Up to now my questions have been fairly "normal" - well normal for me at any rate.
Now comes a strange one.
Fasting and abstinence are clearly, and beautifully, a large and important part of the life of an Orthodox Christian. Is abstinence from meat and dairy during periods of strict abstinence still spiritually valuable if you regularly abstain from such foods? I mean if one is a strict vegetarian and regularly abstains from all meat, dairy and eggs in their daily life - is more required from them during periods of fasting/abstinence?
I'm not sure if the way I'm writing the question makes sense.
I was, for several years, a vegetarian. I stopped eating a vegetarian diet about a year and a half ago but have noticed that I do not feel as good physically or mentally with a diet that contains meat and dairy. So I am transitioning back to a strict vegetarian diet (no easy feat in Alabama). And I was just thinking that once I complete the dietary transition and I'm already not eating meat, dairy and eggs that a period of fasting and abstinence (such as Great Lent) will be a "no brainer" and probably won't seem like a time of deprivation - since I already won't be eating those things anyway.
Which sort of seems like cheating. If that makes sense. So I was wondering what your opinions are (clearly should I convert I will discuss this with my priest) on the idea of a vegetarian Orthodox and fasting/abstinence.