Saturday, February 20, 2021

Fish for Lent? Maybe it's not the fast it's fried up to be

For Catholics, the seven weeks preceding Easter are called Lent. During this time we abstain from indulgent foods such as sugar and meat. In times past, Catholics also gave up dairy products, eggs, fats and oils. The Lenten diet consisted of fish, vegetables, fruit and fat-free grains. This simple fare is perfect for someone trying to lose weight. The problem now is that fish is not the economical food it once was. Also we have convoluted fasts into something resembling feasts! 

In the days when fish was plentiful, cheap or even free if you caught it yourself, it was perfect for Lent. But in 2021, local fish is all but non-existent. Mega fisheries have taken over and "strip-fished" oceans and lakes. Toxic chemicals have poisoned many fish and invasive species have killed off the rest. Now fish is three to four times the price of meat. Which makes an oxymoron of the Lenten injunction to live simply. Fish has become the luxury and chicken and pork, the economical options.

There are other dilemmas with the modern Lenten diet, such as the ubiquitous Friday night all you can eat fish fry. This kind of eating not only sabotages weight loss, it make a mockery of fasting. Even one plate of deep fried breaded fish, French fries and coleslaw, washed down with soda is about 1,500 calories. And those aren't good calories. They're salt, fat and sugar with little fiber or protein. And with the AYCE option, most people have two or three plates. This is anathema to the gospel injunction to avoid gluttony. 

Then there are the ways in which seafood is now cooked. Breaded, deep fried, buttery, cheesy and sugary sauces, alfredo, coconut shrimp, carb heavy pasta dishes. Fasting is more like a fast track diabetes and obesity. My solution is to avoid fish fry or at the very least opt for baked potato, unbreaded fish and salad. More on healthier fast and protein options in upcoming posts. 

Love ya! --mar



1 comment:

  1. Hi Mar: You share some good thoughts here. It's so easy to enjoy a f(e)ast without thinking about all the extra calories, etc. I have to constantly police myself when preparing and eating meals, snacks, etc. Thank you for the good words. Love ya, Mama


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