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When and What Can I Eat During Exodus 90?
When and What Can I Eat During Exodus 90?

Jesus himself has shown us by his example that prayer and fasting are the first and most effective weapons against the forces of evil (JPII)

Jacob Zepp avatar
Written by Jacob Zepp
Updated over a week ago

Note: This article is written about Exodus 90, our pre-Easter exercise. Check out our Easter disciplines as well.

Fasting has played a role in every age of human civilization. From the very beginning of mankind, the Lord called man to fast. He commanded Adam and Eve to abstain from eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil (see Genesis 2:17). Esau lost his birthright when he failed to fast (see Genesis 25:30-34). Samuel was given to his mother when she fasted and prayed (see 1 Samuel 1:13-16). Samson’s unconquerable heroism was brought about by fasting (see Judges 13:4).

There is a rich tradition of fasting in Christianity—especially in the Church Fathers. Exodus 90 builds on this tradition through a list of food-related asceticisms that we observe. This article will have specific answers to food and drink questions. If you have general questions about the disciplines check out: "What are the Disciplines of Exodus 90" and "How Closely Do You Need To Follow the Disciplines of Exodus?"

🍸 Give Up Alcohol

🥤 No Soda or Sweet Drinks

🍿 No Snacking Between Meals

🍦 No Desserts or Sweets

🍽️ Fast on Wednesday and Friday (only eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal)

​🐟 No Meat on Wednesday and Friday

"So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Why Wednesday and Friday?

On Wednesday, Judas betrayed Jesus. On Friday, Jesus was crucified.

From the earlier records of Christianity, these two days have been observed as penitential days where Jesus's Passion is recalled. At Exodus, we are committed to recalling these events and conforming our lives to Jesus's Passion. It is only through his Passion and Resurrection that we can have the ultimate freedom—eternal life with God in heaven.

What is the difference between "No Snacking" and "Fasting"

Snacking only refers to food eaten between meals. While you do not eat anything between meals when you fast, fasting also affects the meals themselves. Specifically, when we fast we are allowed to eat one full, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal.

This is the minimum for Exodus 90 and the minimum established by the Roman Catholic Church for days of fasting. During other Exodus spiritual exercises, we will fast by not eating food until 12 (the hour Jesus was crucified) or 3 (the hour Jesus died). Another traditional fast is that of only bread and water. But for Exodus 90, the minimum fast on Wednesday and Friday is one full, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal.

How many meals are allowed per day?

This is a cultural question. Most men eat three meals a day—breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If this is you, this is the answer, three meals.

Other men work physically draining jobs that have accustomed them to eating a fourth meal or live in a country where this is the common practice. And, of course, college students and young adults just eat whenever they feel like it. During Exodus 90, avoid eating snacks and keep eating as many substantial meals as you were accustomed to eating before you started Exodus 90.

What counts as a snack?

Definition: A snack is any food eaten between meals.

Potato chips are a common American snack food. When eaten between meals they are indeed a snack. Though, when eaten at a picnic alongside a juicy Johnsonville brat, it is not considered a snack, but rather a side to one of the finest uses of meat there is.

Does organic fruit juice count as a sweet drink?

The organic sticker might tell us something about the juice, but it doesn't tell us whether or not it is sweet. Note well, the discipline says "No Soda or Sweet Drinks," it does not say "No Sugar or Sucrose." Even if the juice doesn't have added sweeteners, if it is naturally sweet, it probably counts as a sweet drink. Do you consider juice a treat or a staple? Is the Lord calling you to give up juice for the next ninety days?

Can I have protein shakes?

If it is with your meal, you can certainly drink a protein shake. Athletes are permitted to drink protein shakes after a workout or at the time they normally would for performance purposes, but not solely as a snack. The rest of us athletic observers and recreational golfers should abstain from protein shakes outside of meals. 

Does non-alcoholic beer count as an alcoholic beverage?

Nope. Non-alcoholic beers do not count as alcoholic beverages. If the Lord is asking you to give up non-alcoholic beers, consider making this a personal discipline.

Can I add milk to my tea?

You can have milk, and you can have tea. Though independently of each other each of these is acceptable, when you add milk to your tea, your tea is no longer unsweetened. Thus, in these 90 days, you have the opportunity to abstain from milk in your tea. If you are an ambitious Englishman you could take a sip of tea and then quickly take a sip of milk. But if the milk is in a common serving dish at the table for all to use, that might be culturally frowned upon. And, if you consider the spirit of the discipline in accord with the letter of the discipline, it would be better to avoid this two-sip drinking strategy. 

Can I drink coffee?

Like tea, black coffee is permissible during Exodus 90. These 90 days provide you an opportunity to abstain from milk, sweeteners, or other additives in your coffee. Only black coffee is permitted.

What counts as a dessert?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Note that the discipline is not "No Sugar or Sucrose." So you don't need to check the ingredients in every item you buy at the grocery store to make sure that it is sugar-free. Our discipline is an invitation to give up pleasurable foods that are sweet treats. Whatever you are not certain about, ask yourself the question, "Is this food a sweet treat for me?" If the answer is yes, then take this as an opportunity to build up your will power to say no.

I have health concerns, do I have to follow all the food-related disciplines completely to do Exodus 90?

Each man should be prudent when abstaining from foods and fasting. Don't make excuses for yourself or take it easy on yourself for no legitimate reason. If you have a legitimate health concern, refrain from the disciplines that pose a unique threat to your health. If you are refraining from any disciplines, share this with your fraternity as you are able, especially with your anchor. Allow your brothers to pray for you as well as to know just how they need to hold you accountable. No need to add any extra disciplines if you have to remove one. Simply embrace the rest of the disciplines with greater love and zeal. 

Have more questions about these disciplines?

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