Last minute Good Friday fasting

I don’t fast hardcore, even on Good Friday. Too many times I’ve tried with good intentions only to feel my blood glucose fall, my ire rise and the bakery sing its Siren song.

I wake, hours later, covered in powdered sugar and shame. Enough of that.

Better to remember that there are forms and variations of fasting, some of which might be described as restraint or adopting a specialized diet. Consider the hot cross bun, traditionally baked and served as a Good Friday fast food. But it looks like a little panettone to me, and a frosted one at that. But it lacks meat and that’s restraint for some.

I look a little farther east for my guidelines, to xerophagy: a diet of bread, water, nuts, fruit (especially dried) and simply prepared vegetables. While associated with Eastern Orthodox monasticism, with its genesis in the desert, there is something about it that reminds me of hiking and far journeying. I suppose because I can imagine a xerophagic diet be easy to carry in a backpack. Take that for what it’s worth. Gorp, crackers and water would work. I wouldn’t say no to an apple or an undressed salad. Indeed, I might look for these to go with my almond butter sandwich and raisins.

But just enough to get through the day.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. “I wake up …covered in powdered sugar and shame.”

    Oh Lord, child, you make me laugh.

    I would do just bread and stuff, but I feel the same way about plain bread that you do about the bakery. I’d be digging into that butter lamb in no time, stabbing right into it.

    Maybe bread and …olive oil?

    I haven’t tried a Good Friday fast in years.

  2. Olive oil, ironically, wouldn’t pass Greek Orthodox muster. An olive tapanade might. Oil is one of the things from which fasters abstain — which leads to some wonderful Lenten salad dressings made of tahini, nut butters and avocados.

    It may seem like cheating — though fried foods are still out — but I suppose it is all about where you draw lines.

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