“I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date!” It was 8:30 am and I had almost overslept. I had been waiting for this appointment for 3 weeks – had my clothes laid out and keys ready to head out the door. Thirty minutes later, I had made it there just in time! Destination? Cracker Barrel! Yep, it was all I could think about some mornings during the fast, and I could not wait to have that pancake sampler with 2 pancakes mounded high with cherry glaze and whipped cream, scrambled eggs, hashbrown casserole, country ham, sausage, bacon, and a side of biscuits with molasses, washed down by a tall glass of orange juice. I enjoyed every bite too – until I got halfway through it and could barely drive myself home. Now my new destination? Go home, lie down, and try to recuperate!
This was my story last year. I had endured 3 weeks of fasting and I should be rewarded with my favorite breakfast – right? I quickly realized that it was too much, too fast, too soon. My body was not ready to be introduced to every food group at one time. Did I know better? Yep! I had heard the stories of making sure you take it slow by introducing foods back into your diet, and I learned the wisdom in that the hard way. So today, I am going to share a few tips to help you transition back to a normal diet.
First question you should ask yourself is “What is my new normal?” What foods have the Holy Spirit convicted me of during the fast that have not been good for me? Now that your body is accustomed to eating Daniel style, you may find that you don’t crave sweets or meats as much. Don’t give your body an onslaught by jumping back into them just because you “can.” Have a plan for how you want to continue to eat, and make it as balanced as possible. I suggest introducing one food group at a time over the course of a week so you can see what reaction your body has to it. I found for me, my allergies were worse if I consumed wheat products, and I was fatigued if I ate sugar, so common sense would tell me to defer adding them in. You might start by first introducing dairy back, while continuing to eat fruits, vegetables, and soups. Do this for a couple of days and if you feel good, advance to something else.
When introducing meats, you definitely want to do it slowly. Don’t start with a heavy meat like beef. Instead, start with chicken, then work up from there. Your digestive system is not ready to start digesting a lot of meat (and beef is pretty hard to digest in general), so chicken, or better yet fish, would be a wonderful way to start. Grill or bake your meats. I would stay away from frying them up, especially coming off a fast, or you may find yourself “worshipping the porcelain throne.”
Ahhhh….Coffee. Yes, that first cup could be your kryptonite! Caffeine is addictive – period. I would tread softly on coffee and tea. Start off by drinking herbal teas, and if you must introduce coffee, start with a good decaffeinated one. I love organic decaffeinated coffee, and it suits my taste on the rare morning I want to enjoy a nice cup of coffee. I would hate for you to get back into an addictive cycle of being dependent on a cup of coffee or food just to make it through the day, so start with the obvious culprits.
The main thing to keep in mind is that you want to break the cycle! Your body will naturally crave what you give it, so if you give it good things, it will have an affinity towards craving good things. If you don’t have a plan, you will probably fall into this cycle of craving: Sweets – Salty – Fried – then sweets – salty, and so on . . .you get the picture. After 21 days, YOU should be the dictator over what you want your body to consume instead of “king stomach” calling the shots. Bottom line is you want to continue to feel good, and you can enjoy real good – feel good food. So before you devour that box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts, or rush to get that burger from Jack’s, you might want to develop a plan first. Be warned…driving off with that burger and fries from Jack’s might be all you need to “jack yourself back up!” Trust me, I know 😉