It's our annual Daniel Fast and I'm excited about the new challenge I'm attempting! This year I'm going for 40 days and I'm also eliminating wheat and corn. No, I'm not gluten intolerant. I just don't like the idea of how wheat and corn are notorious GMO foods (that's Genetically Modified Organism, for those of you who aren't really into the organic food scene). Since corn is often substituted for wheat by gluten-free people, it's one more major grain crossed off my food list that really narrows my carb options. But I really felt I wanted to eat "cleaner" this fast. As long as I am filling myself with such healthy fruits and vegetables, I think I should also eat healthier grains. Of the remaining grains (oats, quinoa and rice), I'm only eating quinoa (whole and flaked), organic oats (sprouted when I can find them, whole served cooked or raw, depending on the recipe, and also ground into flour), and sprouted brown rice. In fact, I'm eating a lot more sprouted foods this year. I bought a bag of delicious sprouted pumpkin seeds that taste almost as good as popcorn! And I have sprouted mung beans to add to soups and GoRaw bars with sprouted everything in them. What's so great about sprouting? Well, as soon as a seed germinates, it suddenly is alive and bursting with enzymes. That seed becomes super healthy with living nutrients that---ready for this?---make your body process them as a plant rather than a carb! We all know by now that carbs are what makes our waistlines grow, so any time I can eat a piece of bread and make my body feel like it's eating salad is worth a lot to me! I even contemplated doing a "raw food" fast, which is probably the way Daniel really ate back in Bible days, but I'm lacking some of the equipment to make it possible to eat that way for a long time. I definitely have incorporated more raw foods into my fast, though.
So how does all that good eating make me feel so far? Well, on day 3 I feel bloated, gassy and hungry. How's that for honesty? To comfort you, though, so you don't feel like quitting, I'm actually starting my fast with a 3-day cleanse (almost zero carbs, just fruit, lots of vegetables and seeds), then going into a 7-day de-tox (not quite as stringent, adding in quinoa, oats and rice), and finally easing into a more relaxed fast for 30 more days, where I add in the sprouted bread, goat's milk cheese, a touch of raw honey here and there, and even wild salmon on occasion.
All year I've been collecting new recipes. I actually enjoy eating these dishes all year round, so I'm excited to share some of them with you! I'm going to categorize them so you can find what you're looking for easily. Want a great breakfast smoothie? It's under Breakfast. Looking for a super healthy, hearty soup? Try searching under Lunch and Dinner. What about a quick, nutritious snack? There's a snack section too.
Enjoy! Let me know how your fast is going. Tell me what you've learned, what you've tried, how you feel, and how you've benefitted. I'd love to hear about your experiences!
1-1/2 c. almond milk (unsweetened, but vanilla flavored is fine)
3/4 c. strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 c. cucumber
1-1/2 c. spinach leaves or kale
1 T. chia seed
1 T. flax seed
1 T. matcha green tea powder
Banana-Oat Breakfast Bars
3 mashed bananas (not over-ripe, like for banana bread, or the bars will be too moist)
1/3 c. applesauce (unsweetened)
2 c. oats
2 T. ground flax seed
2 T. nuts, toasted and chopped
1/4 c. almond milk
1/2 c. raisins
1 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon
Mix and bake at 350 for 15-20 min. until set. Try variations, like shredded unsweetened coconut, dried cherries, cocoa nibs, chia or hemp seed.
1/2 c. cooked quinoa
1 T. coconut oil
3/4 c. berries
1/4 c. nuts, toasted and chopped
(This is a great to-go breakfast)
1/2 c. coconut-almond milk (unsweetened, vanilla)
1/2 c. rolled oats
1 T. flax seed
1 apple, diced fine
1 T. cinnamon
Combine all ingredients in a container with an air-tight lid. Allow to sit overnight. Ready to eat in the morning! (If you find this too blah, add 1 t. raw honey)
Kale and Mushroom Wraps
2 T. olive oil
2 leeks (white and pale green part)
1 c. mushrooms (cremini, shiitake or baby bella)
1 c. kale, stemmed and chopped
1/4 c. vegetable broth
1/3 c. unsweetened dried cranberries (not Craisins)
1/4 c. feta, crumbled (goat's milk or vegan feta)
4 wraps (sprouted, if you can find them, otherwise multigrain)
Saute leeks and mushrooms until soft. Add kale and saute until wilted. Add broth and cranberries. Stir in feta. Divide filling among wraps. Roll up like a burrito.
I had this for lunch yesterday and loved it!
4 c. shredded cabbage (add some bok choy for a truly Asian taste)
2 c. shredded carrot
1 c. edamame beans
1/4 c. green onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 mango, diced (or mandarin orange)
1/2 c. cilantro
1/2 c. peanuts or cashews, chopped
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. rice vinegar
squeeze of lime juice
1 T. Bragg's amino acids (similar to soy sauce, but much healthier)
1 T. sesame oil
1 T. peanut butter or almond butter
1 t. sambal oelek chili paste
1 T. ginger root, freshly grated
1 clove garlic, minced
Mix dressing and pour over veggies. Toss until thoroughly combined. Note: If you want to make it a meal, add some cubed tofu (non-GMO, of course).
Roasted Beet Salad
1 small beet, scrubbed and rubbed with olive oil
1/3 c. orange segments
1/3 c. beet greens
1/3 c. spinach leaves
1/3 c. arugula
3 T. hemp seed
Dressing: 1 T. raspberry vinegar or balsamic vinegar, 1 T. olive oil, 1 t. caraway seed, salt
Roast the beet at 400 for 45 min. until tender (if you don't mind staining your fingers, you can dice it first when raw, drizzle it with olive oil and sea salt, and then roast it and it will cook much faster). Cool, then peel and chop into bite-size pieces. Toss all veggies and fruit together. Mix dressing ingredients and pour over salad. Toss to combine.
Daniel Fast Zuppa Toscana
(When I made this, not one of my very picky family members guessed there was almond milk in this soup instead of heavy cream!)
1-1/2 lbs. diced Tofurky Italian sausage (this tastes better than you think)
2 red potatoes, diced with skins on
1-1/2 c. kale, cut into ribbons and tough ridges removed
2 T. olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
3 c. vegetable broth
2 c. almond milk
Saute onion, carrots and celery in olive oil until soft. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add vegetable broth, sausage, kale, potatoes and seasoning, and simmer until potatoes are tender. Add almond milk and heat through.
Sautéed Green Beans or Brussels Sprouts
(Great side dish)
1-1/4 lbs beans or Brussels sprouts, steamed until tender-crisp
3 T. oil
1/3 c. shallots, sliced thin
2/3 c. dried, unsweetened cranberries (not Craisins, which have sugar and usually hydrogenated oil)
2/3 c. hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
Saute shallots in oil. Add beans/sprouts and sauté 3 min. Add nuts and cranberries and sauté 1 min until combined and hot. Season with salt and pepper.
Thai Red Curry
(I LOVE this!)
Vegetables: Sweet potato (pre-roasted until tender, peeled and cubed), onion, mushrooms, zucchini or broccoli or cauliflower, red pepper, carrot, spinach
Sauce: 1/2 c. red curry paste (comes in a little jar), 2 c. vegetable stock, 2 cans coconut milk, 2/3 c. basil leaves, 2 t. lime juice
Garnish: Sprouted brown rice, fresh cilantro
Saute vegetables, add sauce ingredients and simmer until veggies are tender. Pour over hot rice and top with cilantro. Note: After the fast, add chicken to this!
(This literally saved me today...I just couldn't seem to get full on fruits and veggies. My stomach kept growling and I felt almost irritable and anxious from low blood sugar...good thing no one was home! Then I made this and it was so satisfying that it carried me beyond dinnertime and enabled me to work late. And it was delicious!)
1 c. almond milk (unsweetened)
1 T. raw peanut butter or almond butter (no added sugar or oil)
1 T. chia seed
1 T. cocoa powder
Throw everything in a blender and whip until thick and frothy. If you like yours cold, you can pre-freeze your banana or add ice.
These are great when you want something crunchy, salty and spicy!
2 15-oz cans chickpeas, rinsed, drained and dried
1/4 c. olive oil
1 T. curry powder (or spice mixture, like masala...I use my favorite blend I bought in India!)
1/4 t. salt
Preheat oven to 400. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix all ingredients in bowl and toss until well coated. Spread on cookie sheet. Bake for 30 min. until dry and crisp. You may need to stir and re-spread them halfway through. Store airtight.
4 avocados, diced
3 mandarin oranges, diced
2 c. pomegranate arils
1 c. green onion, diced
1 c. cilantro
6 T. lime juice
1/2 t. salt
1 T. avocado oil (or olive)
dash cayenne or tabasco sauce to taste)
Mix all ingredients and allow to "meld" a couple hours. Serve with organic whole-grain, non-GMO corn tortilla chips.