The young miss adheres to a strict vegan diet. Perhaps not the strictest, as she occasionally cooks with fake meat, a vegetable product that has the texture and flavor of meat. I asked her once if this is viewed by some vegans as a violation of their ethics, eating something reminiscent of meat.
She said some do see it that way. If I were a vegan, I would tend to see it that way. I like vegetables, fruits, nuts, and pulses. I also know about protein sources outside of the animal kingdom. If I were avoiding animal products for moral reasons, I think I would shy away from things that look like meatballs, chicken nuggets, and burgers.
Then there’s jackfruit, the plant that produces something that actually looks and feels like shredded meat, but that’s another story.
I’ve seen social media discussions the past few days about eating fake meat on Fridays. Why not roll up to your enlightened fast food service microphone and ask for an impossible burger? I’ve tasted them. They are yummy, like a lot of processed foods.
One priest pontificated that sure, you can eat fake meat on a Lenten Friday, but that violates the “spirit” of the season. Another person said likewise to lobster bisque.
My sense of abstinence would be to turn the experience into a positive. Just breakfast on whole grains with nut milk, lunch on rice and beans and a simple salad, snack on fruit, and sip a cup of vegetable soup for dinner. No animals. Minimal to no dairy. Small portions. No excuses when dining out. Maybe excise alcohol from the drink list too. That’s a real challenge on Fridays, I would bet.
The point of Lent seems less to shift from steak to salmon, or wings to cheese pizza, but to make a thoughtful decision to unite oneself to the person of Christ. Diet isn’t the only way to do it. But it can be one way.
Thinking positive about a Lenten observance might help. Climbing stairs instead of using an elevator. Walking to a colleague’s desk instead of e-mailing from the other side of the building. Parking some empty spaces from s storefront or mall entrance. Letting someone cut in line on the road.
However, if a cooked mini-globe of soy is a big comedown from a greasy burger, go for it.