Daniel Detox – Day 2 of 10: What I Did Not Expect

We made it to day 2 of our Daniel Detox. My hunky husband is struggling … he just walked to the cabinet looking for a snack, grabbed a jar of peanut butter and murmured, “What? Peanut butter has sugar?” He shoved it back onto the shelf and picked up the jar of Nutella. “This has sugar too? Geez.” He slammed the cabinet closed and walked away with some dry roasted peanuts, looking very disappointed. He mentioned earlier today that he could really use a bowl of ice cream, then groaned in agony when our son walked into the living room with a package of Oreos.

I just laughed. He rolled his eyes and said in a mocking tone, “‘Do the detox with me’, she said. ‘It’ll be great!’ she said.”

With all his joking around aside, I’m grateful. It’s really been fun to have someone do something like this with me … he cares enough about my health frustrations and believes in me so much that he’s not only cheering me on, but participating with me.

I didn’t feel the loss of sweets until I was cleaning up our bedroom and found this hiding on the floor in a corner …

Y’all don’t understand … these things are my WEAKNESS. They are chocolate-covered temptations in a deceptive little wrapper. I totally stole three of them … THREE … from my children after gifting it to them in their stocking. And that was AFTER I’d already eaten my own share.

Anyways …

It was nothing but leftovers today … steak fajitas marinated in lava for lunch. It was just as hot as it was yesterday! Lettuce wraps for dinner. I don’t recall ever intentionally trying kale before, so I made a kale salad with fresh dressing, a recipe I found in The Daniel Plan Cookbook. I took one bite and nearly dropped the bowl … it was divine. Incredible. Mouth-watering. I asked Kris to try some, and he had to swallow fast before he spit it out. To him, it was awful. He’s also not ventured very far from the classic Caesar or Ranch salads. But hey, at least he eats salads!

Two things I didn’t expect: One, I woke up this morning with sore joints. My fingers, spine and knees to be specific. When I’ve had a gluten exposure, the inflammation makes my joints swell up within hours, and it lasts for many more hours, but I usually feel it in my fingers and hips (oddly) more than anything else (the other symptom being that it feels like I’m digesting shards of glass through my intestines). This feels different … almost like a sensation of retaining water or something. I’ve been drinking a TON (trust me, I’ve been tracking it in my handy-dandy Wellness Planer I got from Aldi for $7, cha-ching!).

This is the photo I took and sent to my sister when I bought the planner, on a VERY rainy day. 😀

I read that it’s a normal symptom of detoxing. So … maybe it’ll be better tomorrow. I’m just going to keep drankin’ and eating amazing foods!

Two, I don’t hate all the food prepping and cooking. Anyone who knows me, knows that cooking is a chore to me. It’s just one more thing I need to take care of in the day. That inevitable 5:00 pm question of “What’s for dinner?” makes me need to take slow, deep breaths because my answer is usually, “I haven’t even thought about it.” Even when I’m on top of meal planning, it’s still something I dread. I don’t even know why.

My husband can get into the kitchen and spend an hour cooking an incredible meal from scratch and enjoys every bit of the chopping and sauteing. I, on the other hand, feel irritated as I pop a jar of spaghetti sauce and dump in into a pan.

This has been different, though. I’ve so very much enjoyed the freshness, the colors and textures. So far, every meal has been worth every minute, and every ounce of energy. It’s so satisfying to know that the meal that’s being served is a healthy one.

Because I’d already knocked 0ut caffeine from my daily routine, the lack of it hasn’t been a problem … but I do very much miss the taste of coffee. After Day 10, the first thing I plan to do is sip and savor a glorious cup of joe.

I’m going to bed now to rest my sore knees. See ya tomorrow on Day 3.

Daniel Detox – Day 1 of 10. I think I got it wrong …

Day 1 of 10 for the Detox part of the Daniel Plan that I’m taking on!

In a recent post called What the Weight? I talked about how I’ve gained nearly 10 pounds in the last month or two. I worked so hard … or THOUGHT I was working hard … to lose weight for two years. I start an exercise program, burn out, and quit. I start an eating plan, see no changes whatsoever, then quit. Or I flat out FORGET that I’m on a diet, and crash it. Or I get rebellious against it, raise my fist to the sky, and declare “Down with deprivation!” around a mouthful of chocolate.

The 10-pound gain was frustrating because it takes forever to just drop a couple of pounds … then this happens in such a short amount of time.

Honestly, it freaked me out.

Because I’m a Bible gal, I decided to see what the Bible says about physical health. I mean, we search it for every other bit of wisdom … can we not use it for the wisdom of our physical well-being? Of course, the first “health” story that popped up was the one about Daniel.

The book of Daniel was written by Daniel himself to the exiled Jews of that day. When Babylon had been taken over by a pagan king, the king had several of the best-looking locals brought into his kingdom to be brainwashed and tasked to serve the palace. Daniel and his three friends were among them. When the king brought to them rich foods that are meant to be indulged in worship of their false gods, Daniel refused, and asked that he not be forced to defile his body. To prove his point, he asked to be fed only vegetables and water, and to be tested against the others after 10 days. When the 10 days were over, Daniel was found to be “fatter” (which just meant “healthier” back then) and in better shape mentally and physically than the others.

This has inspired a whole slew of Daniel-inspired diet plans and fasts, including The Daniel Plan by well-known pastor Rick Warren. I made a trek to the library and borrowed the book and read it cover-to-cover.

I was thoroughly confused.

Apparently, the Daniel Plan has two parts … the Detox and the actual Plan. As I read the book I kept waiting for it to explain exactly what the difference is … and it was pretty vague. The chapter dedicated to the Detox only says simply to avoid inflammatory foods such as sugar and sweeteners in all forms, dairy in all forms, stimulants and sedatives (think alcohol and caffeine), processed/fast foods, and gluten in all forms.

I had assumed that it would mean a completely vegan diet for 10 days … because Daniel literally only ate vegetables and water. But when I read through the suggested Detox menu, i saw things like lamb, ground turkey, chicken and fish.

Wha … what??

So I guess it’s called The Daniel Plan because it is simply inspired by wholesome eating, avoiding the rich, unhealthy, fattening foods around you, just as Daniel did.

In a way.

Whatever. I decided to give it a go. After all, I had also borrowed a copy of The Daniel Plan Cookbook and the recipes looked incredible … and GET THIS. I even talked my husband into doing the 10-day detox with me!! He’s never done anything like this before. Never dieted. He’s never struggled with weight. He’s lean and naturally athletic. He eats ice cream and M&M’s nearly every night before bed and never. gains. a. pound. He does have pretty horrific acid reflux due to an apparently useless esophageal sphincter that he’s had since birth. He thought it would be a good idea to do the detox with me and maybe it’ll help pinpoint what makes his reflux flare.

photo by Heather Ford

So. On Day One … we bailed.

I had made too many plans for the day and hadn’t had a chance to compile a grocery list based on the food items I’d planned. In The Daniel Plan book, the recipes had a “D” next to the meals that were detox-friendly. In the cookbook, it was amazing to see a GF or a DF in most of the menu items. I chose all GF (which means Gluten-Free, as I have a gluten intolerance) and DF items (which I thought meant Daniel Fast). When I finally made my list, I headed to the grocery store and had a blast. Most of the items were found at Aldi, and I filled in the remaining ones from Wal-Mart and Publix (because apparently Publix is the ONLY place around here that has gluten-free soy sauce now … ugh.)

On New Day One, I talked over the menu plan with my husband. Then it suddenly dawned on me. DF doesn’t mean Daniel Fast … it means Dairy Free.

So now I had all these groceries, all these meals planned … and I wasn’t even sure I’d planned the Detox correctly. WHAT IN THE WORLD.

I quickly went back through every single recipe and realized that they all seem to be compatible to the Detox except for one that called for raw honey … so, Day One was still a go.

We decided to tackle a really labor-intensive meal for lunch on Day One. We were pretty hungry, because we’d both skipped breakfast. We decided on a recipe called Kicking and Screaming Steak Fajitas. It called for chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I didn’t recall ever having eaten chipotle before, so this should be interesting. And this should be EXCELLENT for acid reflux, hee hee.

My sinuses caught on fire as I made the marinate mixture, and after a while, my husband wandered into the kitchen (prompted by his growling stomach) and began helping me. While cooking the meat, we both were wiping our watering eyes and laughed at how bloodshot they were. We sat down and took the first bite …

And we both went scrambling for our glasses of water, coughing into it as we gulped. We wiped our eyes, being careful not to get the lava into our eyeballs, laughed and said, “Wow, that’s really good.” We ate some more.

It was incredible. Amazing. Delicious. Filling. We had enough for two more meals when we were finished! Amazingly, it didn’t trigger Kris’s acid reflux at all … not in the least. For dinner that night we had lettuce wraps which were excellent. Decadent. Satisfying.

Oh man, I could eat like this every day.

Wait a minute … I am!!! For ten whole days!! Wow … this 10-day detox is going to be really, really great.

What the Weight?


Everyone has it.

Nobody wants it.

Unfortunately, my typical reaction to stress is to go to the kitchen and bite something. I have a bad habit of clenching my jaws and grinding my teeth (according to my dentist), so maybe stress manifests in my jaws and makes me want to sink my teeth into something.

The undesirable side effect has been a few extra inches clinging to my hips and thighs that refuse to pack into my jeans.

It was frustrating, until I stepped on the scale to get real with myself. That’s when it went from frustrating to jaw-dropping.

It took me YEARS after Caleb was born to get the baby weight off, and in a two-week time span, it has all come rushing back. What the weight??

Diets don’t work for me, y’all. I start feeling rebellious against whatever food/calorie deprivation is involved in the diet before I’ve even completed the first week. I find myself saying one or all of the following:

  1. I cannot go on like this for another day … this brain fog … this grumpiness … I’m. So. HANGRY!
  2. Um … I didn’t realize low-carb meant giving up mashed potatoes. Nope, nope, nope, and all the nopes in Nopeland!
  3. Why am I so hungry. Why must my body insist on being hungry. I’m so hungry it’s all I can think about. Hungry, hungry, hungry, hungry …
  4. This isn’t life! Life is supposed to be enjoyed, not survived! I am barely surviving! I give up! Right now, I choose to enjoy my life, not torture myself! I choose JOY! I choose JOY! (I continue to chant this with every slurp of ice cream)
  5. Who are you, diet, to tell me what I can and can’t eat? *shovels chocolate into my mouth* Take THAT! *swallows a chunk of cheese the size of my fist and chases it with sweet tea* Take THAT! And THAT!
photo by Claudiu Hegedus

Then, inevitably, Monday rolls around, as it insists on doing every week. I feel all barfy and bloaty from all the bad foods, not to mention the volume. I’m pretty sure I have a couple of fresh, shiny breakouts from the toxicity coursing through my veins. I vow to get my life in control. I hop onto the interwebs and research “food plans” and “eating lifestyles” (you know, because denying that you’re on a diet and relabeling it works every time, right?…) I get sucked into before-and-after pictures that I come across. I suddenly remember the “before” pictures I took a year ago and go back to check my weight stats. I’m disheartened to realize I’m in the exact same place I was then.

But no more. No more!, I tell myself. I shall not cave to the sweets. I raise a shaky fist into the air and shout, “I’ll never eat chocolate again!” All while the Diet Devil retreats into the shadows, wringing his hands and laughing that creepy, breathy laugh that sounds like Bozo the Clown has been smoking for 40 years.

That’s where I am today … which isn’t Monday … but still. I called my husband and unintentionally picked a fight with him because I was frustrated that it was so hard to make time to workout. And then I did what every good little nerd does when they’re stuck …

I picked up a few volumes of light reading and began to research nutrition.

I came across something interesting … something that took on new meaning in light of my current nutritional frustrations. I read about Daniel in the Bible requesting permission from the king to abstain from the rich, royal foods that were given to himself and several other young men, and instead chose to eat only vegetables and water for a 10-day period. After the 10 days, he was tested against the other young men and proved to be in better health. He was then allowed to continue eating that way.

I thought, “Now THAT’S how to honor God with your body.”

It took a single Google search to realize that Daniel’s way of eating during that time has inspired a whole slew of religious weight loss books. I had heard of the “Daniel Fast” but because it contained the word “fast” I just assumed it was some version of intermittent fasting or something.

What was impressive to me about Daniel is that he risked getting in serious trouble with the king to honor God with his body, but glorifying God was that important to him. It should be that way for all of us, in all areas of our lives.

For that reason, I’m looking at “dieting” in a way I never have before. Instead of making sad, flimsy attempts to lose weight, I’m going to make the decision to honor God with what I eat and with how I exercise. It’s something that has never occurred to me before.

And I might just start with a 10-day Daniel challenge.