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Create your own Fasting Guidelines!

IsmiLiora

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Now, a disclaimer before I start: This thread is supposed to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek (with a serious discussion of food culture all over the world). I don't think we should necessarily change the fasting guidelines.


One of orthonorm's posts in another thread finally spurred me to make this topic, although I had been thinking about it since Lent. Although we have the fasting guidelines about specific foods, there are also some "General rules" that people ascribe to the fast:
-You shouldn't worry so much about it
-If you're spending double the amount of money or taking much longer to cook the food, you're missing the point
-Stop reading the ingredient list past the first 3 or so (thanks to our culture of processed foods)
-Probably shouldn't eat junk food, even though it may be Lenten approved
-If it tastes good, be careful

If anyone has any other rules, please feel free to add to the list.


When I was talking to my priest, I said that it was funny that we are supposed to be fasting, although where I'm from, shellfish is seen as an indulgence food. It's something you spring for at a fancy restaurant. I make variations on Filipino dishes and usually use beef or chicken, shellfish rarely. It's a treat.

I felt weird eating shrimp during fasting periods, since that's normally an indulgence. However, I became sick of seeing or eating any shellfish after Lent, so perhaps that did the trick.

Based on your culture or your own perception of food, what would you additionally ban from the fast or add back into it? Like I said, tongue in cheek.

I would probably "ban":
-Chocolate in most forms (downing a whole chocolate bar, chocolate cake, etc. Can be done vegan. Vegan chocolate chip cookies are DELICIOUS.)
-Potato chips of any kind (probably banned if you're a Nazi about the oil part of it)
-Soda (I'd probably cry all throughout Lent)
-Coffee (Now all of you can cry, too. This is a response to our people who have Starbucks refilling their IVs with coffee drinks)


Now, am I being bourgeois by adding foods to the list, because we can generally afford to in the American culture? What about other cultures with access to less of these items, and less food in general? Does each culture's perception of an indulgence matter? Should we individually identify our weaknesses and keep away from our favorite foods during fasting periods?

Questions, questions...
 

orthonorm

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IsmiLiora said:
Now, am I being bourgeois by adding foods to the list, because we can generally afford to in the American culture?
Yes and it is absolutely appropriate to do.

The vegan chocolate cake place also makes great soups, hand made each day. Up to eight different, with at least four being vegan. All delicious.

I bet no one in my parish would bat an eye at eating those soups, since they attempt in recipe exchanges to attempt to create "yummy" lenten foods.

I pass, most of the time.

I find discipline easier to keep the less you "bend" the rules a little. A great coconut curry lentil soup that is very savory is just going to make passing up something similar which is not lenten all that much harder when there are no "yummy" choices.

Maybe others can shift gear much easier.

A perfect example. There is fantastically delicious dark chocolate almond milk out there. Really, it is great, better than the coconut stuff. It is completely lenten. I drink it now and then. But I drink the whole container and guess what? The next day I am dying for a chocolate malt.

I think on the internet we can speak very frankly and ought to.

And keeping closer to lenten eating all the time helps. Sorta like have very cool AC makes a hot day seem all the more miserable when you leave indoors.

But I am just a catechumen. But one with experience having to discipline myself severely dietwise at times for sport. Never stopped the liquor back then though. //:=)

FWIW.






 

Shanghaiski

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Yeah, when we try to expand the rules of the fast, we descend into madness. Rule expansion almost always happens because of the imbalances of converts, as does paranoia about ingredients.
 

Second Chance

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I do share your general approach.  But, I think it is just as important that we try to follow the fasting regimen practiced in our jurisdiction and even in the local parish because submission to a fasting regimen is at least as important as the regimen itself. The problem with picking and choosing (I am guilty of this because I tend to gluttony) is that it keeps us in control.
 

IsmiLiora

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Don't worry, I'm not trying to get too crazy about this! And I do understand the reasoning behind meat, wine, oil, etc. Just thinking about it from the lens of my own culture.

I've wondered about permitting items such as Mac&Cheese (the Kraft fake-y stuff) and canned chicken and fish, which are cheap and the food that so-called "lower class people" eat. To many of us, it would be deprivation, cheap, and easy to cook (or not cook, just scoop it out of the can with a cracker). Problem is that I have a complete weakness for Spam, and I'm sure that people love the horror that is Kraft Mac&Cheese. But for me, a bowl of veggies and rice is comfort food, so we're not going to win in trying to "deprive" everyone.

However, I met some people who grew up around WWII and one mentioned that he had to eat a lot of Spam. It would truly be a fast for him to have that as his only meat option!

And oh, vegan chocolate cake, take me away! That really sounds like it would be divine. Vegan ice cream is also delicious. I could finish the coconut milk/chocolate ice cream in one sitting. I don't make it a habit, but I just pretty much stay away from soy/almond/coconut/whatever milk or ice cream because I'm lactose intolerant and have to drink those, anyway!
 

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Once during my first lent, my priest took his family and I to wendy's on the way back from mission vespers.  We all had a fish sandwich, and I asked "but isn't the batter the fish is fried in dairy-based?"  lol, he told me not to worry about it, and joked that I ruined Wendy's for him  :laugh:

If we obsess about this, which us nutty converts who no one likes tend to do from time to time, we will go crazy and end up eating tree bark or something.

It's the intent that matters.

As converts, I think that we should just keep our mouths shut from time to time :)
 

Second Chance

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trevor72694 said:
As converts, I think that we should just keep our mouths shut from time to time :)
No my friend; that would be like telling our kids to shut up. First, they will not do it. Second, it may hurt their soul. Third, who says that cradles are always correct?
 

Punch

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If I were made the "Pope of Fasting", there would be no prohibitions on what was eaten passed what is scripturally (New Testament) prohibited.  I would regulate the number of meals (such as one meal during the day after sundown) and suggest that each Christian take their weekly food budget and halve it, giving that half in alms.  Of course, that would satisfy the intent of the fast and not give people something to obsess about and get all nitpicky.  Consequently, it will never happen.
 

Shanghaiski

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Fasting is not about money. Fasting is not about money. Fasting is not about money.

I wrote it thrice for emphasis.

Besides, dry beans and rice are still cheaper than processed, canned meat.
 

trevor72694

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Punch said:
If I were made the "Pope of Fasting", there would be no prohibitions on what was eaten passed what is scripturally (New Testament) prohibited.  I would regulate the number of meals (such as one meal during the day after sundown) and suggest that each Christian take their weekly food budget and halve it, giving that half in alms.  Of course, that would satisfy the intent of the fast and not give people something to obsess about and get all nitpicky.  Consequently, it will never happen.
sounds good to me  ;)
 

IsmiLiora

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trevor72694 said:
As converts, I think that we should just keep our mouths shut from time to time :)
I'm sure that you meant that kindly, but I do want to state again for the record that I am not actually encouraging changing the fasting guidelines at all. I'm trying to open a broader discussion about what constitutes fasting and whether that differs to different people, cultures, since people differ on how they view fasting. Some people are strictly within the food guidelines but eat as much as they normally do. Some people fry their vegetables in a little oil but don't eat much else. It's different for everyone.

And Shanghaiski, true about the beans and rice. Meat is still meat, and even though I don't like canned meat, I would rather take that option over not eating meat.
 

trevor72694

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IsmiLiora said:
trevor72694 said:
As converts, I think that we should just keep our mouths shut from time to time :)
I'm sure that you meant that kindly, but I do want to state again for the record that I am not actually encouraging changing the fasting guidelines at all. I'm trying to open a broader discussion about what constitutes fasting and whether that differs to different people, cultures, since people differ on how they view fasting. Some people are strictly within the food guidelines but eat as much as they normally do. Some people fry their vegetables in a little oil but don't eat much else. It's different for everyone.

And Shanghaiski, true about the beans and rice. Meat is still meat, and even though I don't like canned meat, I would rather take that option over not eating meat.
I was only kidding  ;)
 

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trevor72694 said:
Once during my first lent, my priest took his family and I to wendy's on the way back from mission vespers.  We all had a fish sandwich, and I asked "but isn't the batter the fish is fried in dairy-based?"   lol, he told me not to worry about it, and joked that I ruined Wendy's for him  :laugh:
One time after a Divine Liturgy in the middle of Lent, the priest made an announcement to remind the people only to bring Lenten foods to coffee hour.  At this church, people generally brought food they bought or prepared themselves to coffee hour to share with others.  In this announcement, he reminded people that “Dunkin Donuts” are Lenten and so are okay to bring.  I thought to myself, “there’s no way donuts are Lenten!” but I wanted to check into this because I would be very surprised if this were true (though it doesn’t really matter to me since I don’t like or eat donuts).  So, I went to the Dunkin Donuts website and looked at the ingredient lists for donuts and found that milk and eggs are in the batter of every donut!  I honestly do not know what the priest was thinking, or where his information came from about Dunkin Donuts, but I decided to keep the information to myself.  I could imagine bringing this to the priest’s attention and having him announce after the next Divine Liturgy, “Jason has kindly brought it to our attention that donuts are not in fact Lenten and are not permissible at coffee hour.”  I doubt I would have been thanked for relieving so many people of the consolation of a weekly donut in Lent!      
 

IsmiLiora

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Lol sorry, I'm a little jumpy. I was afraid that this thread was going to be taken the wrong way, but I have been wanting to discuss it for months.
 

Punch

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Shanghaiski said:
Fasting is not about money. Fasting is not about money. Fasting is not about money.

I wrote it thrice for emphasis.

Besides, dry beans and rice are still cheaper than processed, canned meat.
Time is money, too.  And yes, everything about "religion" is about money.  Note I wrote "religion" and not God.
 

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IsmiLiora said:
I've wondered about permitting items such as Mac&Cheese (the Kraft fake-y stuff) and canned chicken and fish, which are cheap and the food that so-called "lower class people" eat. To many of us, it would be deprivation, cheap, and easy to cook (or not cook, just scoop it out of the can with a cracker).
Punch said:
suggest that each Christian take their weekly food budget and halve it, giving that half in alms.
How would rules such as these be applied for those (who either don't have the money, or do have the money and just choose not to spend it on food for whatever reason they should choose) who would typically eat ramen noodles and canned tuna fairly often and mostly eat out only when restrained by time and even then it's something off the dollar menu?
 

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Second Chance said:
trevor72694 said:
As converts, I think that we should just keep our mouths shut from time to time :)
No my friend; that would be like telling our kids to shut up. First, they will not do it. Second, it may hurt their soul. Third, who says that cradles are always correct?
Whoa . . . some parents allow their kids to speak? Well that explains a lot. [wish it were a non-Hitler]
 

orthonorm

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Melodist said:
How would rules such as these be applied for those (who either don't have the money, or do have the money and just choose not to spend it on food for whatever reason they should choose) who would typically eat ramen noodles and canned tuna fairly often and mostly eat out only when restrained by time and even then it's something off the dollar menu?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inedia
 

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I'm normally a vegan all the time, so I guess for Lent I would have to eat meat?  :eek:
 

Second Chance

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OK, I'll get back to the topic. Nobody has said a word about rice and lentils. I am positively astonished that folks do not care for this super dish.
 

Shanghaiski

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Second Chance said:
OK, I'll get back to the topic. Nobody has said a word about rice and lentils. I am positively astonished that folks do not care for this super dish.
Food is only Lenten if it makes you suffer for your sins. This is why, once a year, my former roommates used to go to Long John Silver's.
 

Punch

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Shanghaiski said:
Second Chance said:
OK, I'll get back to the topic. Nobody has said a word about rice and lentils. I am positively astonished that folks do not care for this super dish.
Food is only Lenten if it makes you suffer for your sins. This is why, once a year, my former roommates used to go to Long John Silver's.
That is a good one!
 

Alveus Lacuna

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Punch said:
If I were made the "Pope of Fasting", there would be no prohibitions on what was eaten passed what is scripturally (New Testament) prohibited.
Residual Lutheranism?

By the way, would that include the New Testament prohibition against eating meat with the blood still in it? Because I love my beef rare. If I had to have everything well-done, I might just go vegetarian anyway.
 

Punch

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Alveus Lacuna said:
Punch said:
If I were made the "Pope of Fasting", there would be no prohibitions on what was eaten passed what is scripturally (New Testament) prohibited.
Residual Lutheranism?

By the way, would that include the New Testament prohibition against eating meat with the blood still in it? Because I love my beef rare. If I had to have everything well-done, I might just go vegetarian anyway.
When I converted, my priest knew that I was German.  So he made sure to tell me that blood was off the menue.  That is one fasting guideling that I have never had a problem meeting.
 

orthonorm

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Alveus Lacuna said:
Punch said:
If I were made the "Pope of Fasting", there would be no prohibitions on what was eaten passed what is scripturally (New Testament) prohibited.
Residual Lutheranism?

By the way, would that include the New Testament prohibition against eating meat with the blood still in it? Because I love my beef rare. If I had to have everything well-done, I might just go vegetarian anyway.
Ain't no blood in there no matter how raw you eat it.
 

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This is what I usually wind up having:

Fish sandwiches
Veggie sandwiches (I like to make them on flatbread)
Rice
Double noodle soup (no meat). I love noodle soup!
Bagels
Peanut butter & jelly
Veggie Indian heat-up dinners
Pasta (plain)
Green beans (as a side dish)
Broccoli (I like broccoli)
Fruit-flavored Italian ices (hey, they're dairy-free!)
Jelly beans (likewise)

 

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jah777 said:
trevor72694 said:
Once during my first lent, my priest took his family and I to wendy's on the way back from mission vespers.  We all had a fish sandwich, and I asked "but isn't the batter the fish is fried in dairy-based?"   lol, he told me not to worry about it, and joked that I ruined Wendy's for him  :laugh:
One time after a Divine Liturgy in the middle of Lent, the priest made an announcement to remind the people only to bring Lenten foods to coffee hour.  At this church, people generally brought food they bought or prepared themselves to coffee hour to share with others.  In this announcement, he reminded people that “Dunkin Donuts” are Lenten and so are okay to bring.  I thought to myself, “there’s no way donuts are Lenten!” but I wanted to check into this because I would be very surprised if this were true (though it doesn’t really matter to me since I don’t like or eat donuts).  So, I went to the Dunkin Donuts website and looked at the ingredient lists for donuts and found that milk and eggs are in the batter of every donut!  I honestly do not know what the priest was thinking, or where his information came from about Dunkin Donuts, but I decided to keep the information to myself.  I could imagine bringing this to the priest’s attention and having him announce after the next Divine Liturgy, “Jason has kindly brought it to our attention that donuts are not in fact Lenten and are not permissible at coffee hour.”  I doubt I would have been thanked for relieving so many people of the consolation of a weekly donut in Lent!      
Isn't that kind of legalistic though? Its reminding me of Orthodox Judaism and I think I'm going to have a panic attack,. lol!
 

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Melodist said:
IsmiLiora said:
I've wondered about permitting items such as Mac&Cheese (the Kraft fake-y stuff) and canned chicken and fish, which are cheap and the food that so-called "lower class people" eat. To many of us, it would be deprivation, cheap, and easy to cook (or not cook, just scoop it out of the can with a cracker).
Punch said:
suggest that each Christian take their weekly food budget and halve it, giving that half in alms.
How would rules such as these be applied for those (who either don't have the money, or do have the money and just choose not to spend it on food for whatever reason they should choose) who would typically eat ramen noodles and canned tuna fairly often and mostly eat out only when restrained by time and even then it's something off the dollar menu?
There must be a fifty-cent menu somewhere.
 

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Xenia1918 said:
jah777 said:
trevor72694 said:
Once during my first lent, my priest took his family and I to wendy's on the way back from mission vespers.  We all had a fish sandwich, and I asked "but isn't the batter the fish is fried in dairy-based?"   lol, he told me not to worry about it, and joked that I ruined Wendy's for him  :laugh:
One time after a Divine Liturgy in the middle of Lent, the priest made an announcement to remind the people only to bring Lenten foods to coffee hour.  At this church, people generally brought food they bought or prepared themselves to coffee hour to share with others.  In this announcement, he reminded people that “Dunkin Donuts” are Lenten and so are okay to bring.  I thought to myself, “there’s no way donuts are Lenten!” but I wanted to check into this because I would be very surprised if this were true (though it doesn’t really matter to me since I don’t like or eat donuts).  So, I went to the Dunkin Donuts website and looked at the ingredient lists for donuts and found that milk and eggs are in the batter of every donut!  I honestly do not know what the priest was thinking, or where his information came from about Dunkin Donuts, but I decided to keep the information to myself.  I could imagine bringing this to the priest’s attention and having him announce after the next Divine Liturgy, “Jason has kindly brought it to our attention that donuts are not in fact Lenten and are not permissible at coffee hour.”  I doubt I would have been thanked for relieving so many people of the consolation of a weekly donut in Lent!      
Isn't that kind of legalistic though? Its reminding me of Orthodox Judaism and I think I'm going to have a panic attack,. lol!
Each convert will find something in Orthodoxy to remind them of their old faith. This should not be a cause to freak out, for Pete's sake.
 

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Shanghaiski said:
Fasting is not about money. Fasting is not about money. Fasting is not about money.
I disagree. While it certainly isn't the primary emphasis, there is a money factor. It was pointed out to me that part of the reasoning behind what foods are Lenten and which are not is down to money. In ancient times, shellfish was common in the Mediterranean, it was often thrown out by fishermen and left for the poor--on the flip side, meat proper was quite expensive. So by avoiding expensive foods and opting for less expensive alternatives, a person who was fasting would have more more for alms and such. No, it is not entirely about money; but fasting has some aspects which lead itself to impacting monetary matters--or at least that was the original intent.

Fasting does not take place in a vacuum.
 

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Taco Bell in some places has potato tacos and bean burritos, and those are usually about a buck each.  :)
 

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biro said:
Taco Bell in some places has potato tacos and bean burritos, and those are usually about a buck each.  :)
Well, you get what you pay for...and what you get sometimes ain't so good for the digestive tract. :eek:
 

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I always wondered if it was okay to order the beef burrito at Taco Bell since most of it's not beef, anyway.  :laugh:
 

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Now, am I being bourgeois by adding foods to the list, because we can generally afford to in the American culture?
Most likely you are. How else would you have discovered Orthodoxy in this land? It's almost a pre-requisite.
 

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we (oriental orthodox) don't get to eat shellfish during lent.
which doesn't bother me, coz i am allergic anyway.
but we can eat (non-olive) oil all through lent.
though occasionally i try dry-frying onions and cooking veg without oil, just to show unity with the eastern orthodox  ;)

i think the main thing is to give up meat and fancy expensive food and to spend more time praying than thinking about what you will cook! tinned egyptian beans (foul medammes) help me with that, and you could use fat-free beans if you needed to, or some lentils with veg (very nutritious).
as for vegans, you can give up oil on no-oil days, avoid eating till the afternoon when you can and pray a lot.
maybe also some people could give up alcohol (in the coptic church not many people drink anyway, and certainly not during lent)
and we can all 'fast' from swearing, hating people, criticizing and trying to get our own way
:)

when does saint mary's fast start on the new calendar? we start 8th august.
happy fast  :)
 

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I wonder if it's telling the way we so frequently try to find excuses for not keeping the traditional rules.

Firstly, no one is compelling you to eat shellfish, vegan chocolate cake, or any other "indulgent" fasting food on fast days. As St Paul said, "All things are permitted me, but not all things are needful". If you feel for whatever reason that some calamari fried in peanut oil violate the spirit of the fast, don't eat them. But I don't see how that gives you the license to go and eat mac and cheese, however cheap and Kraft-y it is. It gives you the license to eat boiled lentils with raw onions and vinegar, or whatever you feel is appropriate.

I'll be honest and admit I don't totally understand the rationale behind the traditional rules. I know that in ancient medical wisdom, eating the flesh or products of "higher" animals (animals with backbones and red blood) had an actual physiological effect on your body, making you more prone to feelings of anger, lust or whatever. Personally, I have not found this to be the case, and I don't know of any scientific studies to support this notion. But to me, the value in the fasting rules is forcing me to restrict what I eat, and to be grateful for what I am allowed to eat, as opposed to eating just what I please. I am happy to accept the traditional rules on faith, because I know that when I try to find excuses for disobeying the traditional rules, I am simply seeking excuses for excuses in sin.
 

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Jonathan Gress said:
I wonder if it's telling the way we so frequently try to find excuses for not keeping the traditional rules.

Firstly, no one is compelling you to eat shellfish, vegan chocolate cake, or any other "indulgent" fasting food on fast days. As St Paul said, "All things are permitted me, but not all things are needful". If you feel for whatever reason that some calamari fried in peanut oil violate the spirit of the fast, don't eat them. But I don't see how that gives you the license to go and eat mac and cheese, however cheap and Kraft-y it is. It gives you the license to eat boiled lentils with raw onions and vinegar, or whatever you feel is appropriate.

I'll be honest and admit I don't totally understand the rationale behind the traditional rules. I know that in ancient medical wisdom, eating the flesh or products of "higher" animals (animals with backbones and red blood) had an actual physiological effect on your body, making you more prone to feelings of anger, lust or whatever. Personally, I have not found this to be the case, and I don't know of any scientific studies to support this notion. But to me, the value in the fasting rules is forcing me to restrict what I eat, and to be grateful for what I am allowed to eat, as opposed to eating just what I please. I am happy to accept the traditional rules on faith, because I know that when I try to find excuses for disobeying the traditional rules, I am simply seeking excuses for excuses in sin.
Enjoy your lobster and shrimp then.
 

ialmisry

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jah777 said:
trevor72694 said:
Once during my first lent, my priest took his family and I to wendy's on the way back from mission vespers.  We all had a fish sandwich, and I asked "but isn't the batter the fish is fried in dairy-based?"   lol, he told me not to worry about it, and joked that I ruined Wendy's for him  :laugh:
One time after a Divine Liturgy in the middle of Lent, the priest made an announcement to remind the people only to bring Lenten foods to coffee hour.  At this church, people generally brought food they bought or prepared themselves to coffee hour to share with others.  In this announcement, he reminded people that “Dunkin Donuts” are Lenten and so are okay to bring.  I thought to myself, “there’s no way donuts are Lenten!” but I wanted to check into this because I would be very surprised if this were true (though it doesn’t really matter to me since I don’t like or eat donuts).  So, I went to the Dunkin Donuts website and looked at the ingredient lists for donuts and found that milk and eggs are in the batter of every donut!  I honestly do not know what the priest was thinking, or where his information came from about Dunkin Donuts, but I decided to keep the information to myself.  I could imagine bringing this to the priest’s attention and having him announce after the next Divine Liturgy, “Jason has kindly brought it to our attention that donuts are not in fact Lenten and are not permissible at coffee hour.”  I doubt I would have been thanked for relieving so many people of the consolation of a weekly donut in Lent!      
And here I thought the Pharisees had died out.
 

Jonathan Gress

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ialmisry said:
Jonathan Gress said:
I wonder if it's telling the way we so frequently try to find excuses for not keeping the traditional rules.

Firstly, no one is compelling you to eat shellfish, vegan chocolate cake, or any other "indulgent" fasting food on fast days. As St Paul said, "All things are permitted me, but not all things are needful". If you feel for whatever reason that some calamari fried in peanut oil violate the spirit of the fast, don't eat them. But I don't see how that gives you the license to go and eat mac and cheese, however cheap and Kraft-y it is. It gives you the license to eat boiled lentils with raw onions and vinegar, or whatever you feel is appropriate.

I'll be honest and admit I don't totally understand the rationale behind the traditional rules. I know that in ancient medical wisdom, eating the flesh or products of "higher" animals (animals with backbones and red blood) had an actual physiological effect on your body, making you more prone to feelings of anger, lust or whatever. Personally, I have not found this to be the case, and I don't know of any scientific studies to support this notion. But to me, the value in the fasting rules is forcing me to restrict what I eat, and to be grateful for what I am allowed to eat, as opposed to eating just what I please. I am happy to accept the traditional rules on faith, because I know that when I try to find excuses for disobeying the traditional rules, I am simply seeking excuses for excuses in sin.
Enjoy your lobster and shrimp then.
I will, thank you. Enjoy your lentils.
 
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