During Lent I decided to attempt the Daniel Fast. This is a way of eating based on what Daniel did in the Bible. It’s not really a fast but a strict diet. The idea is by eating simply you become closer to God. Fruit, vegetables and grains are allowed. Alcohol, caffeine and processed foods are forbidden. Meat and fish is not on the menu. Dairy is not allowed nor eggs.
The first week was spent in the throes of caffeine withdrawal. I found my legs were really painful. When the withdrawal effects wore off I found I had more energy and slept more soundly at night. Even though Lent is finished I am not going back to caffeine. I feel so much better without it. I have had a problem with chronic fatigue in the past which I am now recovering from. My energy is much more stable without caffeine.
Alcohol was trickier. Half way through Lent England was placed into lockdown and the news got grimmer and grimmer. I felt myself reaching for a glass of wine. So I didn’t manage the full six weeks without wine. Thankfully, I only had a couple of evenings like this. I finally realised my trigger was watching the news. I was trying to remove the pain of what I was seeing through wine. This is something I still need to work on. I would like alcohol to be an occasional celebration rather than a daily ritual. So I am going to continue cutting right back on wine after Easter.
The fruit and vegetables were great. I felt healthy eating them. My hair and skin are in really good condition. Unleavened bread was allowed so I started to make my own flatbreads from scratch. This was therapeutic and they were delicious. I did find that bread affects my weight loss so I gave up the flatbreads in the last week.
I found the diet fitted in with ayurvedic principles so I started to cook like this. I made lots of curries. I started to follow a yogic rhythm. I had fruit for breakfast, a curry for lunch and then I fasted until the next morning. I enjoyed the cooking and I lost four kg over the Lent period.
I did yoga and qi gong as my daily exercise and this fitted in well with the diet and the spiritual nature of Lent. I could feel myself improving and getting stronger. After qi gong I felt light and airy.
I was suffering from sinusitus and congestion at the beginning of Lent but by the end my symptoms had greatly improved.
I did feel more spiritual and I read two chapters of the Bible daily: one from the Old Testament and one from the new. I also looked at other spiritual texts and blogs, particularly Hindu ones. I prayed daily and I felt a deeper connection with the Divine.
Overall, I think the Daniel Fast is a good way to eat. I will keep to the principles but will allow myself to eat occasional fish. I think cutting out dairy is probably good for me so I will continue that. I realise I need more willpower to overcome my longing for wine. I still have things to work on but this is a good basis to build on.
Try it out yourself and see how you feel.