My New Years resolution was to cut back on the amount of sugar I intake by limiting soda and processed foods. I decided I would start off by trying the Daniel Fast. My church participates in it every year and I’ve always thought it would be fairly easy for me to do since I love fruits and vegetables! I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to focus more on my faith and be able to eat healthier at the same time. In my previous blog, New Year – New Goals, I created a list of tips on how to be successful when making resolutions and goals. Unfortunately, I did not follow all of my steps of my own advice. I will explain more on the later.
First off, the Daniel Fast is a spiritually motivated diet based on the Biblical Book of Daniel. This fast is commonly known as a 10 or 21 day abstinence from foods that God had declared unclean in the Law of Moses. The foods today that you are able to eat on the Daniel Fast include: Water, Fruits, Vegetables, Legumes, Whole Grains, and Nuts. The foods to avoid are Wheat, Sugar, Meat, Dairy, Caffeine, Fried Foods, Processed Foods or anything with Preservatives or Additives. So as you can tell, the Daniel Fast is supposed to be a fast, not a diet. More information about the Daniel Fast can be found on their website.
So I decide I would try this because I knew it would help me to start eating healthier and drinking less caffeine. It is commonly said that it takes 13 days for something to become a habit and I wanted it to be a habit to drink more water and to eat less processed foods with added sugars. This fast was going to force me to cook more at home, avoid eating out, and to drink more water. This may seem overwhelming to those who have not tried this fast before, like myself, but I knew if I prepared myself right, it would make what seemed like an impossible challenge, a little more bearable.
As you can tell, today is the 5th and the Daniel Fast is not over. But I wanted to share what I’m going through for anyone who may be having troubles or considering trying the Fast. I thought I had done enough research to prepare myself; I planned out meals for the first week and I started drinking less caffeine before January so I wouldn’t have to quit cold turkey. It takes about 7 days to not feel the effects of caffeine withdrawals. Side note – my husband absolutely dislikes fruits and vegetables so I knew I had to plan dinners that he would like which can be tricky to find for this particular fast. – My first tip for this fast: DO NOT eat only fruits and vegetables! I did not realize this, but you still need protein and carbs – which can be found in nuts, hummus, and whole grains -to stay healthy. My lack of carbs caused me to have as I would call “memory loss,” I couldn’t stay focused and I was easily forgetting my sentences/words during conversations. Also it’s good to know the side effects to cutting out sugar and caffeine. I knew caffeine withdrawals could cause headaches but I was unaware that the sudden decrease in sugar and carbs could also cause your body to ache (well at first – sugars actually cause inflammation normally but the sudden lack of can cause temporary body aches). Your body also wants to detox from all the bad things you intake so you may find yourself in the bathroom more for the first few days – but don’t worry that ends fast too. Initially, I did not feel well – almost like I had the flu – and I was constantly tired. But you CAN push through this! As my body adapts to the changes I can already sense my body feeling more alive, alert and I feel naturally happier!
So overall, I just want others to know that it can be done, it gets easier as you go through it, and make sure you prepare yourself for these types of goals! My last tip is to remember why you’re doing the fast. This is a time to reflect, focus on God and to spend less time eating/meal planning and more time praying. I wanted to spend every chance I could finding the best meals to make when I should have just thrown some whole grain noodles and a quick homemade tomato sauce together and spent more time praying and realizing the importance of the fast and building a spiritual connection to have a more intimate relationship with God. This is what the Daniel Fast is about.
-Your Simple Average Wife