Comparing Plans: The Daniel Diet

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow, for a calorie total of less than 600. On another day this week, eat the meals from a different post, another day of eating 600 calories or less. Eat sensibly the other days of the week. That’s it: a simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

King Nebuchadnezzar decided to raise up a team of advisors, so he sent his agents out to find the best-looking boys to live at the palace in Babylon. [This sounds like a story of very bad intent, but it turns out much better, so read on.] Since the Israelites had been conquered by the Assyrians and were living in Babylon, four of the boys were Jewish: Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The entire cohort of lads were to be raised as wards of the king, and orders were given to feed them with the best delicacies [we can guess pork, wine, and honeyed yeast bread]. Since the foods they were offered were not Kosher, the Israelite boys would not eat them. Daniel told the servants to give them “pulses” [lentils, dried beans, chickpeas], with lots of vegetables, and only water to drink. The King, annoyed as we can guess, wanted to force them to eat his food, but Daniel proposed a test. If he and his friends could eat their food while the other boys ate the richer diet, after 10 days the King would declare which was the healthier way to eat. The King assented, as told in the Book of Daniel, Chapter 1, verses 12–16. “And at the end of ten days, [the four boys’] countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children who ate the portion of the king’s meat.” Daniel and his friends were not trying to lose weight — indeed, they gained weight. They were trying to keep to their own religious food traditions, even under pressure from the King himself. Today, this way of eating is called the Daniel Diet. If this appeals to you, be aware that it should not be a lifestyle but rather a temporary menu, a ‘cleanse’ in the common parlance. Nutritionists realize that when you cut out entire categories of food, you starve your body of valuable nutrients. If Daniel had been offered meats and fish that were Kosher, he would have eaten them. People who undertake this diet are advised to follow it for only 10-21 days and then to re-introduce meat +/or fish, eggs, and dairy. While it is indeed possible to live a vegan lifestyle, great care must be given to ensure that the menu is varied and provides all the nutrients you need. The Season of Lent is a good time to change how you eat, and to make healthier choices. Let’s see how the Daniel Diet and the 5:2 Fast Diet compare:

Is this food allowed on this diet…Daniel DietOn Fast Days
Fatty Animal protein: beef, lamb, porkNo Yes, moderation
Lean Animal protein: chicken, turkeyNo Yes, preferred
Eggs No Yes 
Beer, wine, cocktailsNoOn Slow Days
Grains, starches: farro, barley, unleavened breadYes in moderation
Nuts + seedsYes in moderation
Beans/legumes: peas, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeasLots Yes 
Seafood proteinNo Yes 
Apples, melons, pears, all other fruitsYes Yes 
BerriesYes Yes 
Leafy green vegetables: spinach, chard, kale, lettuceYes Yes 
Cheese No Some 
Vegetable oils: olive, canolaYes in moderation
Animal fat: butter, lardNo in moderation
Root veg: potatoes, beets, sweet potatoes, carrotsYes Yes 
Above-ground vegetables: tomatoes, peppersYes Yes 
food with preservatives or added sugarNo Not recommended 
Protein from plants only Yes Plant + animal 
Higher fiberYesYes
Daily Carb intakeuncountedKeep it low
Complex carbohydrates: whole grainsYes Yes
Simple carbs: cookies, pastries, cake, yeasted breadNoNot on Fast Day
how long to follow this way of eating10-21 days only2 days a week, lifelong 
Number of days per week to follow the regimin Daily for 21 days2 of 7
Do calories matter?No only 600 on Fast Days

Daniel’s Breakfast: if your beverage is water:  278 calories 7.6 g fat 7 g fiber 7 g protein 45.5 g carbs 23 mg Calcium   if saving room for mocha cafe au lait:  218 calories 7.5 g fat 6 g fiber 6 g protein 34.5 g carbs 12 mg Calcium   PB  Daniel would have approved of this plant-based meal, suitable for a breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Remembering that Daniel would drink only water with his meals, not coffee or tea, you could add more fruit to nudge the calories closer to 300.

if your beverage is water:  ¼ c hummus** 1 oz whole-grain unleavened bread 3 oz melon 3 oz grapes  if saving room for mocha cafe au lait:  ¼ c hummus 1 oz whole-grain unleavened bread 3 oz melon 2 oz grapes 

Plate to please and have a rightous day.

**HUMMUS: makes 2 cups  PB GF Recipe from Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook. 1 Tbsp = 27 calories 1.5 g fat 0.6 g fiber 0.5 g protein 3 g carbs 1 mg Calcium ¼ c =  108 calories 6 g fat 2.4 g fiber 2 g protein  12 g carbs 4 mg Calcium

 1 can chickpeas, drained + rinsed 4 cloves garlic 1½ tsp salt 4 tsp lemon juice 5 T tahini pepper + cayenne to taste ¼ c chopped scallions/onions

Put everything in the food processor and whizz until smooth. Taste for seasonings. Freezes well. Variation: Add a few slices of cooked beet to obtain an amazing pink color.

Lentil Soup: You can prepare this soup with meat or without. Daniel would prefer it with no ham, nor other meat. vegan = 136 calories 0 g fat 6.6 g fiber 9.6 g protein 25.4 g carbs 48.5 mg Calcium  PB GF non-vegan = 170 calories 0.5 g fat 6.6 g fiber 15 g protein 27 g carbs 75 mg Calcium   PB GF This is how my mother made Lentil Soup, which always followed a few days after a meal of roast ham. The ham bone would be boiled in 3 quarts water with carrot, celery, and onion. The strained broth would go on to be the basis of the soup. HINT: This recipe makes 12 [twelve] cups of soup. One serving = 1 cup

Vegan Version 12 cups Non-Vegan Version 12 cups 
3 quarts water 
1 pound lentils
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs thyme
8 oz tomato sauce 1 cup carrot, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped 
3 quarts ham stock
1 pound lentils
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs thyme
8 oz tomato sauce
1 cup carrot, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped 
Combine ingredients in a stock pot. Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer. Cook 45 minutesCombine ingredients in a stock pot. Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer. Cook 45 mins. Add ½ cup diced ham. 
Save out what you need for dinner, freeze the remainder.Save out what you need for dinner, freeze remainder. Before serving, spoon 1 Tbsp dry sherry into each bowl. 

Ingredients for next week: Breakfast, single portion for Monday …………………………… single portion for Thursday:

1 two-oz egg + red onion1.5 two-oz eggs 
garlic + garam masala + turmericcatsup [no corn syrup] + strawberries
feta cheese + canola oilThai red chili paste + soy sauce
red pepper flakes + meloncrab meat + garlic powder
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

Dinner, single portion for Monday:………………………….. single portion for Thursday:

carrot + cauliflower floretschicken breast meat + potato
peas + tomato + cooked fish 2 ears of corn + onion
yellow lentils OR Naan 3 cups chicken stock
Curry sauce  + cucumberthyme sprigs + optional sourdough bread
Sparkling waterSparkling water

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