Well, as most of you are walking through the last days of Holy Week, the Orthodox are only in the second week of Great Lent. Since we are just catechumens and not yet full-blown Orthodox we've decided to wade into the fasting thing slowly. The Orthodox fast every Wednesday and Friday of the year (with a few exceptions) as well as a few longer fasts throughout the liturgical year, including Great Lent. Fasting to the Orthodox means no meat, fish, eggs, dairy, olive oil or wine - basically a vegan diet. We have way too many protein issues in our household to be able to sustain a completely vegan diet without living off of nuts and tofu daily so we have gone no meat, fish, olive oil or wine for the main days of the fast and on Wednesdays and Fridays we are removing dairy from that list as well. We're keeping eggs, though. I just can't get rid of the eggs. Of course, Philip's diet remains unchanged. He's the only carnivore in the family throughout this great Great Lent experiment. We've also cut out the Sunday evening ice cream for dinner mainly because it just seems like too decadent a tradition to sustain throughout Lent.
The no dairy days are really rough. I think as a household we must consume about 3,000 lbs of cheese annually - we're big cheese eaters. But on those no dairy days the kids get up to muffins or dry toast - no cereal with milk. And, with our additional Feingold limitations we also have trouble with the more traditional substitutions. Since we can't do tomatoes, pasta is a tough one. We usually eat it with olive oil and cheese and some spices - but all that is out. Last week I discovered a wonderful substitute that will probably end up a keeper even after Great Lent - cashew butter sauce. Unfortunately I can't find the recipe we used but it went something like this:
big blob of cashew butter
a little white sugar
Bragg's liquid aminos (Feingold approved soy sauce)
water to thin
We mixed it all together in a sauce pan and heated it up and all thought it was Yum City.
We also tested out our first taste of tofu. I bought 4 lbs of tofu, cubed it, breaded it and fried it (in vegetable oil, not olive oil) and called it Yummy Nuggets. We ate them with honey and some resorted to ketchup and all but Ruth decided they were, indeed, Yummy. I think Miriam ate one pound all by herself.
Besides the dietary restrictions, Great Lent also seems to be about fasting from toilets and showers for us. The toilet in the master bathroom is currently sitting in the shower rendering both objects nonfunctional. It will probably take Tad the duration of Great Lent to repair the flooring under the linoleum and replace the toilet with a new seal. That's ok, I thought, it's just a short hop down the hallway to the girls' bathroom...Which would be true if some unknown member of the family didn't have waste the consistency of Elmer's glue which keeps that toilet perpetually clogged as well. Fortunately, I have a husband who understands well the needs of a pregnant woman and has yet to go to bed without creating an opening in the slog sustainable enough for a flush or two throughout the night. But, well, if I had to travel down the steps at 3:00 am...so be it. This is, afterall, Great Lent