Anyone who knows me knows that I know health is not just what you put in to your body, what you do with your body, or what and how you think….it is ALL of those things….!
So, while the title of this post may seem to be just food-oriented, I assure you, it’s not.
Also, I have been meaning to blog a bit about my experience with the Daniel Fast that I did back in April/May, using The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast by Kristen Feola as a devotional and guidebook (please read my review of the book here on my blog or at Amazon, under “happy girl”…there is also a link to her website on the right side of this blog). Funnily enough, what I learned (or should I say, re-learned and confirmed) fits right in with all that I want to share today…
So, here’s the deal: what did I learn during the Daniel Fast? Well, I DIDN’T learn a whole new way of eating, as I pretty much eat that way already, most of the time (but I am sure that for others, it is QUITE a change from their normal fare, and I encourage you to give it a try!!!)…THOUGH, I did have some lovely reminders and re-connections with the natural taste of a few foods (whom I had been abusing with extra sweeteners, etc)…and I DID gain some new and wonderful recipes, for sure!!!
I DIDN’T learn that eating well takes planning, since I am fairly used to that, as well…but I DID learn to incorporate that planning time as a Form of My Worship of My Lord, by dedicating that time to Him and offering that sacrifice of time to Him and communing with Him in the process!
(Now I just need to remember to still choose that purpose daily—not just during a Daniel Fast—and not get caught up in the “getting through it” mentality…so easy to do…but so much more an “imitator of Christ” way of doing things to choose the joyous method, amen? And gosh, I sure do feel happier!)
I also enjoyed (as always happens) the strength and power that come from starting my day with Him at the forefront, and how He gives me the ability to do what needs to be done! (And, alternatively, experienced, as I do at times, the LACK of power and peace I feel when I do NOT spend time with Him first thing…)
Honestly, for me, The Word and time with my Lord is like the best kind of fuel! The super-wonderful kind that doesn’t clog up my engine! (More on good, PHYSICAL fuel in just a bit…)
Truly, the MAIN thing I feel I learned (and re-learned and re-confirmed), are two practical things that God spoke to my heart “many moons” ago, and somewhere along the way, I let those good habits go…and whenever I do, it causes problems.
1. Not eating while watching TV (or being distracted in any way, if at all possible). If I don’t give my food focus, I may as well not have eaten at all…and, it can lead to the other issue, depending on the time of day…
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men…Colossians 3:23 (King James Bible)
2. Not eating late at night…when I do that, it’s like all systems go, no holds barred, “what is full?”…as if my stomach sensors are actually turned off. And then, weird bits of common sense pop into my head like, “well, you can’t go to sleep after you’ve eaten, or you’ll get acid reflux, so you better stay up longer”, but at that time, I am super-tired because of the hour and because my body is using up all the energy I might have had by eating 4 times as much food as I needed, so what do I do in response?
Eat more to stay awake. WHAT?!?!
And usually, these 2 unhealthy choices are made as a result of my NOT choosing to lead a balanced life; resting, savoring, enjoying, and turning anything worrisome over to God…
Did I lose a bunch of weight? Nope. Guess what? I am a fairly fit person at a fairly fit weight already, and so don’t really need to lose “a lot of weight”, but if there is any excess, I fully believe it is there as a result of the above abuses…which, by the way, are of a very spiritual nature. If I need to lose the little bit of extra, it will only come off as I let go of the spiritual weight…(and yes, I see your hands raised, and yes, I have read “Made to Crave” and yes, I LOVE IT! So, you can see that these are not new concepts, and like the Word says, no temptation has overtaken you that is not common to (wo)man…so I am know I am not alone here!)
So for me, God used the Daniel fast as a way of reconnecting, with Him, with others, and with myself…I made a list of folks and issues I wanted to pray for specifically throughout the fast, as well as hearing from my Big Papa again about what I needed to focus on most (stillness, intention, not the food itself so much) for change to happen…I think it was Joyce Meyer who said once in a sermon, something about when hearing from God, if it has been awhile since God said anything to you on a particular subject, go back to the last thing He said….well, there ya’ go.
(And thank you again, Kristen, for writing a phenomenal book that is a phenomenal vehicle used of God for many people to have many different kinds of amazing breakthroughs! May He continue blessing your work, my friend.)
Something you may or may not know about me is that I lived in Italy for a little while over a decade ago, and from that time in my life, I learned in a truly experiential way what it is to SAVOR LIFE. SAVOR EVERYTHING. Take it slowly, breathe, chew slowly, sip, love big, laugh loudly, and when in doubt, or just because you can, USE YOUR HANDS IN A LARGE MOTION…=-) In some ways, Italians are so big….big with their hands, big with their voices, big with their emotions and love, big with their families…but they are “small” in getting wrapped up in the to-do lists, the time-frame, the things that our American society deems most important…at least this was my experience in my family.
Now, I am not saying they are perfect or that there are not those who do NOT match that description. But overall, that was my experience. For them, it isn’t considered “procrastination” to realize that something can be put off until tomorrow if trying to get it done today interferes with love and life! It’s not worth your health or loss of relationships to achieve, achieve, achieve at a cost of sacrificing them…
We have heard for years how the Mediterranean Diet is so healthy for the heart, among other things, and I would agree…but it is definitely NOT just about the food. It’s the attitude towards everything in our lives, and upon what we place the most importance.
Since the release of both the book and movie, “Eat, Pray, Love”, many more people are now familiar with the Italian phrase Dolce Far Niente: the sweetness of doing nothing. It is SO TRUE. Such an apt phrase to describe both something Italians hold dear, and quite frankly, something Our Lord calls us to do! There are so many times in the Bible where we are called to just be still, to spend time with our God, to listen, to be quieted by His love…so many times in which we are told of Jesus separating himself from the multitudes or his disciples for a little quiet time…with Himself, and with His Father. It’s not selfish, people. It is necessary, it is rewarding, and it is part of our purpose. I could go on, and on, and on about that subject…one of my favorites, and yes, something I find hard to do as well (typical Type A, right here).
So, let’s slow down and savor. Let’s find some good fuel, both Spiritual and Physical.
Sunday "in Italia"
One of my favorite things to do with my family is to have picnics; outside or in. A few Sundays ago there was a chance for thunderstorms, so our plans for a picnic by the “swimmin’ hole” were somewhat thwarted, but we prevailed! (PLEASE forgive the non-eco-friendly plates! I don’t know how they ended up in our cabinets, but as soon as they are gone, there will be no more!!! It is sooo unlike us!)
Our spread included homemade hummus, veggies, focaccia bread, parmesan cheese, prosciutto, grapes, and a little wine….we broke the bread into pieces onto the table just like my “Mama Guigi” does! It’s my favorite.
Later that same day, I made a WONDERFUL TREAT: all natural peanut butter cups! Low sugar, non-refined sugar, and vegan.
The types of food we eat do matter. Now, we don’t need to be so restrictive that we end up making food an idol or spending our entire lives yo-yo dieting, but these little temples do house the Holy Spirit, and let’s face it…when you eat better, you feel better. I have heard numerous times that every 7 years, you have a whole new body (on the cellular level) than the one you had 7 years prior. So, right now I am building the body I want in one year, 2 years, etc…and in 7 years, I can look back and know that every cell has changed from today!
And, I love sweets. Or, I should say, I enjoy sweets a lot. (I love my husband, I love my God, but I need to not “love” sweets…hee hee) For me to not be a yo-yo dieter or get my self-worth from what I had on my plate today, I better just incorporate some whole-food-sweet-goodness into it…and if your body recognizes the whole food ingredients, it knows what to do with them! (digest them)…as opposed to all the fake things out there, to which I envision my body saying, “I really don’t know what you expect me to do with this, little chic…so I think I will just leave it here on your thighs if ya don’t mind.”
I do mind. So here is a better alternative that comes from Kelly Keogh of “The Sweet Truth” on the Veria channel. It is a show geared toward making/baking sugar-free/gluten-free foods in a mostly natural way (liquid stevia is not totally natural, but closer than aspartame or splenda, etc!)
You can find the recipe here:
I made a few substitutions based on what I had on hand:
Instead of the “Stevia Plus Stevia”, I used Truvia (emptied the packets into my teaspoon measure).
Instead of the agave nectar, I used Yakon Syrup…even BETTER for you than agave nectar. Low glycemic, and not as much (if any?) controversy over whether or not it has been cut with corn syrup like agave had. However, it is expensive and hard to find, so do not fret over the use of agave, and use whatever brand your store has…unless you already have Yakon. =-) I believe God honors our best efforts and protects us!
The rest of the ingredients were basically the same. (Ps, don’t forget, everything in moderation…these are a “sometime” food…be self-controlled and alert, knowing that your enemy is prowlin’ around trying to slip you up…but DO enjoy them on occasion, to the FULLEST!!!!! WITH FREEDOM!!!)
Ingredients for Natural, low-glycemic, dairy-free, vegetarian friendly Peanut Butter Cups
So, I followed the instructions for assembling the ‘cups. I don’t have a mini muffin tray, so I was hoping the paper cups would hold anyway, and they did! This is before I poured the last bit of “chocolate” on top…
Once topped off, I placed them in the freezer for 15 minutes to harden (a good excuse to clean out my freezer, too!)
After freezer, 15 minutes
Ecco le qua! (Here it is! It’s like saying, “voila!” or “Ta-dah!” in Italian…)
And of course, I had to eat some…
Yum!!!! It made plenty, so I took some to friends, and still have a few in the freezer to savor one at a time…
Some more spiritual food to savor? the Word of God. Here is a recent verse we used in the Vessels of Clay Yoga classes:
Acts 17:28 The Message
24-29 “The God who made the world and everything in it, this master of sky and land, doesn’t live in custom-made shrines or need the human race to run errands for him, as if he couldn’t take care of himself. He makes the creatures; the creatures don’t make him. Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. he doesn’t play hide-and-seek with us. he’s not remote; he’s near. We live and move in him, can’t get away from him!“
And guess what? It’s give-a-way time! Leave a comment and be entered into this week’s give-a-way drawing, where the winner can choose between a yoga mat or a neckroll! The drawing will be held next Friday or Saturday(July 8th or 9th…gotta’ leave room for life happening…and let’s be like the Italians and be a little more flexible, eh?)
Yoga mats in Buttercup Yellow and Dark Teal, Neckroll in Eggplant; which would you choose?
Allora, Buon Appetito, e Ti Vediamo! (So, enjoy the good food and see ya’ soon! –loose translation, mine. (=:)
(ps…There will be some folks who are concerned about the saturated fats in Coconut Oil, but if you do the research, you will find that in fact, the way the fatty acids chain together is what makes them healthy or unhealthy, and coconut oil can actually be quite good for you!…in moderation, like everything else.)