Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Introducing the Daniel Fast...

Well, since my last post I have decided to participate in a Daniel Fast!  Today is actually Day 2 and I'm going strong.  For those of you who do not know what a Daniel Fast is, check out this book.  It is mainly a fast where you only eat fruits and vegetables...no meat...no dairy...and whole grains...and no leavening agents.  My first introduction with the Daniel Fast was a a few years ago when a friend told me she was doing it.  I had never heard of it before and was very intrigued to learn more.  Upon learning more, I quickly dismissed the fast as something way too difficult for me. 

A friend of mine, who also reviews books for Christian publishing companies,  (you can find her blog HERE.), reviewed the book The Daniel Fast by Susan Gregory.  Then she participated in the fast for 21 days.  And lived to tell about it!  So I became inspired to one of my own.  However, I knew I wanted to wait for the right timing and such so I could start the fast with the proper mindset of offering this sacrifice to the Lord.  I was going to start the fast last week, but then realized with all of Allie's birthday festivities, it probably wasn't the best idea.  So I started yesterday. 

One thing I learned from reading the book was that every fast should have a purpose.  I'm not sure why reading it was so profound to me, because I guess I knew people fasted for a reason...but I guess I thought that reason was self-denial.  I actually have 3 purposes for doing this fast.  The first is to develop a stronger walk with God.  I feel like I've been slacking in my spiritual growth over the years and I want to start growing and hearing God's voice in my life and inviting Him in to my daily decisions.  The second reason is to hopefully break my addiction with carbs and sweets.  Not only from a weight-loss point of view, but also because being addicted to anything is not good.  If eating the breads and sweets is holding me back from being physically healthy, then it's time to break the bond.  My third reason just came up last week.  I have been presented with an opportunity and I wanted an answer on whether or not it was God's will for my life at this time.  And wouldn't you know...I've already gotten my answer!  

Upon starting this fast, I was trying to set a time frame for how long I would do it.  Because of the decision that needed to be made, I didn't really have 21 days.  (And to be perfectly honest, I really didn't think I could last that long.)  So, in order to save myself from failure, I decided on just 5 days.  I told my husband about my decision and his response was, "Well, I would really like to see you do it for at least 10 days."  WHAT?  Sure, easy for him to say, right?  So I did what any good wife would do...and I agreed with him.  I actually am not positive that I will stop at the 10 day mark.  My plan is to pray about continuing on for longer than 10 days and follow God's prompting.  

So what does a typical day on the Daniel Fast look like?  Here is what I had to eat yesterday.  For breakfast, I had a smoothie made with red raspberries, banana, and strawberries, and a little OJ and ice.  I actually didn't eat all of it and was completely satisfied.  I went to the gym, worked out, and afterwards felt like I had an extra spring in my step and lots of energy.  I went to the grocery store and wandered the aisles looking for Daniel-approved foods, then headed home with my bounty.  I bought an all-fruit smoothie at the store and drank it on the way home.  For lunch I had some green beans.  Mainly because I didn't want to  take the time to make anything and I was starting to feel a ravenous.  I also had some slivered almonds.  And some plain air-popped popcorn.  And was still starving.  I wondered if lack of protein was what was causing my lack of satiety, so I grabbed a spoonful of all-natural peanut butter.  That did the trick.  For dinner I made vegetable stir fry and enjoyed every bite!  I also had a few strawberries.  I am counting calories just to inform myself of how much I'm eating, and yesterday I was 1200 UNDER my daily allowance.  Don't think that has EVER happened before!

This morning I woke up feeling satisfied, even though I normally feel hungry first thing in the morning and eat breakfast a few minutes after getting out of bed.  Today I actually went on a 2-mile run before eating and felt great.  I did finally start to feel hungry after my shower so I made a granola recipe from the book and ate it with some rice milk.  

I have had people ask me if I'm doing this fast to lose weight.  The answer is no.  That is just an added benefit.  The book says that most people will lose 10-25 lbs while on this fast.  Yes, that would be great and I would have no complaints if that did happen.  I am doing this for my 3 purposes listed above and that is all.  After this fast is over, I may continue is this way of eating (adding back in some meat, dairy,etc) in order to lose weight but this is definitely not my reason for doing this fast. 

So, what effects have I noticed since starting on this fast?  I am finding that, although I already know this, food is fuel and doesn't always have to be enjoyed.  We need to put good things into our bodies in order to reap good things as the output.  I have lots of energy.  I slept great last night.  I have lost 1.4 lbs.  And my mind feels clear.  I have been struggling with feeling a bit foggy in my brain (don't know how else to explain it)...and it was worrying me.  I was feeling completely scatter-brained and forgetful.  Now my mind feels clear.  Maybe I'm just delirious from the lack of sugar and fat-laden foods...who knows!  But the most important thing about this fast so far is that I feel in tune with God.  I meditate on Him almost constantly.  Even yesterday morning as I was heading to class I found myself subconsciously humming something.  When I figured out what it was, I recognized it as the chorus from a song that our worship team had sang at church the day before. 

Here are the words:

I know you're with me.
I know you're with me here.
And I know that your love will light the way. 

To me, that was confirmation that God was indeed with me and that I was not alone on this fast.  I thought that was so cool!

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