have some questions about fasting....i am trying hard to abide by the restrictions but....i was told recently that when the calendar notes fish is allowed that does not mean fish like tilapia or tuna (which are cheap), or perch and walleye (which our peninsula is known for)- but fish without a spine like shrimp or lobster (which are expensive)...this seems odd to me if one of the purposes of fasting is to save money to give to the poor....i cant afford to get shrimp, crab or lobster, let alone have the time to prepare it...tuna and frozen fillets of tilapia or cod on the other hand is prepared quickly and simply...
on another point....i live with a dear husband who attended vespers for a few months with me when i began looking into the Orthodox church....but has stopped going with me and now attends a Baptist church semi-regularly...something he has never done on his own...(i am sure i scared the snot out of him when i got serious about orthodoxy lol)...he is retired and loves to cook....he know about the Nativity fast and Great Lent Fast and Wed and Fri otherwise (those days all add up to nearly half of the year-daunting indeed)...but again, he likes to cook and when i come home from the first day on my new promotion and he has a wonderful chicken dinner i feel i must eat it not to offend him....or today he spent time making a roast and carrots...again i ate...i am torn...i have read that some of the early Fathers would eat more than the guest so as not to make them feel awkward if they visited him while fasting...last year for Great Lent i fasted all week but on the weekends home with husband i ate whatever he wanted or cooked...
i get the feeling that the congregation of which i am part of is not very diligent re the fasts but yet our priest is...
what to do what to do....?
First, you should talk to your priest about whether or not he wants you to fast. While the Church has general guidelines as to how the fast should be followed, just as a doctor will examine the physical state of one's health before giving a prescription, so too will your Spiritual father examine your spiritual state before telling you how you should fast.
Furthermore, as you have not been chrismated an Orthodox Christian and cannot partake of the Eucharist, you do not have this gift to give you strength during the fast.
In regards to the questions regarding fish, seafood without a vertebrate (shrimp, mussels, lobster, etc.,) are permitted throughout the fast. When you see that the calendar says "fish is allowed" (this is usually on feast days that occur within a Lenten period) this means you can eat fish with a vertebrate (tilapia, flounder, trout, etc.) One must remember that when the fasting guidelines were written, they were written many years ago in a Mediterranean setting. During that time, shrimp and mussels were cheap, and fish with a vertebrate were expensive. Therefore, it would make sense that shrimp would be allowed but tilapia would not.
As far as shrimp being difficult to prepare, it's actually one of the easiest things to prepare, and can be purchased rather inexpensively when you buy it frozen. A quick search on the internet will turn up loads of easy to prepare shrimp dishes that I'm sure you and your husband would enjoy.
But first things first, TALK TO YOUR PRIEST.
You are married to a man who is not an Orthodox Christian, and at the present moment, does not express interest in becoming Orthodox. Your priest needs to know this so he is sensitive to this. It will not be expected of you to keep the fast as diligently as those where both spouses are Orthodox. It's simply not possible.
Don't seek advice on the internet about these things; talk to your Spiritual Father, as he knows what is best.