I am not sure that the words Daniel Fast, and Fast Food should be combined…but this is a post of different foods that can be eaten on the Daniel Fast. Several people have asked me what we are eating, and they are looking for suggestions.
First, I want to recognize that everyone enters this fast differently. It seems as if the greatest common factor is no meats, and no sweets. We have chosen to eat no meat, no animal products, no sweets, no dairy, no fried food, no gluten and no refined foods. This includes anything made with flours – even if it is gluten-free.
We are using some spices as most spices are seeds or leaves from plants, and I have no problem using some spices with limitations. We have stayed away from sauces and gravies, or taking too large of portions of anything. Often my children seek a sweet bite after a meal, and one child in particular is continuously asking to eat dried dates. While they are delicious, and high in fiber, they are also high in natural sugars and quickly become a dessert substitute. So, we are exercising caution and adding a date here and there, but not after a meal in place of a dessert. And not eating them by the handfuls.
Whew! Sounds limiting, yeah? Actually it has been wonderful. The complex flavors of food in the way that God made them is great. I have to say that I especially miss chicken and fish and look forward to incorporating them in February. Oh and bread and coffee…For now, I am pleased to be “cleaning out” my body and my mind, making more room for God.
One of the best ways for me to feed my family during this fast is to make soups. I can get everything in a pot in the morning and it is ready in the afternoon. I have found that the best base for vegetable soup is to cook a large onion, a few cloves of garlic freshly minced, until they are soft. I then add 3 or 4 carrot sticks sliced into rounds, and 3 to 4 stalks of sliced celery. A pinch of sea salt helps soften them in the cooking process and the natural flavors blend together well. I then add 8 cups of water and whatever else I want to that base. Sometimes I may add 1/2 cup lentils, with a 1/3 cup brown wild rice. Diced tomatoes and squash go well in soup, too. Depending on the ingredients I add, I may add cilantro or parsley at the very end.
My goal is to maintain the commitments we have made while we are on this fast, and to provide the widest variety of nutritious foods to my children.
Quinoa is a wonderful source of protein in a whole-grain form. It is cooked very similar to rice, and serves well with steamed veggies or in soup.
Brown rice, not over cooked, is a great grain to serve in soups, with steamed veggies and even on a salad.
I like to make a salad with dark green lettuces, avocados, sour apples, pumpkin seeds, red peppers, carrots, cucumbers, purple and green cabbage and broccoli and cauliflower bits, sprinkled with cooled brown rice that is not over cooked, so each grain is separate and chewy. This can be made in large quantities and eaten over a couple of days. We drizzle a little balsamic vinegar over the veggies for the kids, making sure nothing gets drenched.
Lettuce wraps are a good choice for our family. We take large lettuce leaves and stuff them with a mix off veggies. The mix of veggies is simple. This week, the mix I chose was made up of onion and garlic (cooked first until soft), eggplant, zucchini, carrots, cabbage, red and green peppers all very finely chopped. Drizzled a little dark sesame oil over the mix, and a sprinkling of balsamic vinegar and cooked everything together until soft. Then we sprinkled a few tablespoons of sesame seeds over the top of the veggies and put a scoop of the mix into the lettuce leaf. If you are eating nut butters, cashew or peanut butter add a little more protein to the mix. Start with two tablespoons and see what you think.
Pinto beans make for a nutritious dinner coupled with brown rice and topped with chopped tomatoes, cilantro, onions and bell peppers. I always soak my beans over night and then simmer them for about an hour the following day.
Those are just some suggestions. I have mentioned before that a great resource for nutritious whole food cooking is Feeding the Whole Family, by Cynthia Lair. It is simple and easy to use. The recipes offer nutrition and flavor and wonderful explanations about different foods, and their nutritional benefits. *Note: If you are staying away from spices, you could choose to modify the recipes in the book. However, many of the spices she uses have health benefits. This book is a daily resource for my family when we are not fasting as well.
I hope this offers a few suggestions that are helpful to some of you. I know we can all get stuck in a rut with our foods. Stay strong and see this fast through to the end! You will be glad you did!
I am always keeping in mind that the fast is about praying and seeking God. It is not about the food. And yet, this is not a water fast or a juice fast that we have chosen, therefore we are eating meals together as a family. As we have given up certain foods, in an effort to de-clutter our lives, and to become more physically healthy, I am aware that I never want the focus to shift to the food. I want the focus to stay right where it is – seeking God.