My Date Island Diet
Recently I experimented with a few new things regarding my daily diet so I will share my impressions on my recent Date Island Diet.
I basically just ate dates for a few days as a way of allowing my body to rest from complex foods and my mind to rest from all the complicated multi-ingredient creations. I didn’t plan on it. I just happened to buy a few boxes of the best dates ever. So I indulged in them. Now I am not new to mono fruit fasting at all. I have had to heal from a serious condition in the past and fruit “fasting” was my basic healing path along with herbs. I am a true believer in the healing power of fruits. In some ways fruit fasting is even superior to water fasting for healing and restoring the body on a deeper cellular level.
For the person that is new to all this information on fruit and healing an interesting trivia is that in my native country of Bulgaria there are a few medical retreats specifically dedicated to fasting on fruit (apples) and teas and honey as a way to heal serious and often “incurable” conditions.
I ate dates during the day and green baby lettuce, tomatoes and celery at night for 5 days or so and then I ate just dates for 3 days. I ate as much as I wanted. I nearly tripled my usual caloric intake (~2500-4000 a day! I guess after all calories are NOT created equal as fitness trainers tend to tell you). Dates are extremely dense in calories but very low in protein and fats. Dates are practically a superfood and super-medicine. They are considered to be very medicinal throughout Northern Africa and the Middle East, the countries where they originated from. They are high in minerals such as selenium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, fluorine, manganese, copper, zinc, iron, iodine, sulfur etc. They are high in B vitamins and vitamin C, K and A. There is quite a bit of research done on dates and all the findings support the ancient knowledge about this spectacular palm fruit. It always boggles my mind when I hear “nutritionists” and “dietitians” say all sugars are created equal, or worse- whether it is dates or candy it is the same macro nutrient composition. Common logic has become one of the most rare qualities nowadays and if we just listened to our ancestors or even to our intuition we would know things on a deeper level. Scientific research is still in its infancy and we are far from understanding the whole picture about anything in the universe including our food.
THE HEALING BENEFITS AND MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF PALM DATES
Folk knowledge about dates is taken from Islamic, Hebrew and Ayurvedic traditions.
Dates are high in beneficial healing sugars and a powerhouse in antioxidants. Their high levels of polyphenols (such as the ones found in wine, coffee, tea, chocolate, etc) make them excellent for hair, skin and muscle maintenance. They also stimulate the uterus so they have been traditionally used to induce labor. They are very useful for hyperthyroidism, obesity (yes, not a typo!), weight gain (also!), constipation, water retention (yey!), hypertension, INFLAMMATION, anemia, arthritis, gout, diarrhea and dysentery, sexual disfunction and abdominal cancer, night blindness and bone loss. They are high in phytoestrogens which makes them useful for symptoms of menopause. One of their most popular traditional applications is to be given to breast feeding mothers in order to help with lactation. They are soaked in water and the water is given to babies who benefit greatly from their nutritional value.
They are very cleansing. Specifically they cleanse the liver from toxins and are a great hangover cure. According to Islamic Tradition they are great during fasting and breaking a fast, great for purging heavy metals (according to the Prophet Mohamed).
When eaten on an empty stomach they are said to kill intestinal parasites. Their antioxidants benefit the eyes and hearing. The mineral content benefits the bones, joints and nervous system. The polyphenols boost the immune system in the fight against allergies, cellular and DNA damage and oxidative stress.
Very high in FIBER.
Excellent post exercise recovery electrolyte source that help with muscle spasm, twitches and smooth muscle function.
This post can last pages and pages describing traditional uses and new findings about dates but in order to keep things simple I will just add one more spectacular benefit that dates have. They are calming and have a sedative effect on the nervous system. They are rich in serotonin, tryptophan and B complex vitamins (I can vouch for that)! I get a sensation of deep relaxation when I am doing a date island but at the same time my energy is strong. I would call it a centered, grounded high energy feeling 🙂
Actually back in the day I read a book about a yogi who lived on one date a day for years. I don’t remember the book and obviously unless you are enlightened and an ascended master this will kill you but this just shows the mystical properties attributed to palm dates. (If you happen to remember the name of the book please leave it in the comments below. I think it was “Be here now” by Ram Das)
Even though dates are extremely healthy you can definitely mess up their benefits by consuming them with high fat foods. High in sugar foods DO NOT combine well with high in fat foods. No wonder nature designed them to be high in sugar and low in fat. We have to observe and listen to Mother Nature. If you combine them with nuts and seeds and oils the sugar content will just linger in your blood stream for hours after consumption leaving you with the vicious low blood sugar-high blood sugar cycle which is a long term recipe for diabetes. And yes!!!! (not a typo again) carbs and sugars DO NOT lead to diabetes! If they did half the world would be diabetic especially China and Japan. Yet we see very low rates in diabetes in these countries and sky rocketing rates in western countries where fat is glorified and meat consumption is the center of the dinner plate. Think about this!
My experience on the DATE ISLAND DIET
It felt great and I am doing it again. It gives me an incredible high energy/relaxed feeling. The mono date diet is very healing. By removing complex ingredients from your diet for a while you allow your body to rest and go into healing, cleansing and repair mode. The nervous system gets a break as well! And you do not need to plan meals, wash dishes, go shopping for food. So there is plenty of extra time in the day to accomplish other things, or just rest in the backyard watching and listening to the birds chirp their little hearts out in their heaven on Earth 😉 Whenever I do a mono fruit island I end up feeling light, energized and re-balanced. Dates are low in certain minerals so do not do a date island for very long.
WORD OF CAUTION: Dates in the grocery store are all pasteurized per USDA standards so if you want to include them in your diet try to get your hands on fresh ones. You can find some fresh ones in the refrigerated section of the produce isle of some stores or better yet order online from a california grower as they will ship them fresh to you and you will save a lot of money that way. I am a fan of fernandezdates.com and 7hotdates.com/ both of which will ship to you.
Some interesting spiritual contemplations on Dates, the Sun and Transformation:
A 2000 year old date seed was discovered, germinated and planted and it is a triving palm tree now. This shows the inherent magical life force of the palm date seed.
“The process of photosynthesis, by which a plant takes the light of the sun and converts it into energy and eventually fruit, teaches us how we can take the light of G‑d and Torah and, transforming them deep within us, yield the fruit of inspiration and understanding. The Hebrew word for date (tamar) has the numerical value of 640, the same numerical value of the Hebrew word for sun (shemesh)!! When we receive the light of G‑d and Torah and are devoid of ego and ulterior motives, we become transparent vessels that convert the light into the very blood that flows in our veins. Like a date tree, which is a pure conduit for transforming the sun’s energy into unadulterated sweetness, when we are pure we too can transform the light of G‑d and Torah into inspiration and understanding.” source
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I recently purchased a lot of fresh dates from an Iranian grocery store so dates fasting should be the thing I should do over this weekend 🙂 I don’t hear good things about water fasting(I’m still a teenager but I would not even try it if I were older for mental reasons.) so mono-fruit fasting is such a great idea!!
Thank you so much for sharing this post!
Hey Ali, I learned so many new things about nutrition and dates here. I love the little round Barhi dates! I appreciate the sharing of your source. I am going to give it a try. I am in my second year of recovery after being healed from HepC. You mentioned that the dates are very healing for the liver. Do you think a three day Date Island would be beneficial to me? How long do you wait before doing another one? As always, I am walking away with more than I showed up with. Thank you for looking out for us Ali. With love and hugs, Laura PS The blue elephant drawing is really beautiful. The whole site looks and amazing and is so full of wonderful things. xoxoxo
[…] Here is how my date box looks by Wednesday. I bought the dates on Sunday. So 4 days of munching on medjools. In my defense I haven’t had dates since last spring so I really craved them and it is all I thought about since I’ve been back in the states. They are freshly picked lasted only a week! And I had a day of just date fasting again- the way I did last year. You can find my blog on the date fast -> DATE FAST BLOG HERE […]
Do you know if fernandez’s farm utilizes chemical pesticides during the growing process? I sent a question via email to their farm and got an interesting response that “no sprays” period are used on the farm. While I would find this suspicious with other produce (I have literally been lied to by a farmer in person with a similar response in the past), I do find it plausible for dates since they grow in such arid climates (not favorable for insects). Any thoughts? They are an incredible deal, I almost wonder if it’s too good to be true. Thanks!
I am not sure at all but i know that last year when i was buying the boxes they were certified organic already. i know that dates in general are not sprayed so i consider them OK even if not organic.
I am probably biased because my mother is from Algeria, but algerian dates are one of my favorite dates. They have a particular nutty taste that I love. Dates are healthy and good for your teeth. They are a superfood to me.
Thank you for your great article Ali.
I am sure you are biased for a good reason. I have heard quite a bit about Algerian dates and I was even looking to buy some recently. I have never tasted them so it is something to discover in the future but people do rave about them!
Ali, Yes outside of yoga girl, you have it going on. You are my Bulgaria sistah! I really appreciate the time and effort that you take to teach so much about life, energy ,spirituality, charkas, food and the list goes on. I am becoming a vegan and I actually love the way vegans eat. We have so much variety to eat. Where do you get your most source of Vitamin B’s in natural foods. Thank you