In the month of January, a lot of people start the Daniel Fast on their own, or with their church. I’ve done it many times now, so I want to share some tips that have been very helpful for me. Whether your’re doing the full 21 days, or you chosen set of days, it’s all about planning and preparation.
Read The Chosen Fast by Arthur Wallis. This book is extremely helpful and it happens to be a quick read.It breaks down the difference between fasting and abstinence and gives biblical reference for the reasons for doing it. When you truly understand the purpose of your actions, they are easier to commit to.
Meal prep. Since you’re eating in a way you are not as accustomed to, it is best to prepare meals ahead of time. You don’t want to wait till you’re super hungry and then have to scavenge for an appropriate meal for yourself. What will likely happen is you will find yourself breaking the rules and guidelines you set.
Do your research. What types of meals do you want to eat each week? Look for recipes and get an understanding of what plant-based substitutes will work best for you.
Try to minimize your refined sugar and salt intake. This is up to you, but I use this time as an opportunity to cleanse. Removing meat isn’t the main point– the point is to remove rich foods from the diet. I commit to drinking more water, getting more sleep, and eating no refined sugar. There are lots of other options, but generally I use bananas and dates to sweeten just about anything,
Remember that it’s not about food. Some days might be harder than others. Whenever I fast, I get people offering to buy me lunch, or bringing me treats. It can be hard to turn down. I have to remember the focus is supposed to be taken off of food. It gives me an opportunity to see food simply as sustenance and to focus on my relationship with God. Some days, I kept it really simple– for breakfast, hot cereal sweetened with berries and dates, lunch a kale salad with nuts and homemade dressing, and for dinner a nourishing bowl of brown rice, black beans, salsa, and avocado.
I hope your 2016 is off to a fantastic start! Do you have your vision set? Are there goals in mind? I have a list of goals for myself, but health and fitness is one of my top priorities (as it is every year).
I asked via Twitter if anyone was in need of vegetarian and vegan recipes for the new year since many do the Daniel Fast, a cleanse, or a 30 day vegetarian challenge. Even if you are doing none of the things I listed, I am sharing with you some amazing and delicious recipes that you must have! Simply click on the picture to be linked to the recipe.
In addition to the recipes list below, I highly recommend you check out my Smoothie Playlist. Smoothies are a great snack, meal replacement or dessert depending on how it is made.
Indian food has become one of my favorite types of cuisine over the years. I love the flavor and aroma of the common herbs and spices used, plus it is so filling to eat as a vegetarian! Lentils, chickpeas, and a colorful variety of vegetables leave me content and never bored. Chana masala is one which I order often at restaurants, but I’ve had the trouble quite a few times of it being far too spicy! Making it at home to accommodate my taste buds really alleviates this problem.
I’ve not only adapted this recipe to be less spicy, I’ve also come to make it a bit of a fusion dish and used the stew for tacos. This often happens when I make a stew and want to be more creative with the leftovers after a few days. This can still be served over rice, but I really think you’ll love the tacos!
2 tbsp flavorless oil of your choice
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger
¼ minced white onion
¼ cup diced pepper (for more heat, use jalapeno- for less, use a green bell pepper)
two 16 oz cans of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
One 16 oz can stewed tomatoes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
sea salt to taste
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cayenne
1 cup shredded cabbage
1/2 cup fresh cilantro (coriander)
In a large pot, add tbsp oil and set heat to medium.
Once heated, add ginger, garlic and onions. Let simmer till onions appear translucent.
Add 2 cans of chick peas, the can of stewed tomatoes, diced pepper and spices. Roughly chop 2 to 3 tbsp fresh cilantro and add to the stew. Turn heat to low. Cover and cook for about 20-25 minutes until chick peas have become more tender and the stew becomes fragrant.
When stew is complete, add a few heaping spoonfuls to warmed tortillas followed by cabbage, cilantro, lime juice, and a sprinkle of paprika.
If you follow me on Facebook, you know I believe in snacking. Most of us grew up hearing that we should have 3 square meals per day. As I’ve gotten older, I find that 3 to 4 meals plus two snacks works best. Snacks are bad when unhealthy choices are made, or when snacking is just out of boredom. Snacks are great when they work in between meals to keep you fueled, and can also provide nutritional calories from fiber, protein, and healthy (but low) dose of fat.
Core apple (I used a Granny Smith) and slice in half. Smear on 1 tsp natural nut butter. Add 7 to 8 pecan halves. Dust with 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon and a dash of sea salt.
Berries are pretty amazing fruit! They help improve memory, they help slow down the cognitive decline that is usually associated with aging, they are low in sugar, and they taste delicious! There are so many more benefits, so I would encourage you to do your research and learn more!
1/4 cup frozen mango
1/4 cup frozen strawberries
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
Though I’m still getting used to saying, “2013” I’m happy to live to see another year! Many people like to reset their body for optimal health by doing a fast. Fasting has varying levels– no water or food, no food, or even just abstaining from certain foods. Almost every year I participate in a 21 day Daniel Fast which can really vary from person to person. It is a great alternative for those who cannot do a full fast for medical reasons such as needing to take medication or issues with blood sugar. You still receive many benefits from this. Though I don’t believe it is mentioned, during this time I also remove salt from my diet and only sweeten food with things found in nature such as dates. 21 days is a long time and so many by about the 7th day really have no idea what they can eat! I’ve made a list of my favorite foods to consume during this time. I leave out salt and replace with 21 seasoning and lemon juice. Some people cut out oil, but I think it is a necessary part of the diet, especially at this time.
Stir-frying vegetables offers a high heat, quick cooking alternative to frying and requires only minimal oil. Although many may associate stir-frying with only Asian cuisines, a wok can be used for nearly any occasion.You’ll want to keep your vegetables as close to raw as possible, yet palatable. Stir-frying gives just the right balance. This meal is measured to serve two, but feel free to increase as needed. I used tofu, but you can really use any protein you like. I’d recommend chicken or shrimp if you are looking for a meat alternative. Let’s get started!
You will need:
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1.5 cups French green beans, fresh or frozen
1 TBSP aged balsamic vinegar
1.5 cups rough chopped bell pepper and onion mixture
6 oz protein (I used crumbed tofu)
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 TBSP Dry basil
1 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp minced garlic
juice of 1/4 lemon
crushed red pepper
salt and pepper to taste (optional)
21 seasoning salute (Salt alternative which is a blend of 21 herbs and spices)
1. In a medium-sized wok or skillet, heat olive oil, and add ginger and garlic on medium high heat for 1 to 2 minutes.
2. Add protein and allow it to brown.
3. In your last step, add veggies. Add the green beans first and as they become tender, add bell pepper and onion mixture, pine nuts, and finally the dry spices.
4. Drizzle the mixture with aged balsamic and lemon juice. Cook for about 30 additional seconds and remove from heat.
This stir fry goes great with brown rice. With tofu, it is just 260 calories
Who loves oatmeal? I have always heard very mixed reviews. For some it is bland and the texture is all wrong. Others who like it even tire of it, because they have run out of ideas. Since we know the healthy benefits of iron, fiber, protein and more– it is good to wake up a little earlier and take the time to prepare oatmeal and start the day out right. I’ve gone out on a limb and combined fruits and flavors that I have never eaten together before, and it is absolutely delicious. With nothing more than the natural sweetening from fruits, this hot cereal is almost too good to be true!
You will need:
Quick cook steel cut oats
1 TBSP chopped walnuts
2 TBSP pomegranate seeds
1 TBSP mint leaves, chopped roughly
1 date minced for sweetening
1/2 banana thinly sliced
Optional: 1 TBSP unsweetened coconut milk ( I used Trader Joe’s Coconut Drink)
1. Cook steel cut oats according to directions. Just as they finish thickening into the pot, add coconut milk.
2. Pour oatmeal into a bowl and top with cinnamon and tiny date pieces for sweetening and flavor.
3. Last, add walnuts, pomegranate seeds, mint and banana slices.
A love of Mexican food is almost as much a California tradition as much as it is a Mexican one. Having traveled to more than half the states as well as Mexico, I have to say no other states compare. Burritos, tacos and tortilla chips offer so much variation through different proteins, cheeses, and an array of vegetables. One thing to be considered, though is that some of the “monster burritos” that are colossally sized, can be made from tortillas that are 200 or more calories. Popular restaurants like Chipotle, Rubio’s, and Qdoba offer bowls that can be heaped high with the same delicious fillings as the burritos and tacos. I can honestly say that although I usually opt for these when eating out, when I make Mexican food at home I usually use a tortilla. In finding foods that are friendly to the Daniel fast, and also nice to my pocket book– I have sought to replicate this meal. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
You will need:
3/4 cup brown rice, cooked (I used Trader Joes frozen organic brown rice which cooks in 3 mins, or 7 minutes on the stovetop)
1/2 cup of your bean of choice, cooked & drained
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup frozen peas thawed
Optional: 3/4 Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Peppers and Onions
1. While cooked rice is still warm, add peas. Since I steamed the rice, I added the thawed peas and let them cook together. Once done, add a few piece of chopped cilantro, the juice d 1/4 line, and 21 seasoning solute to taste. Salt if you must.
2. Cook fire roasted veggies in very light oil. I used only 1 TSP of extra virgin olive oil in a small wok. A wok is ideal for this because you can cook at very high temperatures, and benefit from the steam created by the high heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes.
3. Once seasoning rice is combined, layer beans on top in bowl.
4. Combine white corn, the juice of 1/4 lime, 1 TBSP fresh cilantro, and 1 TBSP of red onion.
4. Next add fire roasted veggies to the bowl, top those with the white corn topping, and then salsa. For additional flavor, add more cilantro and lime juice on top.
Tip: add avocado slices for additional toppings or shredded romaine lettuce.