Fasting without Abstaining from meat


Hey there. So I’ve been trying to add in fasting at least one day a week as of late, but I tend have my one meal of the day include meat.

I know it’s a silly question due to private devotion, but does this “count” as a Catholic fast if one doesn’t abstain from meat in the process?

Long story short, on Fridays, I have been going to mass at noon and at work drinking black coffee and water and not eating until I have family dinner Friday night but keep from seconds or desert. Thoughts?


I think meat is just a “recommendation” for those of us in the US since it’s a staple of so many of our meals. You can replace it with anything else, as long as it’s something that you usually eat/do. A vegetarian can’t opt to “fast” from meat, for example.


Voluntary penance is encouraged. :sunglasses: You are doing a very Catholic thing by doing penance, meat or not. Of course you still must abstain during Lent.

Oh, my answer is specific to USA and does not apply to England (if you are there, you would probably know that anyway).


Yes, it counts.

There used to be days of “partial abstinence,” too, where meat was only consumed at one meal.

But when it’s a private penance, you can do as you like. If Friday abstinence is not required where you live, then any restrictions you choose are just fine.


Anything that subtracts in quality or quantity from your regular routine in meals is fasting to some degree. Fasting has a more concrete definition when done on obligatory days of fasting, but otherwise it’s a private act of penance.

For better or for worse, meat is something regularly eaten by consumers, often in large quantities, and it no longer has the perception of being something you eat for celebratory purposes as it was moreso in the past.

It’s also a good food to have to avoid afternoon crashing. A hard-boiled egg, a strip of venison, a large piece of cheese, a bowl of Greek yogurt, black beans, etc.

If your stamina permits it, breakfast is not the “essential meal” that profit-based cereal companies claim it to be. There are mainstream routines that involve just a cup of black coffee in the morning and then waiting until lunch, and this has a lot of benefits.


I am Hypoglycemic and cannot refrain from meat. I either fast or sleep on the floor of my bedroom as penance instead.


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