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?


The Daniel Fast-An Explanation

What Have I Been Up To?

The last three weeks have been a bit of a blur. The hubby and I have just completed a crazy journey. We’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching and working to better our minds, bodies and spirits.

This is part of the reason why I haven’t been blogging as much as usual. I needed to temporarily shift my focus.  I can tell you that it did me (and the hubs!) a world of good.

It’s been a time of reading, listening, writing,  meditation and prayer, but it’s also been a time of cleaning house, if you will.

We just completed the Daniel Fast. 

I have been hesitant to write a post about this because I honestly don’t think a lot of people would get it or understand our reasoning to try it. It’s something very personal and obviously not for everyone. As hesitant as I was to do a post on this, I feel like I have so much to say!

This isn’t a typical “fast”, rather it’s a restrictive diet based on scripture. Fasters are to follow a very specific diet.

The best way to describe it is “vegan, with even more restrictions.”

The Rules:

The fast consists of limiting any and all meat and dairy products. So no animal products, period-this includes honey and you’ll see why in a moment.

You are also cutting out any added sugars/sweeteners (including honey, stevia and agave nectar…etc.) and processed foods. 

Basically, you’re doing a lot of label reading-if there is any type of sugar or un-whole item in the ingredient list, it’s out. For us, this even included a vegan vegetable stock!

This plan really forces you to eat real, “whole” foods. And to experiment in the kitchen. Always a good thing!

No bread.  Or anything with leavening agents (yeast, baking powder, etc.). So again, lots of label reading. No crackers.

On top of that, you can only drink water. No soda, no tea, no alcohol, no juice. No coffee. Yes, I did not drink any coffee for three weeks. And I lived to tell about it!

Typically, you do the fast for 21 days, but you can extend it or shorten it depending on your goals and needs. We did the full 21 days.

To say that it was tough would be an understatement…but it wasn’t hard for the reasons I thought it would be. There were a few social functions that were a bit stressful, but we got through.

Other Information:

There is a book by the creator of the website, Susan Gregory, I haven’t read it but I linked the image to her site.

The Book

The Book

I can tell you that I spent plenty of time perusing the website and I did sign up for her daily devotionals. The devotionals were really good to have, and I received one on each of the 21 days. Some days it was a bit spooky because the subject would go hand in hand with something I was going through that day.

If you do sign up for the devotionals, you will get a few extra emails as well… but it’s easy to unsubscribe. I haven’t gotten another email since we completed the fast.

The website also has a blog and some recipes, as well as a place to buy some of the books written by Susan Gregory.  It also gives a detailed explanation of the fast, tips, advice and a comprehensive guide of what is and isn’t allowed.  Obviously, if you have any health issues, consult a doctor before beginning this fast as you would any other health plan.

Again, we didn’t do this as a “diet,” we did it as a refocus. Yes, our eating habits changed a little bit, but for the most part it wasn’t a huge shift.

Because I have so much to say, I’ll be writing two more posts about the experience. The next one will focus on food and the last will be an overview of my personal experience.

Stay tuned!


Hooray!

Hi Friends!

I am about to burst with excitement! I am whisking my husband away for a romantic first anniversary getaway… he doesn’t know where we are going yet…No big deal.

Anyway, we’ll be out of town, but I wanted to leave you with a little something for the weekend.

This is one of my favorite books in the Bible. It’s also a really popular reading at weddings, and was one of our readings. It’s also a passage that I find incredibly motivating and always try to keep in mind when it comes to marriage and life in general.

1 Corinthians 13 (NIV):

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 

 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

And now for a corny wedding photo…because I can:

Photo courtesy of Jona Favreau.

Happy weekend and happy almost anniversary!


Ripples

It’s Monday.

I woke up this morning after what seemed like a moment of sleep and was dizzy from all that transpired this weekend. I hit the snooze button, but was still tired the next time around. Yet, here I am. Another Monday at work has ended and the day has escaped a little too quickly for my liking.

Sunday was a very weird day for me. I got a bit emotional and felt the need to do some serious self-reflection.

 It started yesterday morning at church. The sermon was on motherhood, but it also discussed how anyone can be a better example, a light in the dark, if you will. It was titled, “Leaving a Legacy.”

My pastors talked about examples from their own lives and discussed words that came to mind when someone thought of their mother, but one phrase really struck a chord with me.

“A sincere faith causes a ripple effect.”

Regardless of your religion, or lack thereof, this is heavy. Everything you do has an effect on someone, even if you don’t realize it.

This got me thinking. What kind of impact am I making? What kind of people do I affect on a daily basis without even realizing it? What sort of ripples am I sending?

I know that I cannot personally change the world. But I can work hard every day to be a better person. And to help people, whether it be a smile to a stranger, a word of encouragement or helping someone with a project…the possibilities are endless.  And if I’m not the only one doing this?

Imagine the impact.

I just… I want to show people that there is still good in the world. Even if I don’t realize it at the time.

So…I’ll write it one more time. As a reminder.

A sincere faith causes a ripple effect.