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I miss Mardi Gras. I miss being in crowds on Fat Tuesday. I’m hoping for a speedy recovery from the pandemic so we can all congregate again.

After Fat Tuesday, Lent begins. Lent is the 40-day period before Easter when Christians stop eating meat and dairy in remembrance of Jesus’ 40 days of reflection. As a Christian, Lent has meaning to me.

For me, I already don’t eat meat and dairy. My plant-based diet helps reduce chronic diseases, environmental degradation, and animal abuse. Countless reports have linked consumption of animal products with risk of heart failure, stroke, cancer, and other diseases. A U.N. report named meat production as a source of greenhouse gases and water pollution. Investigations have revealed animals raised for food under horrible conditions of caging, crowding, drugging, and mutilation. These actions go against what I believe.

Lent offers an opportunity to honor Jesus’ powerful message of compassion and love for all living beings, stop subsidizing the meat industry, and choose a nonviolent plant-based diet. It’s a diet that goes back to The Bible (Genesis I:29) and observed in the Garden of Eden.

Enter “plant-based Lent” in Google and explore hundreds meat-free recipes.

-Terry Hays, Tillamook 

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