Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Carnivorous Post

So, for Lent, I gave up eating meat. I wrote about it about six weeks back, in this post. This past Sunday, though, the fast ended.

I tried to keep a journal to document the fast since I thought it was going to be difficult and interesting. I did well for the first two-thirds of Lent, but eventually the record of what I was doing - or not doing - grew monotonous and repetitive. Sometimes journaling or writing can be an excellent way to process and reflect or bring about realizations that you wouldn't otherwise have had. However, almost all the things I realized or learned were realized or learned on the ground, without much thinking or reflecting, or in talking to people. No writing was necessary; I found I was just writing about fleshless food I was eating and various instances of looking at meat and then not eating it.

Some thoughts that did come up, though, include:

Not eating meat wasn't particularly difficult. The difficulty came in logistical ways, like, everyone always had to consider my eating restrictions, or at 7-11 (where I often buy my lunch) there are mostly meaty options, so I ended up eating the same food all the time. But, overall, I didn't have to battle the desire for meat that I anticipated.

Thus, I did not get to say, "Jesus! I want you more!" in response to my physical desire for meat like I was hoping would happen, or like I anticipated doing. I suppose I could just say this phrase and believe in it in response to other physical desires, though. Like daydreaming about Anne Hathaway or taking vengeance on a mean taxi driver. Jesus, I want you more. No cop-outs allowed.

In hindsight, it could have been a more challenging task to go without a different food item for Lent (maybe); for instance, potato chips (which I love), fried food (which I love), Western food (which I love), foreign/non-Chinese food (which I love), snacks (which I love), or chocolate (which I like). Western food would have been a real challenge...maybe that's what's in store for next year.

I did eat meat once, smack dab in the middle of the fast. Ellen and I went to her aunt and uncle's house in Langfang, and they knew that I love meat, so they went way out of their way and prepared a huge feast - including chicken wings and delicious-looking slabs of beef. I weighed things quickly and thought that showing appreciation and love to Ellen's aunt and uncle was more important than this meat fast and that that was more pleasing to God and thus closer to the heart of Lent than legalistically refusing their meat for reasons that they probably wouldn't understand. So I ate. In moderation.

I was hungry almost all the time. I'd eat, for sure, and I'd usually eat a substantial amount. But then in a few hours I'd be hungry again.
I wish I would have had more time to document more before-and-after-type stuff...how much I ate, how much I weighed, how much my weight fluctuated, whether my weight fluctuated, etc. Time was not on my side; it was a crazy month. Coming up with some statistics would have been interesting, though.
The Lent season in the Christian protestant church is apparently one week ahead of the Lent season of the Orthodox Christian church. I started my meat fast one week late, since Ben and I were on an energy-sucking hiking trip and I wanted to hike in optimal physical condition. So it turned out that my Lent season was done in conjunction with the Orthodox Christian church. Much love.

This one is sad and pathetic. A lot of my diet is based on convenience. I think that my lifestyle dictates this. I'm busy, so I don't want to have to try to figure out ways to eat different things if they are not convenient, on top of all the other items happening in my life. Maybe when I die at age fifty-five I will wish I had made more time for fruit smoothies or sauteed vegetables, which I'd love to learn how to make. Not now, though. Too many community projects to grade still...

I had four veggie burgers during the Lent fast (thanks to Blue Frog's buy one, get one free burger night every Monday). They didn't suck too bad, but I wouldn't choose to eat them if there were beef burgers on the menu.

Lots of people told me, "If you haven't eaten meat in a long time, don't immediately pig out when you start eating meat again...you'll get sick!" So that sucks, because I would love to pig out.
Lots of people have told me, "So, this is what we are going to do when your meat fast is over..." All-you-can-eat Korean barbecue (tonight), Blue Frog burgers (last night), countryside pizza from Pizza Plus (Sunday night), 囊烧烤肉 (tomorrow night), and a very expensive all-you-can-eat lunch buffet at the five-star Shangri-La Hotel buffet (Saturday). Awesome girlfriend, awesome friends.

I still love meat, regardless of whether or not I longed passionately to get some into my mouth and stomach during this fast. I guess one more realization we can tack on here is that I have a lot of random pictures of myself eating meat. As proof, of course.

So. It's over. It was an interesting experience. Overall, not eatin' meat was not what I was expectin', and that is fine. Next year I can try something different.

Below are a few more meat pictures. First are the blurriest veggie burgers I ever ate in my life. They were also the first and seconds ones I have ever eaten. Second is the meat pizza with which I broke the 2015 Lent meat fast on Sunday. And last is my favorite meat-eating picture of all time. It's nothing new. I just like it. And we'll do it again.