Every year I celebrate Lent by giving a few things up. They vary from certain foods I deny myself and two years ago I gave up all social media, not easy I will tell you. I do it for a few reasons, mainly for repentance, reflection and self-denial. I do more praying and for me it has been a way to get more focused and closer to my Creator. Before you go any farther, if my religious beliefs offend you then I suggest you simply close it now and not read any more. If you read on, I welcome you with open arms and you can read here how my biblical fast was behind the creation of The Social Chef.
I have personally found the self-discipline of Lent to be very good for me and certainly a way to get my health in check. Though my purpose isn’t for my health I have to admit that during this time of abstinence from certain foods I feel much better physically.
Those who follow The Social Chef know that I really love food and there are a few foods I am totally addicted to. When I had first started to give things up for Lent, which is 40-days, I gave up alcohol and red meat. Even though I am not much of a drinker, I often have 1-2 glasses of wine 4-5 times per week. Red meat I consumed once a week maybe twice but I had to have some sort of red meat. As I celebrated Lent every year I started to increase what I gave up.
About 4-years ago I started to eliminate a few more things in which it is safe to say I was addicted to. Besides red meat and alcohol I decided to give up potatoes, pizza, pasta and bread. For forty days I ate none of these foods and I had increased energy and lost about 10-14 pounds. Again, the losing of weight wasn’t my purpose it was simply a result of eliminating these foods.
Then two years ago (almost three) my church I belonged to in Florida was doing this Daniel Fast in which the last 21-days there is much more prayer and reflection but also a biblical fast. I heard about this Daniel Fast for 3-weeks prior to it starting and a few days before the final 21-days of Lent, I decided to try it. As you might imagine giving up the foods I love was very difficult but the 21-day Daniel Fast would require tremendous discipline. The first days were the hardest and then as my body went through a detox it became easier.
The best way I can describe the Daniel Fast is that it’s like eating vegan. Now I do not know much about eating vegan or does it interest me so when I give my opinion please do not criticize me. Personally I do not like raw foods and the other types of foods that pertain to a vegan diet. Fruits are something I maybe consume 2-4 times a month and in summer perhaps more often, but I am just not a big lover of fruit. The Daniel Fast was basically fruits, vegetables and whole grains. There is no dairy like cheese, eggs and milk. There is no meat of any kind including fish. You cannot use any broth or stock that consists of meat, only vegetable broth that I made myself. There are a few other things that are required you eliminate in the Daniel Fast like caffeine. But that was one thing that I simply could not do, I love my coffee.
The first year I did this Daniel Fast I had lost 20-21 pounds in 21-days and 11 pounds the first 19-days. I never felt better in my life. And I can attest, I never did any physical exercise, which is something I admit was not a good idea. Prior to starting the Daniel Fast the foods I gave up for Lent (first 19-days) red meat, alcohol, pizza, pasta, potatoes and bread certainly helped my body prepare for the Daniel Fast.
I wanted to share this with my food friends who may have tried various diet fads with little success. While I am far from a diet guru, from all the information available out there on losing weight it has become obvious to me that anyone can write about how to lose weight no matter how false his or her information may be. Most people read about a way to lose weight and take it as gospel then preach on it. Mine comes from actually doing it.
What I have personally experienced is that eating what I would refer to as clean eating, my body went through an intense detox. Again, I am not a diet or health guru but what I would tell someone trying to lose weight, diets do not work. Losing weight and being healthy from “my experience” is a way of life not 40-days of a restricted diet. Besides, God would not have created them if He didn’t want us to experience His wonderful foods. And I personally believe everything and anything in moderation is fine, which is what I do after the Daniel Fast is complete. One doesn’t gain 20-pounds over night and you certainly does not lose it over night. But what I put into my body had a significant impact on how I felt besides a significant weight loss. Energetic, confident and focused to name a few, who wouldn’t want that? But I will be the first to tell you to maintain this biblical or vegan lifestyle requires not only discipline but also a desire to no longer eat those things. For me that wasn’t something that interested me in the least as far as continuing it after Lent. There is not a chance in the world I will eliminate red meat and or the other things I gave up during this period of time. But I do firmly believe eating certain foods that are not as healthy less often is imperative to maintaining weight loss. Not to mention a regular routine of physical exercise for your heart and some sort of weight training is also good for bones as we all know as we age that is important.
I can save you a lot of money from buying a diet book, buying some exercise equipment or video series you find on those late night infomercials. Here is the million dollar weight loss tip…eat less…work out more. There you go I just saved you tons of money. To me without a doubt, that in order to lose weight the number one thing is your frame of mind. You have to want to do it. Lent offered me no alternative and He guided me through it and He is the best personal trainer you will ever have. And even though Lent is not about weight loss, for me the connection with my Creator certainly assisted me and being your body is a temple He created, it might be something to help you in multiple ways. For me, it was an experience like no other.
Anyone wanting to experience Lent or just the Daniel Fast cookbook, I am happy to offer you some tools if you wish for an experience you won’t forget. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.