My expertise is in nutrition, and this article is about how to get good nutrition. Please don't consider any of this to be spiritual advice. Generally within Orthodox Christian spiritual culture, it is believed that you should discuss your fasting regimen from a spiritual perspective with your priest, or with your spiritual father if you have one other than your parish priest. This is especially true if you are a pregnant or nursing woman, a child, elderly, sick or injured, or have medical requirements for certain dietary restrictions, in which case you would not be expected to fully comply with the fasting guidelines. It is also especially true if you do not fall into any of these categories yet wish to modify how you approach the fast from the norm. If I say something like “ask for a blessing to eat fish,” I'm just assuming this spiritual culture as a background, not giving out advice about when to talk to your spiritual father and when to ask for a blessing. Similarly, the norms of your local community or the advice of your spiritual father may differ on what to fast from by default, and you should consult these sources before implementing anything in my description of the fasting practices.
Nutritional and Medical Disclaimer
In this article, I describe what I believe would best cover the nutritional needs of most people. You are a unique individual, and your needs may differ from the average. Let your doctor know when embarking on any new dietary approach to make sure you do not have any medical reasons that should hold you back. When possible, seek personalized advice from a properly certified dietitian or nutritionist. Please treat this article as educational in nature and not as a form of or substitute for professional medical or nutritional advice.
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