40 Days of Water {Blood:Water Mission}

by Cate on March 7, 2013

Last year, on Fat/Shrove Tuesday, I gave up Diet Coke. I actually didn’t give it up specifically for Lent, even though it nicely coincided with the start of it. I happened to hear a news clip on the radio that day about some new statistics and they were just too much for me to ignore.

And so it began.

I had tried giving it up once before, in 2011 when I started clean eating. And made it 10 days and failed, largely because of the lack-of-caffeine-induced-headaches that started. I just couldn’t deal. (And as a side note, I wasn’t drinking coffee then, so wasn’t getting caffeine from any other source)

So now, it’s been a year without Diet Coke (minus two minor infractions in the very beginning) and I survived. It was hard. I used to dream about Diet Coke. To me, then, nothing was as refreshing. And now? I just can’t imagine drinking it again. Because the taste has been so far removed from my palate, it no longer holds the same magic for me.

So a few weeks ago, when Lent rolled around, I debated about giving up something, and if so, what? I don’t always give up something, and it’s not always a material item. One year, I gave up making excuses. But then I started reading some things about 40 Days of Water and I had it.

See … when I gave up Diet Coke, I started drinking ginger ale. Not as much as I used to drink Diet Coke. Not even close. A couple times a week. Since it’s caffeine-free, clearly it’s the carbonation that I was seeking. But I felt, particularly lately, that I was looking for it a little too much. Like, if I didn’t have a glass of it with dinner, it just wasn’t the same.

I was getting addicted to it. Does that sound silly? I was hosting a party about a month ago and when I realized I didn’t have any ginger ale in the house, I ran out just to get some. And that’s when I decided it had to go, and when I learned about 40 Days of Water, it was the perfect way to turn giving ginger ale the ‘ol heave ho into something better.

The idea of 40 Days of Water is that you forego your favorite cappuccino, latte, or soda, and drink water instead. And then you donate that money you would have spent on your favorite go-to drink to Blood:Water Mission so people in Uganda can have clean water.

So I get my cravings for ginger ale out of my system.

I end up drinking more water, which I wanted and need to anyway.

I make another intentional choice that speaks to clean eating.

And I donate a little bit to a good cause.

And, of course, I am saving money by drinking more water and no ginger ale.

How many more reasons did I need to go forward?


And so here it is, several weeks later, and so far, so good. My first test was when we were at my parents’ house a few weekends back, and there was all sorts of sodas and juices set out. Normally I would have grabbed a ginger ale, filled my glass with ice, and, you know, bottoms up.

“Mom, I was wondering if you were going to,” Nick said as we were on our way home. Because I had told the kids I was giving it up. And they are the best little police officers that there ever was.

“I know, Nick, it was hard for sure,” I said, knowing full well how important it is for the kids to see Mom making good decisions.

And again, I survived. Really, it’s no big deal. Or at the very least, it shouldn’t be. Small little changes that are big strides to continuing to become who I want to be. A pledge to drink more water and help others who don’t have the same luxury.

And, of course, if there is something you want to give up to join the 40 Days of Water cause, it’s never too late.

Tomorrow? Sushi!

PS As an aside, and related to Lent {Ash Wednesday}, Madeline got her ashes in a mass she went to with her classmates. And the day before, she was worried about the whole process. How long would the ashes last? Would it hurt? And are people going to think she looks weird? And, of course, not entirely happy about having to go to mass twice during the week (again on Friday). It’s not like her to be so concerned about something, and I swore up and down that getting her ashes would be no big deal. And since I’m the mom that will warn her if a doctor’s visit would include shots, so she isn’t taken by surprise, she would just have to trust me.

And so I picked her up from school, and, of course, I was right. Ashes. No big deal. They were barely even visible by the end of the school day. After Nick got out of school, we quickly went to grab a slot for his summer CCD classes and got lucky with timing and snuck into an Ash Wednesday mass so he and I could get ashes as well. As we were in line for our turn, Madeline is holding my hand and asking if she needs to get them again. No, you’re all set. When it was our turn, the very enthusiastic ash giver gave me mine, and Nick his, and then turned to Madeline. She didn’t seem to believe me that she had already gotten hers, but I held firm. Because oh! the trauma of possibly getting ashes twice in one day. And as we were leaving, Madeline looked at us and tried to stifle her giggles. Because the ash giver was very heavy-handed and there was no mistaking what had just happened.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

B March 7, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Great job!

I found myself buying more diet soda for home, so I had to stop that. So I no longer buy it to have at home. I do sometimes drink seltzer at home and/or out since sometimes its the carbonation that I want.

For some reason can’t have a slice of pizza without a soda, but I don’t eat that too often.


Joanne March 8, 2013 at 7:20 am

I love it! I don’t really do lent because I’m not really into religion but my sister gave up chocolate. I’ll have to tell her about this!
Joanne recently posted..Recipe: Potato and Kale Soup with Gruyere and a Mixed Berry Smoothie


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