long you last :)
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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby Von Haus » Mon Mar 07, 2011 11:02 pm UTC

jerome_bc wrote:I'm ovo-lacto-vegetarian

Nooooooo, milk!!!

Anyway, I have decided to give up anything from a supermarket for lent, and by posting about it here I hope to feel more inclined to stick to it.
On another note. Fuck supermarkets.
Also, tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday, so it all begins. Mmmm pancakes!!!
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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby emceng » Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:57 pm UTC

Von Haus wrote:
jerome_bc wrote:I'm ovo-lacto-vegetarian

Nooooooo, milk!!!

Anyway, I have decided to give up anything from a supermarket for lent, and by posting about it here I hope to feel more inclined to stick to it.
On another note. Fuck supermarkets.
Also, tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday, so it all begins. Mmmm pancakes!!!


Um, what's wrong with items at the supermarket? Are you just going to eat out every meal instead? I mean yeah, it sucks so much having dang near every type of food you want readily available, close to you, and at a reasonable price.


philsov wrote:
There are dozens of things I could or should do, but none that I would actually follow through on.


imo you're pre-empting yourself before the gates even open. Just see how long you last :)


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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby iChef » Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:04 am UTC

Some of the differences in practice might arise from some of the rules being pulled back over time. As far as I've heard the Church's restrictions have gotten looser over time.

Anyway Mardi Gras is over so it looks like we're looking at:

video games
swearing
/b/
alcohol
meat
and I'll take up the corn challenge for at least a week. Will be tough. (Yay looks like my peanut butter doesn't have corn syrup in it!) Just to see if it's possible.
Don't think I'll last too much longer than that because when I don't eat meat tortillas + beans + rice pretty much makes up my diet.

Not trying to jab at non-Catholics who observe Lent, didn't realize anyone else did usually my Protestant friends looks at me like I was nuts when I was younger.
Also feel free to use this read to discuss fasting or restricting yourself not related to religion or related to other religions. I was invited to a Passover dinner one year by my Jewish friends that lived in my apartment building, it was awsome. A very good way to end a fast (even if it was a little early for me, but hey not something I get to try every year)
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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby Von Haus » Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:03 am UTC

emceng wrote:Um, what's wrong with items at the supermarket? Are you just going to eat out every meal instead? I mean yeah, it sucks so much having dang near every type of food you want readily available, close to you, and at a reasonable price.

No I only ever eat out if Hope is here and that won't be happening until after Easter anyway. Why do you assume the only alternative to supermarkets is eating out?
The thing is; every type of food I want is readily available close to me at a reasonable price at farmer's markets and independant stores around the city and is of a far greater quality, it is just slightly less conveniant and I have been being unneccessarily lazy. I would far rather support local producers and independant shops instead of large supermarkets who don't care for their workers, suppliers or consumers if there is extra profit to be squeezed out somewhere. So that is what I am going to make myself do.
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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby big boss » Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:34 am UTC

TimelordSimone wrote:
TimelordSimone wrote:I might give up alcohol for Lent.

Yeah, that ain't happening. Staffs Uni Summer Ball is during Lent.


Does it make me an alcoholic if my first reaction was repulsion to this idea?
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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby Kewangji » Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:00 am UTC

I'm just giving up for Lent!

*sits in a corner, whithers away*
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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby felltir » Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:03 am UTC

Kewangji wrote:I'm just giving up for Lent!

*sits in a corner, whithers away*


Giving up on spelling, then.
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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby Cathy » Sun Mar 13, 2011 6:02 am UTC

I've made dinner twice since Ash Wednesday already! Whoo! I'm keeping up, and also, making good food for myself makes me want to make more good food. So I'm eating healthy, cooking healthy!

Really, the only bad part of this is the dishes. Oh dear, so many dishes.
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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby Xeio » Sun Mar 13, 2011 6:45 am UTC

Kewangji wrote:I'm just giving up for Lent!

*sits in a corner, whithers away*
I gave up on lent. :o

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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby Cathy » Sun Mar 13, 2011 7:13 am UTC

Xeio wrote:I gave up on lent. :o

When I was a teenager, I gave up Catholicism for Lent, just to spite my mother.

It worked. :wink:
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Re: 2011 xkcd Lent Challenge

Postby Kewangji » Sat Mar 19, 2011 8:58 pm UTC

Felltir wrote:
Kewangji wrote:I'm just giving up for Lent!

*sits in a corner, whithers away*


Giving up on spelling, then.

Oh shush, this is my second language. (That is totally an excuse.)
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