The Daniel Fast-The Experience

So now that you know the details of the Daniel Fast and what we ate, I suppose it’s time to tell you what I got out of the whole thing.  

As I said, I’ve been a bit hesitant to write about the experience because it’s definitely not something for everyone…and I really don’t think some people will get it…which is totally fine.

While Ben and I were doing the fast, we only told 1 or 2 people. If someone asked why we weren’t eating certain foods, I told them that we were just watching what we ate.

What were some of the every day trials?

As I said, there were a few social situations that were a bit difficult to navigate, but we managed. It was especially hard this time of year because of the constant influx of candies, cookies and baked goods at the office. I passed by the back counter in the office every day and had to avoid the temptations of the season.

To be honest, I’d usually go over, scope out the goods and then scurry away before I got too close. And really, I didn’t feel like I was deprived in the dessert department.

I was very surprised to find that it wasn’t the sweets, or even coffee,  that I missed the most. I actually missed cheese and products with yeast more than anything. I am not a huge bread eater (anymore), however I absolutely love sandwiches of any kind–subs, wraps, paninis, burritos/tacos, etc.

In the second week, we started eating matzos with peanut butter. This was a nice change and was a great substitute for crackers or chips. Love crunchy foods!

I found that I could survive without caffeine but I missed the feeling of drinking something hot. In order to manage this, I started drinking mugs of hot water. Sometimes I would add a lemon.

 Working in a restaurant–especially a steak and seafood restaurant–is especially hard when you’re on a special diet–vegan or not! The last month has been full of parties, tasty treats, appetizers, specialty items, cheeses and dips…and I couldn’t eat any of it!

The biggest thing was that we needed to plan ahead. The nights we worked at the restaurant, we’d pack the ingredients to make dinner. The fast also forced me to pack my lunch each day (luckily, I have an amazing husband who does way too much for me and takes amazing care of me) because it’s so difficult to eat out.

The days I wasn’t prepared were difficult and I found myself scrambling to find a snack–vending machines are pretty much off-limits and it’s hard finding time to run to the grocery store, especially since you have to pay attention to ingredient lists.

So what did I learn?

I learned that I am a lot more patient than I give myself credit for. Yes, I still have some work to do, but I’m getting there. Doing the fast took a lot of planning, time and preparation and I was surprised that I was able to do so well.

Again, Farmer Ben was a big help and those three weeks were a great reminder that we can lean on each other for support and encouragement…or just to vent about how badly one of us wants coffee or cheese.  

I also learned that I can go without, and practice self-control, something that can definitely be applied to my every day life. I found that, even though I was restricting certain foods, I was still getting everything I needed and I wasn’t starving to death by any means. He takes care of me and continues to provide for me, even if I don’t always get immediate gratification.

We saved a lot of money during this time…and that was perfectly okay.

I won’t go into my personal reasons for doing this, but I definitely learned a lot. There were a few verses that I kept in mind during this time period–something to focus on if you will–and they were so encouraging, especially on days when all I wanted to was  a cheeseburger and a beer…or something of the like.

It was a much-needed push to take time out of my day for prayer, studying The Word and reflection. I’ve always struggled with this aspect of my life and I feel like this journey has helped me refocus.

I will admit that some of the lessons from the Daniel Fast were not what I was expecting, but they were valuable nevertheless.

I managed to lose a few pounds…it’s amazing how much your calories are cut when you aren’t eating certain foods. I didn’t do this to lose extra weight, but it was a side effect. I have to say, some days I was hungry most of the day and other days I could barely eat.

It was very strange and my body is still trying to balance out the changes. I’ve gained back a few pounds, but I’ve also noticed that my appetite and cravings have changed. I’m not hungry and I’m wanting to eat different things than I did before.

After 21 days, my head was clearer, my body was cleaner and my spirit was calmer.

Would I do the fast again?

In a word, yes.

I definitely think that deliberately setting that time aside to plan, refocus, and organize your mind, body and spirit is a necessity.

I will tell you that I usually get very stressed out between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This time, while I did still have some stress, I was at peace and was ready to take on all of the activities that come with the season.

I can tell you that you need to go into this time with an end purpose, a goal of learning something, having a prayer answered or making a change. You need something to focus on. If you don’t, you’re not doing it for the right reasons.

It’s amazing what you can do when you take yourself out of the everyday hustle and bustle and set aside time for a higher purpose.

I cherish the three weeks and continue to remind myself of the small lessons I learned along the way.

So, any questions? Have you ever thought about doing a fast? What would be your biggest obstacle/item you’d have a hard time cutting out? What would be your focus?

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