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Health News

Catholic Bishops Permitting Parishioners To Eat Meat During Lent Due To The Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has altered the lives of millions of people drastically. In light of that, some Catholic bishops are saying that their faithful have given up enough, and are issuing statements saying that churchgoers don’t need to follow the usual “no meat on Fridays” rule of Lent.

While the actual practice of Lent differs between branches of Christianity, in Catholicism it involves giving something up for the 40-day period, plus not eating meat on Fridays. According to NBC, several Catholic bishops are alleviating that restriction for multiple reasons. Some are saying that it’s because folks are giving up “many other sacrifices” as is during the pandemic, while others refer to the fact that searching for certain types of food (ie. meat-free) has become hard given the current state of grocery stores.

I can personally speak to the struggle of finding meat-free foods at this time. As a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church, I abstain from all meat, dairy, and fish products during the Lenten period. This has been extremely difficult this year, given that when I do go shopping, many stores are very low on stock or completely out of vegan products, including tofu, vegan meats, beans, and other substitutes I rely on during this time annually.

While these announcements may come as a welcome reprieve for some, particularly those struggling to find meat-free foods, not all members of the Catholic Church are on board with the idea. Some have taken to Twitter disagreeing with the decision, saying that they’ve already been denied other parts of the faith, like being able to congregate or partake in Holy Communion, during the pandemic.

“Why are we assumed to be so weak?” reads a tweet from one disapproving member. “Elijah, the prophets, and the saints would spit on us.”

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Fast Food What's New

Arby’s Serves Up Nashville Hot Fish Sandwich For Lent

Photo courtesy of Arby’s

Arby’s is kicking off the new year hot in preparation for the Lenten season. In a time where fish sandwiches flourish in the fast food market, the popular chain is taking things a step further with an item that’s sure to light a fire in customers’ bellies.

Brand Eating reports that the restaurant is introducing a new Nashville Hot Fish sandwich.

The sandwich boasts a crispy-fried filet of Alaskan Pollock that’s coated with Nashville Hot seasoning. It’s served with shredded iceberg lettuce, a parmesan peppercorn ranch sauce, and dill pickles on a sesame seed bun.

For those looking for something a little sweeter to pair with their meat, Arby’s is also offering a version that replaces the sesame bun with a King’s Hawaiian bun.

To coincide with the Nashville sandwich launch, Arby’s is also bringing back their seasonal Crispy Fish Sandwich. Both items will be available presumably until April 1, 2018, Easter Sunday.

Categories
Culture Opinion

My Inner Thought Process While Fasting During An Orthodox Lenten Season

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Millions of Christians around the world are currently on a 40-day journey of fasting and restraint commonly known as Lent. While fast food chains and restaurants around the world prepare for the long Lenten season by featuring tons of fish dishes on the menu, I won’t be able to enjoy them. That’s because my branch of Christianity (Eastern Orthodox) does Lent a little differently than everybody else.
From the first Monday of Lent (February 19 this year) to Easter (April 8), we won’t be consuming fish, meat, dairy, olive oil, and alcohol. However, we can consume shellfish, octopus, and vegetable oil, and alcohol and olive oil are permitted on weekends.
I’ve been going through this experience every single year of my life, and the struggle is always different (and harder) each time. Nonetheless, a consistent thought pattern does emerge in my head as the Lenten season goes on every year, whether they be “right” or “wrong.”

 

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Week 1

“This is gonna be great!”

I always head into Lent with a positive attitude, thinking that I’m going to just breeze through it and that it’ll be over before I know it. After all, this is the umpteenth time I’m going through Lent, right? At this point, I’m having fun experimenting with tons of different recipes involving tofu, beans, and/or soup, and enjoying every single one of them. Who says going plant-based for a while can’t be a little fun?

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Week 2

“Just one burger. What could hurt from that?”

Lent can definitely take its toll on you early on. Fasting this way for so long can be physically draining, to say the least. That weariness creeps into my thoughts, because I’m starting to get tired of not being able to eat meat and am feeling the temptation. “Just one burger,” I think to myself. “What could hurt from that?”
Keep in mind that this is still extremely early into Lent, and I’m already showing signs of weakness. The true mental battle hasn’t even begun yet.

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Week 3

I’m sick and tired of all this tofu… when is Lent over again?

By this time, my body has physically shifted over to deal with a plant-based diet (with some shellfish), but the mental battle is just beginning. Temptation comes literally every single day to eat meat. In this day and age, where everything convenient is basically meat-based and restaurants are packed full of animal protein, it’s extremely easy to do so. At least Lent is nearing its halfway point.

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Week 4

PHEW, we’re halfway done. Thank God!

This week is what I like to call the “Second Wind” week. I get a breath of fresh air and relief knowing that I’ve made it over the official halfway hump. It’s only going to get tougher from this point, though, as I’m still eating tons of tofu and other options like peanut butter sandwiches or chili are just not good enough anymore. The cravings start to get real at this point.

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Week 5

“Not… gonna…. make… it….”

This is probably the second toughest week of Lent for me. At this point, I’m completely sick of eating just soy and plant-based protein. I begin eating a lot more shellfish than I had been in the weeks before as a way to at least appease the desire for a little bit. Still, the thought of a juicy steak or a gooey grilled cheese are both extremely tempting, but I promise myself that I will do everything in my power not to cave.

 

Honestly, I’ve given in and eaten meat at this point so many times throughout the Lenten journey in the past that it’s safe to say this is the turning point for me in Lent.
And we haven’t even gotten to the hardest part of the fasting period yet.

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Week 6

“I made it this far. Home stretch. No turning back now.”

This is the official final week of Lent, which makes me happy to get through because it gives me a little sense of relief and finality. “We made it.”
I’ve definitely grown in mental toughness throughout each Lent to this point because I’ve had to fight extreme levels of temptation, stood through countless services, and tried really hard not to give in. Regardless, it’s time to prep for the final – and hardest – of any week in the Lenten season: Holy Week.

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Holy Week

“They said this fast was 40 days. They lied. And it sucks.”

If you factor in the 6 weeks of actual Lent, plus this week, it totals at 49 days of actual fasting from meat, dairy, and fish. Not to mention that on Good Friday we don’t eat anything. The fact that Lent is actually more than 40 days drains me throughout this week as I count down the days to Pascha and pray for the whole thing to be over. Fast.

 

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Easter Saturday and Sunday

“I made it! Christ is Risen! It’s a great day! And best of all – MEAT!!!!!!”

This is it. The day I’ve been waiting for. As the Paschal services go on through the weekend, I take a little bit of time to reflect on the whole Lenten journey. Did I make it all the way through without breaking the fast? What did I learn about myself? How did I mentally and spiritually grow?

 

This is the time for me to synthesize those lessons, learn from the experience, and be happy for the celebration of Easter. Even if I did break the fast, I know that I’ll be accepted into church for this joyous occasion.
And when everything’s over, I chow down on eggs, bacon, and lamb like the hungriest guy on the planet. And usually get sick afterward from eating too much.

Categories
Fast Food

Quiznos’ New Lobster & Seafood Scampi Bake Looks Like A Mouthful For Lent

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Lenten season is nearly upon us and if you’re one to keep an eye out for any fast food options that don’t contain meat, prepare to weep for joy. Quiznos announced a new Lobster & Seafood sandwich that’s arriving just in time for the upcoming season of meat-less fasting.

The Lobster & Seafood Scampi Bake features a warm garlic-baked lobster and seafood medley that is topped with gooey mozzarella, tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, and onions.

On the colder side, Quiznos’ existing Lobster & Seafood Salad Sub makes a seasonal return. The sandwich features fresh lobster paired with seasonal greens and served on butter-toasted artisan bread.

Patrons can find the Lobster & Seafood Scampi Bake and Lobster & Seafood Salad Sub now at participating Quiznos locations through mid-April.

Categories
Fast Food What's New

Del Taco’s Shrimp Game Just Got A Jumbo Upgrade

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If there’s one thing I learned from Nickelodeon’s Drake and Josh, it’s that the bigger the shrimp, the better.

Del Taco must have thought the same thing, debuting new Jumbo Shrimp Tacos and Burritos today.

The golden Jumbo Shrimp tacos have a bit of a chili lime taste and are topped with shredded cabbage, pico de gallo, and Del Taco secret sauce, all in a flour tortilla. The burritos have the same ingredients, but add some fresca lime rice to the mix.

If you’re really hungry, Del Taco is also debuting an Epic Surf & Turf Burrito that not only has the Jumbo Shrimp, but grilled carne asada as well.

With the religious observance of Lent right around the corner, Del Taco knows damn well that putting out a new seafood menu will help make up for the customers who might be cutting out red meat.

“With the Lent season beginning March 1, we’re giving our guests even more delicious options at the value for which Del Taco is known,” Noah Chillingworth, Del Taco’s Vice President of Marketing said.

Like Del Taco usually does with their shrimp offerings, the Jumbo will only be around for a limited time, so don’t sleep on these big boys for too long.

 

Categories
Fast Food

White Castle’s New Sriracha Shrimp Looks FIRE

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It seems with the Lenten season upon us, fast food chains are quickly unveiling non-meat choices for patrons to snack on. White Castle has now added new Sriracha Shrimp Nibblers to its menus as a new seafood option.

The nibblers are bite-sized pieces of butterfly shrimp that’s breaded and fried. It seems you can also get the shrimp without the Sriracha seasoning.

It’s great to see they’re not just adding another fish sandwich.

Available at all participating White Castle locations, the shrimp nibblers will be served for a limited time. We’re guessing at least until Easter.

Photo: White Castle

Categories
Fast Food

Del Taco Launches New Beer Battered Shrimp

BB-Shrimp-Del-Taco

Late last year, Del Taco introduced a line of carne asada menu items. Now, the fast food chain is adding another protein in the form of beer-battered seafood. Yes, beer-battered.

While the chain has already done the beer-battered fish taco, Del Taco is adding three new items that haven’t been seen on their menu before. This includes a Beer Battered Shrimp Taco, Del Fuego Shrimp Taco and the Surf and Turf Burrito.

You can get two Beer-battered or two Del Fuego shrimp tacos for $4.50.

Lent season is quickly approaching and folks are scrambling for fast-food options that don’t involve meat. Maybe this could ease some of that stress. The beer-battered shrimp will be available for a limited time, presumably through the Lenten season.

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

Canadian Guy Gives Up Food for Lent, Drinks Beer Instead

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Drinking beer for 40 days straight may not seem like a huge sacrifice, but for Toronto-based beer blogger Chris Schryer, it’s been the ultimate test of faith.

In honor of the annual Christian observance of Lent, Schryer has forgone solid food in favor of his own home-brewed oat-infused beer — to emulate the monks who first created Dopplebock in the 17th century, reports Canada’s QMI Agency. The oats bring extra nutrients in the form of protein and unfermentable sugars, though Schryer also supplements his hoppy diet with water, apple juice, and lightly sugared tea to keep hydrated and limit his inebriation.

Thus far, the experiment has proven to be challenging and eye-opening, with Schryer posting spiritual updates to his blog every couple of days:

“And in doing these things, I’ll be making myself more spiritually ‘fit,'” Schryer writes, “and more importantly, I will become closer to God. And then, when it’s game seven of the Churchly Cup, I’ll be ready and engaged. The darkness of Good Friday will cut deeper, and the joy of Easter Sunday will be greater, because I will be more in tune with the story that we are participating in.”

Picthx Toronto Beer Blog