great fast meals
Since May 2017 a medical condition has forced me and my family
to begin what many call a whole foods, plant based, oil free diet.
Because of our Byzantine heritage and tradition,
and because we do it for love of each other,
we call it perpetual fasting and its not as difficult as you might think.
Let me show you!
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The Nativity Fast
November 15-December 24
What is True Fasting?
On November 15, we will begin Philip's fast. It is a fast of 40 days (during which the faithful abstain from animal foods, as they do during Great Lent) that continues from the day after the feast of St. Philip until Christmas Eve to spiritually prepare for the coming of the Savior. Many contend that the fast is attributed to the 40 days of prayer after the anniversary of the death of St.Philip and may have nothing to do with the feast of the Nativity. Nevertheless, it does take place forty days before this great feast, and many Eastern Christians use it to prepare themselves for its celebration.
We can do this by fasting from meat and dairy, from sweets, from whatever we chose to be most meaningful to us, or we can prepare in other ways.
It isn't really known when such a fast was introduced. Some say it was observed as early as the sixth century, although some say later in the eighth. However, it was in the year 1166 AD that the Nativity Fast was first formally instituted at a synod at Constantinople to imitate the 40 days that Moses fasted before receiving the tablets of the law.
It is clear that the fast is designed to prepare us both physically and spiritually for the coming of the Savior at Christmas. We are asked to abstain from meat and dairy products, eggs, and oil, just as we do during the Great Fast, but the rules are a bit less strict. We may eat fish and are allowed oil and wine on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and weekends, and on feast days such as the Presentation of the Theotokos and St. Nicholas Day.
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Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate, Completed October 2020, from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies at Cornell University.
My new book is out!...
As you may already know, my family has been advised by our cardiologist to adopt a perpetual fast in order to combat a family health crisis. We've adopted a whole-foods, plant-based, no oil diet...just like our Eastern Christian fast!...full time, and now that we've done it, I can help you get through 40 days of fasting too.
Here are a few of ByziMom's Great Fast Recipes:
Fajita Night: sweet potato tortillas, unfried beans, oil-free vegetable stir fry, cashew nacho sauce, Mexican quinoa, etc.
What's for dinner tonight?
Prince of the Angels, Archangel Michael’s Crown
St. Michael the Archangel is known as the Prince of the Heavenly Hosts since it was he who led the victorious battle against the enemy and his cohorts on that terrible day that they revolted against God. It is said that as the evil one was thrown down from heaven to earth, he landed on top of a blackberry bush and was so angry that he spat upon it, making the berries that remained sour. This is why many people won’t pick blackberries after the feast of St. Michael, even in areas where it is still warm enough to do so. Because St. Michael is a prince, he deserves a crown! Let’s make him one of CAKE, sprinkled with some sweet blackberries, that we can devour in his honor after the Divine Liturgy on his feast day!
2 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ cups softened butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
8 oz sour cream or plain yogurt
1 ½ cups fresh or frozen blackberries (do not thaw)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan.
Beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each one.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add this a little at a time, alternating with the sour cream or yogurt, until all are added and well combined.
Gently stir in blackberries and then spoon evenly into your prepared bundt pan.
Bake for 60-75 minutes in a preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool for 15 minutes before inverting your cake onto a serving plate.
Dust with powdered sugar before serving.