This year, from Valentine’s day to Easter, I deprived myself of an indulgence many Americans value every day.

What prompted me to sacrifice this small pleasure of mine was Lent. Lent is a time of fasting and reflection. Each year when springtime nears, I choose to give up something different; to honor the suffering that Jesus did when he spent 40 days in the wilderness being tempted by Satan.

Collectively, we are always looking for ways to dedicate ourselves to becoming more humane. Just like flowers that grow in the gardens during spring time, we as humans grow as well.

This act of abstinence is important to me. I reflect upon the true abundances in my life and the positive changes that can have an impact beyond the days of Lent. Giving up something and intentionally committing to fill that gap with a positive mannerism is what helps us become a better version of ourselves. Lent is the perfect time to relinquish bad habits and form new practices.

Most people would call this a diet, but I call this sacrifice; I decided I wasn’t going to eat meat products during the Lenten season.

Giving up meat not only has health benefits such as lowering blood pressure, weight loss, and reducing inflammation in the body; it can also make a huge impact on the health of our planet and its inhabitants. Greenhouse gas emissions, water use, pollution, and climate change would decrease if more people reduced their meat intake, therefore supporting a more sustainable agriculture. Adapting to a plant-based diet can help us live a more compassionate life.

Springtime affects our spirit and mind, and we are affected by nature and the evolutionary processes around us. After 40 days, I may or may not adopt a completely meatless diet. However, I will strive to become more meat-conscious, and transition towards a plant-based diet. By doing so, I can ensure that I will be doing my part in helping the earth flourish.