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I Gave Up Pasta for 40 Days, Here’s What Happened

May 7, 2024

Growing up as an Italian, it was abnormal to not have pasta every week. And because of this, I became accustomed to always eating it, and it became my favorite food. At this point, I’m pretty sure my blood is at least part marinara sauce. However, I suspected that too much pasta probably wasn’t doing me any favors, and I often wondered what it would be like to cut it out of my diet. Then the thought crossed my mind — every year for Lent I sacrifice something I love for 40 days. So this year, I gave up pasta. For 40 days, I didn’t eat a single noodle. No baked ziti, no spaghetti, not even ramen. Here’s what happened to me during and after the experience.

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Bye bye, bloating

There was a period when I always felt bloated. I was becoming more and more uncomfortable in everything I did, and I didn’t want to continue living with that feeling. However, I didn’t do enough research on my own body and health to decipher what the root cause was. When I gave up pasta, it didn’t take the whole 40 days to notice that the constant bloating feeling went away. I’m not saying pasta is the sole cause of my bloating, but it’s definitely a factor. Now I’m more aware of what I eat, and giving up pasta, even temporarily, helped me see what was going on.

Related: 7 Strategies That Have Helped Heal My Gut and Manage IBS

Cravings happened, but less often

Giving up pasta cold turkey was not easy, especially for someone who ate it at least one to two times a week. Whenever I got hungry, my first instinct was to make mac and cheese or order lo mein. But since I couldn’t, I had to push through those cravings. As the 40 days continued, I didn’t feel the need to eat pasta as much as I used to. Of course, I still wanted it every now and then, but I knew those feelings of want would pass. 

Related: 5 Ways to Curb Your Sugar Cravings

I found healthy alternatives

I’ll start by saying that if I’m going to eat pasta, I want it to be the real thing. In the past, I’ve tried chickpea pasta and red lentil pasta; they just weren’t for me. When I gave up pasta, I wasn’t going to try and replace that pasta taste I knew and loved. However, for these 40 days, I did try to find healthier swaps for dishes in which I would typically use pasta. For example, instead of making pasta salads, I made quinoa salads. Of course, quinoa has a very different texture from pasta, but with the health benefits of quinoa in mind, I used it as a base for many of my lunches. 

Related: 13 Flavorful High-Protein Lunch Ideas

I learned how to avoid temptations

Part of the reason I gave up pasta for Lent is because I wanted to commit to sacrificing something I really enjoy eating. Part of that process is to see how you handle temptation when faced with that thing. The first day I gave up pasta, two people were eating it in front of me and I truly felt like it was a test. Throughout the 40 days, I saw pasta at family parties and gatherings, and even just at home. It was so hard to turn away, but I did. Although temptation is difficult to avoid, it teaches you self-control as well as how not to cave as easily. This is a great tool for any future diet or habit you need to break. 

Final thoughts after my 40 days

Overall, the benefits of giving up pasta outweighed the negatives, and it has taught me how to control my eating habits to create a healthier me. As much as I still love a hearty bowl of delicious noodles from time to time, I’ve learned to take a step back and be more mindful of what’s on my plate. 

Read next: I Stopped Drinking Coffee After 4 PM and Noticed These 5 Effects

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