With a large span of religions from Orthodox Christians, Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Muslims and more observing certain rituals, there is a huge amount of people that follow dietary restrictions. Orthodox Christians is one example of a religion that is strict in their fasting practices, for some become vegan – giving up all animal products. Relating to this is Catholics who observe lent where they give up an everyday luxury for six weeks. These two types of fastings are the ones that stood out to me as being the most difficult and requiring the most self discipline.
For the past four days I attempted to follow some aspects of a fast and avoid eating dairy products. Previously, I had already experimented with some dietary restrictions such as staying away from gluten and soy products because of health reasons. However, those experiments were a lot easier to carry out because I was at home, with a steady supply of specific foods I could eat. However, being in London with an unpredictable schedule, it was much harder to have foods available that I was able to eat. The time that was the most challenging for me was during the week and eating lunch between classes. I usually have Starbucks every morning, but this was not an issue because I already order my coffee with soy milk. Instead of eating at a restaurant where almost every salad or sandwich contains cheese, I went to the market to have more of a selection of dairy – free foods.
I wrote down what I ate for every meal in order to keep track of what I was consuming. Also by writing down what I was eating, I would not have accidentally have eaten something I should not have. I did not feel that it was very challenging for me to eliminate dairy products for that amount of time and I might continue to do so. However, this weekend I went to Brighton with a few people and we all went to this cafe where everyone ordered gelato. I did not eat any and this made me realize that followers of strict diets have to deal with situations like this sometimes on a daily basis. Food is a huge aspect of socializing, yet knowing on a daily basis that you are achieving a goal makes giving up something attractive. It made me feel good about myself as well as healthier.
Having a deadline of when I could stop my diet is what I think made it pretty easy to follow through with. Orthodox Christians who are following an even stricter diet do this as a lifestyle, not for a few days. Because of this I have a lot of respect for their dedication and commitment to their faith. It takes self discipline to avoid a huge amount of foods, especially in a social setting. I believe that it takes a strong person not to give into temptations, even if we are only talking about food.