My Healthy Lent

 

Hello, fellow collegiettes! Can you believe that we’re at the end of February now? It only feels like yesterday that I was decorating my room for Christmas and buying presents for loved ones. Once again, winter break flew by faster than Usain Bolt at the London 2012 Olympics. Okay, maybe I’m stretching it a little, but you get my point.

 

Another thing that seems to have crept from out of nowhere is the Catholic season of Lent. Lent, the forty-day period before Easter Sunday, is traditionally a time where one gives up an unnecessary pleasure in order to prepare for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. After 12 years of Catholic education, attempting to give up something at Lent is still a struggle for me. Usually, if I’d give up items such as sweets or chocolate, I’d end up only craving them more and give in to temptation.

 

However, last year, I had a success story!

Last year, I decided to give up eating meat. I allowed myself to still eat fish, for protein, and I didn’t want to give my body a total shock. Though I had great support (I had a vegetarian friend who had recently become vegan), I was convinced that I would fail. I had attempted to be a vegetarian or a pescatarian in the past, outside of the Lenten season, just to see if I could do it. I lasted two weeks! I was convinced that those who lived a vegetarian lifestyle were just born with it and that I was not.

But then, something happened.

After the first few weeks of Lent, my public speaking class was giving presentations on causes that mattered to us. My vegan friend chose the topic of Animal Rights in regards to how animals are treated before they are processed into food. I suppose you could say that my eyes were opened to a horrible cycle that I had never known existed. After learning the conditions that certain animals were living in, I realized that this Lenten promise I had made was not just a challenge for myself but to help the world in general. If abstaining from meat helped end the cruelty of animals, even just a little bit, then my needs didn’t matter. In fact, after three weeks of my no-meat diet, I lost all cravings for meat, and hardly missed it at all.

And you know what? After Lent ended, I never went back to my old, meat-eating habits!