Can I Give Up Meat For Lent?

Two weeks from today is Mardi Gras, which means that it’s almost time for Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent.

Ash Wednesday


I don’t usually give up anything for Lent. Instead, I try to focus on doing things that draw me closer to God and put my faith into practice–daily Bible study, mid-week church services, community service, etc. But this year may be different.

I have been contemplating if I can give up meat for Lent, and it has been on my mind so much that I wonder if God put it there. I haven’t seen any of the movies or read any of the books that reveal the gross, gory and cruel practices that take place before I buy my chicken breast cutlets and hamburger patties at the grocery store, but I know that if I stop and think about what I am eating, I can lose my appetite.

While I don’t think that eating meat is morally wrong, I would be undertaking this Lenten sacrifice for moral reasons–and that’s why I think it is appropriate for Lent.

My husband is willing to go along at home (he can still get chicken shiskebabs for lunch at work), my son is back at college so he won’t be affected, and I still will feed Tiger Lilly her grain-free, lamb-based kibble.

While I won’t be doing this for health reasons, I need to figure out how to do it without relying too much on pasta and pizza.

I know there are lots of great vegetarian cookbooks, but I need to keep things simple, and my husband doesn’t eat tofu, is wary of “interesting” grains, and doesn’t like many vegetables. So far my recipe list includes pasta e fagioli, vegetable quiche, and grilled cheese and soup. If I don’t give up fish/shrimp I would have more options, but I’m not sure that would be true to my moral compass. (I know there also are issues with dairy and eggs, but I am not ready to give up dairy or eggs, even for 40 days.)

Have you ever given up a food or food group for Lent?

Do you have any simple vegetarian recipes for a picky eater?

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21 Responses to Can I Give Up Meat For Lent?

  1. Prayers and Apples says:

    i'm like you – i don't always give things up for lent, not unless i feel especially drawn to… (i'm weary of using lent as an excuse to do something that is basically more about bettering myself – ie, if i give up candy i'll lose weight!) – it def sounds like you have strong moral reasons for this undertaking though so i would encourage you to do it πŸ™‚ unfortunately, i can't be much help in the logistics dept bc i've never given meat up :/ i'll be staying tune though to see what type of recipes you come up with! πŸ™‚

    …also: just wanted to let you know i nominated you for a Liebster Award! πŸ™‚ all of the info's posted on my blog hehe congrats! ♥

  2. Tiff says:

    It would be hard to give up meat for lent if you can't prep many veggies for dinner, but I'm all about reducing meat consumption. I'm no vegetarian, but I think more plants are almost always a good thing! Perhaps if you cook basic meals (ie: bean burritos, veggie chili, etc.) you can whip up a special side for yourself, like roast Brussels sprouts, spinach salad, or sauteed kale. Good luck with it!

  3. Debbie says:

    I've been enjoying your blog for a while now but first time commenting. I live in the same area (NoVa) and am a runner, too (not as fast as you!). Running my first Half this Sunday in Southern California. Have you thought about doing the "Daniel Fast"? It's meatless, and there are many great recipes and meal plans included in the book. We tried it and although we didn't give up meat for Lent, we did focus more attention on prayer, bible study together in the evenings (hubby and I), and serving others during the fast. Just a suggestion.

    I'm turning 50 in may and hoping to run my first marathon sometime during the year to celebrate! Thanks for your inspirational blog. I especially liked your Switzerland pics. My favorite country. Can't wait to go back! Best wishes on your meatless fast.

  4. Carrie says:

    I've been listening to Jillian Michael's podcasts and she's got some interesting thoughts on vegetarianism. She talks about being responsible about meat eating, there's a website that I can't remember the name of right now (I'll find it and get it to you). The thing to be careful about when cutting meat is vitamin intake. I think it's B12 (but don't quote me on that) that you can only get from animal protein. And then if you substitute soy, you have to be careful about GMO soy as some people say the GMO soy is worse than meat.

    If it feels like the right thing to do, that will work in your life, then you'll make it work.

  5. nhrunner says:

    I haven't eaten meat, fish and poultry for ..hmmm.. 38 years! (yes all my many marathons etc were run as a veg) There's plenty to eat other than pasta and pizza! I do love quinoa and couscous, I think your hubby would like them. (John is not a vegetarian but does) . I love spinach and things like spinach pie. And now we have a big pot of veggie chili. (mainly beans and veggie crumbles) Burritos are a good idea too. You could check out "amy's" dishes at the supermarket to get an idea. I make a good veggie quiche too.. Oodles of options!
    You only need worry about B12 if you don't eat dairy. Nothing at all else you need to worry about. Truly, it is the meat eaters not the vegetarians who should be worrying about what they are consuming. You will get more vitamins, fiber, etc. with a veg, diet…

    • I forgot that you are vegetarian. Thanks for the scoop on vitamins. I am not good about taking them, so I'm glad to hear I probably won't need them. My husband does not like couscous, but I haven't tried quinoa on him.

  6. Denise says:

    I’m in a waiting room with no magazines & it popped into my head to come read. Over the years I gave up various foods for Lent & even coffee…NOT doing that again πŸ˜‰ I no longer give up food now because for me it’s not a healthy choice…though giving up sweets might not be a bad idea πŸ™‚
    I occasionally eat fish/seafood, but no other meat, so I do have some delicious, simple vegetarian dishes. One of my winter favorites is a creamy vegetable soup that has the “comfort food” taste & texture of mashed potatoes, but it also has quite a bit of protein & veggies. With a little creativity, you can modify a lot of dishes. Let me know if you want some ideas!

    ~ Denise

  7. @aHappyPace says:

    Seriously, if you've been following me, you KNOW you can do it. It's not that hard. Don't make it complicated. Eat veggies and rule the world. πŸ™‚

  8. David H. says:

    I did a "meatless" February a couple of years ago and then followed it up by doing it for Lent. When I said I would still eat fish someone scolded me … then someone politely helped me learn the word "pescetarian." Basically it's giving up meat besides fish. I learned a lot in that time frame, giving myself a chance to learn how to eat and prepare new foods. But, alas, steaks and hamburgers are good, so I didn't keep that going behind the time I committed to it.

  9. SuperBabe says:

    I've given up meat (except for fish, I don't feel too bad for most fish – I'm a pescetarian I guess, but it's such a pain to say that that I just say I don't eat meat but will eat fish :D) for almost 6 years now… surely you can do it for 40 days! πŸ™‚

    I have given up soda, cheese, chocolate, and bread for lent in years past. It's tough but I usually do it as a "cleansing" solution and, for the most part, it's worked well. Somewhere I read that it takes 28 days to form (and destroy) an addiction, so 40 should only work better! πŸ™‚

    As for dishes, if you do decide to eat fish, it's simple. If not, you can still have some yummy things that don't involve tofu. Butternut squash spinash ricotta lasagna, vegetable lasagna, (and other pasta dishes), quinoa and bean salads, grilled cheese/avocado sandwiches; you can do MorningStar/Boca burgers (and they are yummy; they also have "crumbles" and "meat balls" that you can use as you would use them in regular dishes, I use them mostly with pasta), falafel, grapeleaves (stuffed with rice) and hummus are good options, burritos are too as someone pointed out before, quesadillas with cheese and roasted veggies…

    • I think I should just come to your house for dinner! Or eat out at our favoriate Lebanese place …. I use Morningstar “burgers” now. I used to use the crumbles but I haven't seen them in a while — I will look harder at the grocery store this week.

  10. GiGiEatsCelebrities says:

    So would you be giving up fish as well then? If you can muster it, you can certainly try it out, just as long as you at least keep eggs in your diet, because while you can certainly get protein on a vegetarian diet, eggs are probably the best source! If you're heart is set on going meat-free for Lent, then go for it!

  11. Tina says:

    I've never been one to give up anything food related for Lent (because past eating issues) but I think if it feels placed on your heart and is something that will bring you closer to God in some way, then go for it!

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