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Well, fasting is entered into in "steps." The first step is no meat. The second step is no eggs and dairy. The third step is no fish with backbones, and the final step is no olive oil or wine. So the "no olive oil or wine" is the bottom rung on the ladder. If you are going to "cheat" with anything, that is kind of where to start! Feasting days during a fast period include the oil and wine, and sometimes fish. Some priests say the "no olive oil" rule includes all oils. Others say it means just olive oil. You can always have olive oil and wine on Saturdays and Sundays during Lent because they are feast days during the fast. Saturday is the Sabbath that Jesus observed, also the day Jesus' body rested in the tomb, while his soul broke the gates of Hades and released the souls from the devil's grasp and Sunday is the day of resurrection.
I have tried doing without all oil on weekdays, but I just get too hungry, and I eat way too many carbs and end up gaining weight during a fast. So now I include other oils; coconut oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, etc...
Also this year I'm trying to concentrate on more veggies and fruits rather than grains.
We were in Greece for Lent a few years ago, and in Greece only the monastics fast from olive oil. In fact we were visiting a monastery and they gave us "fasting cookies" made with olive oil instead of butter. When I told that to my priest's wife, she said that here in America sometimes people try too hard to be ascetical before they are ready.
Perhaps this is something you may want to discuss with your priest.
As to food -- check out our Lenten recipe thread -- especially the beginning entries. Now the thread has mostly become miscellaneous recipes, but the beginning posts were more organized.
Yes, I try to read something Lenten too, and I usually start out pretty well, but I don't finish. This year I want to read *First Fruits of Prayer: A Forty-Day Journey through the Canon of St. Andrew* by Frederica Matthewes Green.
And yes, do check back in! I'd love to hear how your Lent goes this year!
This is the day that the Lord had made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; both now and ever and unto the ages of ages, Amen.
Link to one of my cookbooks which should also lead you to the rest of them:
I am curious what plans people have for Great Lent. I always start stressing at this time about fasting (especially how to satisfy my children and my husband who hates eating anything without olive oil) and about my tendency to "feast on fasting foods."
On the nonfood front, I always try to find a book to read or something special to do during lent. I will post back in with my plans.
With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.