The Daniel Fast

Hi friends!

Today is my second day on the Daniel Fast.

Last year, one of my co-workers completed 21 days on this fast (the typical length) and I really admired her dedication and commitment to God during that time. It couldn't have been easy (I'm finding out very quickly that it's not) and, despite what some might say, it's much more than a diet. It's a time to connect with God, to honor Him with your body, and get some refreshment going, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

(Right about now, I'm wishing those "refreshments" included Coke and sweet tea!)

For those of you who aren't familiar with the Daniel Fast, it's based on the passage of Scripture found in the Old Testament where Daniel refuses to eat from King Nebuchadnezzar's table and, instead, chooses to eat only fruit, vegetables, pulse (i.e. whole grains), and drink only water.  

Essentially, the idea was to prove that natural, whole foods were better for Daniel and his men, and that they would become stronger after ten days time than the men who enjoyed the rich, luscious food of the king. And Daniel was right. Once the ten days were up, Daniel and his men were presented to the king and found to be in much better health, and God blessed their sacrifice by giving them favor with their leader.

Up until today, I've only ever fasted one day at a time. To be honest, I never really took the time to care about the spiritual aspect of fasting, which is just as essential as the food part. I was always too busy waiting for the day to be over so I could get back to eating! Man, our flesh is so weak.

But, this time, I'm kind of excited to see how my body will change and how much more focused I'll become once certain chemicals and additives have been cleaned out of my system. It's not easy. I can't have caffeine, sugar or sweeteners (artificial or natural, including things like honey or nectar), white flour or yeast, dairy, or meat products. I've tried my best to avoid any kind of preservatives, too, but that's hard even in the all-natural, organic section of the grocery store. Nearly every item I picked up there had something artificial in it. I mean, where can a girl get some spaghetti sauce or bread without sugar? Even the Fiber One whole grain bread had sugar in it. I finally settled on rice cakes (since I won't be eating meat or cheese? What kind of sandwich would that be anyway?), an $8 jar of sauce, and some organic, whole shredded wheat. I found out later that "evaporated cane juice" is, in fact, kind of the same as cane sugar, which is not allowed. And it was the only ingredient in the cereal I bought that wasn't allowed. How was I supposed to know? This is all French to me right now. But I've already talked to God about it and I don't think He wants me to waste my $6 box of cereal. Not when there are truly hungry people in the world. 

Besides, I know my husband won't eat it.

So far, I've stuck with easy pastas, a fruit salad, nuts, carrots, and some organic chips and salsa. It sounds better than it's tasted, I can assure you. I never realized how much JUNK is our food, and now I'm angry that said junk is what makes everything taste so damn good! 

I'm a little cranky right now, so please forgive me. I had a migraine last night after just one day without my coffee/Diet Coke. And I still have a dull, pulsing ache in my head today. I'm tired and lethargic. But you know what? This yucky-ness is helping me understand how addicted my body has grown to certain things. And even though I'm struggling to find recipes that don't taste like cardboard and doing my best not to fall asleep at work or yell at my husband, I know that after a few more days I'm going to be grateful I gave my body some rest. I  haven't really been craving anything because not eating so much fat and processed food has helped me limit my portions. Part of that is because I haven't started enjoying this kind of diet yet, and the other part is because I'm not filling up with stuff that makes me want more an hour later. 

I'm doing my best to stick with ingredients that are as close to the raw form as they can get, but here and there (like with the cereal) I'll realize there's some kind of preservative or sweetener I wasn't really aware of until I looked it up. So, honestly, I might have moments where I take in something like evaporated cane juice or derived calcium chloride because, well, I'm still new at this. But the point is that I'm grateful for the understanding God has given me in the last few days. I have been given so much by my Father in heaven so, really, what's a few days of no soda in return? I'm so blessed to have the choice to fast. I'm not starving or hungry. I'm simply spoiled and dealing with the growing pains of discipline. I'm excited to get my body clean. And I'm looking forward to what God is going to teach me.

And, yes, those few extra pounds I'm going to lose? Pretty excited about those, too.

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