It’s about halfway through the 40 days of lent. As in years past, I’ve been cleaning up my vegetarian plate for lent. I’m not vegan, though I do have vegan days. I thought I was having one last week until I remembered there was butter and parmesan cheese on that garlic bread. No body’s perfect.
I stopped eating meat in the late 70’s. Here’s how it happened. Since then, it’s been easy for me to abstain from eating mammals. It’s been harder to give up eating fish and chicken, except during the season of lent. During lent, I’m a
strict true vegetarian.
A couple weeks ago, one of the regularly visiting priests ministering to my little Episcopal church told me that Sundays don’t count in lent.
He said there were more than 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter and that’s how Sundays get to be free days, though I think he said, “feast days.”
I counted the days on the calendar, and sure enough, there are 46 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter!
Why did I not know this? Or did I hear it and just not pay attention?
Going 40 days in a row, (now 46) straight through to Easter as a true vegetarian works for me. It brings me closer to my goal to not contribute to the horrors of factory farming, because after lent, I eat way less chicken. It’s just possible that I’m done with chicken for good.
(Fish is another matter. I’m not going there yet.)
What I’ve learned about myself, and I think this applies to most people with addictive personalities, is that it’s easier for me to abstain all together, than to indulge occasionally. I learned this the hard way with cigarettes. And even though I’m not an alcoholic, it’s easier for me to abstain than to drink alcohol occasionally. I can’t say I’ll never drink again. Maybe I’ll have a glass of wine on my 80th birthday. For now, I’m comfortable staying sober. But for some people, once it too many and a thousand’s never enough. For some people, like alcoholics, it’s not worth the risk.
I quit drinking twenty something years ago, when I got serious about recovery from compulsive overeating and stopped consuming empty calories. I stopped eating refined sugar for about a year. At that time, total abstinence from sweets was easier than moderation. Now I indulge in sweets occasionally, especially dark chocolate, but I know it’s a slippery slope, and I need to be mindful.
For lent, I’m sticking to my tradition of being a true vegetarian, including Sundays, all the way ’til Easter. I hope this will help me really be done with eating chicken. And I’m not going fishing for seafood. There are plenty of other options lower on the food chain.
Like dark chocolate.
We all have our own values and goals. Some are easier than others. Some we struggle with. What helps you be consistent? Or are you fine with the occasional indulgence?