Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Daniel Fast: "and the old shall become new again..."

A simple salad: lettuce, beets, olives, avocado.
Multitasking can be a beautiful thing.  Last night, for example, while I was studying for my Certificate in a Plant-Based Nutrition, I also simmered up a bunch of beets on the stove (results pictured above) and started learning about The Daniel Fast, a whole food plant-based cleanse that takes it's name from the Old Testament Jewish prophet who employed prayer and fasting as a means of growing closer to God.

Turns out there are a couple versions of Daniel fasts out there. And some critics. Seeking to turn a 2600 year old, Biblical story of divine inspiration into a modern weight loss program for profitable gain (some websites make you buy the book or pay to see the details of the diet) might not seem the most Christian of acts. 

But of course, intention is everything. Personally, I like this quote from Susan Gregory, author of The Daniel Fast Cookbook (which I downloaded for free online):

"Biblical fasting was always about restricting food and always for the purpose of drawing closer to the Lord, observing spiritual laws, or seeking God in prayer."

I don't see a whole lot to argue with there. 

In addition to drawing closer to God, another reason to fast or cleanse in modern times is to draw closer to our own true needs, to reconnect with simplicity. Highly seasoned, stimulating and addictive foods (think ice cream, pizza, corn chips, cookies) when consumed on a regular basis can pervert the taste buds to a degree where simple food no longer appeals.

The Daniel Fast is basically a way to "stop the insanity" and reset your brain-mouth connection. Here's my version, with a few modern additions. This program can be safely followed for 3, 10, or 21 days—if not a lifetime, as it essentially consists of a healthy, low fat whole food plant-based diet. Learn more at danielfast.wordpress.com.



The Daniel Fast - Basic Allowed Foods List:


All FRUITS.

All VEGETABLES.

All WHOLE GRAINS in their whole form.

All LEGUMES in their whole form.

All NUTS and SEEDS in their whole form. (2 Tbs/day)



Natural seasonings: sea salt, black pepper, dried and fresh herbs, lemon juice, curry, cayenne, kelp powder



In addition:

100% natural nut butters (almond, peanut, tahini; 2 Tbs/day), tofu/tempeh, organic brown rice cakes, tamari, nutritional yeast, spirulina and chlorella, herbal teas, raw honey, stevia.

(Note: teas and natural sweeteners are not 'officially' allowed on The Daniel Fast but I think it makes sense to include them; a broad stroke is used to define "vegetables" and tea is a plant food, as is stevia, whereas raw honey comes from flowers.)

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Biblical Passages upon which The Daniel Fast is based include:

"In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks." Daniel 10:2,3
 
and

"Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food, or with the wine that he drank....[So he requested of the steward] 'Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king's food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see.' ... At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king's food. So the steward took away their food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables."  Daniel 1:8-16

 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Sweet Potato Bowl


If you have an oven, you can bake a sweet potato. If you can bake a sweet potato, you can make a sweet potato bowl. It's that easy. 

What else (besides sweet potato) is in the bowl pictured up above? Um...dare I say: leftovers?! (In case you did not know, I have long been known in certain circles as The Leftover Queen.)

It's a fact that over the years, leftovers have provided me with some of the tastiest meals ever. My secret is to always add in something fresh—more often than not, a green something. Take today for example. I had leftover Cabbage Soup and leftover Spiced Black Beans in the fridge. So I heated them up in a pot and stirred in several gigantic handfuls of baby mizuna, a tender green not unlike spinach, which shrank and wilted in seconds. To this, I generously sprinkled some nutritional yeast. Stirred it all together and poured the blend into my bowl, alongside a freshly baked Japanese sweet potato (yellow flesh, super sweet).

I won't bother giving you the soup or beans recipes here, considering they were leftovers, and all. I'm just giving you a simple idea that is sure to serve you forever in good stead:

Got leftovers? Have a bowl!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Romaine Roll-ups


The sandwich was invented as a vehicle for fillings. One of my favorite variations on the sandwich theme is to use a crisp, juicy romaine leaf in place of the usual bread.

Spreads as simple as raw almond butter + honey, or tahini + miso taste great on a romaine leaf. Tofu salad, guacamole, hummus: also delish. Or you can get fancy like I did here, filling my wrap with some of the extra Pate Forestier I had leftover from the other night, when I made marinated stuffed mushroom caps for a special dinner.

This Pate recipe is taken and slightly modified from one found in my favorite raw food restaurant in the world's cookbook: Crudessence, by David Cote et Mathieu Gallant. (If you're ever in Montreal, be sure to eat there. It's the best!)

Pate Forestier

Soak 1 c raw sunflower seeds and 2/3 c raw walnuts in cold water for 6-8 hours. Rinse well, drain and purée in a food processer, adding a touch of water if needed to facilitate grinding.

Add in: 1 c mushroom stems or chopped  mushrooms, 1/4 c parsley, 2 Tbs dried dill, 2 Tbs tamari soy sauce (or Braggs Liquid Aminos, Nama Shoyu, etc), 1 clove garlic (minced), 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1 or 2 Tbs lemon juice, pinch of sea salt and drizzle of truffle oil (optional).  Process until creamy. 

Store covered in fridge; keeps for about 4 days. Use for romaine wraps, salad topping, cracker spread, etc. I'm going to mix what's left with cooked brown rice, grated carrots and a few chia seed to make some super savory veggie burgers.  Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Green Brown Rice

Over the weekend I cooked up a pot of short-grain brown rice to use in meals throughout the week, such as this Green Brown Rice. I'm a big one-pan-dish fan and love anything green in my belly, so this one's a winner all around.


To cook brown rice: Combine 1 cup short grain brown rice, 2 cups water, a tiny drizzle of olive or flaxseed oil and a pinch of sea salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil on high heat, stir, cover and immediately reduce heat to low. Simmer for 45 minutes. Do not lift lid even once while cooking!! After 45 minutes has passed, remove pan from heat, fluff rice with a fork, recover and allow to cool. 

Green Brown Rice

Sauté 1/4 of an onion in a tiny drizzle of olive oil over medium heat for a few minutes. Add 1/2 cup chopped broccolini, stir and sauté a few more minutes. Add one minced clove garlic, some halved snow peas (about half a cup) and 1/2 to 1 cup cooked rice, depending on your appetite. Sprinkle with tamari soy sauce or coconut aminos. Stir, cover, and simmer on low for about 5 minutes. Adjust salt level with more tamari if desired. Top with a handful of pumpkin seeds and enjoy!