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Lenten fast questions


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#21 Nina

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 10:46 AM

Dear Cristina,

as Robert and Effie and others say please consult your spiritual father/priest (where you confess). Not only the ill should consult the spiritual father about their fasting. The healthy too should. Since what is important is the blessing one receives. Through our spiritual father's blessing we receive the blessing from God and all things are blessed and we fear nothing.

Andreas: you are right about the oil's surfeiting quality. I also have read from Fathers that oils and water even make the belly full and make the prostrations difficult. However as always we must receive blessing for such asceticism. Since the purpose of fasting is not to do more harm than good. As a Father said we must not fast more than we can handle since we may cause physical weakness that will make us break the fast altogether. Therefore we need to ask the blessing of our spiritual father after we have discussed with him our spiritual and physical state and health.

Edited by Nina, 13 March 2008 - 05:26 PM.


#22 Nina

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 05:24 PM

Oil also makes food more heavy which is not good for a prayerful disposition at any time. Talk of oil amuses me. Being brought up in a small industrial town in the north of England in the 1950's and 60's, I had no idea about oil, olive or otherwise, which we did not have for cooking or at all. Vegetables were boiled and that was that. I never tasted oilve oil until I was about 21 and had met sophisticated people at university. Years ago, I read about an Athonite monk who said he'd not had oil for 11 years. My reaction was, so what?!


Andreas, but for an Athonite monk, who is surrounded by olive trees and quality olive oil, it is indeed a sacrifice. It is nothing when we do not know things. But to have tasted them and practice self-restrain, when these things are very much available and accessible, it is another thing. This is also the idea of fasting.

#23 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 07:07 PM

Something that is very nutritous and also fun is juicing various fruits and vegetables. You get a lot of vitamins and minerals and it is so easy to do. There are lots of recipes available on the Internet.

One that I especially love is 1 orange, 1 apple, a medium sized piece of pineapple and a little ginger. Try it. You will love it.

I remembered the above because of Andreas' "smoothie type fruit drinks".

Effie

Edited by Effie Ganatsios, 13 March 2008 - 07:08 PM.
spelling


#24 Cristina Novakovic

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 12:26 AM

Thank you all. I will try the smoothies :-)

I see what you mean by the spirit of fasting and also asking for blessing to fast. I never thought of that, thinking that we all have to fast anyway. Especially if we are healthy. My mom would love to read your posts, as she is always very worried about my health (doctor's professional obsession). I will talk to my spiritual father.

#25 Anna J.

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 09:19 PM

Yeah, I've got a few questions as well. I'm a college student and can't cook, so it's hard to work through some stuff when you can't read the labels at the dining hall. This is also my first Lent so it's still a bit confusing.

First, how likely is it that bread will have dairy of any sort? I can never tell, mostly because the bread here that is made in the dining hall isn't labeled "vegan." As I've seen "vegan" bread around, I'm a bit frightened as to what most breads may contain. As of late, however, I've just been going with eating that as it's generally good for Lent here. One of my friends noted that the potato bread had milk or something, but beyond that I'm completely ignorant. Even if there's some there, I expect it wouldn't be much.

Second, does oil include all oils (e.g. veggie oil, etc.)? Again, I don't know what stuff around here really contains. I suppose I could ask, but most of the people at the dining hall don't like the would care/know.

Third, I drink a lot of soy milk stuff. Is the cocoa in soy milk bad? It's "technically" vegan, I suppose, but I'm quite paranoid for some reason. A friend and I were trying to figure this out last night and didn't exactly come to a decisive conclusion. For some reason cocoa-flavored stuff didn't seem appropriate. But that's probably a stupid question. Heh.

Forth, if we break these rules due to ignorance of what we're eating (again, the dining hall thing), does that make me a bad person? This, again, is also a stupid question, but I need to know if I have to confess it.

Thankfully the college I go to has a large population of vegans, but it still can be semi-confusing. Things aren't labeled always as they should be, and the wait staff isn't always helpful. I would cook (assuming I could -- I burn toast and make bad Campbell's soup), but it's a tad bit too expensive.

Help is appreciated! I hope all of you are doing well!

In Christ,
Hannah

#26 Cristina Novakovic

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 09:53 PM

First, how likely is it that bread will have dairy of any sort? I can never tell, mostly because the bread here that is made in the dining hall isn't labeled "vegan." As I've seen "vegan" bread around, I'm a bit frightened as to what most breads may contain. As of late, however, I've just been going with eating that as it's generally good for Lent here. One of my friends noted that the potato bread had milk or something, but beyond that I'm completely ignorant. Even if there's some there, I expect it wouldn't be much.

Third, I drink a lot of soy milk stuff. Is the cocoa in soy milk bad? It's "technically" vegan, I suppose, but I'm quite paranoid for some reason. A friend and I were trying to figure this out last night and didn't exactly come to a decisive conclusion. For some reason cocoa-flavored stuff didn't seem appropriate. But that's probably a stupid question. Heh.

Forth, if we break these rules due to ignorance of what we're eating (again, the dining hall thing), does that make me a bad person? This, again, is also a stupid question, but I need to know if I have to confess it.



Dear Hannah,

You just reminded me of my college days in England. Coming from Romania I asked my spiritual father what to do about fasting. He said to fast if I can, but, if not, to just have what is given to me, if there is no other choice. After all, fasting is not only about the food.

In the hall of residence I had to make a choice from the beginning: vegetarian or non-vegetarian. I could not commit to being vegetarian the whole time and this wouldn't have helped greatly anyway, as I needed to go vegan during fasting. So I said I needed to have vegan food twice a week. The worker there looked at me as if I were crazy and answered on a harsh voice: "You either are vegetarian or not! You cannot be vegetarian one day and eat meat the other! Make your choice!" So, I chose non-veg, but on fasting days I would only have the vegetables. Hopefully cooked in oil.

In England potato bread does have milk inside. I would suggest checking the labels in a supermarket. I don't suppose they would buy the fanciest food for the students and the fewer types of ingredients (milk included) a dish contains the cheaper it is. Hence the hope the food at the college wouldn't have much non-vegan stuff. Then again, it's maybe easier to cook with that than without. Could you ask the cooks?

Cristina

#27 Cristina Novakovic

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 10:03 PM

Third, I drink a lot of soy milk stuff. Is the cocoa in soy milk bad? It's "technically" vegan, I suppose, but I'm quite paranoid for some reason. A friend and I were trying to figure this out last night and didn't exactly come to a decisive conclusion. For some reason cocoa-flavored stuff didn't seem appropriate. But that's probably a stupid question. Heh.

Forth, if we break these rules due to ignorance of what we're eating (again, the dining hall thing), does that make me a bad person? This, again, is also a stupid question, but I need to know if I have to confess it.

In Christ,
Hannah


Also, chocolate soy milk is my favourite! This probably breaks the spirit of fasting, since I really give myself to the pleasure of enjoying it :-( I guess this is why it shouldn't be on our shopping list. Plus I've heard that soy is unhealthy, as it contains some hormones or chemicals (don't know if that's true).

You can always talk to your spiritual father about your worries, right? I remember that in the confession prayer there is a passage about the different kinds of sins - what you think, what you say and what you do, the sins we did willingly or unwillingly, the sins that we know we have done and the sins that we are not aware of.

In Christ,
Cristina

#28 Nina

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 10:08 PM

Forth, if we break these rules due to ignorance of what we're eating (again, the dining hall thing), does that make me a bad person? This, again, is also a stupid question, but I need to know if I have to confess it.

In Christ,
Hannah


Count me the badest (through ignorance and knowledge) ever then!

Dear Hannah, do not worry. Important is the good intent you have. Your heart is what God sees and then also your trying. :) There are Fathers here that would give you very wonderful advise. In my humble opinion ask also your spiritual father/priest when you go to confession (or maybe make a short appointment to receive pastoral advise whenever you need it). I am so happy to read all your questions because it shows how much heart you are putting in it and only that is enough to make my attempts at fasting look so pathetic! Have a blessed 1st Lent! :) or Kali Teserakosti! or Kali Sarakosti! :) Please keep us in your prayers.

#29 Misha

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Posted 15 March 2008 - 12:52 AM

Dear Hanna ,Great Lent's diet is a 50 day vegetarian diet.
It's quite simple ,no?
I wish you ll enjoy your first Lent!
please remember us in your prayers!

#30 Anna J.

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Posted 15 March 2008 - 04:21 AM

Dear Hannah,

You just reminded me of my college days in England. Coming from Romania I asked my spiritual father what to do about fasting. He said to fast if I can, but, if not, to just have what is given to me, if there is no other choice. After all, fasting is not only about the food.

In the hall of residence I had to make a choice from the beginning: vegetarian or non-vegetarian. I could not commit to being vegetarian the whole time and this wouldn't have helped greatly anyway, as I needed to go vegan during fasting. So I said I needed to have vegan food twice a week. The worker there looked at me as if I were crazy and answered on a harsh voice: "You either are vegetarian or not! You cannot be vegetarian one day and eat meat the other! Make your choice!" So, I chose non-veg, but on fasting days I would only have the vegetables. Hopefully cooked in oil.

In England potato bread does have milk inside. I would suggest checking the labels in a supermarket. I don't suppose they would buy the fanciest food for the students and the fewer types of ingredients (milk included) a dish contains the cheaper it is. Hence the hope the food at the college wouldn't have much non-vegan stuff. Then again, it's maybe easier to cook with that than without. Could you ask the cooks?

Cristina


Yeah, I feel as if I fail on focusing on both. :-/

LOL, that sounds like college dining! Were you able to explain to them why you needed to go vegan? I usually try to stick with the salad bar on those days. Praise God for dining halls that are at least semi-accepting to vegetarianism/veganism!

Yeah, that's what one of my friends said. Also, I think what is typically meant by "vegan" is that there's no light brushing of butter or whatever on the top of the bread. I guess I'll look for the least buttered bread or something? Yeah, perhaps I'll ask. Good idea.

Chocolate soy milk is delightful! Soy is alright in some ways; however, supposedly the estrogen it contains can cause issues. On the other hand, there really isn't much to worry about, as the amount of soy taken in by most people isn't high enough to have a large enough boost of estrogen to be detrimental. Otherwise, I don't really know what else is bad about soy. But I agree: I almost feel like I shouldn't be enjoying it!

Cristina, thank you for your help and advice. :-)

In Christ,
Hannah

#31 Anna J.

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Posted 15 March 2008 - 04:29 AM

Count me the badest (through ignorance and knowledge) ever then!

Dear Hannah, do not worry. Important is the good intent you have. Your heart is what God sees and then also your trying. :) There are Fathers here that would give you very wonderful advise. In my humble opinion ask also your spiritual father/priest when you go to confession (or maybe make a short appointment to receive pastoral advise whenever you need it). I am so happy to read all your questions because it shows how much heart you are putting in it and only that is enough to make my attempts at fasting look so pathetic! Have a blessed 1st Lent! :) or Kali Teserakosti! or Kali Sarakosti! :) Please keep us in your prayers.


No, no, I'm the worst of sinners. I wish my intent was more pure... :-(

Yeah, I was thinking of doing that this weekend since I just got back home for spring break. There were a few great articles on OrthodoxInfo and other sites that were quite helpful as well.

Thank you! I honored to have received such lovely advice! If only my heart were truly pure, and I kept the fast with more diligence. I'm sure you've done better than I ever could. :-)

May you have a blessed Great Lent as well!

Please remember me in your prayers also. :-)

In Christ,
Hannah

#32 David Naess

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Posted 15 March 2008 - 07:19 AM

Howdy!

My priest gave me a rather stern talking to last night about not
over doing the fast due to the fact that I have multiple medical issues.

Time for me to put a bit of dairy back on my personal "allowable" list.

Reduction rather than total abstention.

Dave

#33 Cristina Novakovic

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 12:17 AM

Dear Hannah,

Talk about intent. For years I only fasted with the belly.

I abstain from the food, as this is the easiest thing to do. As concerns passions of the soul - they are so difficult to fight with. My worst one is anger, coming from lack of patience with people. And, what's worse, unfaithful people who know I'm fasting will accuse me that I'm like that because of the fasting. Maybe it's true, but for a different reason than what they think. They accuse me and say I am frustrated for the lack of food, while I know it's just temptation.

I hope you have a good time fasting :-) and that you have a wonderful, rewarding Easter!

In Christ,
Cristina

#34 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 10:27 PM

From 1-3 April, I'll be at a conference at Queen's College, Cambridge. On the second evening, there is a formal college dinner. Anyone who has been to a college dinner at Cambridge or Oxford knows what that means! Oh, well - at least I'll have a guilty conscience!




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