I am pledging to stick to a Meat-Free Lent this year.
For anyone who doesn’t know what Lent is, it is a Christian practice of sacrifice for 40 days before Easter. It was used to reflect on the time that Jesus spent 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness and so people would fast during this time. In modern times, most Christians only practice fasting on the first and last days of Lent known as Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. During Lent, it is widely accepted to sacrifice something rather than fast. For example, someone may choose to sacrifice alcohol, fizzy drinks, take-aways or crisps during the 40 days.
Growing up in Northern Ireland, most people took Lent very seriously and would not eat meat on either Ash Wednesday or Good Friday. I worked in a local fish and chip shop and these two days were hands down, our busiest days of the year. Customers would line up, out the door and down the street to get their hands on fish and chips on these days but then would go straight back to their normal diets the next day. This always seemed so strange to me, that everyone struggled so much to go meat free for just two days of the year.
Now, to be totally honest, I was never very good at keeping my Lenten promises. I would last the first week or two and then break it, I always remember my friend being so determined and vigilant with her Lenten promise and I was always jealous of her will-power. As I struggled with sacrificing some of my favourite things, I decided to do things instead of taking them away. Some people would do good acts for the 40 days and I always loved that idea. Some years I would pledge to be healthier, cut out fizzy drinks and drink more water and one year I gave money to charity every day.
This year I would like to go completely meat free. I have been changing my diet a lot lately and vegetarian meals have been a big part of that. I have been cutting meat and fish out of my diet a couple days a week and I have honestly enjoyed this transition. I have chosen vegetarian options when eating out and I have been surprised at how tasty they can be. Although I enjoy trying to be occasionally vegetarian, I doubt that I will have the will-power to make this a permanent change. I love food, every kind of food and restricting my diet will always be difficult but I want to give it a try.