It is more or less a vegan fast (with the exception of shellfish, considered a non-luxury food) that lasts for 40 days leading up to Easter, according to the old calendar. Fish, olive oil and alcohol are not permitted (except for a few specified dates).
I am not Orthodox but my father is, and I participated in the Lenten fast about 10 years ago, when Chris and I were first married. He took the plunge right along with me. Lucky groom.
There has been a little back and forth in my mind over the last few days – can I really swing feeding my family while having very specific diet parameters for myself? Is this a healthy thing for me to do?
But this questioning has slowed and I’ve begun to feel a leading that yes, I should begin the fast.
Why am I doing it? As I mentioned, it was more of a leading that brought me to the decision, rather than a formal weighing of the pros and cons. But taking a look at my motivations, I have felt, increasingly over the last several years, that we were designed to fast, in addition (thankfully!) to feasting.
On a spiritual level, particularly in our society of over-abundance, the conscious act of “being without” keeps us in touch with reality. It gives us a glimpse into the “without” that so many people face every day while reminding me of my smallness and ultimately, of my dependance on God.
I also believe that physically, this is best for our bodies. A vegan fast is going to eliminate many of the foods I eat on an almost daily basis, such as chicken broth and eggs. These are nutrient-dense super foods in my mind, but taking breaks from even the healthiest foods is important and can help prevent food sensitivities.
I will also be infusing my diet with a greater variety from the plant kingdom. And I’m really looking forward to this part!
Here are some simple meals I’ll be rotating…
- hummus, pita bread & veggies
- almond butter & jam sandwich
- pasta with tomato sauce (with lots of veggies thrown in)
- shrimp red curry soup
- red coconut curry stir fry
- canned mussels with sprouted toast
- pasta/veggie salad with peanut sauce
Do you fast? Or do you have a desire to? If you have an experience to share, I’d love to hear!