Wow! Yesterday was an incredible journey. I feel like Alice in Wonderland with pure creation sensory overload from all the sparks of adventure going on in my mind. My creative juices are flowing, and I have so much God has put inside me to share, but I will pace myself. I feel incredible on the Daniel Fast. The best thing about this fast, or diet since we are talking about food, is that it will give you uniquely what YOUR body needs to either nourish you to weight loss, or weight gain – and for me it has done the latter. I am happy to report that I have gained back half the weight I had lost from my recent thyroid illness, and am feeling stronger and more vitalized everyday – all through good nutrition. All the while, I am enjoying the hot out the oven apple crisp for breakfast and my berry smoothie, I must say. 🙂 Okay…on and upward! I want to give 5 pointers on how I prepare myself for the food side of this fast, and I will explain accordingly.
1. Stock the basic pantry. Quality extra-virgin olive oil, Nutiva brand organic coconut oil, Earth Balance (vegan butter), Thai Kitchen canned unsweetened coconut milk, So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk in carton, Almond or soy milk, Bragg’s organic apple cider, Balsamic vinegar, Whole wheat pasta, brown rice, plain rolled oats (oatmeal), Nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds), vanilla flavor, cinnamon, canned crushed tomatoes, and Kitchen Basic Unsalted Vegetable stock to me are ESSENTIAL! They are what you will want in your pantry – along with some grits, maybe. This is the time to make your local healthy food store like Earth Fare or Whole Foods your friend as you can buy some things in bulk at a cheap price, and fresh organic produce is always on hand…but I shop at Publix, too.
2. Stock basic produce. Idaho potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, carrots, celery, garlic are ESSENTIAL! You will reach for these alot when cooking. Baby spinach, salad lettuce leaves, green leafy vegetables, green beans, and broccoli will round out your green vegetables. Tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, green onions, assorted color peppers will be good meal enhancers. And lemons, oranges, bananas, pineapples, granny smith or gala apples (best to eat and cook with IMHO), and fresh or frozen berries are the top fruits to have on hand.
3. Cook once, eat twice… and fix an assortment of sides that complement each other. That way you can easily piece together a meal and build off it. Cook enough for leftovers and freeze or store away in Glad containers or foodsaver bags. Nobody wants to be in the throws of the fast and cooking alot. Make room for salad days, i.e. fruit salads, lettuce salads, or pasta salads. Roasted or grilled vegetables thrown in some cooked pasta with a drizzle of olive oil and herbs – PERFECTION! Also, soups and beans in a slow cooker go a long way.
4. Meal plan for the week ahead. Use what you got, and build your menu off that for the upcoming week, especially since you are cooking with fresh vegetables and fruits and you want to reduce spoilage. Be creative, learn what tastes good together, and venture out and find cookbooks that have recipes in them that support the fast. Don’t get slumped in just eating one isolated food, as you will get discouraged quick and find the nearest fast food joint. Keep it simple, and dress it up to your liking.
5. Double pack your meals with nutrients! Don’t peel off the edible skin of fruits and veggies – eat them, for that is where most of the nutrition lies. Food combine veggies together to make casseroles, ratatouille, salads, etc. Make a nice vegetable tray with dipping sauce or fruit tray so you will have finger foods accessible. Pop your own natural popcorn in coconut oil in a skillet as a snack. Make your own trail mix with dried fruits and nuts. Buy hummus, black bean dip, or make some guacamole with multigrain chips.
The possibilities truly are endless, and in the end, what we are going after is healing through nutrition.