Health and Diet

The Daniel Diet

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In the past few years I have tried to find the right combination of foods for my body. Each person is different and I do not think that there is a “one size fits all” diet. We all have different nutritional needs. I have known for a few years that my way of eating was not optimal for me because my digestive system was sluggish. I knew I had to change something, but I wasn’t sure what I needed to change.

I started cleaning up my diet a few years ago. It started with weight gain, (isn’t that usually what happens)? A few years after moving to South Korea I gained weight and I didn’t like it. I was running a lot, and I even started exercising a lot. At one point I was working out nearly an hour every day, 4 times a week, but I could not lose the weight. I know muscle weighs more than fat, and that was part of it. I was gaining muscle from lifting weights but something else was going on. It was really irritating to work so hard and not see the results. I knew I had to change something.

Then I read a book called “The Four Hour Body“. I followed the protocol in his book and I lost the annoying 10 pounds in less than 2 weeks. I am not kidding, that really happened. My problem was mostly hormonal, I obviously have a problem with cortisol regulation and the spikes in my blood sugar were sending biochemical messages to my brain to store fat. By removing sugar and complex carbohydrates from my diet I was able to control my weight. It was not a fad diet for me, it became a way of eating. I actually didn’t have to work out very much as long as I was careful about keeping my blood sugar steady.

If I consumed carbohydrates I just made sure I got plenty of exercise. (I walked a lot in South Korea, so that part was easy). I even found it easy to lose the weight after I gave birth to my daughter. Once I understood how sugar affected my body it was much easier to avoid. I adapted more of a “Paleo” lifestyle, no dairy, no gluten, lots of meat and vegetables.

But I knew something was still wrong with the way I ate because my digestive system was still sluggish. I knew I didn’t address the root of my problem which was poor hormone regulation. Something was throwing off my hormonal balance. I suspected I had some adrenal fatigue, but I didn’t know how to fix it.

I considered doing the GAPS protocol. It is similar to the Paleo diet but it is very strict. After reading the book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome, I knew there was a strong possibility I had some damage in my digestive system. However, I did not have any way of knowing for sure. I don’t have any food allergies or autoimmune diseases. I wasn’t sure if I would get a lot of benefit from this restrictive diet, and good quality meat is expensive. I just wasn’t sure what to do. So I prayed about it.

I then heard about the Daniel Diet. It is based on a book called “The Maker’s Diet Revolution“. The author claims that he was inspired, by God, to write this book. I have had a few friends criticize this book because of the “Bible Marketing”. The way I see it, it is between him and God. I prayed about my diet dilema and this was the solution that was presented to me. 10 days of eating very clean, eating only pulse and drinking water, until the very last day. It made sense to me so I decided to give it a try.

I did read the book but you could do the program without reading it. I also purchased the food bars because of the variety of nutrients offered in them. I wanted to make sure I ate enough protein while on this program, and I did not think it would be easy or practical to sprout and dehydrate nuts and seeds. (Especially since I do not have a dehydrator yet). I already knew about the benefits of eating seeds and nuts that are properly prepared, (they are easier to digest). I read the labels of the Fruits of Life Bar, and the Perfect Food Bar, and I liked what I read. (Except there was a little bit of organic cane sugar in the Fruits of Life Bar, I wasn’t pleased with that).

The reason I did this 10 day program was simple; I wanted to clean up my digestive system. I had 100% success with this. I did lose weight too which was not my main goal but it was kind of cool. Weight control has not been a problem for me since I monitored my carbohydrate intake,  so I was actually very surprised that I lost over 5 pounds. My body temperature is actually up as well. It used to be somewhat low, around 97.4. Now it is between 98-98.6. This could be a sign that my adrenal glands are healing, only time will tell.

These 10 days of clean eating really taught me a lot. I thought I was eating healthy, but in reality I was eating “cleaner” than most people, but I was consuming too much meat. It has been a week since I ended the Daniel Diet and I am please to report that I am still eating some colorful salads every day.

I see a lot of people promoting shakes and diets to lose weight on social media outlets, (like Facebook). I also see a lot of women killing themselves by working out an hour or so every day. Been there done that, it doesn’t have to be that hard. Exercise is great, but I found that strenuous exercise was actually harming my adrenal glands, (stress is stress). So I decided to keep a journal to document my 10 day experience with the “Daniel Diet”. I wish I had done that when I did the “Four Hour Body” program. It really is amazing when you find something  that works for you. I think it is all about balance, and knowledge is power. Here is my recent experience ….

Day 1 – 3/24/2015
This morning was hard, I actually felt hungry early. (Usually I don’t feel hungry until around 10 am, today I was hungry by 8). It’s probably psychological. I REALLY wanted a cup of coffee, that was hard. Surprisingly, it is 12:49 and I don’t have a caffeine headache yet. At 12:30 I was ready to eat. My stomach was growling so loud that Lily even noticed. The Fruits of Life Bar tasted so good. It is amazing how good food tastes when you are hungry. I took my probiotic first thing this morning, and I made sure that I drank the required amount of water so far. I ate an apple in addition to the Fruits of Life Bar. I actually want the extra calories.The trick to not feeling hungry is to keep busy. I used this time to go through some clothes and get rid of stuff.

Lunch time was great. It was a lot later than I am used to, but it was worth the wait. I made a huge salad, with tomatoes, an avocado, cucumbers, red onions, romaine, and spinach. I made the salad dressing by mixing some tomatoes, cucumbers, raw garlic, 1/2 an avocado, and a whole lemon in the Vitamix. I ate every last bit.

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I can’t say I feel a big change physically. I was tired this afternoon, and let myself take a nap with Lily. (This is not something I typically do anymore). It was strange, when I woke up I was a little disoriented, I thought it was morning.

Dinner was the other health bar. This one reminds me of fiber bars I had to eat as a child, (but much better tasting).

Day 2 – 3/25/2015
Early morning was O.K. I drank the required water, and I wasn’t hungry at first. Around 9:00 AM I had some hunger pains, but I did my best to ignore them. At around 10 AM I had a little bit of stomach cramps. At around 10:30 I caved in and had a few slices of apple. (I am not doing this as a fast otherwise I would have toughed it out).

On the positive side, I am surprised by how alert I am without the morning coffee, and so far no caffeine headaches. I quit coffee a few times before, (when I was pregnant I quit cold turkey). But in the past I don’t remember it being so easy.

My skin also feels a lot softer, especially the bottom of my feet. (Weird, but true, lol).

I made another big salad for lunch. I was out of tomatoes, so I added some shredded carrots and celery instead. (Salad: romaine lettuce, baby spinach, red onions, cucumbers, avocados, carrots, and celery). Dressing: 1/4 avocado, a few slices of cucumber, 2 cloves of garlic, a few leaves of fresh basil, 1/4 cup water, 1/2 lemon. I was very full after this big salad, I could hardly finish it. When I was cutting up the onions Lily asked me what’s that? I said that’s a red onion. She said “no it’s not, it’s purple. (Gotta love kids).

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I had a handful of almonds as a snack too. (Raw but not sprouted).

At 6:30 I ate my second food bar. I wasn’t too hungry yet, but I definietly enjoyed it. (They are very tasty).

I have not been running to the bathroom or anything, so that’s good.

Day 3 – 3/26/2015

I weighed myself and I have lost 3 pounds and I am at 20.7% body fat by weight, (according to my fancy scale). I am not doing this to lose weight, but it is an interesting side effect. (I can’t remember the last time I weighed so little, even when I did the “4 Hour Body Diet). My average body temperature is up too, which is actually a really good sign. (It is 98.0, it was 97.4 a few days ago). I am excited about this because I am hoping to re-balance my hormones, and if my body temperature is increasing then my metabolism might be increasing.

The mornings are the hardest for me. I got a little bit hungry at around 9. I went food shopping, (talk about testing my will power). Surprisingly I did not find any food there tempting at all. I loaded up on enough veggies and lettuce to get me through the weekend.

When I came home I had an apple and made some freshly squeezed grapefruit juice. I was hungry and decided to listen to my body. (It’s still pulse so I should be O.K.).

12:30 – Fruits of Life Bar – it was delicious. I added a few handfuls of walnuts for extra protein.

3:30 I ate my massive salad, (it really was huge, I could hardly finish it). Romaine Lettuce, spinach leaves, celery, shredded carrots, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, 1/2 avocado, red peppers, and red onions. The salad dressing was 1/2 avocado, 1 peeled lemon, a handful of tomatoes and cucumbers, and one cup of water. I blended it in the Vitamix. This salad kept me full for hours.

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6:30 – I ate the second bar, (the Raspberry one). I didn’t feel hungry but I ate it to make sure I am getting enough calories.

Day 4 – 3/27/2015
At 10:00 am I was hungry. I was O.K. before then, I didn’t really feel hungry like before. So I ate an apple at 10:15. My temperature was 98.6 this morning. This is a big deal for me because my resting temperature is usually low, (97.4-97.7). I gained a little weight from yesterday, but I am still down a few pounds.

I feel good, I feel really good. I feel much calmer than usual. I hope this is a sign that my adrenal glands are healing. That is one of the reasons I decided to try this way of eating for 10 days. I really hope to reverse any type of lingering digestive issues I have from past experiences of eating too much processed foods and antibiotic exposure. I am surprised that I have not been visiting the bathroom a lot with all the fiber I am eating. It is almost 11:30 now and I feel a little hungry, but I will wait until the scheduled 12:30 meal.

Another big salad, (they keep getting bigger)

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Day 5 – 3/28/2015
Half way there! My temperature is still up and steady, (averaging 98.6 throughout the day). I am down 4 pounds from my usual weight. My body fat is 20.7%.

I feel great. My digestive system finally seems to be very regular, which was my primary goal in doing this. I have a lot of energy. The best part is I don’t feel stressed at all. I feel very, very calm. Things that would usually get my feathers ruffled don’t bother me.

Today I prepped my salad for today and tomorrow to make things easier. I just layered the veggies in a tall container. I drizzled lemon juice over the sliced avocados to keep them from browning. I think I will start doing this every two days. It is more efficient and it is a great idea for someone who wants to bring a salad to work. (I think it’s called a “Salad in a Jar”.

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Today I deviated a little but from the normal schedule. I ate the first Garden of Life Bar, (Fruits of Life) at 12:30. However, I had lunch at 2 PM instead of 3:30 because we were going out. I had the second bar at 5:30 to compensate. I then snacked a little at 6:15, (just almonds and dried coconut). I messed up and grabbed the wrong bar too, so I ate two of the “Fruits of Life” Bars today, lol. So tomorrow I will have to eat two of the “Perfect Food” bars to balance out.

Day 6 – 3/29/2015
Weight and body fat exactly the same as yesterday. Body temperature still up from normal, (98.5). I am very curious about the increase in body temperature. A friend of mine suggested that it could be because of ovulating, (which I knew but didn’t really think about at first). However, it has been up for 5 days straight. Only time will tell. I really hope my metabolism is resetting, that would be awesome.

I will also say I am very proud of myself. I have been baking homemade bread, and even bought a ton of chocolate for Easter yesterday. I have not cheated on the protocol, not once. I don’t even want to. I do have moments of weakness here and there but I really feel good, (and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel). 10 days seemed like a long time at first, but I am already half way there.

Lunch Salad – early today, while Lily was napping (2:30)

 

Dinner bar at 6:20

Day 7 – 3/30/2015
I have lost 7 pounds, and I am at 19.8% body fat.
10:15 AM – apple snack and a handful of walnuts
12:30 – Fruits of Life Bar
2:30 – I ate lunch early again, (because my daughter was sleeping).
6:00 – Perfect Food Bar

Day 8- 3/31/2015
Still down 7 pounds, and at 19.8% body fat.
10:45 – Apple and a taste of homemade lara bar, few handfuls of dehydrated almonds

12:30 Fruits of Life Bar
2:30 – Lunch (Same ridiculously huge salad, added Arugula.)

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6:00 Perfect Food Bar and some kimchi

Today was a weird day. Everything seemed a bit “off”. But my temperature is still OK so far.

Day 9 – 4/1/2015
Weight Still down 4.4 pounds,  20.3% body fat
Temp – 97.7 (still fluctuating)

Yesterday I felt a bit off. I think I snacked a little in between meals too much. Today I waited until 12:30 before eating anything. I have already had 5 8 oz cups of water. I ate the Fruits of Life Bar and some raw dehydrated almonds.

3:30 Big Salad
6:30 Perfect Food Bar

Day 10 – 4/2/2015

Down 4.8 pounds
Today was the hardest day, maybe it was psychological because I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I felt like I was “on edge today”. I didn’t feel hungry, but my patience level was low. I felt calmer in the afternoon, but that was when I felt weak. At 3:30 was when it started. I played with Lily to stay distracted. I was watching the clock, waiting for 5:00 so I could have the green juice. It was gross, I used mostly Arugula and some spinach. I only juiced 4 ounces out so I added water to it to get 8 ounces. The 5:20 salad was also not what I expected. I thought it would taste amazing but it didn’t, I could hardly get it down. The back of my throat started to burn a little too, which was really weird. (That never happened before). The salmon just tasted OK at first, I just baked it, no toppings. Then, once I relaxed, it tasted really good. The 8:00 shake was really, really good. I was surprised I had room for it. My temp at around 6:30 was 98.6, exactly.

Day 11 – I weighed myself, and I lost exactly 5.4 pounds. This was surprising because my weight was already pretty low, (for me), before I started this program. My main objective was to address my digestive issues. I achieved that goal.

1 week later – my digestive system is still completely normal. I am amazed. I have added many things to my diet in the past 4 years to improve my digestion. I have even incorporated fermented foods into my diet. Nothing else I have done has given me these results.

I am not sure why it worked. I can only guess that my digestive tract needed some cleaning. I also think I was eating way too much meat, and now I am more conscious about eating more raw vegetables. I am only sharing this experience because maybe it will help someone. Only time will tell if the results are temporary. However, it has motivated me to eat more salads.

There are so many fad diets out there, and a lot of them involve buying into some sort of program. This is only 10 days, and you don’t have to buy any processed foods to do it. (You have that option, but you don’t have to). Here is the link that outlines the program, (it is not an affiliate link, just sharing for informational purposes).

If your goal is to lose weight, or just to eat healthy, it’s worth trying.

My biggest regret is that I did not spend more time in prayer. I did commit to reading the Bible more during this time, but not enough.

My other regret is that I did this program right before Easter. I ate too much chocolate over the past week so I am I may have polluted my body a little bit. (I did gain the weight back). In hindsight, I really should have done this AFTER Easter. But there really is nothing stopping me from doing it again. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be, and actually kind of fun. I love a challenge.

If you give the Daniel Diet a try please let me know how it worked for you. I also plan on writing a post about my experience with the “Four Hour Body” program. I personally know a lot of people who struggle with weight loss,
and I like sharing information that has helped me.

Once I understood what is going on, (biochemically), inside my body, it was a lot easier for me to give up the foods that were causing problems. I still struggle with chocolate. I know that is a sign of magnesium deficiency, and something I need to work on.

But nobody is perfect, we all have room for improvement. The good news is that dark chocolate, (more than 85% cacao), is supposed to be good for you …. in moderation. I just need to work on the moderation part. 😉

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