No meat. No fish. No dairy. No bread. No pasta. No alcohol. No coffee. No tea. No sugar. No soda. No juice. For 21 days. Yes, you read right, 21 days! You’re probably thinking “Well, what in the hell did you eat?” And I have to be honest, I thought the same thing when I first decided to do this fast. After doing some research, planning ahead, and being open to exploring new fruits & vegetables, this fast was an amazing experience for me. I had plenty of fruits, vegetables, beans, grains, nuts, and water- but my most essential ingredient was a whole lot of prayer.
If you grew up Southern Baptist like I did, then you’ve probably heard of the Daniel Fast. The Daniel Fast is a powerful spiritual experience to help followers of Christ develop a more intimate relationship with the Lord, seek answers through prayer, and grow in love and knowledge of the Savior. The diet is based on the Biblical Book of Daniel, and commonly refers to a 10- or 21-day abstinence from foods declared unclean by God in the Laws of Moses. I honestly did this fast for spiritual reasons, and not really for the diet aspect. In fact, I didn’t even realize that I would see the physical changes in my body that I saw. I just knew that restricting myself from so many things that I love would be an ultimate sacrifice and would really bring me closer to God. This fast forced me to make time to me pray, which is something I shamefully neglect, far too often. And let’s be honest, no meat, no dairy, no coffee, and no wine??? Prayer is what kept me sane.
UPDATE: A year after after writing this blog post, I got dozens of questions and learned so much throughout the process, that I decided to create an e-book. The ebook is filled with everything you need to know about the fast. It gives you a guide on the foods you can and can’t eat, and 21 delicious plant based recipes for every day of the fast. I now use this ebook for the fast every year, and whenever I just want to detox my body. It’s already sold 1500+ copies and for good reason. You can get The Daniel Fast ebook here. However, please keep reading to learn more about my journey.
While doing the fast, I used a 21 day devotional from the Bible App to guide me through. Every day of the fast, I spent roughly 30 mins to an hour reading, praying, and talking to God. I learned so much about the power of fasting, and I I learned how to just have a normal conversation with God.
Now, let’s get to the fun stuff! How did I do it? The first thing I did was prepare. I went online to find some plant based recipes that I felt I would actually enjoy. Being a foodie and self proclaimed chef, I decided to recreate these recipes using foods and techniques that I knew I would love. Next, I went to the farmers market and stocked up on vegetables and fruit. I bought them in abundance because I knew that I would have to eat them before they went bad. I hate when food goes bad! I also bought about 5 cases of distilled bottled water to last me through the fast (all you can drink on the fast is water).
Every week, I would prep enough food to last 2-3 days, or until I got tired of that particular meal. I had to get creative and try different recipes, so I cooked about 2-3 times a week. Don’t be fooled into thinking that eating plant based means that you can’t enjoy a hearty meal because that’s so far from the case. Some of the dishes I had were vegetable curry, veggie lettuce wraps, sweet potato and black bean quesadillas, curried chickpeas and kale, sweet potato waffles, loaded salads, stuffed mushrooms, different types of hummus, tons of different smoothie bowls, and the list goes on. I got a chance to snap a few pics of the food, but all of these pictures are from my phone, so excuse the photo quality. I just want you to see that a plant based diet isn’t as bad as you may think. UPDATE: This post was published in 2018 ago, so keep that in mind before scrolling to see the pictures.
As you can see, I wasn’t just eating raw fruits and vegetables for three weeks. I actually made delicious, healthy, and hearty meals and they were amazing! And guess what the kicker is? I lost 14 lbs and 2 inches off my waist in 21 days from simply switching to a plant based diet! This blew my mind because I could literally do intense exercising for 3 weeks and only lose 3-5 lbs. This fast really showed me the impact that “regular” food has on our bodies and I don’t know if I like that feeling. Of course, the first thing I had after the fast was a glass of wine (don’t judge me). I also had some salmon twice and shrimp once, but still no chicken, pork, or read meat. I plan to try out a pesectarian diet and limit my dairy intake as much as possible. My overall goal is to make healthier choices and actually pay attention to the food I put in my body. This fast showed me that I can still be a foodie and enjoy all kinds of cuisine without eating meat. I can’t say how long this will last, but I will say that I am making a conscious effort to keep meat out of my diet. And whenever I even crave it, I use this bathroom selfie for motivation.
Overall, I’m so happy I did this fast and I am absolutely doing this every year, maybe even twice a year. The spiritual and mental clarity I gained, combined with the weight and inches I lost was an incredible combination. If you are considering doing this fast, I say go for it! Even if you only do 10 days, I think it’s worth a shot. If you have any questions or you’d like some ideas for yummy recipes, please reach out and I’m happy to help. Hopefully it can evoke some change in your life like it did for mine.