Substitutions for fasting

May I eat a vegan alternative to meat or is that cheating?

We (Eastern Orthodox) have dairy-free creamer and other vegan substitutes for Lenten Coffee hour. So does St. Tikhon’s Monastery. I think it’s fine. As long as we remember that the fast isn’t about strictly avoiding any trace of meat/dairy, and more about repentance and growth in Christ, then we’re on the right track.


I’m Ukrainian Greek Catholic and use a cookbook by an Eastern Orthodox lady. It’s called Fasting As a Family by Melissa Naasko and has a vegan, soy-free, nut-free recipe for “mock beef”. It makes about 5 lbs.

@ReaderT, have you ever made that recipe?


This book is one of my favorites! I don’t care for meat substitutes generally, but she has some really good recipes in that book. My favorite is the lentil Taco filling. My husband hates lentils, but will gladly eat this Taco filling.

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I like the chia breakfast pudding. I’m hoping to make the mock beef recipe but I’d have to cut it in half because my freezer is very small.

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I haven’t but could easily see it being used by Easterners :+1:

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I would not want to face the Lord and make my defense based on a technicality. Unless you have a medical condition, you can fast much more than you may think. Fasting requires discipline - as does discipleship. It requires sacrifice. Do you want to spend a few moments with Christ in the desert?

I would run this past Father and get some good ideas that you can live with - both now and in eternity.

I don’t think he’s using a technicality. He’s actually following the law to the letter: zero meat and dairy. He’s just concerned because his vegan foods taste like meat (think of well-prepared tofu).

@po18guy are you Eastern Catholic? I was not aware.

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The more I think about it, is not fasting supposed to be for sacrifice? Sure I am sacrificing meat but it is not really sacrificing if I have a good alternative. I will speak to my preist about this.

I’m Roman Catholic so take what I say with a grain and do talk to your priest.

I know an Orthodox priest and his family. They choose NOT to eat vegan analogues because they want to practice more self-denial. Unless there’s a specifically outlined teaching, I’d ascribe it to personal choice.

I’m already vegetarian (nearly vegan, but my kids like topping whatever I make with shredded cheese, lol!), and don’t really miss meat. I’ll eat and enjoy some of the analogues, like seitan, but it doesn’t feel like self-denial to avoid it, either.

I’m more inclined to feel the “pinch” of self-denial when I avoid sugary sweets, so that’s the approach I take on fast days. Am I making sense?

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I may sound like many things, but I am Latin Rite.

eating fake “meat” is usually penitential . . .

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