This is Day One of my week-long devotional for the 7-Day Vegan Challenge. You can read about why I’ve undertaken this break from all animal products here. Each day I’m posting a short devotional because my decision to go vegan is informed by my faith, my interpretation of the Bible, and my ecotheological ethics. On this first day of the challenge, I go back to the beginning and draw on Genesis Chapter One for insight.
[What’s the 7-Day Vegan Challenge? Find out here.]
God said, ‘See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. (Genesis 1:29)
In the beginning . . . we were vegan. Apparently God’s original intention for humanity was not to eat meat. God did not butcher an animal and invite Adam and Eve to a barbeque in the garden. Their diet was plant-based.
A naturalist once countered me on this point. He reminded me that there are two kinds of mammals and birds. The ones with their eyes on the side of their heads are the prey. The ones with eyes in the front of their heads are the predators.
Where are humans’ eyes? In the front. That means we were designed to be predators. And our canine teeth indicate that we were meant to be meat-eaters.
All true. But there’s one detail he overlooked. The other thing humans have in the front of their heads is a prefrontal cortex. This means we have the ability to think, reflect, and make choices. We can choose to eat without causing suffering. We can decide to get all of our nutritional needs met through plant-based foods and vitamin and mineral supplements. I’m not saying I’ll always make the best choices. But for this week, I’m trying to be conscious about my food, minimize the pain I cause by my menu, and try more of those nifty plants yielding seed. Today – spaghetti squash and toasted seeds!
On the Menu
I made spaghetti squash for the first time today. While it took a little work to cut open the squash and scoop out the seeds, the cooking was easy. I brushed some olive oil on the two halves, sprinkled them with garlic salt, pepper, and Italian herbs, flipped the ends flat side down and roasted them at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. I even roasted the seeds which were surprisingly nutty and crunchy. Tossed them into to my salad for a bit of protein. When you scoop out the inside of the squash after it’s done, it comes out like rice vermicelli, and it’s delicious. Smothered in sautéed mushroom, onions, peppers, and cherry tomatoes, it was savory and aromatic.
God of Creation, what an amazing thing you have made – plants that can make themselves grow out of nothing but air, soil, water, and light. They eat the suns rays and give of themselves freely for all to enjoy. I tasted some of that sunlight today, God. And it was delicious. Thank you! Amen.
Leah D. Schade is the Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship at Lexington Theological Seminary (Kentucky) and author of the book Creation-Crisis Preaching: Ecology, Theology, and the Pulpit (Chalice Press, 2015). She is an ordained minister in the Lutheran Church (ELCA).