Thursday, May 27, 2010

50-Day Fast Update & Recipe Idea (Veggie Pockets)

The End of the 2010 Pentecost Fast

Our church just wrapped up our annual 50-day Pentecost fast, and I'm so excited about what God is doing in our lives from the inside-out. This fast was more about spiritual transformation and renewal (Romans 12:1-2) than food or lack thereof, but what a wonderful experience all around. The Daniel Fast (no meats, no sweets) has changed the way I view and use food. Although I have returned to eating both meats and sweets, I eat much less of each and have seen dramatic increases in my skin, energy level, and countenance, especially from avoiding the standard post-lunch, mid-afternoon crash. I lost almost 20 pounds, and I believe it's sustainable. And my *ahem* inner workings have improved. Daniel and the three Hebrew boys knew what they were doing.

The dietary changes were easier the expected for DH and me. I know that the transition was eased by the fact that we were dedicated to the fast, doing it together, and he is a pretty good sport about trying new things. I don't take any of this for granted. Some of our major changes:

  • Chocolate was replaced by carob chips and carob powder. Now, don't get me wrong -- I still adore dark chocolate, but carob has such a unique, warm flavor. It's the perfect change-up. We make hot carob drinks (sometimes in place of coffee) using Silk Almond and Soy milk, pure vanilla extract, a little agave nectar and Chatfield's carob powder. I also made these fancy, sweet, yet white-sugar-free carob no-bake cookies (Thanks, MissLycia @ AllDayNatural!).
  • Hummus, olive oil (only for flavor, not for cooking), and grape seed oil replaced butter.
  • Brown rice pasta replaced regular pasta. I am not a fan of the *taste* of whole wheat pasta, but brown rice pasta has a flavor that reminds me very much of regular pasta. It's just brown rice and water. :)
  • Fruit and cereal has replaced our daily 2-eggs + 2 slices turkey bacon + grits breakfast. Yes, we actually ate that every day. I love a big country breakfast now and then, but I realized I just don't need that much food. One of our favorite new breakfasts is oatmeal topped with mangoes from Mexico, which are sold at the local Asian market. Go figure!
  • Though anything with sugar was off limits during the fast, now that we are off, we no longer eat regular ice cream. Lovely as it tastes, all that milky goodness just doesn't rest well with our stomachs, so we've switched to soy ice cream, and even that is done sparingly.
  • Trader Joe's Fiberful Ends & Pieces fruit snacks are a great replacement for candy/chewy things. It's like fruit roll ups, but healthier. Yummy!

The thing I miss most is ice cream. Shout out to the Cook-Out milkshake menu. Oh dearies, if you haven't tried one yet, you don't know what you're missing. But, I did just discover what I'm missing:

One Cook-Out Mint Chocolate Chip Milkshake (they only come in one 16-oz size) is a belly-blowing 760 calories, with 34 grams of fat and 94 carbs. Yikes.

Recipe Idea: Veggie (or Meat & Veggie) Pockets

A friend of ours from church gave us this basic recipe for an instant meal. Her three kids love it, and so do we. These pockets are quick, customizable, portable, and filling. There are no measurements in my recipe, sorry, but here's my ingredient list for a basic veggie pocket:

Grape seed oil
Onions, chopped
Minced garlic
Fresh spinach
Colorful peppers
Whatever other veggies you like
Cooked quinoa, brown rice, or diced potatoes
Seasoning to taste (cumin, pepper, curry, whatever you like)
Shredded mozzarella cheese or hummus
Large tortillas, the healthiest version you can find (low/no sugar, whole wheat, etc)

Preheat oven to 400-degrees F. On the stove, saute and season the veggies in grape seed oil on medium or medium-low heat until tender. Then lay out a tortilla on a plate. Spread cheese or hummus onto the center of the tortilla. Put veggies and your cooked brown rice/quinoa/potato (optional) on top of that, then fold up the tortilla like a burrito. Lay the pocket on a lightly greased cookie sheet, fold-side down. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top. That's it!

The veggie pocket might puff and stay, or it might flatten out as it cools. If you prefer something meaty, brown some ground turkey or sausage and add that to the mix. I like to dip my pockets in salsa. Wrap them up in wax paper or foil and put them in the fridge for grab-and-go.