It’s that time of year again when I make a crazy decision to give up something that’s pretty integral to my day-to-day diet, all in the name of Lent. The last couple of years I’ve given up sugar in various forms.
This year, though, I’m going for a more traditional sort of Lent. One in which I give up meat, dairy and eggs. I won’t lie: it will be tricky, especially when it comes to baking.
Now, I’m not doing this because I’ve seen the error of my ways as regards the meat-industry (although I do think our attitude towards meat and dairy could do with a great deal of reform); I don’t plan for this to become my permanent way of life, although I’m hoping it will be what I need to really kick out the dairy. I don’t really like the dairy-industry, and I do think there’s a good argument to be made for dairy-consuming “ethical” vegetarians to be eating veal.
Mostly, I’m doing this because I think it will be interesting to see what happens when a hard-core carnivore (trust me, I’m something of a vulture when it comes stripping a chicken carcass: it’s not done until I’ve had a go at it. Waste not, want not is my motto, as I peel out any organs left inside) becomes an herbivore. I’m not much of a one for dairy anyway, except for butter and baking, and eggs I tend to use mostly in baking, so with any luck, those two restrictions won’t be too difficult. Except for finding alternatives to use in the cakes…
But the meat will be quite a sacrifice. Although, really, I’m not sure the Church would agree. It’s not like I’m doing this because I think it will help me get closer to God or because it will make me more penitent for any sins committed.
I’m doing this because it is something that I’ve been thinking about for a while – to see if it will make me any healthier or give me some actual drive to exercise more properly, like aficionados seem to insist – and because Lent gives me an acceptable reason for giving things up. I want to know: Will eating just plants make me a healthier, happier, more balanced sort of a person who just loves to exercise? (Not, you understand, that I feel I’m particularly unhealthy or unhappy or unbalanced.)
And it’s only six or seven weeks. A suitable length of time to notice changes, and a finite period. I know the start date and the end date. And so does Mark. Less than two months. Not long at all.