Today: Jun 18, 2024

Lent veggie challenge

SIMONE VIRZI News Writer

A few years ago, my sister made the temporary decision to become a vegetarian. I remember going out to restaurants with her and she would go crazy trying to find something appealing, yet vegetarian; she would also ask the waiters 4,000 questions before placing an order. I felt bad for her, as it was such a challenge to order a simple meal. Yet here I am, giving up meat for the 40 days of Lent.

I can’t stand seafood, and I refuse to eat poultry, I mostly haven’t objected to beef and pork. I especially like steak, and I am now making myself hungry. But as much as I enjoy it, in the back of my head I know I’m eating something that was once inhaling fresh air. In my mind, the animals also had family and friends they loved and were taken away from. With the exception of cats, I’m an animal lover, and I feel bad knowing I’m eating something that (I’m assuming) once had feelings. I want to save animals, not eat them.

My issue is that steak is just too good.

So I’ve decided that for 40 days I’m going to officially go vegetarian and give up the meat I love. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s already been harder than I’ve thought. At least twice, I have had to think twice before absent-mindedly almost going for meat. Until Easter, it’s off limits. When I see meat, a part of me thinks it is mocking me, but I’m hoping the longer I go, the more natural it will become to go without it.

I could have made the standard goal of giving up soda, but I’m not a big fan of the bubbly drink. I could have given up McDonald’s, but I very rarely eat food from there, or any fast food restaurant for that matter. I tried coming up with a variety of possibilities, but I kept coming back to giving up meat. I think it’s the right time for me to walk away from the steak for a while. I also decided to give up ice cream for Lent, but that’s a whole other story.

I’ve heard and read before that going vegetarian is good for the body. Red meat can be unhealthy, as it can be high in fat, but I don’t regularly eat meat every single day. I figured this is a good chance to eat even more vegetables than I normally do, which is something I’m excited about (no sarcasm).

Even as a kid, I’ve loved vegetables. I’ve never had a problem eating spinach and broccoli, assuming the broccoli is cooked. I love putting together salads with a variety of colorful vegetables. (I’m now getting hungry again). With a few minor exceptions like beets and peas, if you put vegetables in front of me, there’s a good chance I’m going to eat them. What’s even better is that vegetables are good for you, which may be why so many people hate them. They are filled with a variety of nutrients. I could go on and on about which vegetables have which benefits, but you can look it up yourself if you’re really interested (otherwise I’m just wasting space). But there are a variety of vegetables, including broccoli, mushrooms and tomatoes, that help prevent cancer.

Last week at Conn, as I was fresh into my cleansing, I made a vegetable sandwich. This sandwich included cheese, pickles, banana peppers, tomatoes and green bell peppers. I got a couple of confused looks and was asked, “What’s the point of making a sandwich without meat?” I honestly enjoy vegetable sandwiches because they’re filling, but they’re light. However, I know not everyone will understand my madness. I’m also pretty content with vegetable pizza as well and can’t say I ever want pepperoni pizza because I think it’s way too greasy to be edible.

I think it’s going to be the most challenging at home. After all, my mom is a pretty decent cook. She makes her own meat sauce and meatballs, and I won’t be able to have either. I have my fingers crossed she won’t make either when I’m around.

I’m hopeful to go 40 days without cheating, although I have a feeling my dedication will be tested a few times. I figure if, according to my beliefs, Jesus sacrificed his life and died on the cross for us, the very least I can do is cut meat (and ice cream) out of my diet for a few weeks.

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