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Catholic Friday abstinence for vegans?

I'm Irish Catholic and before I went vegan I usually followed the Friday abstinence rule- no eating meat on any Friday of the year unless there's a holiday on.  Now being vegan I assumed I didn't need to do anything special on Fridays, but one of those spiky older ladies that always seem to be on parish councils has said that by not abstaining from anything, I'm cheating.  I guess I can see her point.  
So, anyone else had this issue?  I can't think of what to give up- the only things I eat every day are soya milk and vitamins, basically.  The only other thing would be junk food or sweets, but the original point of abstinence was to give up something 'good for you'.
Oh, and I tried asking my priest but as he's very Irish, didn't know what the term 'vegan' actually meant, and hasn't gone a day (except Fridays) without a slab of meat since he was old enough to chew it, he wasn't exactly helpful.

give up something you eat a lot of, even if it's not on a daily basis, like tofu, or give up coffee or your favorite soda, if you drink those. 


first of all, i know it's confusing and you don't use the boards that much, but i think they are trying to phase out the chit-chat section (so it's better to post in others)

next, i am not catholic, but my family is so i understand it.
1. i don't think it's "cheating" if you don't give anything up anymore, but i guess it would depend partially on your reasons for going vegan
2. ummm... i don't think the point is to give up something good for you. i think the point is to have the willpower to not eat something you are used to/like and instead devote energies to praying and stuff.

i would just give up junk food on friday if i were you.


This woman doesn't also happen to think she's the Pope, does she?

It seems to me that you are "giving up" on a daily basis in fulfillment of your beliefs.  But I suppose, yeah, giving up dessert on Friday would make sense.

I'm not catholic, though.


You could try giving up wheat. Or all gluten-containing grains.  Or non-natural sugars.  Or soy - which is like the vegan version of red meat, right?  ;) 

I had a friend who told me she would go vegan for a week, and I did a version of the anti-Candida diet during that week to support her.  I felt like it also helped show her how many foods were left for her to eat as a vegan, compared to me as a you-name-it-free vegan, and I could still do it.  Then - added bonus! - I started feeling amazingly better (re: my IBS) and stayed on that diet for almost a month, and I've continued to eat a low-sugar, low-soy, low-corn, low-gluten diet the three months since.  My friend didn't remain a vegan, but cooks some vegetarian meals now, knows what is and isn't vegan, and argues with people who say it isn't healthy or can't be done.

Progress!  :)>>>


Many religious orders, particularly contemplatives, abstain from all meat etc the year round. So unless they're all cheating, you aren't either. When these orders (Carmelites, Cistercians etc) want to "fast" they have a day on literal bread and water, or only bread and fruit--things like that. Or they will literally fast (not eat) one of the meals of the day.

On the other hand, non-Catholic Christians sometimes give up other things than food. Like say TV watching, or chocolate (or whatever food you really like) or any activity that is leisure to you and that giving it up would be a real sacrifice, something you would feel. The point isn't about food, but about self-denial. So for example, I could give up reading leisure-time fiction, or stay off the Internet--such as that. For a lot of people today, turning the TV or the computer screen to the wall is a real denial of the self.
Or just deny yourself that extra sack time on the weekends. Whatever takes you out of your comfortable rut.


Thank you everyone!  There were lots of good points, and I think I'm going to go with all the posts that suggested giving up dessert or something similar for the day.


I'm Catholic too, but I only give up something on Fridays during Lent.  Since you'd normally give up meat, why don't you give up meat substitutes instead?

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