Feb. 22, Ash Wednesday, marked the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period preceding Easter when Christians would abstain from meat and dairy products in remembrance of Jesus’ 40 days of reflection before launching his ministry. Devout Christians who still observe meatless Lent help reduce chronic diseases, environmental degradation and animal abuse.
In the past four decades, dozens of medical reports have linked consumption of animal products with elevated risk of heart failure, stroke, cancer and other killer diseases. A 2007 U.N. report named meat production as the largest source of greenhouse gases and water pollution. Undercover investigations have documented animals being raised for food under abject conditions of caging, crowding, deprivation, drugging, mutilation and manhandling.
Lent offers a superb opportunity to honor Jesus’ powerful message of compassion and love for all living beings. To stop subsidizing disease, devastation and cruelty. To choose a wholesome, nonviolent diet of vegetables, fruits, and grains and a vast array of meat and dairy alternatives. It’s a diet mandated in Genesis 1:29 and observed in the Garden of Eden. Entering “vegetarian lent” in any search engine provides ample tips and recipes.