Post-Fast: Brand Spankin’ New

1 Feb

Its been five days since crossing the finish line on my ten-day juice fast. Since then, I’ve made radical dietary changes along with my family. Yes, it takes some bribing (and culinary tigress) to get my kids hooked on plates of green leafy vegetables, but like any seasoned mom I’ve got a doctorate in bribery and a gazillion continuing education hours in the art of negotiation. And of course, I go undercover; over the weekend I simply nodded when my daughter assumed that (“YUMMY!”) tofu was eggs. When my ten-year old asked about the seared, white chunky blocks on his salad I said (non-nonchalantly) that it was croutons, of course! From the corner of my eye I glimpsed him stealing his little brother’s “croutons.” A fourth grader sneaking tofu! Who would have thunk it?

How did I celebrate after the finish line? With friends, of course.

Nuriman, my fellow-faster, threw a girly-girl party complete with green-juice,

one of her famous salads,

and home baked kale chips. I whipped up a mango salsa for added fun.

Its been five days and I feel brand spankin’ new! Here comes the bragging part; brace yourselves! (My smarty pants are about to un-leash, ya’ll).

I wake up and instead of wishing that someone could hook me up to a sweet, smoky java-infused IV drip, I’m ready to start my day. I don’t have to commit to faux-joy in front of my dewy-eyed young’uns in the morning. Now, I’m  bright-eyed –  ready at the starting-gate, and yet unflinchingly calm. I enjoy my mornings like I did as a kid and I enjoy my kids in the morning for a change.

In the past, after my morning cup of coffee I was good to go until….until….my second cup of coffee. Now, instead of quivering, make-shift energy, I’m charting my days on natural energy! Even though I’m off the juice fast, I’m still juicing at least once a day, and mostly with carrots and green leafy vegetables. My symptoms of hypoglycemia (one of my principal motivations for going on the juice fast) have vanished. I am now able to perform supererogatory, religious fasting (no food or water from sun up to sun down), as I did last Monday, without getting the shakes, vomiting, and sharp headaches suffered in the past.

I’ve also switched to preparing meat for my family just one night a week and on those nights only chicken – no red meat or cheese. My husband is acting as a very good sport; which, if you are a modern-day Moroccan, or are married to a Moroccan, you can appreciate this switch-over even more. This is one of those moves that is making me fall in love with him all over again.

I’m off refined sugars and onto small amounts of raw honey, maple syrup and organic cane sugar for baking and sweetening my herbal tea. I’m off cartons of bargain-brand pasteurized milk and onto spoonfuls of homemade organic yogurt (with fresh berries).

I’m off flavoring my savory dishes with vats of salt and too much olive oil and onto finding creative ways to make a saneful (not sinful), whole-foods plant-based meal.

I assumed my diet was healthy. After all, I ate salads, preferably looming with salty cheeses and buried under a scattering of lip-smacking olives. I poured olive oil on anything that would stand still, plus served up lots of piping hot home cooked meals, saddled with plentiful helpings of white basmati rice. Whilst living in my insular fantasy of good health I was forgoing a lot of brightly-colored, robust fruits and vegetables.

I was lulling my sweet tooth to sleep on late-night dark chocolate bars flavored with sea salt, and anything as moist and dense as a warm brownie. I had a decadent diet that made me feel fatigued and tethered to a cycle of sugar, caffeine, and salt (my terrible trio), and I too-often confused fine eating with healthy eating. What can I say, I’m a product of a few too many Food Network shows in my college days when I was taking off my training wheels and learning to become a “good” home-cook.

Going cold turkey on that toxic trio was easily the best move of my mamahood career and a fabulous starting-gate for my Big Girl Life.

In fact, I haven’t had an ah-ha moment this sunny since my conversion to Islam the decade before last! The best part is that the solution was so self-managing and so darn easy. After the initial detox from the terrible trio, I was able to easily forego a store-bought sweet or an extra crunchy bag of potato chips. I’ve made peace and bid farewell to those fried mac n’ cheese balls at the Philly’s Reading Terminal Market, Cajun station over the Thanksgiving weekend. The Italian Market can keep her cheesesteak too (gasp!). A healthy dose of heresy  is very good for my arteries.

I simply don’t want those “treats,” anymore. In fact, I imagine them draining my energy reserves and zapping the vitamin contents of my new sun-drenched, wholesome good eats.

A little imagery and a hearty mantra go a long way to paving the way for sustainable lifestyle changes. The equation is simple – the more good you eat, the more good you want; the more crud you eat, the more crud you want. I’m following that guide and reaping the benefits.

My dear friend, Pauline, walked into my kitchen last Saturday and saw me stirring a pot of shaved soap – the makings of homemade laundry detergent. She gasped, then laughed, and cried: “I’m not sure if I like the new Danette! I liked the old Danette who used to eat fried chicken and not think twice about it.” “Don’t get too serious,” she cautioned me. I might mention – this girlfriend just got herself a brand-spankin’ new juicer to start her own juicing fast and was a special source of encouragement for me while I overcame my bad-food addiction. She watched her aunt make a stunning recovery from cancer, using as part of her alternative regime, juicing. She’s a bonafide friend, so she’s entitled to want to hold on to some relics of the old me.

Alright, Pauline, I shall try to temper my ye-haw! As for now, I’m a friggin’ zealot! I feel good and I don’t ever want to feel haggard again, if I can do something about it. I’m not burning my bra, but I am burning a TV star’s chili recipe (which involves Frito Lays and Cheddar Cheese).

That’s where I am folks. Thanks a billion for all of your support along the way. Pretty please keep your comments coming. I’m eager to hear about your own journeys, in your own ways, or ways that are similar to my ten-day, detox juice fast.

Much Love,



9 Responses to “Post-Fast: Brand Spankin’ New”

  1. hilthethrill February 1, 2012 at 6:59 am #

    Hooray!!!! You go, girl! Your food looks delicious and you and your friends glow with health and friendship.

    • CollardGreenMuslim February 2, 2012 at 12:07 am #

      We have to meet up one of these days. My neck of the woods is not too far from yours – just an afternoon’s drive. I hope is well with you and your brood.

  2. momswithgrace February 1, 2012 at 8:45 am #

    Ah, so inspiring. Thanks to your reminder, I watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead with my husband and to my surprise he proclaimed, “I’m in!” It’s worth mentioning that our 55-year-old brother-in-law also underwent open heart surgery two weeks ago and we both witnessed the aftermath of this procedure. (Did you know they REMOVE your heart to repair the mitral valve? Amazing and frightening at the same time.)

    I write this while sipping my second cup of extra sweet, black-as-night coffee. This will be my biggest challenge as I’m not much of a meat eater. I would be kidding myself if I didn’t confess to my nightly glass of wine, too. So sweet, and cures the 5 o’clock witching hour. But, I’ve given that up many times and for many years while pregnant and nursing.

    We have decided to begin our fast together as a part of our Lenten journey so that it’s not just a physical challenge, but a spiritual journey as well. So, 20 more days to prepare myself and get our kitchen and pantry cleaned out. I trekked to the library to get three juicing books, and have kicked myself many times over not planting a winter garden this year. (Kale and collards grow all winter in Indiana and are delicious when harvested in freezing temps.)

    Our Valentine’s Day token of love to each other this year will be a juicer. How do you like your Hamilton Beach? Does it do a good job with kale and leafy greens? We can’t afford the swanky Breville so I’m reading all the reviews I can find on lesser models.

    I pray that I will release my body from the sugar pendulum I have created. I suffer from hypoglycemia too, and even the kids recognize when “mom’s in need of food or else she will blow!” Thank you for writing your experience. It’s true, your skin is glowing in this photo. I’m so thankful to have found you, and your kindred spirit, in this cyber wonderland. Congratulations on your new, healthy lifestyle!

    • CollardGreenMuslim February 2, 2012 at 12:06 am #

      I was wondering about you – it is so good to hear from you! First off, my juicing model is: Hamilton Beach 67650 Big Mouth Pro Juice Extractor and I love it! I have already gotten my money’s worth out of it and it is still running strong despite all of the thick kale leaves I shoot down it. It extracts a lot of juice from what I can tell.
      I am sorry to hear about your brother-in-law’s heart attack. No, I did not realize the extent of that kind of surgery- frightening. I hope he enjoys a speedy recovery. Perhaps he’ll go for the juice as well once he sees the positive impact it will have on your family God willing. Regarding incorporating the juice fast as a spiritual exercise – that is exactly what I did which helped tremendously. I hope that your experience is very positive in every aspect.
      Regarding the physical, I sympathize with you as someone who has experienced symptoms of hypoglycemia for many years (since childhood). Only one doctor (who was a naturalist) ever told me to do something drastic with my diet. All the others told me to drink a glass of orange juice to bring my sugars back up when they drop???!!! O.K., then what??!
      I am completely relieved of my strong symptoms. The green leafy vegetables are particularly useful in this regard according to the books I have read. If I had to sum up the switch over in a single word it would be- relieved! I am so relieved to have found an answer and a way to better health for the long haul God willing. I have a lot to learn. Please share any resources that are particularly helpful to you in this regard.
      One strong piece of advice I have for you is to detox from the glass of wine and coffee BEFORE the juice fast. A friend gave me this advice before my fast and I turned out to be so grateful for it. I did not drink alcohol and I was down to one cup in the morning three days before my fast was to begin. When I knocked out that single cup of coffee, I was shocked by all of the adverse symptoms and cravings it gave me. Then, when I started the fast, the first two days were kind of brutal because I was detoxing from refined sugar and other toxins. I remember taking comfort in the fact that at least I was not undergoing all of the pain at once. By the third day I was remarkably better and optimistic and it just got easier from there – although I did struggle during the entire 10 days with wanting to crunch on something (preferably a salad). To balance out some of these strong cravings I ate one avocado (plain) a day which helped a lot and I drank un-sweetened all natural coconut water. I also stayed away from strenuous work-outs. Let me know if you have any more questions. I’m here and I’m rooting for you and your husband! I look forward to hearing about your success. Peace, Danette

  3. Cecilia February 1, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

    I’m so glad you others got started on the juicing, otherwise I never would have thought I would enjoy drinking veggies for breakfast! I am feeling so much better during the day now and have cravings for fruits and veggies rather than junk food. The kids asked for mac and cheese for lunch yesterday and I felt so bad for making it and eating it–like you, I felt like I was interfering with the benefits of the juicing by eating such a non-beneficial food. Hubby is loving his morning dose of green juice, if only I could get the kids to drink it.

    • CollardGreenMuslim February 2, 2012 at 12:10 am #

      Veges for breakfast!? Wow, Cecilia, ya’ll are die-hard. I can’t handle the full force of mostly veges in my glass until after 11 a.m. I’m telling you – that baby is going to be a genius Insha’Allah! Can you tell your husband to call mine. A wife is never completely satisfied! Although I am head over heels for the fact that he is supporting these dietary changes (especially the no meat deal), he still is not juicing regularly. That’s great. So, when I have ya’ll over for a Ramadan iftaar Insha’Allah your husband will not think it is completely loony that there is green juice on the table.

  4. matriarch216Pam February 9, 2012 at 7:11 am #

    Assalamu alaikum! Just wanted to thank you so much for posting your journey on the juice fast. I ordered “Fat Tired and Nearly Dead” from the library and finally watched it a couple of days ago. Wow! How inspiring. I started juicing last night and had my “kale surprise” for dinner. I was amazed to wake up this morning with so much energy. I was really skeptical that it would make a difference so soon. I realized after praying fajr that I didn’t long to go back to bed. I actually had energy to do yoga this morning. I am really looking forward to seeing how this goes. Thanks again. Allah hafiz! Pam

    • CollardGreenMuslim February 9, 2012 at 11:10 pm #

      This is such good news from your corner. Isn’t it awesome?! Please keep in touch. What yoga do you do?

  5. skarim March 14, 2012 at 9:42 am #

    Assalam alaykum
    i love your blog and your writing! mashaAllah.
    can i ask: could you suggest or post some recipes – or direct us to a good blog that might reflect the sorts of foods you are making now, post-fast? i also try to cook healthy but i love salt and slosh olive oil over everything too. Also, does your juicer allow for the pulp to be retained in the resulting juice? i heard that that is important. barakAllahu fikum. (-:

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