Vegan for Lent: know when to fold ’em

ImageSo. I am a Vegan for Lent failure.

It’s just not working for us right now. I’m trying to study for my master’s comprehensive exam which takes place April 1&2, Jon is working like crazy this month (don’t even get me started on how much I hate the ER shift from 3-midnight that means he misses bedtime), and we just don’t have the time or energy or head space to think and plan as much about food as this whole project requires. We were both tired of feeling hungry all the time. I just want a damn grilled cheese sandwich.

I really considered hanging on, solely for the sake of the blog. It appears my readers like vegan food posts. I like happy readers. But I’ve already “cheated” on this thing a few times (currently eating red beans and rice with andouille sausage as I type), and I just have to come clean that it just isn’t happening anymore.

I don’t have any big spiritual insights about failing my Lenten devotion. I have some clarity now that being a vegan is harder than I thought it was, and that it’s most definitely not for me. I shall return to my usual “less meatarian” (per Mark Bittman) diet of largely lacto/ovo vegetarian eating with supplements of sustainably raised meats. I guess I am just really grateful for the bounty available to me, and the fact that the only deprivation I know is the kind I choose (and then fail to keep choosing).

One of my favorite Bible verses is from the Psalms: “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” It seems petty, maybe, and possibly anti-Christian, but I think food is a great way to experience the goodness of God. Despite a sort of anti-fleshly strain in our faith, one that preaches denial of the body and being above bodily things, we are enfleshed, and we worship a God who became flesh. A God who, in Jesus, seemed to really love eating good food with people. One of the first things he really wanted after he rose from the dead? BREAKFAST. Sure, he chose fish where I might choose a runny-yolked egg, but I think in Jesus we see that while denial is good for a time, there’s nothing inherently sinful about enjoying good meals, good wine, and good company.

I also still believe that what we choose to eat is a spiritual issue, an opportunity to demonstrate our care (or in Christian lingo, stewardship) for our bodies, our neighbors, the poor, and the planet. And I will probably always be wrestling with how my diet reflects my values. But, for now, I won’t be doing it as a vegan. I need to focus on studying and taking care of my family in a way that I was not able to on this diet.

4 Replies to “Vegan for Lent: know when to fold ’em”

  1. First, I will applaud you for sticking with it as long as you did. I think I would have lasted five minutes.

    Second, food in all its aspects is becoming a flash point for conflict in our society. I have taken the attitude that you eat what you choose, and if you care about the food and its quality, you do more than sit down at the table and eat it. I can’t say that I think any one particular dietary system is “better” than any other. It is up to the individual to choose the system that replenishes them daily and fills their body and their soul.


  2. Sounds to me like you got plenty of insight from the experience! I am hanging in there with Whole30 –thank GOD for my sabbath cheat day, but I’m on vacation next week, and I’ve already decided I’m not going to let my perfectionism keep me from enjoying a few special treats. For what it’s worth, my diet is heavily meat-dependent, and I find it incredibly labor intensive –at least to do it on a budget. It’s making me aware of a lot of things I normally take for granted, including the fact that dietary choices are for the economically privileged. Americans who have no money or time can’t possibly eat this way. It’s a good cure for food-piety.


  3. Good for you for your efforts and the lessons learned! Just the attempt is worthwhile.

    Twice in my life I’ve tried to be vegetarian. And both times, I’ve never felt so horrible. I felt sluggish and was constantly fatigued. I was often sick to my stomach. And I was even crankier than normal. Everyone’s bodies work differently. They all run on different fuel. Vegetarianism/veganism is the right fuel for some people, but a steak a day is right for others.

    I love the sentiment in your last paragraph. Food production, the way we eat, the way we prepare meals, and the way we share our food is certainly important on many levels. But there’s no one-size-fits-all method for those things.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: