Monday, March 17, 2014

My secular use of Christian non-fiction

I’ve never reviewed a book like this before. The Daniel Fast is primarily a religious book that I used as a cookbook and diet guide. And I didn’t read the entire book. This was not due to the content or writing style, but because I was only interested in one aspect of the book..

The Daniel Fast uses the biblical book of Daniel to construct a list of foods to eat and a list of foods to avoid. In the Bible, Daniel, his friends, and other young male Israelites are sent to Babylon as part of King Nebuchandnezzer’s tribute (of sorts). They are to be taught and trained and, in three years, will serve in the palace. During the three years they are assigned a daily provision of meat and wine. Daniel and his friends ask to be given only vegetables and water, as they do not want to defile themselves with royal food and drink. They were given this diet for ten days, then compared to the rest of the young men, whose diet had been prescribed by the king. At the end of ten days, Daniel and his friends were deemed to be ten times wiser than any of the king’s magicians and advisers, so their diet remained vegetarian.

The Daniel Fast, likewise, includes a menu of fruit, vegetables (including tofu), and water.

I’ve always liked the idea of a fast, but didn’t see the health benefits of the ones that I’d heard of, many of which required alternating periods of starving during the day and binge eating at night, or drinking sugary fruit/vegetable juices instead of eating actual food. I heard about The Daniel Fast from a friend, who was participating with her church. This fast, while cautioning moderation in portion sizes, includes a wide variety of foods that are eaten during regular meal times. What The Daniel Fast removes from the diet are processed foods, meat, dairy, sugar, and any beverage other than water. With a few modifications, this was a plan I could work with. (Many of the recipes use tofu, which I’m allergic to, so I had to leave eggs and a small amount of dairy in my version. I also left my morning coffee with a half teaspoon of sugar in, because otherwise I would be very ornery.)

My review of this book is primarily of the recipe section of the book. It’s amazing. I have made five or six of the recipes so far and all of them have been tasty and filling. Even my carnivore husband has enjoyed them (though he thinks they’d be better with meat). There is more shopping and planning involved in these recipes, since most use fresh veggies and items like barley that normally don’t live in my pantry, but the results are hard to argue with. In the first five days I fasted I lost 2 pounds and felt incredible. I can’t wait to see how good I feel at the end of this 21 day session.

Note: There are also a couple of cookbooks associated with this Fast, in addition to the recipes at the end of The Daniel Fast: Feed Your Soul, Strengthen Your Spirit, and Renew Your Body. I will be checking out both.

Gregory, Susan. The Daniel Fast: Feed Your Soul, Strengthen Your Spirit, and Renew Your Body. Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, 2010.

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