The most ancient period of the Orthodox Church is surely Great Lent or ‘Sarakosti’ in Greek. The word ‘Sarakosti’ actually means ’40 days’ which is what we’ll be focusing on up until Easter here at The Real Greek.
It was established in the 4th century and while originally it lasted 6 weeks, it later changed to 7, and has remained so until this day. The Great Lent starts on Clean Monday (read our post here) and ends on Easter Saturday. The purpose of this period is to cleanse the body and soul, and to prepare for Easter.
During Sarakosti, people refrain from eating meat, poultry, milk, cheese, eggs and fish. On some days, even olive oil is restricted (though we love it too much here at The Real Greek to do that!). We could alternatively call it ‘going vegan’ for 40 days.
Today, many Greeks choose to fast for only 7 days in the week leading up to Easter. Apart from religious reasons, people also choose to fast for those 7 days, or the full 7 week period in order to detox and eat healthier in the lead up to the big Easter feast.
Some choose to not give up dairy and cheese – however it is really easy to go vegan while on a Mediterranean diet, since there is a plethora of vegetables, pulses, seeds, nuts, fruits and wheats to be eaten on a daily basis. Olives and olive oil are a must during the days of this ‘imposed’ veganism, adding great nutritional value and flavour to all food!
This year, our restaurant has decided to raise awareness about this healthy tradition, and in addition to already existing vegetarian and vegan dishes, to offer some great new mezes to our customers during this time! Check them out:
A balanced diet is easily achieved, and it is no wonder that the Mediteranean diet is today considered to be one of the healthiest diets in the world – just read our new The Real Greek Cookbook that we released late last year.
We may think going vegan or refraining from meat is a sign of our times, but the truth is, ancient Greeks altered their diets according to the seasons, long before religion existed, and knew a lot more about the way we should eat. As the Ancient Greek Philosopher Kleovoulos said thousands of years ago: “All things in moderation”/”Metron Ariston”.
We believe in that saying here at The Real Greek, and you can definitely see that by just glancing at our menu. With more than fifty-five vegetarian and vegan meze to choose from, plus the new dishes that will be available as specials for the #40daysofveg, you can enjoy fully nutritious and balanced meals with no hassle.
Just come in, order and enjoy!
Oh – and if you want to win a meal with Tonia Buxton and three of your friends, you’ll have to drop in during our #40daysofveg and find out how!