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Almost-Primal Orthodox Christian Lenten Eating and Cooking

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  • Almost-Primal Orthodox Christian Lenten Eating and Cooking

    (Note: There is a recipe index at posts #101 and #102 at the top of page 11:

    Blessed Lent 2013 to all Orthodox Christian Groksters out there!!! This year our Pascha (Easter) is just about as late as it can be – May 5. We are on a different schedule than our Roman Catholic and Protestant Christian brothers and sisters. Some years we have the same Easter, some years we are one week later and some years – like this year – we are 5 weeks later, so today is our first day of Lent.

    For those of you who are curious about the Lenten challenges we face regarding diet, here is the way Lenten Fasting is done in my church -- different priests may use different guidelines. If you are an Orthodox Christian, follow the advice of your own priest!

    First of all, of course, pregnant and nursing mothers are not supposed to fast. Also if you are sick you don't need to fast. Fasting is to weaken us and make us more dependent and focused on God. If you are sick you are already dependent on God. If you get sick during Lent, lighten the fast!!!

    According to my priest, Orthodox Lenten fasting is entered into in a series of steps:

    1. The first step is to abstain from meat (this step does not include abstaining from seafood). For first-timers, this is all my priest recommends. On this step we are not to worry about the restrictions on eggs, dairy, etc... This one step is enough for beginners. At this step my priest also recommends trying to attend as many Lenten services as you can. Although if attending every service is too heavy a burden, he says to take a break -- but come back after missing a service or two.

    When my husband and I were inquiring into the Orthodox faith the priest told us about one young man who did everything perfectly his first Lent. He followed all of the fasting guidelines and he came to all of the services. The last service he came to was Pascha (Easter) – after which our priest never saw him again. The effort had been too great and he never wanted to repeat it. How sad!

    2. The next step into Orthodox Lenten fasting is to abstain from eggs or dairy.

    3. The next step is to abstain from fish with backbones. (Frequently though, when Orthodox Christians are traveling during Lent and we have to depend on restaurants for meals, we will eat fish.)

    4. The next step is not to cook with olive oil or drink wine or alcoholic beverages on week days.

    (Seafood without backbones: clams, shrimp, oysters, scallops, etc... are always okay.)

    Wine and Olive oil are allowed on Saturdays and Sundays during Lent because Saturday is the Sabbath observed by Jesus and the day he rested in the tomb, and Sunday is the Lord's day – the Day of Resurrection. They are feast days within the Fast.

    Fish, oil, and wine are allowed on the Annunciation (March 25) and on Palm Sunday. Wine is allowed on Holy Thursday in remembrance of the Lord's Supper.

    So, as you can see – during Lent we need to take an “almost-Primal” approach to our cooking and eating – hence the name of this thread.

    Anyone out there with some good suggestions for us regarding how we can keep the fast without getting too far off the primal beaten path is welcome to post!
    Last edited by Antiochia; 07-17-2013, 08:22 AM.

    See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.

  • #2
    IF, of course is a good option -- especially for breakfast. However if you aren't up for IF in the morning, here are a couple of breakfast suggestions:

    Mostly fill a bowl with berries or other fruit. Then put about a quarter cup or so of walnuts on top. After that I top it with a spoonful of hemp hearts, some sunflower seeds, a tablespoon or so of ground flax seed, and some shredded unsweetened coconut. I'm sure there may be other things one could add too, like pumpkin seeds and sliced almonds. Then I pour on my cereal "milk" (half coconut milk and half almond milk with a little maple syrup to taste) and eat with a spoon

    Another thing I do for breakfast is a green smoothie--
    Add to a blender:
    1 chopped apple
    1/4 avocado (or more if you like)
    Pulp of 1/2 lemon (I scoop it out with a grapefruit spoon)
    1 cup of cold green tea (Note: I put a couple of green tea bags in a quart jar of water and let it sit for a few hours, then put it in the fridge so it is ready -- an easy way to make green "sun tea")

    I blend all of the above together until it is nice and smooth, then I add a few handfuls of greens -- like spinach, collards, kale, or Romaine and blend well. I keep adding greens until I know there is a good amount in there, but I don't measure.

    I find as long as I add the avocado, I don't need to add any sweetener.

    Blessed Lent!

    (Copied from
    Last edited by Antiochia; 07-11-2013, 07:36 AM.

    See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


    • #3
      Here is a vegan buckwheat pancake recipe (buckwheat is not a grain, however it is pretty high in carbs). This makes a pretty good choice for a Saturday breakfast:


      1 cup buckwheat flour
      1 teaspoon baking soda
      1/2 teaspoon salt
      1 cup coconut milk (not “lite”)
      1 tablespoon lemon juice
      1 tablespoon coconut oil
      1 tablespoon honey
      Up to 1/2 cup applesauce
      Additional coconut oil for frying

      In a large bowl, mix together the buckwheat flour, salt, and soda. Measure out the coconut milk in a glass measuring cup and add the lemon juice and stir well. Melt some coconut oil. (I just scoop some out into a custard cup and melt in the microwave.) Pour the coconut milk/lemon juice into the dry ingredients. Measure out 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil and add to the bowl. Measure out 1 tablespoon of honey with the oiled tablespoon and add to the bowl and stir. Add in applesauce - start with 1/4 cup and see if that is enough for pancake consistency – if not add in the rest.

      Fry up the pancakes using coconut oil to grease the pan. Makes about 7 – 8 pancakes (about 4 to 5 inch diameter).

      Blessed Lent!
      ( Copied from )

      Edit 3-27-13: I made this recipe this morning and used all of the applesauce; the batter was still plenty thick so I ended up using some water also to get it to pancake consistency. However, I had run out of lemons and substituted rice vinegar for the lemon juice -- I wonder if that made a difference. Anyway, this morning the recipe made 10 pancakes (about 4" diameter).
      Last edited by Antiochia; 07-11-2013, 07:46 AM.

      See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


      • #4
        This recipe is good for when you are really missing something bread-y or cakey.


        First, in a small bowl mix together the wet ingredients:
        1 tablespoon golden flax meal
        2 tablespoons water
        1/4 cup applesauce
        1 tablespoon honey
        1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
        Let sit for 5 minutes or more so the flax meal can get “eggy”

        Then, using coconut oil, grease a cereal bowl very well (for cooking the cake)

        In another small bowl, mix the topping ingredients:
        2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
        1 Tablespoon almond meal
        1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
        1-1/2 teaspoons applesauce
        1-1/2 teaspoons palm sugar or brown sugar or other granulated sweetener

        Then after the flax mixture has soaked, stir the following into the flax mixture and mix well:
        2 tablespoons coconut flour
        1/4 teaspoon baking soda
        1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
        1/8 teaspoon baking powder
        Dash salt

        Spoon into the greased cereal bowl and top with the topping ingredients. Bake on high in the microwave for 2 and a half to 3 minutes. Let cool and enjoy.

        This will make one or two servings.

        Nutrition Info for entire recipe: Calories: 346.0; Fat: 17.7g; Carbohydrates: 44.9g; Protein: 8.3g
        Last edited by Antiochia; 07-11-2013, 07:50 AM.

        See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


        • #5
          Lunch is often my Lenten version of the *Big Ass Salad* (See 2 Minute Salad | Mark's Daily Apple) This is especially good for the days I work; I'm a preschool teacher and some days I eat lunch with the kids.

          I usually put some kind of protein in the bottom of a large plastic container: Cooked Seafood, or occasionally cooked chick peas. Then either I cut up a tomato and/or avocado, or I cut up some fruit (I especially like apples or strawberries) If I use an apple or avocado, I squeeze in some lemon juice and give it all a quick stir. I also add salad dressing (a couple recipes to follow). Then on top of the protein and tomato or fruit, if I'm adding cooked veggies like asparagus, broccoli, or green beans, I add them first. Then I add solid raw veggies: sliced or chopped onion, cucumber, green pepper, celery and whatever else I have on hand like radishes, carrots, etc... I use the raw veggies to separate the wet ingredients from the greens so my greens don't wilt by lunchtime. Then I top everything with 1-1/2 to 2 cups of greens -- usually Romaine or Spinach. I put the lid on and put it in my lunch bag. Then I add a fork and a package of nuts and possibly some extra dressing in a bottle or some lemon wedges to squeeze instead of dressing.

          When it is time to eat I either stir everything up with my fork and eat it out of the plastic bowl and add the nuts, or if we are using plates I turn the bowl up-side-down on a plate. The lettuce will end up on the bottom and all the good stuff will be on top.

          I don't use any more that 1-1/2 to 2 cups greens because I've found out from experience that I can't finish that much salad in the time it takes for the preschool kids to finish their lunches!

          As to salad dressings, I often just keep a small bottle of vinegar (balsamic, or raw apple cider vinegar) in my purse and a small bottle of cold pressed sunflower oil in my purse. This also works great for restaurants and I don't need to use their chemical laden concoctions.

          My next post will be my two favorite Salad Dressings
          Last edited by Antiochia; 03-28-2013, 07:31 AM.

          See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


          • #6

            3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil*
            1/3 cup cold pressed sunflower oil*
            1/3 cup raw apple cider vinegar (Bragg)
            2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
            1/2 teaspoon sea salt
            1/4 teaspoon pepper

            *Note: For weekday Lenten meals you can use all Sunflower Oil -- or for feastday meals you can use all olive oil. Or you may decide this isn't something to get picky about. You may also use part flax oil.

            Mix all together and whisk or shake well. Makes a little less than 2 cups. Keep in a pint size jar. Does not need refrigeration.

            This salad dressing is especially good in salads with fruit -- like a spinach, strawberry, shrimp salad

            In a jar with a screw top lid mix together the following ingredients:
            1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar (Bragg)
            2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime or lemon juice
            2 tablespoons honey
            1/2 teaspoon salt
            1/2 teaspoon black pepper
            2/3 cup sunflower oil or olive oil (you may use part flax oil)

            Shake well!

            I keep both these salad dressings on a cupboard shelf. I don't think either of them needs to be refrigerated. I have never had a problem with either of them going bad.
            Last edited by Antiochia; 07-11-2013, 07:52 AM.

            See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


            • #7
              Here's another great salad:

              DOUBLE-MANGO SHRIMP SALAD for two

              3 tablespoons salsa or picante sauce
              1 tablespoon mango or peach chutney
              1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
              1 tablespoon lime juice
              4 cups torn red leaf lettuce or Boston lettuce
              6 oz. cooked medium or large peeled and deveined shrimp
              1/2 cup diced mango OR papaya OR peach OR nectarine
              1/3 cup red or yellow bell pepper strips
              2 tablespoons minced cilantro
              1 avocado, sliced

              In a medium bowl combine the salsa, chutney, mustard, and lime juice. Mix in the shrimp, mango, and red pepper strips.

              Divide the lettuce between two plates. Top each plate of lettuce with have the shrimp mixture. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with sliced avocado.
              Last edited by Antiochia; 07-11-2013, 07:54 AM.

              See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


              • #8
                My wife is abstaining from Facebook for Lent.
                Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

                Griff's cholesterol primer
                5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
                Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
                TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
                bloodorchid is always right


                • #9
                  SEAFOOD STEW

                  Some coconut oil
                  1/2 cup onion, chopped
                  2 cloves garlic, minced
                  1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
                  1/2 teaspoon dried ground lemon grass (optional)
                  1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
                  juice of 1/4 lemon (or lemon juice to taste)
                  2 cups vegetable broth (or 2 cups water plus vegetable broth seasoning)
                  1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil (or 1/2 tsp dried basil)
                  1 tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos
                  salt and pepper, to taste
                  4 ounces scallops - cut into bite size pieces
                  4 ounces precooked shrimp - cut into bite size pieces
                  4 cups spinach (or as much as you can shove in the pot! - Extra spinach can't hurt!)

                  In a good sized soup pot, saute onion in a little coconut oil. When onion is cooked to your liking, add the garlic, ginger, lemon grass and Italian seasonings and saute briefly. Then add the rest of broth, lemon juice, basil, aminos, salt and pepper. Add some water until the sauce is the strength you like. After the sauce has simmered to the desired flavor, add scallops and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Next add pre-cooked shrimp and then fill up the pan to the top with spinach–as much as you can shove in (at least 4 cups). Cover with a lid and simmer for 3-5 minutes.

                  Makes 2 very large servings
                  Last edited by Antiochia; 08-05-2013, 04:12 PM. Reason: Lowered the amound of Bragg -- it was too salty

                  See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


                  • #10
                    Thanks for posting all these recipes and ideas!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Shelli View Post
                      Thanks for posting all these recipes and ideas!
                      I've really become intrigued with Primal eating and living -- although in my own frame of reference Primal is more about eating the way God created us to eat, the meat that we eat should come from animals that are eating what God created them to eat, and Primal activity for me is about moving in the way God created us to move. That's the way I think about it -- I am not insisting others think about it in the same way. All that being said, I find it very challenging to stay as Primal as possible during the Orthodox Christian Lenten Fast. I wanted to share some of the solutions I have found with anyone facing the same challenges. I am not advocating a vegan + seafood diet as a year round new way of being Primal. This is only for those of us who are obligated to do so during Orthodox Lent -- or those who are cooking for friends who have these restrictions on their diet.

                      Thank you for reading and commenting!
                      Last edited by Antiochia; 03-20-2013, 06:01 AM.

                      See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by magicmerl View Post
                        My wife is abstaining from Facebook for Lent.
                        Facebook would be a good choice of something to give up during Lent -- it can take up LOTS of time -- time that is better spent on Lenten disciplines: prayer, meditation, etc... I am limiting Facebook, but I have young adult aged kids, and they use Facebook for communication. My son doesn't even look at his email unless he is expecting something. So blessings on your wife for being able to abstain from Facebook! Unfortunately, in our family it has become a necessary communication tool.

                        See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


                        • #13
                          My husband and I never cook rice any more. This is the recipe I ALWAYS use now instead of rice or potatoes to accompany any food that has a sauce or gravy:

                          CAULIFLOWER RICE

                          To make this dish the most easily and to have it come out the best, a food processor is recommended.

                          1) Process fresh cauliflower until it is the size of rice, either using the plain steel blade or the shredder blade of the food processor. Alternatively, you can shred it with a hand-held grater, or even use a knife, if you have the dexterity to chop it up VERY finely.

                          Note: After processing the cauliflower, put the cauliflower into a microwave safe dish and immediately rinse the pieces of the food processor and put them in your dish drainer. If you don't immediately rinse the bits of cauliflower off, they will stick to your processor parts and be very hard to clean off. I don't bother to actually wash the processor parts -- I figure if I just rinse the raw cauliflower off it is clean enough.

                          2) Microwave it in a tightly covered dish for 4 to 5 minutes. DO NOT ADD WATER. Cauliflower absorbs water like crazy, and the "granules" will become gummy. To keep it fluffy, just let the moisture in the cauliflower do its work.

                          Note: 4 cups of shredded cauliflower reduces to 3 cups when cooked.

                          You can also stir-fry raw shredded cauliflower with a little oil (I use coconut, or sunflower, or sesame) in a pan on the stove until it is cooked just the way you like it (keep tasting!) It won't take long.

                          Here is where I found the recipe:Cauliflower "Rice" Recipe - How to Make Cauliflower Similar to Rice

                          And here is a video illustrating how to do it:
                          Low Carb Cauliflower Rice Recipe - Low Carb Rice Video

                          Edit 4/2/2013: Here's a link for a way to make cauliflower-rice without a food processor or a microwave:

                          Edit 9/12/2013: And another link about making cauliflower-rice:
                          Last edited by Antiochia; 09-12-2013, 06:25 AM.

                          See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


                          • #14
                            Here is a favorite recipe using the Cauliflower Rice in the previous post:


                            (All quantities are approximate -- use as much as you want)

                            Cauliflower Rice made from 1/2 head of cauliflower (see recipe in previous post) - about 2 cups
                            1/4 cup slivered almonds
                            2 teaspoons coconut oil (or some butter)
                            about 1/4 cup or so of chopped onion (I don't really measure)
                            about 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
                            Some vegetable broth flavoring powder to taste (I like Seitenbacher Vegetarian Vegetable Broth and Seasoning, 5-Ounce Cans (Pack of 6): Grocery & Gourmet Food. It is gluten free)
                            Salt and pepper to taste

                            Chop the onion and set it aside. Chop the parsley, and set that aside too. Then saute the almonds in the coconut oil (or butter) until light golden brown. When the almonds are golden, place them on a paper towel to drain. You may need to add more oil to the pan. Add the chopped onions, and saute about a minute or so, until done to your liking. Then add the cooked cauliflower rice and parsley, and sauteed almonds. Cook and stir until everything is good and hot. Stir in enough of the broth seasoning, salt, and pepper so it tastes good to you.

                            I made this recipe for some friends, and although they knew there was cauliflower in it, they didn't realize there was no rice in it at all!

                            Asian Variation: Saute the almonds in sesame oil. Drain and stir in some canned sliced water chestnuts along with the onions and parsley. Use Soy Sauce instead of broth flavoring, and/or salt.

                            Main Dish Variation: Add cooked or canned seafood - shrimp, crab, tuna, salmon, etc...

                            This recipe makes 2-3 servings.

                            This recipe is adapted from "Paleo Chicken-Almond Rice-a-Phony" page 88 of 500 Paleo Recipes by Dana Carpender

                            *For those of you not in the United States, the title of this recipe is a word play on Rice-a-Roni--a rice and pasta processed food sold here that a lot of us ate while growing up.
                            Last edited by Antiochia; 05-01-2014, 07:36 PM. Reason: I cook it differently now.

                            See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


                            • #15
                              Lenten Potlucks are a big part of our life as an Orthodox Christian community. Here's the salad recipe I made last night for our potluck after Pre-sanctified Liturgy:

                              GREENS, FRUIT, NUTS, AND SEEDS POTLUCK SALAD

                              2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar (or plain ACV if you can't get raw)
                              1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime or lemon juice
                              1 tablespoon honey (dip tablespoon in oil first before measuring the honey, and the honey will slip right out)
                              1/3 cup cold-pressed sunflower oil
                              1/4 teaspoon salt
                              1/4 teaspoon pepper

                              1 head Romaine lettuce, torn
                              1/2 head Red Leaf lettuce, torn
                              at least 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
                              1 carrot, grated
                              2 granny smith apples, diced
                              1 bunch (about a pound to a pound and a half) seedless red grapes, halved
                              3/4 cup (3.5 oz. package) roasted, salted sunflower seeds
                              3/4 cup broken walnuts
                              1/2 cup dried cranberries.

                              Combine all the dressing ingredients in a bottle or jar with a screw top lid and shake well. Set aside.

                              Wash and tear lettuce into bite size pieces. Spin dry in a salad spinner. Add in layers to a large salad bowl (I use a punch bowl) alternating with a sprinkling of sliced onion and shredded carrot. Cover the salad bowl with plastic wrap.

                              Cut up the apples and place in a plastic container. Then slice all the grapes in half and place on top of the apples and close up the container.

                              Combine the walnuts, sunflower seeds, and dried cranberries in a plastic bag.

                              Take the bottle of dressing, the salad bowl with the greens, the container of apples and grapes, and the plastic bag of nuts, seeds and dried cranberries to the potluck. When it is about time to eat, sprinkle half the nut/seed/cranberry mixture on the salad greens in the bowl. Pour in all the salad dressing and toss well. Then mix in most of the fruit (save out a little to put on top of the salad). When all is well mixed, top with the reserved fruit and the remaining half of the nut/seed/cranberry mix.

                              This turned out wonderful last night, and it was all eaten -- I didn't have any left to take home.

                              Variation: If you make this salad during a non-Lenten time, replace the carrot with about 3/4 cup or more of grated or cubed cheddar cheese -- add the cheese when you add the apples and grapes.
                              Last edited by Antiochia; 07-11-2013, 08:06 AM.

                              See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.