Thursday, November 12, 2009

Nativity Fast Angst

It is upon us once again...the fasting season. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view) I've made lots of really really healthy changes in our diet since last Lent, and now I'm caught flat footed, not knowing what to do or what to feed the kids this Advent season.

So, for this week, I bought all the old usual stuff. Weston A. Price is probably spinning in his grave right about now. I can't help it. I have to get meals on the table and food into some very very picky bellies and it take BABY STEPS at this house! BABY STEPS!

So, what's an Orthodox Christian to eat if soy anything is totally off the table? No margarine, friends. No tofutti, no boca burgurs, no TVP or Tofu or any of that stuff.

I hate to say it, but I did buy corn chips and lots and lots of things like canned beans, salsa and corn, chiles, etc.

I know, I should be doing my own beans, from scratch. Maybe in a week or so I'llo ramp up to that. Meanwhile we compromise.

And lots of Alaskan canned salmon. Mmmm, Alaska. If I can't go there, I can at least eat some fish from there.

I also decided to try the Barilla high protein pasta. Hopefully that won't get rejected by the ueber-picky crowd.

And I bought fish sticks. Hangs head in shame. Yes, I'm human.

And so it goes. Instead of blogging about all the horrid things I did get, I should be writing about all the even worse things I did not get, like crackers, grahams, sugary canned fruit and oreos or ramen noodles. Yes, those are "lenten". Ha!

Am I the only one, or do others feel like any sort of health and nutrition goes out the window during fasting periods? Or is it just becuase I'm somewhat carbohydrate intolerant and the mere reading of the upcoming menu makes me sick to my stomach?

And on top of all that, Bethany's on the GAPS diet. Fuuuun cooking MPD for a few weeks. This is my cross. I take it up. I will follow.


Xenia Kathryn said...

Hey Alana,
I try to avoid soy "fake" foods and tons of carbs during fasting periods, too. Of course, I can't help if more beans and bread are in our menu, but I try to ration them.
I substitute coconut oil for any recipe that calls for margarine. If you are cooking or baking, it's a nice choice. Buttering bread or pasta? Not so much :) Also, have you seen Elana's Pantry? I think it's Anyways, she has some GREAT recipes (my sister Carrie aka "Organic Thrifty" clued me in on her, if that is any indication). She has a lot of gluten free, dairy free recipes and you could even substitute eggs in the recipes with the flax seed meal/water combo.
Some of our favorite lenten foods with healthy fats are flax meal, shrimp, salmon (like you mentioned) when permitted, avocados, almonds, cashews, coconut oil,.. and if you have access to brown rice noodles, they are a nice trade for wheat noodles (or spaghetti squash is great and GAPS friendly too).
OTher than that? Veggies, veggies, yum yum yum! :) Hehehe.
I always panic before fasting seasons too... NOT again! Lord have mercy-- here's to being happy meal planners :D Cheers!

Marigold said...

I figured I had better actually make some sort of plan this year too, otherwise falling off the lenten perch is inevitable, because I'm a) very disorganised, b) very poor, and c) vegetarian. So my rough draft consists of things like noodles and stirfry vegetables, tabouleh, pasta with pesto / tomato sauce, chickpeas and kidney beans with various dressings, soups - winter vegetable / tomato / mushroom.

Just a lot of vegetables in different shapes :) Although relying on porridge and toast with peanut butter etc. for breakfast.

It's not perfect, but it'll do. Not sure what your special diets exclude, but sticking with pretty basic stuff is fine, right? Even the point of lenten cooking... :)

Best wishes for the fast!

x M.

(BTW, in my book, canned beans etc. are fine! All my beans and soups will be. Stress not.)

Alana said...

Thanks for the tips, Xenia Kathryn. Yes, coconut oil. Have on my shopping list to pick up a bunch at whole foods.

Thanks for reminding me about avocados. And Almonds. (Allergic to cashes, peanuts, pecans...but almonds I can do.)

I need to get it through my thick skull that fasting involves some real, honest to goodness doing without, and not just substitutions.

Say a prayer for me.

Amy said...

I keep trying to remind myself of these things, too. Millions upon millions of Orthodox Christians have fasted for two thousand years without ever hearing of soy milk or TVP. They didn't substitute...they just ate less!!! That boggles my mind, and the fact that it so outside of my reality really causes me to stop and think. I've been Orthodox for just a few years, but if I'm honest, I don't think I've ever truly fasted. I've served my families hollow imitations of food in the name of Lenten-ness. We've keep the letter of the law but come nowhere near the spirit of the fast. That is unacceptable to me.

I really, really want to greet this fasting time as an opportunity to attack my food issues head on. Once and for all. Not hide behind substitutes. I'm still trying to figure out the best way of doing that without causing a mutiny in my house, though!

We ought to start a recipe blog of real food Lenten recipes. No fake food ingredients allowed. I'd love to see that!

Christina said...

My husband has celiac's so he is Gluten Free. we are trying oldest son gluten free. i have been mostly gluten free for a few months and youngest son is gluten free by default.
We do lots of beans. vegetable soups. potato soups. GF noodle salads (we like the ancient harvest corn/quinoa noodles).
because DH has an illness that he must be gluten free, we do have permission to have eggs in things (like muffins or his bread) because it just gets too difficult to make vegan-GF. Giving up gluten is a fast unto itself, and it's all the time!
elana's pantry has an almond flour cookbook. i made the chocolate chip cookies and they are vegan (although are chocolate chip cookies really keeping with the mindset of the fast?!?!). do check out her website. fasting was a struggle before we were gluten free and it is still a struggle now that we are gluten free. it will probably always be a struggle! now, got to go get that meal plan going (i do have one very picky child but he does love lentil soup:)

elizabeth said...

Yeah. We do what we can. I can't do a full fast for various non-blogged about reasons and I have friends who, because of thier situation (whether health, money, living situation) cannot really fast much at all. One of them, who I really respect, often says, we do what we can.

For me it is important to balance fasting and respect for health concerns. My spiritual father says a fast is not to harm a body...

That said, I am going to have to think about what I should be doing...hmmmm...

Anonymous said...

As someone who also generally follows Weston Price and fasts Orthodox-style, upping the veggies and *fruit* is the key, we find, to not descending into just full-on carbs. One of the simplest things I started doing was just putting out cut-up apples or pears or other fruit with our meal. People help themselves alongside whatever else we're having and it really helps fill everyone up. Have also done it with cut up peppers, which my guys love.

The Barilla Plus is really good! I like it far better than any other "healthy" pasta we've ever tried. Hope your experience is the same, because it is good to have an easy backup for some nights.

Laura said...

Jim has been slowly switching us to a primal diet (with my carb loving/whole grain eating self kicking and screaming all the way:) And he is pretty upside down about what to do with fasting as well. I think we're going to be eating lots of veggies, fruits, salads, nuts and fish when we can. It oughta be interesting!

Jim took over the lion's share of the cooking when I went back to work full time...

Marfa said...

I think you did great! We are also not using margarine (I loved Earth Balance). I did the same thing with beans this past week, thinking I should buy and cook them myself, then got cans of beans...the girls love them with corn, tomatoes, cilantro, as salsa for corn chips. I wish you a good fast. We are on the old calendar, so officially start Nov 28th.

Jo Miller said...

My stepdaughter (not Orthodox) has a long list of "trigger" foods for her fibromyalgia. The youngest boy gets severe stomach pains from eating apples or grapes. (It took us a long time to figure that one out!) Dh (who has bipolar NOS) is on a high protein, low carb diet, prescribed by his psychiatrist.

We just do the best we can with the fasts. Keeping everyone stable and healthy is its own sort of podvig, an ascetic struggle that we keep every day of the year.