| Feb 2015

Forty Days

I will admit. I mostly went to church as a pre-teen/teen because there was a really cute boy in my youth group. There. I said it. I mostly drew hearts and our initials during sermons. I vaguely remember this time before Easter being super depressing. Then, finally, on Easter I got to wear a special dress (only to be ignored by aforementioned cute boy).

I grew up the daughter of a Methodist and a Catholic. We went to the Methodist church every Sunday and went cafeteria style with the Catholic traditions — just taking the stuff we liked.

During my boy-crazed teen years I was fascinated when my Catholic Nana “gave up” things for Lent. No meat? FORTY DAYS. Then, Nana told me why. “We make a sacrifice to be closer to God,” she said.

I probably said something while spraying my bangs with AquaNet like, “So . . . like . . . ummm . . . I’ll totally give up Jujy fruits.” So for forty days I would buy Lemon Heads instead. And I’m sure God was all like, “Kim, people don’t know suffering until they give up Jujy Fruits.”

Some Lenten seasons were more successful than others. In 2003, I vowed to give up “booze and boys.” Meaning — I wouldn’t drink and I wouldn’t date. Yeeeaaahhh . . . about 10 days in I met Penn. That year, Lent didn’t stick.

Apparently, I am not alone in my downright lame attempts at sacrifice. This is the hilarious (and possibly accurate) urban dictionary definition of Lent:

That 40 day long period where Christians attempt to emulate Christ-like suffering and minimalism through only the lamest and most half-assed undertakings.

Jesus: I toiled in the desert for 40 days and nights. Then I was beaten until I lost 17.8 litres of blood. Self-Righteous Christian Tool: I switched to low-carb beer.
by Andrew Thrillson March 04, 2004


While I can’t make a large sacrifice like taking a vow of silence (Penn wishes) or entering a convent, I can give of my time toward something that honors the life I’ve been given.

Through the years I have always made my tiny sacrifice. This year I’m going to give up all processed foods. No super refined sugary treats (my kryptonite) and no fatty fried foods soaked in chemically processed oils. I will eat REAL FOOD for 40 days.

This is not about losing weight; this is about feeling better. This is not about driving my family crazy; this is about teaching my kids to make good choices. This is not about giving up pizza; this is about learning how to make it in a way that doesn’t have 145 ingredients.

I’ve read all of Micael Pollan’s books and already made some important shifts in how our family eats.

I’m inspired to make the whole shift by my friend Vani Hari, AKA The Food Babe.  That girl is changing the food industry and I’m so proud to know her.

Subscribe to this blog if you’d like to follow this journey. Now I’m off to figure out what to eat for breakfast.

  • Nicky

    This is such a fantastic approach to Lent! I’m a theology professor, and I always remind my students that Lenten fasting isn’t about suffering or sacrifice (how could anything we give up be anything like Jesus’ sacrifice?), but it’s an opportunity to help us become better people. Fasting helps us by being a constant reminder (every time we eat or don’t eat something) of what we’re supposed to be doing during these 40 days: praying, being more gracious and more charitable. So, enjoy your homemade pizza in the spirit of Lent. 🙂

    • http://theholdernessfamily.com pennternet

      Thank you for the kind words!

  • http://www.teamchiro.com Matthew Crilley

    Check out http://www.maximized living.com and click on Resources and Recipes for some great recipes!

    • http://theholdernessfamily.com pennternet


  • Amy

    You also need to check out http://www.100daysof realfood.com Lisa is from Charlotte and has a great take on real food. She has children and gives lots of ideas for lunches etc.. We’ve been on and off real food for 2 years and I tell you it makes a difference. Good luck you will rock it I am sure.

    • http://theholdernessfamily.com pennternet

      I have her book! Working my way through it now. Great stuff!

  • Kate

    Good for you girl! Keep us updated on your progress 🙂

    • http://theholdernessfamily.com pennternet

      Will do!

  • Amanda jack


  • Mandy Caracofe

    Good luck!

    • http://theholdernessfamily.com pennternet

      Thank you!

  • Sharon

    That’s great news! Last summer I was at my wit’s end because my face was constantly breaking out, I had zero energy and was quite moody which made mothering my 12-month old all the more fun. I started eating the Paleo diet and cannot say enough good things. I have felt amazingly better ever since and my face hasn’t been this clear in ages. My husband eats similarly and he is also impressed by how well he feels.

    I don’t mean to sound like an infomercial, just wanted to encourage you. I hope that it is great experience for you. And yes, I still sometimes struggle at knowing what to eat 7 months later….breakfast usually means dinner leftovers and I eat a LOT of sweet potato. Hugs to you and your family!

    • http://theholdernessfamily.com pennternet

      I’m looking forward to feeling better. SO glad you do!

  • http://www.Sparklescreen.com Dianna Akers

    Good luck with all that, be sure to have plenty of food on hand. Like it or not you probably will lose weight. I really should join you 😉
    Love your stuff!

    • http://theholdernessfamily.com pennternet

      I’m learning that already. We are actually traveling for work and I’m out of apples and almonds. Aaaack.

  • Pingback: Farts. Lots and lots of farts. | The Holderness Family()

  • Lisa H

    Love your dedication! Which of Pollan’s books would you recommend first? Or what books/websites would you recommend for someone just starting out? I *really* want to do this, but need some motivation!!!!

    • http://theholdernessfamily.com pennternet

      Always with the farting.

Most Popular
| Dec 2013
Oh, hi everyone… didnt see you there.
| Dec 2013
first Xmasjammies spoof – sort of
| Jul 2014
Man Cave
| Dec 2013
Why everyone should try a triathlon, and why Raleigh is the perfect place to do it
| Mar 2015
#BooSwap episode 1: Penn gets a blowout
Search By Category
Family Room
All is fair in love and the remote control war. Be a fly on the wall in our living room. It’s a family affair.
When making things in the kitchen goes horribly wrong.
Man Cave
Football, using your hands… you know, man stuff! A man’s weekend vacation spot.
What’s on mom’s brain? Motherhood at its finest. Being a mom is a full-time job.
Subscribe to the family
About Us
The Holderness family has been dancing in pajamas and singing during snow days for years — but last year they hit the record button on the camera and published their goofy video on YouTube. Penn, Kim, Lola, and Penn Charles continue to make hilarious videos around tent-pole events and circumstances most families face.