Many fast and they think that fasting means just eating vegetarian food. They try to prepare for themselves very delicious vegetarian meals that are very nutritious, with all that they add to them of rare and expensive ingredients...! Then they ask about vegetarian fat, vegetarian cheese, vegetarian milk and vegetarian chocolate! They forget the saying of Daniel the Prophet about his fasting:
“In those days, I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine come into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself” (Dan 10:2,3).
I would like here to concentrate on the phrase: “I ate no pleasant food”... Because whenever one eats pleasant food during his fasting, how could he control the desires of the body while he is giving it the food that it longs for?!
The spiritual man knows that fasting, in its reality, is humbling for the body and victory over the desire for food and also an elevation above the level of the material. Fasting then should not be considered as just eating vegetarian food. But in his fasting, he cares about the element of abstaining, that is depriving the body of whatever it longs for, no matter how it is purely vegetarian.
Therefore many fast but they do not benefit, because in their fasting, they acted in a literary and formal way.
They did not enter into the spirituality of fasting or the spirituality of the commandment concerning fasting and the divine aim for it!
And so they fasted by the body while the spirit did not fast.