Today I am starting my 21 day fast. This is my first real attempt at fasting. Being a MAJOR foodie, fasting isn't really a part of my vocabulary. However, lately I've had the feeling of being stuck. Have you ever felt that way? I just feel like I've been going through the motions and not being present in the moment. I guess getting older does that to you. It makes you reflect on things more and I finally want to make a change by eating healthier. Even after the 21 days, I hope I can continue to make healthier choices and be more conscious; not only about food, but other things as well.
If you have also decided to do this (Daniel) fast, I will write as much as I can about foods, recipes, tips, etc. for you. You can also go to The Daniel Fast Blog and The Daniel Fast, which is where I am getting my information. As always, notify your doctor/physician before starting any diet/fast.
What: The Daniel fast is not a total fast; it is a diet mostly consisting of fruits and vegetables.
Why: I know this may just seem like food. But I wanted to do this fast to discipline myself spiritually as well and bring a focus to my life.
How: Prepare yourself and clean out that pantry!
For me, I had to prepare myself by cleaning out my pantry:
Yep. All my weaknesses in a pile.
Here is the food list of what you can eat during the Daniel fast. For a more detailed list go here: Food List
- all fruits and vegetables (fresh, frozen, dried, juiced, canned) Fresh is the best though.
- all whole grains (whole wheat, brown rice (Yea, Chipotle!), quinoa, etc)
- all nuts and seeds
- all legumes
- all quality oils
- tofu, soy, vinegar, and all seasonings
- drink water!
Foods to avoid:
- all meat, animal, and dairy products
- all sweeteners
- processed foods (no preservatives)
- fried foods
- all solid fats (butter, margarine, etc)
- coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, and alcohol
I had a lot of questions when I started going grocery shopping, like what about dijon mustard or salsa?
As long as the ingredients match the food list, you are ok. Many packaged foods have added sugar and chemicals/preservatives, so it is better to make the food yourself to be sure. Use your weekends to prepare your meals so you won't come home tired and give in to buying fast food or eating instant meals, like I have done so many times.
- Days before the fast, try to cut out high sugar foods and caffeine
- Drink plenty of water
- Have a support system! I have a friend that is encouraging me, and my mom knows not to make me spaghetti. :) I also have a friend who said she would do it with me! Plus, she works with me, so we can support each other throughout the day!
- When the 21 days are over, do NOT go crazy and start eating everything you have missed. It may upset your stomach which is not used to digesting such foods. I can't cut out meat and bread forever, but I hope this fast helps me to make better choices about what I eat every day.
- The booklet says to follow the B.R.A.T. diet: bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.
Health benefits of fasting:
- Your body goes through a natural detoxification process, which releases toxins and poisons from your system.
- Energy is focused on your metabolism and immune system, rather than to your digestive system (which won't need to work as hard).
- You feel more energized and there is an increased production of hormones.
- The body begins to use its fat stores as an energy source, which affects your cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight.
My personal goal:
That's the food part of my fast. I wanted a focus while I fasted. If it was just about food, I could easily give in. But if I have a focus, I can resist that piece of chocolate or Starbucks. As I was reading the Bible verse above, the part about being available really caught me. Lately I feel like I have not done that. Selfishness breeds laziness. So my focus is to be available to those around me. If someone needs my help, I want to try my best to help.
Brown Rice and Quinoa with grilled bell peppers and grape tomatoes.
I made this last night. I found this brown rice/quinoa pouch at Costco, which is delicious! Plus, it's perfect to take to work since it is microwavable. Here is the simple recipe:
Brown Rice and Quinoa with Veggies
You will need:
- brown rice and quinoa pouch from Seeds of Change (you can also make your own, but make sure to add seasoning)
- 2 Tablespoons of water
- any bell peppers sliced into strips
- kosher salt and black pepper
- grape tomatoes (optional)
- Follow the directions on the pouch to heat the brown rice/quinoa. I put it in a skillet and added 2 Tablespoons of water.
- In the meantime, take the sliced bell peppers and place on foil. Sprinkle lightly with EVOO, kosher salt, and pepper. I used my toaster oven to cook them. Cook until tender (about 8-10 minutes depending on the temperature).
- Place the rice and quinoa on a plate and put the bell peppers on top. Slice the grape tomatoes in half.
- I didn't need any further seasoning or sauce, but you could add a little soy sauce if you want.
Happy clean eating!