My husband and I are Christians, and as such we believe in the power of fasting. Fasting means to abstain from something, and most commonly in a religious context, this refers to food.
In the Christian context, fasting is a spiritual discipline on par with prayer and reading the Bible (all disciplines that I am trying to grow in). Although I am relatively new to fasting, it is a discipline that I hold dear because it allows me to clear both my mind and body and schedule to make room for God.
I am not the best faster. As you can tell, I love food. I plan vacations around what to eat and when I have free time or money I spend it on food or cooking supplies. Precisely because of my love for food, I really enjoy the seasons of fasting that my church and my husband and I take on. During these times I am reminded that this life is more than my physical reality and I become more in tune with spiritual things.
There are many ways to fast. In the Bible, fasting is mostly about abstaining from food for a time. But nowadays, fasting can include abstaining from media, people, activities and certain foods. You can fast from anything that has an unnecessarily strong grip on your heart. For me this is often food (and spending time with my husband!).
There is a story of one biblical character, Daniel, who is taken captive to Babylon to serve at the king’s palace, and when he arrives there he refuses to eat the King Nebuchadnezzar’s rich food and instead eats only vegetables. Even though he refuses the physical pleasures afforded to him by the king and eats simply, over time he exceeds his peers in both appearance and wisdom. Later in the book of Daniel, Daniel fasts again, this time eating “no choice food, no food or wine.” Daniel is a man who lived simply and who fully understood that this life was temporal so he gave himself to achieving a right relationship with God.
Christians have drawn from this story to create what is commonly called a Daniel Fast. Daniel Fasts can mean different things to different people, but when my husband and I fast, we always set the terms at the start, and we interpret abstaining from “choice foods” as no meats, sweets, dairy, alcohol or caffeine. For all intents and purposes we are vegan minus sweets. Even though we are eating food during these forty days, it’s tough to fast from our favorite foods and drinks.
We find that fasting allows us to create more time for God and to curb our physical cravings and desires. For me, it’s always hard to let go of sweets and coffee, but after the initial days of the fast, I am reminded that I do not need these things. My heart is calibrated according to the apostle Timothy’s admonition, “so if we have food and clothing with these we will be content.”
My husband and I just emerged from one of these seasons of fasting. During the fast we strive to eat simply, I photograph less, and I strive to finish preparing meals in 20 minutes or less. Every fast, I am amazed by how delicious simple food can be. Every fast a new recipe emerges as a family favorite, a recipe that is so good we continue to make it even after the fast is lifted. Last fasting season it was a creamy tahini pasta dish that has yet to make it on the blog, and this most recent fast the new discovery was chipotle sweet potato soup.
My college dining hall actually used to serve a variation of this soup. It was the only vegan soup on the menu that I ate even when I wasn’t fasting and it was the soup which opened up the world of sweet-savory foods for me. Up until a few years ago I hated things like teriyaki, bulgogi, and squash (I know, so sad!).
This Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup is warm and hearty. It re-heats well and is even more amazing paired with toast and cheese (if you’re not fasting, of course). Apart from being delicious, this chipotle sweet potato soup is so fast and it requires about 10 minutes of active prep/cooking (although you will have to roast those sweet potatoes for 20-30 minutes). Give it a try and let me know if you like the recipe!
Note: I sometimes add carrots and/or squash to this soup depending on what I have around. It’s just as tasty with those additions!
Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup
Yields: 4+ servings
Cook+Prep Time: 45 minutes
- 3 sweet potatoes
- 1 small onion
- 3 cups of vegetable stock
- 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon chipotle
- Dash of cinnamon
- Roast: Peel and then cut three large sweet potatoes into large chunks, toss with coconut oil and roast at 425 degrees for twenty minutes or until cooked.
- Saute: While the sweet potatoes are roasting, sauté one small onion, a dash of cinnamon, a drizzle of oil and 1 teaspoon of ginger, salt and chipotle powder on a skillet.
- Blend: When sweet potatoes and carrots are done cooking, combine them with the onions and 3 cups of vegetable stock in blender and puree in blender until smooth.
- Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
- Serve and garnish with croutons and a dash of sour cream if desired.