Meatless Mondays and Lent

Meatless Mondays and Lent

Lent began this year on February 14, Valentines Day, not only the perfect day to show love and compassion towards all of God’s creation, but also a time to adopt a Meatless Monday program (even if the 14th is on a Tuesday).

Fasting has been a recognized religious practice long before the birth of Jesus and Lent is a penitential practice intended to remember the sacrifice of Christ through abstinence and prayer.

Giving meat up for Lent is good for our health. The American Heart Association recommends limiting red meat consumption to prevent colon and heart problems, and the American Cancer Society echoes that recommendation noting: “Our guidelines point to evidence of a significant link between high red and processed meat consumption and an increased risk of colorectal cancer.”

Many of us already incorporate meatless meals into our diets without thinking about it. Pasta, rice and beans, salads, soup, bread, and there are a growing number of high protein meat substitutes made of tofu, peas, and grains that are better for you as they don’t contain the bad fat and cholesterol.

Going meatless just one day a week can have a significant impact on the environment as well. If everyone in the United States gave up eating meat for just one day per week it would reduce:

 

  • 100 billion gallons of water from being used, enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 months
  • 1.5 billion pounds of crops otherwise fed to livestock, enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year
  • 70 million gallons of gas, enough to fuel all the cars of Canada and Mexico combined with plenty to spare
  • 3 million acres of land from being razed for grazing, an area more than twice the size of Delaware
  • 33 tons of antibiotics from being used to prevent illness in animals that are being raised in tightly confined conditions

 

Think about Meatless Mondays as “Mindful Mondays,” helping us to think about the choices we make when ordering or preparing food. Fortunately, most restaurants offer vegetarian options or can make them for you, for example ordering a chicken salad without the chicken, and when shopping, load up on the fruits and vegetables.

The Humane Society of the United States offers free meatless recipes ideas on its website http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/eating/facts/meatless-monday.html?credit=web_vanity_meatlessmonday (or it may be easier to simply Google “HSUS Recipes.”)

For more information on Meatless Mondays, and ways your church can adopt a Meatless Monday program for a healthier congregation, contact Roland Halpern at rolandhalpern@msn.com

 

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