March 6 marked the beginning of Lent, the period before Easter, when devout Christians abstain from animal foods in remembrance of Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the wilderness.
The call to abstain from eating animals is as traditional as Genesis 1:29, yet as current as the teaching of evangelical leader Franklin Graham. Methodist founder John Wesley, Salvation Army pioneers William and Catherine Booth, and Seventh-day Adventist Church founder Ellen White, all followed the divine call. Pope Francis has been offered a one million dollars donation to a charity of his choice to go vegan for Lent.
A plant-based diet is not just about Christian devotion. Dozens of medical studies have linked consumption of animal products with elevated risk of heart failure, stroke, cancer, and other killer diseases. A United Nations report named meat production as the largest source of greenhouse gases and water pollution. Undercover investigations have documented routine mutilation, deprivation, and beating of animals on factory farms.
Today's supermarkets offer a rich array of plant-based meats, milks, cheeses, and ice creams, as well as traditional vegetables, fruits, and grains. Entering "vegan" in our favorite search engine provides lots of suitable products, recipes, and transition tips.