Today (January 11th) was the first day of the Daniel Fast and I am joining Canada in Prayer along with thousands of other Canadians to press into God, praying the Lord’s Prayer with Power for 21 days!
I participated in this partial fast last year as well and I must admit, I really felt like I was half-cheating because I already eat a vegan diet (the Daniel Fast is a partial fast that contains no animal products, no sweeteners, no yeast and no processed or artificial ingredients). Last year I had just decided to eliminate processed, refined sugars from my diet and I was not seeking quite as actively to maintain a whole foods diet as I am this year, so I still found it a bit of a challenge. I imagine it would be much more difficult for omnivores. Nonetheless, God in His wonderful mercy looks at our hearts and not the legalism with which we follow or do not follow the fast and I found it was such a blessing in my life personally and it really set the spiritual tone for me in 2013. Looking back over that year I can see how many wonderful ways God continued to move in my life, to change me and to draw me closer to Him. So this year, while I anticipate that the food restrictions will be less of a challenge than before, I have great expectations and anticipation about how God will meet me as I yield to Him and seek His face and His purpose. I am excited!!
I think I will definitely miss honey and maple syprup but to be honest, my love of homemade vegan desserts was getting a little bit out of hand, so a reset button in that regard will be welcome. My only other real challenge will be commercial non-dairy milks and bread – oh I do love my bread (thank you Silver Hills for making a couple of varieties that are sweetened without refined sugars!). Last year I believe I did not use any non-dairy milk at all during the fast and adjusted my breakfast options accordingly. This year however my husband has decided to join me in the fast (yeah Paulo!) and he is definitely a cereal and milk for breakfast kinda guy. When I was in Ontario over Christmas, I was able to pick up a box of Ezekiel 4:9 Almond Sprouted Whole Grain cereal and Bob’s Red Mill Old Country Style Museli. Both contain no sweeteners or artificial ingredients but I wasn’t sure what I would do about the milk given that most of the commercial non-dairy milks we have up here contain ingredients prohibited on the fast. Fabulously I found a very easy recipe for Oat Milk on Oh She Glows and voila, we now have milk in the fridge for cereal (while you are only allowed to drink water on the fast, you can use a non-dairy milk in cereals/smoothies etc). And one of the best things about this milk – other than the fact that it is quick, easy, unprocessed and has a smooth, mild flavor – is I think it will be a relatively simple way to help reduce our carbon footprint if we do not have to buy so much commercialized milk. Even my five year old enjoyed it (I added a touch of maple syrup to his and even made a chocolate version by adding cocoa powder for him).
When you make the oat milk, you have oat pulp left over so, inspired by the summer porridge recipe that is running around FaceBook right now, this morning I took some oat pulp (about 3/4 cup), mixed in a tablespoon of chia, 2 teaspoons each of hemp hearts and ground flax seeds, a handful of slivered almonds and 1/3 cup frozen blueberries, mixed it with some of the oat milk, let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes for the chia to absorb the milk and presto, a delicious, nutritious, whole-foods breakfast.
For supper, I needed something relatively quick because we were short on time and the house still looks like a tornado hit it (it was soooooo clean when we arrived home last Sunday!). My husband and I both absolutely loved sautéed collards with garlic when we first tried it a few months ago, so I decided to make a meal of it by adding cooked pasta, chickpeas and nutritional yeast. And voila (“voila” and “presto” are my new favourite words for the evening; I think I am still overtired) … let’s try that again: And voila, I stumbled upon another deliciously garlicky pasta dish (although I must say it is absolutely ridiculous how much those greens wilt down to nothing; you could spend a fortune on greens at the store each week but at least you would be eating healthy!). I think we’re going to have it again tomorrow night! Do you have any Daniel Fast favourites?
Pasta and Sautéed Greens
- 1-1/2 cups whole wheat penne or rotini pasta
- 5 leaves collard greens, torn into bite size pieces
- 1-1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cups packed baby spinach and baby kale
- 4 medium to large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp onion powder
- Generous amount of freshly ground sea salt and pepper
- 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed or 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1/4 to 1/3 rounded cup nutritional yeast
In a large soup pot, bring water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. While the pasta is cooking, steam the collard greens until wilted, about 5 to 7 minutes. Return the soup pot to the stove, add the olive oil and heat on medium-low. Add the wilted collard greens along with the baby spinach/kale, garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently. When most of the greens are beginning to be wilted, add the reserved pasta, chickpeas and nutritional yeast, stirring until combined and heated through. Add an extra drizzle of olive oil if needed, taste and adjust seasonings. Serve immediately.