After a very indulgent October (courtesy of my birthday), I decided to go on a Daniel Fast. The Daniel Fast is said to be a 21 day period where one refrains from any animal, caffeine or processed products whilst also taking the time for spiritual reflection. Is it a diet?
I saw the Daniel Fast as a good introduction into the Plant Based diet philosophy which is championed by the likes of Dr Greger. The Forks not Knives program on Netflix did indeed leave an imprint and I also joined a Facebook group of a similar name. I was intrigued by success stories of individuals reversing diabetes, blood pressure among other ailments.
To ensure compliance, I focused on key food for each meal (repetitive but easier to manage). My breakfast options consisted of (oats, millet/sorghum porridge, sweet potatoes/arrow roots or corn). My lunch/dinner options consisted of (potatoes (irish or sweet baked or mashed), beans and legumes (all kinds under the sun), quinoa, Ugali, vegetables, salads) and lastly my snacks consisted of (fruits and nuts) with water or strong cocoa drink.
I started the journey at around 69 kg, a figure that I was keen to reduce having added some pounds during this covid quarantine lifestyle. The first week was difficult and I had massive cravings which I managed to calm down by eating nuts and biting on fruits and berries. Ironically, it was not meat I missed the most but SUGAR!!
I am a sugar/sweet/chocolate addict and I practically had to hide all my sweet tooth temptations for the 21 days. Frankly, I am not sure how I managed the full 21 days but alas I made it to the end and was so proud of myself.
During this period, I also discovered a local organic food seller “Sylvia’s Basket”, and looked forward to grocery shopping every Tuesday when I received my delivery of fresh vegetables. Watching youtube vegans like Rachel Ama was a treat and an entry to a new culinary world I had all but ignored.
I also used the 3 week period to reconnect with the Word and went through the Bible book of Daniel and part of Mathew. I must say, I did not know how much future/revelation wisdom was within the book of Daniel. Sometimes hard to interpret the underlying meaning but very revealing.
Overall, this was a good experience (one I will repeat again), and here is what I learned/benefited from:
1. Lower spending: Cutting out all the meat/processed items result in budget savings, I did not document exactly how much I spent, but I definitely shopped less and was very focused when I shopped.
2. Marginally reduced my diastolic blood pressure: My diastolic blood pressure (the lower number) has been stubbornly edging up. During this period I noted the figure was marginally reduced.
3. I lost 3kg: Yes I did, I was doubting that I would lose much weight due to insane nut snacking but alas, some weight came off! Might I add, with Zero exercise apart for a rare walk at the local Arboretum Park.
4. I am in control, I can conquer my sugar cravings: Ladies and gents, mind over matter, anything is possible with dedication and effort
Lastly, the 21 day rule: I am not sure why the fast was for 21 days (of course Daniel Fasted for 21 days) but I believe there is some mystical reason as to why 21 days The 21 day rule claims you can change a habit in this period. I am beginning to believe this, whilst 100% about turn may take longer but indeed 21 days of the Daniel Fast has taught me that I can indeed survive without meat and processed junk and lead a healthier lifestyle.
Conclusion: I am now embracing a moderate lifestyle of eating more whole foods with indulgences here and there on specific occasions. Not entirely plant based but a good start.
Who knows, I may soon transition to fully plant based, but hey…. Baby steps.