Lent and fasting


Okay, so I’m an anglican but I’m trying to keep a very strict lent:

no animal products (inc. meat, fish, dairy, eggs etc.)
no sugar, or glutonous food,
no chocolate (obviously!!!)
no fruit.

at the moment all I’ve eaten is bread, in small portions, and I only drink water; but is there anything else I can eat? I’m trying to eat simple plain foods but haven’t got passed this??? Any suggestions? Thanks.

Rita xxx


What’s wrong with fruit?

Of course the main thing missing from your diet is vegetables, and plenty of them! Now is the time to try every different kind of vegetable you can and find out which ones you like. Develop a good habit of year-round vegie munching!

If you hanker after meat try the vegetarian substitutes - vegetarian frankfurts, vege bacon, things like that. Although not everyone likes them, they’re worth a try.

Search for good recipes for vegetables on the internet (a lot of them are good gently steamed with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice and some garlic or herbs - or try other types of vegetable oils and condiments like soy or other Asian sauces, different types of vinegars and so on). Most people who don’t like vegetables usually have had poorly cooked or prepared ones and haven’t tried enough different types.

Nuts and seeds are also an option - plenty of good nutrition in there (especially in terms of making up what you’re lacking from your meat and eggs). So fill up on good old Peanut Butter sandwiches!

And if you can’t have dairy you can, sadly, still have margarine spreads -some can be used in cooking. And there are alternatives such as soy milk, rice milk, almond milk. You may be able to find soy-based spreads and cheeses too.

And if you’re not having gluten there are plenty of gluten-free pastas available. Check out websites catering to Celiacs (gluten intolerant folks) for other alternatives in terms of starchy foods.

With apologies to the good book - ‘man doesn’t have to live on bread alone!’


Beans and rice, add in some onions and garlic and some tomatos. Good and good for you.


I may be wrong but I think rice is glutinous … the OP may be on non-glutinous foods because they are celiac, not just for Lent.


I’ve friends who have celiac, and rice is one of their staples. No gluten in rice.


I think people are confusing GLUTEN with GLUTTON… :wink:
The OP stated " no sugar, or glutonous food" in the same line…

OP… can you clarify?


That is what I was going to ask, for clarification there. I read glutton, then thought maybe I’d misread it.

Either way, there is still no gluten in rice.

Since the poorest people in this world eat rice, I would not consider it gluttonous either :slight_smile:


Hello and thanks for all your replies… I’m very sorry, I am a bit rubbish at spelling! I did mean gluttonous! I don’t eat meat substitues because I don’t like them firsty, and secondly I disagree with the theory of them, it would be like getting round the lust for it on a technicality if that made sense?


May God bless you for being ambitious and generous in your sacrifices this Lent.

You mentioned that you are Anglican, not Catholic. For us Catholics, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast and abstinence from meat, all Fridays are days of abstinence from meat (not fast days), but we are encouraged to voluntarily give up something for the whole of Lent or add in a good practice we’re not accustomed to doing on a regular basis. I know in the past, Lenten fasts were much more strict, with abstinence from meat, dairy, eggs, etc. for all the forty days and many more fast days, too. So it sounds like that’s what you’re harking back to.

It sounds like you’re living on (small quantities of ) bread and water so far, which strikes me as a REALLY strict fast and inadvisable from a health standpoint. While I think your plan of drinking only water is reasonable and do-able, I’m concerned about your food restrictions being too strict from a health and nutrition standpoint. Do keep good nutrition in mind, since Lent does last well over a month. (Do you plan to observe your food restrictions on Sundays, too, which are not technically part of Lent? Or could you allow yourself more variety then for the sake of nutrition?) Are you taking daily multi-vitamins? You have no health problems that could be aggravated by your food restrictions?

For nutrition: Maybe put back the fruit in your diet? Maybe leave out your most favorite ones, but keep others for vitamins and minerals? Eat lots of vegetables, if you’re allowing yourself those: carrot and celery sticks, sweet peppers, stir-fried veg. with fortified rice, sauteed broccoli/black beans/garlic served over rice. Pasta with marinara sauce? Breaded fried eggplant baked in red sauce without the cheese, just short of an eggplant parmesan?
For protein, look up vegetarian recipes with tofu, soy protein, beans and rice, and beans and corn combinations, which make up “complete” proteins. Are you keeping nuts in your diet? Those are a non-animal source of proteins, too. Peanut butter on celery sticks (with raisins for “ants on a log”) or sandwich bread?

What I try to “give up” during Lent is what I most enjoy – romance novels in previous years, but I’ve lost the taste for them :slight_smile: – and more recently, orange juice, chocolate, any treat or dessert-y type foods. That I REALLY will find it difficult to give up, but it won’t compromise my health or nutrition. When I want to do a prayer and fasting for some intention, for a week at a time, I’ll eat one slice of bread plus water for breakfast and lunch, but I’ll eat modest amounts of usual foods for dinner. That also, I think, is making a sacrifice, but not injuring health.

Best wishes,


Bean or lentil soup made with veg. broth is good. Miso soup (made with tofu). Potatoes and other vegetables. Try googling “vegan diet” I’m sure there are loads of recipes/suggestions.

I don’t think you should skip fruit altogether maybe limit the amout each day?


Hi, I did look into this and fruit was considered to be gluttonous (however that’s spelt) because of it’s rich natural sugars, and the fact that most fruits are imported/expensive?


you had better not be trying this for 40 days without a doctor’s permission
is there something wrong with following the traditional practices of fast and abstinence of the Church. If your are adopting something stricter you should not be making up your own severe penance without a spiritual director.

I have no idea what you mean by glutenous food-- I thought gluten is in wheat and other grains and flours, so why the bread?

if you don’t know what to eat on a non-meat diet, just buy a good vegetarian cookbook, or look at past theads with hundreds of lenten recipes.


if you have a problem of lusting for food you really need to be under spiritual direction


I’m being monitored by doctor weekly so if there are any concerns, it will be adapted.

I didn’t mean gluten (as in present in wheat) rather gluttony. I apologize for my original spelling mistake.

I couldn’t find the past threads but I’m new here so I’m sure I’ll soon find my way round.


No, I don’t lust for food but it’s the moral behind quorn or meat substitutes I was getting at.


But if you don’t like the meat substitutes (and most of us certainly don’t like them nearly as much as we like meat) then it’s a penance in itself to eat them! Kinda like choosing to spend time visiting horrible old great-Aunt Ethel when you’d rather be at a party with your friends.

Besides which, there’s more to the meat thing than just that it’s a luxury food (after all, these days so is fish, and the church has never had a problem with that!). We ALSO give up meat (warm blooded flesh) in remembrance of Christ who gave up his flesh and blood for us on the Cross.

Meat substitutes certainly are still in the spirit of the latter reason - we’re still consciously abstaining from flesh and blood.


I was looking at it from a nutrition perspective. I don’t really like fruit much so its not really a treat for me.

You might stick with fruit that is in season and grown locally, which at this time of year might not amout to much anyway.


I’m really quite unsure at the moment, however I am taking supplements (ie. vitamins) each day by doctors advice, and am carefully monitoring my health, so I don’t make myself ill.


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