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Lenten diet: from seafood to smoothies

The month of March marks exactly one year since the COVID-19 pandemic entered our borders. It has been a testing year, but we are nevertheless thankful to be alive.

Lent is the period where we reflect on our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and the time He spent in the wilderness enduring temptation and preparing to start His ministry. For us Catholics, the Lenten period is a time of fasting and repentance.

A must-have during Lent is fish and seafood. I am sure you have all noticed the price increase in seafood. It is vital that when choosing fresh fish and seafood, that the vendor has his/her catch on ice. Ensure that you ask the vendor what day the item was caught.

When selecting fish, check that it has a firm and shiny skin. Ideally, if you poke the flesh, it should bounce back and not have a sticky feeling. This applies to shrimp as well.

Inspect the gills of the fish, since a freshly caught fish will have bright red/pink gills in colour, not dry, slimy, or grey. Fresh fish and seafood should smell like the ocean and not ‘fishy’ or have a pungent odour. The eyes of the fish should be clear with no cloudiness present and slightly bulging.

If you are purchasing pre-packaged fish or seafood from the supermarket, always check the dates of manufacture and expiration. If there is none, avoid purchasing the product.

For those who wish to attempt a vegetarian diet for Lent, try using lots of peas, beans, tofu, soya chunks and paneer (a fresh cheese that is very common in Indian cuisine).

If you wish to try a vegan diet (no cheese, milk, or eggs), this will be a bit more challenging, but it will improve your own health. Furthermore, during the Lenten period, always remember to keep hydrated by drinking lots of water throughout the day.

We are in the dry season and the days can get humid, so it is vital to keep your water bottles nearby. Ensure that you consume lots of fruits if you are observing strict fasting as fruits will give you the strength to carry out your daily task. One final tip is to utilise smoothies and shakes into your diets as these can be great boosters during the day.


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