Today is Clean Monday. It is the start of Lent, 7 weeks before Greek Easter.
I must explain that I am South African born to a Greek father and Scottish mother. I was baptised in the Greek Orthodox church at the age of 13. The motivation was Greek citizenship and a passport. I went to church every Sunday but understood nothing. I don't speak or understand any Greek, well except a few words, like hello, goodbye, thank you and I can swear. I love that I have a mixed heritage!
Image courtesy of Wikimedia
For years my aunt had encouraged us to fast for Holy week, the week preceding Easter, but somehow I would always remember half way through a pizza!
In 2013 following a small health scare that my husband had we fasted for Holy week, just 6 days, and enjoyed it. It was also a little kick start to change some of our eating habits. Last year I decided we should fast for the full 7 weeks. We did it, and it was hard and at the end of it I vowed never to do it again, ever!!
And here I sit on Clean Monday 2015 in anticipation for the next 7 weeks of meals that contain no meat, no fish with a backbone (- prawns, mussels and octopus are allowed), no dairy, no eggs, no olive oil or fats derived from animals and no wine.
In addition to the official list, I'm also giving up all alcohol, crisps, chocolate and fizzy drinks (except tonic water).
In modern times olive oil can used in cooking and all other fats excluded. However you can't use raw olive oil as a dressing. I will do this as I prefer to cook with olive oil and if you use it to roast vegetables you can use what's left in the dish to drizzle over food.
You may think it's impossible and honestly I thought that too. But over the past year the internet (and Pinterest) has opened my eyes to a huge library of vegan recipes. If you're an adventurous eater you will find lots that you can and will enjoy. And some that you won't, lol.
My aim this lent is to find and cook more Greek recipes, I have a few, but I would like to learn more.
Although I am all set and keen to start, my husband is not and I would never force him. We have agreed that he will eat my vegan offering with a piece of meat in the evenings and I have encouraged him to eat a healthier option for breakfast and lunch. You see, last year we had a little weight loss bet that I won by .5kg. It was a close call and I thought he might be up to steal the title.
I must just say that I have no intention of becoming a vegan, I like meat too much!
So why am I doing it? Well, I like the challenge of completing the 7 weeks and stepping outside of my comfort zone. I like food, too much, and this makes me think about what I put into my body each day. I need to think about each meal and every ingredient in it.
It also reminds me that vegetables can be exciting and delicious and different each time you prepare them if you just experiment a little bit.
Of course there is the spiritual side to lent, giving up so much that is taken for granted. And it is to cleanse the body in preparation of the acceptance of the resurrection at Easter.
I have started a fasting recipe board on Pinterest for easy reference and I'm looking forward to trying some new ones. I thought that I would share a recipe/meal, maybe two, a week for the duration of my fast. These will be recipes I have tried and will give an honest opinion on ease of cooking and taste.
Check back soon for a knitting update too. I have two completed projects to share.