It is a time of the year when thousands of believers in God are going on a Daniel Fast.
Some of you might be wandering about what the Daniel Fast is even about. Read on, my friend. I am going to explain as many details as possible.
Fasting ALWAYS involves FOOD!
You might have heard someone say: “I am fasting my friends,” or “I am fasting television,” etc. However these people misunderstand what fasting is and isn’t.
The Hebrew word for fast means “to cover the mouth.”
The Greek word for fast means “to abstain from food.”
So fasting is always about restricting food!
Everything else is self-discipline and dying to your flesh.
So, to truly benefit from the fast one would have to restrict/change their normal food intake.
Fasting is a spiritual discipline. It is done not so we can change God’s mind, but rather to get quite before Him, so we can hear what He is speaking. When we satisfy our flesh with everything that it demands we tend to drown out God’s voice because we become very preoccupied with self-gratification. During fasting we take charge of our flesh, making it a servant to our spirit, and thus we are able to get in tune with what the Holy Spirit is speaking to us.
Fasting is NEVER to be done to show off what one might perceive as spirituality. Jesus was very clear on the subject.
“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” [Matthew 6:16-18]
So, when you fast, don’t toot your own horn, don’t brag about what you are doing and how you are “sacrificing” something for God—let the Lord be your Rewarder, not men! However, if you are taking part in a congregational fast, feel free to invite others to join, with humility.
Daniel Fast is a Biblically based partial fast based on two instances of Daniel’s fasting experiences
“Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink.” Daniel 1:12
“In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.” [Daniel 10:1-2]
Based on the information that we glean from these references we understand that the Daniel Fast eating plan is vegan in nature, with additional restrictions.
In the first Scripture we see that Daniel ate only:
1. Only Fruits and Vegetables
2. And drank ONLY water
Which would also mean that he ate no processed, artificial, or chemically altered foods.
From the second Scripture we learn that Daniel’s diet did not allow:
3. Animal products
4. Pleasant/precious food, which would include all sweeteners, including honey, agave syrup, maples syrup, etc.
From studying Jewish history you will also learn that all fasts excluded
6. Any kind of leavened bread [anything made with yeast, baking powder, baking soda, etc.]
Fasting is not a diet! Fasting is not done for weight loss! Fasting is ALWAYS done for spiritual purposes.
Fasting should be done with a PURPOSE!
Before you begin the fast you should decide on the purpose of your fast. Without a purpose, you will be simply dieting. Take the time to prayerfully consider the reason of your fast.
What is your greatest need at this time?
Can your marriage grow stronger? Are you facing financial difficulties? Do you want to learn to trust God and develop a deeper relationship with Him?
Take the time in prayer to decide on the purpose of your fast.
When you are fasting, set time aside for prayer, meditation and Bible study. Keep a journal of your revelations, of what God is speaking to you. Invite the Holy Spirit to guide you and to reveal areas in your life that need purification.
Daniel Fast is undertaken by people of all ages for many various reasons. However, whatever your need/reason is you can be certain that your entire being will benefit from it: Spirit, Soul and Body.
We are a triune being. When we fast we learn to allow God intended order into our life: human is a spirit that possesses a soul and lives in a body.
Our bodies are most definitely going to be effected as we change our diet for 21 days. For some the change is going to be very dramatic. You might experience detoxing from food addictions, such as: caffeine, processed or unnatural foods, chemicals and sugar.
The symptoms that accompany detox process might be light or more pronounced: headaches, leg cramps, fatigue, and nausea and malaise [light depression]. As the body will detox the symptoms will alleviate and you will experience more energy, better sleep, clearer and sharper mind, and many other benefits.
Most people will lose weight during the fast. Many experience healings from various maladies, such as: diabetes, allergies, arthritis, high cholesterol and even cancer.
The soul is the central place of our emotions, intellect and will. It is the place where we make decisions, experience anger, fear, love, frustration and cravings.
The soul is frequently referred to as “the flesh” in the Bible.
During the fast your soul may rebel against the change in your diet. You will get an opportunity to experience and win this battle over the flesh, which might prove to be one of the most powerful lessons of the fast.
Our spirit is the part of us that has been born again when we gave our lives over to Christ. It should be the part that surrenders to God. When we are fully surrendered we can truly abide with the Father and the Son. Our spirit is filled with the Holy Spirit if we yield to Him.
The purpose of the fast is to place our spirit in control of the other two parts of us: soul and body. When our flesh is acting out with a craving, we take control of it with our spirit (just imagine as parents would take control of a rebellious child).
In addition to spending time in prayer to decide on the focus of your fast you should take the time to prepare your body as well.
Start easing off things that you feel you cannot live without: ease off caffeine, sugar, and processed foods. Try to do it before the first day of the fast. Otherwise you might experience strong detox symptoms: headaches, cramping, nausea, etc.
I would also strongly suggest for you not to go on an eating binge of all your favorite food the night before your fast begins! First, it really shows that your flesh is stronger than your spirit, secondly, it will be harder for you to start the fast because processed, animal and fatty foods will create a craving that will be hard to deal with for days to come.
To prepare for the fast, start drinking more water to flush out toxins faster and make the transition easier.
If you don’t drink enough water, your body is probably used to storing water. Water retention=extra unwanted weight.
Before and during the fast you need to learn to consume enough water to stay hydrated. How much water exactly? The formula is quite easy:
So, if you weigh 180 lbs, you should drink 90 oz of filtered water a day.
By increasing fluid consumption you will help your body to flush out toxins and train it not to store extra water.
You can drink warm/hot water throughout the day with a wedge of lemon to help reduce fluid retention. However, make sure that you the water you drink is without chemicals as much as possible.
Physically, especially in the beginning of the fast, you might experience hunger pains. Before going for a snack or a meal drink some water—most people misunderstand signs of dehydration for hunger. If you drink some water the “hunger” pains might go away.
The purpose of the fast is not to simply change the foods you eat but also to restrict how much you eat, so learn to spend the time you would normally spend eating in prayer and meditation. However it is also advisable that you eat smaller meals throughout the day instead of three huge “square” meals and overwhelm your body.
Spiritually, you will experience a more successful fast when you spend time each day in prayer and communion with God. Establish a time during the day for quite time and meditation on the Word of God. Study His Word and seek His face.
Physically you might be tempted during the fast to break a few “rules” and eat/drink something you body craves. For example, you might decide not to drink water only but include herbal teas. However, think that Daniel refused to eat any pleasant food/drinks, and for the most part the herbal teas that we consume are to add a pleasant taste. There are exceptions when you might be drinking certain herbs for therapeutic reasons, such as parsley, chamomile or clover teas.
If the temptation comes, I hope you can learn a lesson by examining yourself. Ask yourself why you would want the thing you desire. If you respond in the manner that will indicate that it is because YOU WANT it, it will be a good time to exercise control over your flesh and show it who is truly in control.
I found a great list of foods on-line that is Daniel Fast friendly. You can print it out and take it with you when you go grocery shopping.
All fruits. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. However, you will fill much better physically if you consume fresh fruit. If you decide on canned fruit, make sure that no sweeteners of preservatives were used in the process.
Fruits include but are not limited to apples, apricots, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cantaloupe, cherries, cranberries, figs, grapefruit, grapes, guava, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemons, limes, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, pears, pineapples, plums, prunes, raisins, raspberries, strawberries, tangelos, tangerines, watermelon
All vegetables. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. [Same rule would apply to canned vegetables as to that of fruit.]
Vegetables include but are not limited to all kinds of greens, artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chili peppers, collard greens, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, ginger root, kale, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, mustard greens, okra, onions, parsley, potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, scallions, spinach, sprouts, squashes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, watercress, yams, zucchini.
All whole grains, including but not limited to whole wheat, brown rice, millet, quinoa, oats, barley, grits, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat tortillas, rice cakes and popcorn.
All nuts and seeds, including but not limited to sunflower seeds, cashews, peanuts, sesame. Also nut butters including peanut butter.
All legumes. These can be canned or dried. If canned, make sure not preservatives or sugars were used.
Legumes include but are not limited to dried beans, pinto beans, split peas, lentils, black eyed peas, kidney beans, black beans, cannellini beans, white beans.
Beverages: spring water, distilled water or other pure waters.
Other: soy sauce, vinegar, seasonings, salt [sea or Himalayan salt preferred, see below for a detailed explanation], herbs and spices.
Table Salt is highly processed, and most of the times not vegan in nature [which means it has some sort of animal residue in it]. Oftentimes, to bleach salt it is processed through crushed animals bones. Not only that, but since it is highly processed it has NO nutritious value and is sure to raise your blood pressure.
For most health benefit buy salt that still has minerals in it, such as Sea or Himalayan salt.
All meat and animal products including but not limited to beef, lamb, pork, poultry, and fish.
All dairy products including but not limited to milk, cheese, cream, butter, and eggs.
All sweeteners including but not limited to sugar, raw sugar, honey, syrups, molasses, and cane juice.
All leavened bread including Ezekiel Bread (it contains yeast and honey) and baked goods.
All refined and processed food products including but not limited to artificial flavorings, food additives, chemicals, white rice, white flour, and foods that contain artificial preservatives.
All deep fried foods including but not limited to potato chips, French fries, corn chips.
All solid fats including shortening, margarine, lard and foods high in fat.
Beverages including but not limited to coffee, tea, herbal teas, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, and alcohol.
I would strongly suggest not using any packaged [boxed], canned or bottled foods during the fast. However, if you do, please remember to READ THE LABELS! Foods should be sugar and chemical free.
Special Note: if you have health issues, please be sure to contact your health professional for advice before committing to any fast. You can print out the list of foods you will be using on the Daniel Fast and take it with you.
Daniel Fast is very sound and safe and most practitioners will be more than happy to approve it. However, if in doubt, check it out!
You should seek the advice of your health care practitioner about medications you might be taking. If you depend on them for any serious reason DO NOT discontinue them without first advising your doctor. Supplements are food for the most part and can be safely taken during Daniel Fast.
If you are an expectant mother OR if you are nursing you would need to ease into Daniel Fast. If your diet is far from vegan, you might want to limit yourself by excluding only certain food groups from your diet. If you are currently eating a lot of animal products and try to stop abruptly your body might detox too quickly, which might be harmful to your baby.
EVERY recipe on my blog, save a few that are baked or have sugar, is Daniel Fast approved You can make daily menus, print recipes and enjoy yourself with one stop here. On the 31st of December I will be releasing the Daniel Fast Menu Planner, so you can pre-order your copy today! (click on the link!)
A lot of people are scared into thinking that they somehow will not get sufficient nutrition during Daniel Fast. I would urge you not to worry. You will have more than enough.
If you are worried about where you will get your protein and have other topics of concern when it comes to nutrition, sign up for my Newsletter and you will get back issues covering all of these topics.
To sign up fill out this form:
Since most of the foods sold in grocery stores nowadays are heavily processed and full of chemicals you will find it necessary to make your own meals.
Meal preparation can be very simple, or more complex, depending on how much time you desire to spend in the kitchen. It can be as simple as slicing up some veggies and fruits and snacking on them throughout the day, or more involved if you want to create a very special dinner for yourself and your loved ones.
There are certain steps you can take, however, to help yourself streamline food preparation.
You will find it easy to succeed if you plan your meals a few days ahead of time. You can plan them for the entire week. Once you make sure you have all the ingredients you won’t be as tempted to grab foods that you used to consume before the fast to satisfy your hunger.
In addition to preparing your meal plan for the week and buying groceries for it, I would strongly suggest that you clean out your cupboards from all of the foods that are not Daniel Fast acceptable–out of sight, hopefully, out of mind. It is much easier to overcome a temptation to have Ben & Jerry’s ice cream when you cannot easily find it in your house. Instead, when you open your fridge you might see an apple or a banana and go for it.
Set a Cooking Day
Another way to save time and avoid temptations is to prepare your meals ahead of time. Use a day when you are not working to wash, chop, cook and refrigerate/freeze your meals for the whole week, or several meals in advance. For example you can make a large pot of soup and refrigerate/freeze portions of it to be eaten throughout the week. It makes it easy to pull it out and warm it up later. You can also prepare all of your salad ingredients, place them into bags or glass containers and refrigerate, so when you want a salad all you would have to do is pull out your containers and quickly assemble a scrumptious salad.
Over 90% of white flour sold on the market is heavily processed to achieve its look and taste. Through the process grain is stripped of all its nutritious value, and, when consumed, acts much like white sugar in your body.
You should avoid WHITE FLOUR, white rice and other processed grains while on Daniel Fast.
On a rare occasion you might find Hard White flour that undergoes Unifine process when ground. During the process the grain enters a high speed rotor and is instantly shattered into fine flour – even the bran and germ are burst! Air goes through the rotor with the grain and blows the flour out, thus keeping it cool throughout the process, retaining many nutrients. With the Unifine Process the natural oils in the grain are kept intact and do not get hot like in regular grain milling and stoneground milling. This kind of flour is safe to use.
As you start on your fast I pray God’s blessings for you. May He answer your prayers and may you successfully subdue your flesh into a full submission to your spirit.