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Most people think a lot about what they put in their mouths. Many people eat a vegan, vegetarian, Paleo or gluten free diet. Other people eat low carb, no sugar, low-calorie diets to lose weight. The diet industry in the United States is a multibillion dollar industry. Food is an American obsession. I don’t follow any diet on a regular basis, but I often tell myself, “Wow, after those French fries, I need to eat some greens!” I try to get some fruits and vegetables in my diet every day, and many times I will practice a vegetarian diet for months at a time.

What if people gave the same thought to what they put in their minds as they do about what they put in their mouths? How much violence do you see in a day? How many stories do you read that are gossip posing as news? How much time do you spend playing video games? How much time do you spend on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, or Snapchat?

When I took computer classes in school, the mantra that the professors used to say was, “Garbage in, garbage out.” This saying simply means if you put garbage into something all you can expect to get out is more garbage.  Sadly, I think this is true. If we don’t fill our minds with stories of compassion, hope, healing, health, love, redemption, beauty, etc. then how can we hope to get these things back out of our minds?

If we spend our days documenting our every move for social media and exposing ourselves to the “best moments” of the lives of all of our friends in our social network, we may end up feeling envious, hollow, or empty.  If social media is our obsession and most of it isn’t an accurate picture of reality, then what is the food we feed our minds on a regular basis?

Ash Wednesday is coming up, and I am not Catholic, but I love the idea of fasting at least once a year for forty days. I am planning to add some things to my life over the next forty days – ten to fifteen minute of stretching/yoga a day, reading more books for entertainment and writing more.

What do I plan to give up, though? I think about all the garbage that goes into my mind every day, and it is that trash that I would like to give up for my forty days of fasting. I am going to cut way back on my social media time and the time I spend reading articles that are not of value on the Internet.

I have a feeling by Easter my mind will be healthier and I will have lost some of the weight of negative news, gossip, and the unrealistic face people show to the world on social media.

As with every diet, it is going to be tough and take discipline, but I bet when it is over, I feel a whole lot better.