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Not so fast: why you should think twice before restricting your diet

Observing Lent is one thing. But in a culture that gives us more and more opportunities to deny ourselves things for the sake of denial, we should think carefully before introducing more rules

By Samuel Pollen  

The question is all but unavoidable: what are you giving up?

Is it chocolate? Crisps? Pizza? Ice cream? If you’re short of ideas, newspapers will happily supply them. This Lent, you can give up coffee! Or beef! Or beer! You can give up anything you want—but you have to give up something.

Before addressing the what, though, there’s another question you should ask yourself: why?

If you’re religious, the answer is easy. Christians have been giving things up for Lent for two thousand years. It’s tradition. It’s an act of observance.…

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