Farm season is a distant dream here in Michigan. All the snow and subzero weather means we’re lacking in farm fresh produce but it doesn’t mean we’re limited to meals filled with meat and dairy. Right now the urban family is getting ready for Lent, a time of year that three of us (Amanda, Dan, and Rachel) usually eat a vegan diet, and a time of year that I (Rachel) get really excited about. With some slight variation between our different religious traditions, the Lenten fast this year begins on either March 3 or 5 and continues through April 19. (Clarification from Amanda: she says that Orthodox Christians ease into Lenten fasting, this year the last week in February will be a no-meat week for her but she’ll still have dairy until March 3.) This year Jeff is going to try his hand at a vegan diet, too, so we decided it was the perfect time to write a few notes about how and what we are eating.
I’m pretty sure that eating vegan during Lent is supposed to feel like a deprivation, it is a fast after all, and during my first vegan Lent I definitely felt like I was deprived. But that was only at first. Once I learned to cook good plant-based food I actually started to really, really LIKE eating vegan. I liked it so much that the next year I convinced my husband to go vegan, too. Then we did it the year after that. Now, five years later I like it so much sometimes I think I could eat vegan all the time.
What I’m saying is that I LOVE vegan food and so when it comes to veganism as a spiritual practice it’s more alms than fasting for me. More about giving back to the world than about deprivation. Eating vegan allows me to cease violence against animals and it allows me to the help the environment. Eating vegan helps me be more thoughtful about my food choice because I have to break with my habits and create new ways for my family to eat.
Lent starts in just a week and a half so Dan and I are getting our pantry in order. We have stopped buying meat and dairy and we are stocking up on things like beans, vegetable stock, and nutritional yeast (more about weird ingredients in another post).
So friends, what do you think? Does my post have you excited for vegan food? Are you skeptical about my level of enthusiasm?