For 44 days I went off meat cold-turkey. I say cold-turkey because when you’ve been eating meat ever since you were introduced to solids – every day of your life – I kid you not, your relationship with the food group goes from being one of nourishment purposes, to addiction.
So this year having recently jumped back on the wagon that is my tumultuous relationship with my Christian faith – I decided to lent (used in a verb form). Mind you I’ve never observed lent before even when things with God were still good.
Inspired by Jesus who went without food for a whole 40 days – I decided that a disciplined abstinence from meat, along with alms giving would be my small contribution towards honoring my savior during the holy time.
In true Thina form I rashly made the decision last minute.com. Exactly on the 1st of April I gave up one of my ultimate pleasures for the next 40 days. Where the faith said Wednesdays and Fridays we could eat fish, and Saturdays and Sundays we could go to town with our menus, I chose the extreme route – no meat every single day.
I was never ready for the withdrawal that ensued.
Now you have to understand – as I said at the beginning, I’ve been eating meat every day for as long as I’ve been eating solids. So from around a year old, til’ this ripe old age of none of your business J I have not gone one day without meat. I was raised by parents who ate meat once or every two months during their impoverished childhoods. Cabbage, wild spinach and maize meal alternated in making appearances at suppertime. So as soon as they could afford to – they went to gout town: Mutton on Mondays; Chicken on Tuesdays; Beef on Wednesdays; Pork on Thursdays; fried Fish & Chips on Fridays; Sausages on Saturday – a spread of two to three meats on Sundays etc. etc. Mind you in between the meat madness – there were sub-meats: burgers, bacon, fish-fingers, ham, meaty spreads, Russian sausages, nuggets, viennas, polony, KFC, you name it, we had it.
In case you didn’t quite get the level of the carnivorousness of my life in the picture I just painted – the fact that I’m of the Zulu tribe should give you some indication.
Our appetite for 2 legged, four legged edible beasts is legendary. In fact a cousin of mine one came up with quite the eloquent saying which sums up this reverence – he said “ A man is made of meat and therefore meat he must eat.” He would usually say this to the sounds of my scolding aunt after he decided that it was perfectly acceptable to have an Eishbein for breakfast. Is the carnage-like pic getting a bit clearer for you?
So, it was inevitable that giving up meat for Lent 2017 would be one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do. Although I’m related to a vegetarian -1 of only 4 black vegetarians that I know in this world – 2 of them being Hollywood celebrities, I was completely clueless about how to go about life without eating meat.
I was so entrenched in my eating that hearing about the racist incident at Spur, and the possibility of having to boycott the chain in solidarity gave me anxiety attacks. Where else could I be served many types of meat on one plate and eata-them-all at once lol? I’m so much of a meat eater that being served a veg meal often has me making a bee-line for the fridge , hunting at least a vianna or worse a slice of polony.
But I survived 🙂
Although I thought about meat EVERY DAY for all 44 days, and at some point Nandos and KFC adverts seemed to literally be following me. I made it. To be honest I cheated a bit, by eating gravy from meat stews (sans the meat) to avoid completely falling off the wagon. And I made it, with quite a radiant complexion too to boot.
Towards the end, when the wheels looked like they were really about to fall off completely, I discovered Frys products. I bought the soy sausages and I have to say they weren’t bad at all. If I was transitioning to vegetarianism – which will NEVER happen, I would definitely stock them up.
Lent passed – as all tough times do eventually, and Easter Sunday arrived on a sunny autumn day. After church – it was time to celebrate the best way I know how 🙂 Man I love me some meat.