If you follow me on Pinterest or Instagram (search lyndsayalmeida), you know that I’ve been doing the Daniel Fast this month. What a way to start 2012! Last year a lot of people from my church did this fast during January, and everyone raved about how good they felt while doing it. I was nursing at the time, so it was out of the question for me. But I’ve really been thinking about doing a cleanse and this sounded like a healthy option. The good news is that I survived, so I thought I’d share a little bit about the experience (just some practical stuff) in case anyone else is interested in trying something similar.
I’ll start with the positive. Here’s what I found easy/liked about the Daniel Fast:
1. Trying new recipes. And I tried A LOT! I didn’t repeat many meals, because I didn’t want to get bored. That required a lot of new recipes!
2. Drinking lots of water. I already drink water almost exclusively, so this was no big deal.
3. Feeling good! During the first week I thought everyone had lied to me about having lots if energy (jerks!), but by the second week I really felt it. You know that draggy feeling you get every afternoon? I didn’t get it at all!
4. Eating lots of fruit and veggies. Again, I already do this (especially since I don’t eat much meat).
5. Learning to read labels and plan meals. I usually only look at calorie content on labels. And if something looks reasonable, I buy it ’cause it’s healthy, right? But I had no idea how much sugar I was eating! This process really helped me be more informed about what I’m buying. Also, I don’t do well with planning meals. In fact, I usually think about dinner a few minutes before we should be eating it then scramble to put something quick on the table. You just can’t do that while on the Daniel Fast.
I compiled a few of my favorite recipes here. Check it out if you’re doing the fast and need a little inspiration! Just FYI: the recipes make a lot of food. Like, enough for a really big family. And since I was the only one in my family doing this (AHHEEM!) I had plenty for lunch, snacks, etc!
And now for the parts that made me HATE the Daniel Fast:
1. ONLY drinking water. It’s one thing to do something because you want to. But there’s such a mental issue when you do it because you have to. I missed my little Crystal Light packets too. Okay, full disclosure here: I have to admit that I did cheat on the fast. I let myself have one very small cup of coffee each morning. I know, I know. Such a cheater. But I’d do it again. 🙂
2. The inconvenience of eating out. Most restaurants don’t serve Daniel-friendly food, so eating out didn’t work well. And that’s a bummer for me, because we go out a lot on the weekends.
3. Not eating my beloved cheese or any other dairy product. Okay. I hated this part. I plan to adopt a lot of this diet into my regular eating habits, but no dairy is just not something I’m willing to do. I’m so not a vegan! How do you people do this? Come on, everything is better with cheese. EVERYTHING! And how could I live with out frozen yogurt? I could really go on and on about this one!
4. Getting bored with food. The biggest thing I learned during the fast was how much I enjoy food. And when I’m eating boring food that I don’t really enjoy I’d almost rather not eat. I started eating to live instead of living to eat. Maybe that’s the secret of the whole thing? Is that how it’s supposed to be? What a boring way to live!
A few more things:
– Pick a set time that works for you. Even if you only do this for a week, that’s great!
– I didn’t lose any weight. Maybe 1 pound? And maybe some inches? But who has time to measure that! Other people lost a lot. I think it depends on what your eating habits are before you start.
– Doing it with a group didn’t really help me, but I know that it works great for some people. It’s that whole, “We’re all in this together” thing.
– When you finish the fast (and have your yummy celebration) try REALLY hard to keep eating healthy. I’m sticking with wheat tortillas and brown rice, etc. And piling them high with good stuff like sour cream and cheese. You know, it’s about balance. 🙂
A little Mochi celebration. I might have drooled a bit. And whispered, “Oh how I’ve missed you” to my cup. No big deal.