The Daniel Fast Still Not Biblical Fasting
The Daniel Fast Useful, But Not Same as Biblical Fasting
The author of the Daniel Fast created a term by linking a name and a word from the Bible. This term, Daniel Fast, misleads readers. How? It leads them to think that a dietary choice Daniel made for a period qualified as a fast. The term Daniel Fast further misleads as it dilutes or confuses the purpose of fasting.
As I wrote last week about the Daniel Fast, we learn in Chapter One of the Book of Daniel that Daniel chooses to eat a vegetarian diet most of the time. After his ten day test of vegetables and water, the official in charge gives him more vegetables. He sometimes eats meat because early in Chapter 10, in the section used to support the Daniel Fast, he goes without meat, wine, and choice foods.
Some refer to this practice as a partial fast. Interestingly, Daniel does not call it a fast, nor does scripture. Daniel practiced fasting and prayer earlier in Chapter 9, but as a separate instance. So Daniel knew the meaning of fasting. He did not refer to his period of mourning and prayer as a fast.
No references to partial fasts exist in scripture. All references to fasting refer to a period of time without food, solid or liquid. Some rare instances also exclude water. See sources in Guide to Prayer and Fasting.
Biblical fasting enhances and focuses prayer. The person fasting obtains a very clear sense that they need God more than air, food, or water.
Food Restrictions On The Daniel Fast
In addition to how long the fast lasts, there is the dietary restrictions that Daniel implemented. He ate no delicacies, meat, or wine. Essentially, he only ate fruits, vegetables, and whole foods. The diet is reminiscent of the foods that God gave for man to eat when the world was created. Genesis 1:29 says, And God said, Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.
We know that there is no condemnation for those who decide to eat or exclude certain foods from their diet. Scripture doesnt really go into detail about why Daniel only ate the foods he ate, so this is of course my speculation only. But I believe that Daniel wanted to make his body as pure as possible. Meat, delicacies, and wine are all foods that are manipulated by man for consumption. Everything that Daniel ate are things that can be eaten without being changed by humans!
The Daniel Diet: A Health
When approached with intentionality and adequate structure, the Daniel Diet can produce unprecedented personal results.
At the turn of the new year in 2019, 54 percent of Americans resolved to eat healthier. In similar fashion, the Washington Post reported in 2018 that 45 million Americans go on a diet each yearabout 14 percent of the nation. These statistics are nothing to sneeze at experts estimate around 160 million Americans are either overweight or obese. No one can be blamed for wanting to lose weight and kick-start healthy habits!
Furthermore, out of the five leading causes of death in the United States, at least three are strongly related to personal diet , and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that up to 40 percent of such deaths can be prevented. Accordingly, where are many peopleand increasing numbers of Christiansturning to find help? Theyre examining the Daniel Diet: a health-driven dietary option with strong spiritual components. Check out the recommendations below to uncover how this biblical trend can boost your health goals in 2020.
Core Components of the Daniel Diet
The Daniel Diet, sometimes referred to as the Daniel Fast, is a partial fast originating from the book of Daniel, a major prophet in the Old Testament of the Bible. The book delineates a few details about the dietary choices the prophet took in Daniel 10:1-3 :
Essentials for Success with the Daniel Diet
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Vegetables The Basis Of The Daniel Fast
- Organic fresh or frozen are best.
- Vegetables to consume on the fast include: artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chili peppers, collard greens, 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, and zucchini.
The Daniel Fast Food List
All fruit // fresh, frozen, juiced, or canned
Apples, apricots, bananas, cherries, grapes, lemons, limes, peaches, pineapples, strawberries, watermelon, etc.
All vegetables // fresh, frozen, dried, juiced, or canned
Asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, corn, cucumbers, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, veggie burgers, etc.
All whole grains
Whole wheat, brown rice, millet, barley, oats, quinoa, grits, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat tortillas, rice cakes, popcorn, etc.
All nuts & seeds
Sunflower seeds, cashews, peanuts, sesame, nut butters .
All legumes // canned or dried
Dried beans, pinto beans, split peas, lentils, black eyed peas, kidney beans, black beans, cannellini beans, white beans.
All quality oils
Olive, canola, grape seed, peanut, and sesame.
Natural fruit juices, spring water, distilled water, other pure waters.
Tofu, soy products, vinegar, seasonings, salt, herbs, spices.
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Fasting And Medical Safety
According to The Foods and Nutrition Encyclopedia, For healthy individuals, no harm results from short-term fasting. The average healthy person can go without food between 21 and 40 or more days before the body begins to eliminate vital tissue . Consult your physician before beginning any fast lasting longer than three days.
If you have underlying health conditions such as pregnancy, anemia, behavioral disorders or other chronic health problems, you should never fast without consulting a physician first.
What Are The Different Types Of Fasting
Since there are countless types of fasting, it would take a lifetime to lay out all the options, but I can share the basics to help you find the type of fasting that will help you draw nearer to God.
Know that each one has pros and cons and you should weigh them wisely. In all honestly, as I practiced various types of fasting and prayer I learned a lot from each form. Most of the time I failed at the fast, but I learned from it nonetheless.
Be okay with failing. See each attempt at fasting as a practice run to find the right path forward toward a spiritual breakthrough.
1. A 40-Day Complete Fast
Moses and Jesus both give us examples of a 40 day complete fast. Note please that they give extreme examples by having no food or water for 40 days. Consult your doctor before fasting from all food and water for more than 24 hours.
So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights he did not eat bread or drink water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.
And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.
2. A Complete Fast
The duration of a complete fast could range from part of a day to an entire day to several days or weeks. This was the most common in the scripture.
3. A Partial Fast
In Daniel, we see believers who ate only fruit, veggies and drank water for 10 days to honor God while in captivity.
Please test your servants for ten days, and let us be given some vegetables to eat and water to drink.
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Should You Try The Daniel Fast
Jonas says most fairly healthy people should be able to complete the Daniel Fast with no problems. People with chronic health conditions especially those that require dietary monitoring, such as diabetes, congestive heart failure and kidney disease should consult a doctor first.
Anybody who chooses to take on the Daniel Fast should make sure theyre adequately prepared, Bloomer says. While plenty of meals can be created from plant foods, Bloomer says people who typically rely on restaurants, takeout and packaged foods can find it difficult to adjust.
If people hear about it and read about it, I wouldnt suggest that they go out and start it the next day, Bloomer says. Go shopping, and spend time looking at labels. Its forced nutrition education.
Where Did The Daniel Fast Originate
The Daniel Fast is a partial plant-based fast based on the book of Daniel in the Bible. Its primarily a spiritual fast with a goal of growing closer to God, although some people do utilize a Daniel Plan or Daniel Diet to eat healthy long-term.
Although there is no specific reference to a Daniel Fast in the Bible, the Bible has a lot to say about fasting and there are two key passages of scripture that provide the principles for this partial fast, which is commonly done for 10 days or 21 days.
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Compliance Mood And Satiety
Forty-four subjects were initially enrolled in the study, and all 44 subjects completed the 21 day fast, as well as pre and post assessments. However, one subject reported a compliance rate of only 60% to the fast and was therefore excluded from data analysis. Of the remaining 43 subjects, compliance to the fast was 98.7 ± 0.2%. Subjects’ overall mood during the fast was indicated at 7.9 ± 0.2, while satiety during the fast was indicated at 7.9 ± 0.2.
In relation to the bloodborne variables, we were able to obtain blood samples on 42 of the 43 subjects. Of the 42 subjects for which blood samples were obtained, pre and post insulin values were not included for two subjects and CRP values were not included for one subject, due to problems in sample analysis.
Benefits Of Fasting And Prayer
Why should we fast? There are many reasons to fast and many spiritual benefits of fasting. We see from the biblical examples that fasting should be used as a means to humble ourselves before God and seek His forgiveness, comfort, help, guidance, strength and His will. Fasting allows us to draw closer to God.
In the Bible there is a strong connection between fasting and prayer.
When Daniel realized that the prophesied 70 years of desolations of Jerusalem were almost completed, he urgently reached out to God. Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes . And I prayed to the LORD my God, and made confession . What follows in Daniel 9 is one of the most powerful prayers in the Bible.
Jesus also connected fasting and prayer. When His disciples discovered they were unable to cast out an unclean spirit, they asked Jesus, Why could we not cast it out? So He said to them, This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting . Fasting and prayer help us humbly access the awesome power of God.
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Fasting And The Day Of Atonement
God uses fasting as a teaching tool on one of the annual holy days He commands us to keep. In Leviticus 23:27 God says afflict your souls on the Day of Atonement. The New Ungers Bible Dictionary points out that afflicting your souls is a reference to fasting. This holy day is so associated with fasting that one of its nicknames at the time of Paul was the Fast .
So on this particular holy day God commands that His people forgo both food and water for 24 hours as a means of humbling themselves before Him, seeking Him and His will and guidance in life. Read more about this in our article The Holy Day Satan Hates Most.
Do Christians Need To Fast
Fasting might sound sensational today. But in Jesus culture, it was weird for a religious person not to fast.
The disciples of John the Baptist, an important prophet who prepared the way for Jesus ministry, often fasted. So did the Pharisees, a group of religious leaders who opposed Jesus teachings and conspired to kill Him!
During Jesus earthly ministry, His followers didnt fast. But Jesus assumed they would fast after he returned to the Father . In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives His followers instructions on how to fast, specifically telling them not to make a show of fasting like others in their culture .
Jesus may not have commanded his followers to fast, but He expected them to.
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Daniel Fast Meal Plans
Okay, at this point youre probably getting excited and are ready to dive in!
However, trust me when I say, having some Daniel fast meal plans at the ready will definitely take you far.
The key is to have plenty of Daniel Fast friendly foods around you during those moments when you are so hungry, youll just eat anything!
Thats why its important to plan your meals out ahead of time and to never leave the house without Daniel Fast snacks!
For some easy Daniel Fast recipes, try the Daniel Fast Cookbook and Daniel Fast Smoothies by John C. Carey for easy and ready to go for meals and snacks!
To help you out, below Ive included a sample Daniel Fast meal plan:
Banana and Date Oatmeal Smoothie
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Snack: Steamed edamame and sea salt
Spaghetti squash with Marinara Sauce
How To Do A Daniel Fast
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There are two references to fasting in the biblical book of Daniel from which the “Daniel Fast” is drawn. Daniel, chapter 1, describes how Daniel and his three friends ate only vegetables and drank only water. XResearch source At the end of a 10-day trial period, Daniel and his friends appeared healthier than their peers who ate the rich foods from the royal table. In Daniel, chapter 10, Daniel fasts again, abstaining from “pleasant food,” meat, and wine. XResearch source You, too, can gain a healthier body and clearer mind by following this diet “fast” in moderation.
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How Long Is The Daniel Fast
The Daniel Fast in the Bible lasted for 21 days long. For those who are biblical number buffs, 21 is the product of seven and three . Both seven and three have biblical meanings for completion. I believe that this fast in particular helps us in seeking understanding concerning the end of a thing, the completion of a thing, or the fullness of a thing!
Perhaps you are in a place in your life where you need hope for something that seems to be dying, or you are looking for answers in a certain area. Because of the way the Daniel Fast is constructed, I believe that this is an awesome fast to go on to gain clarity and wisdom for those things. I believe that in the same way Daniel received understanding and a response from Heaven, so will we!
Beans And Other Legumes
Beans and legumes are high in starch and carbohydrates. These should be limited to around ½ a cup daily.
It is best to buy organic beans and legumes, soak them overnight, and cook them well to avoid digestive symptoms. The beans and legumes included are:
- Beans Pinto beans, black beans, kidney beans, cannellini beans, white beans)
- Peas split peas, black-eyed peas
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Foods To Avoid While Fasting
All meat and animal products
Beef, lamb, pork, poultry, fish, etc.
All dairy products
Milk, cheese, cream, butter, eggs, etc.
Sugar, raw sugar, honey, syrups, molasses, and cane juice, etc.
All leavened bread
Ezekiel Bread and baked goods
All refined and processed food products
Artificial flavorings, food additives, chemicals, white rice, white flour, foods that contain artificial preservatives.
All deep fried foods
Potato chips, French fries, corn chips, etc.
All solid fats
Shortening, margarine, lard, foods high in fat.
Including but not limited to: coffee, tea, herbal teas, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, and alcohol.
How To Do A Biblical Fast
There are two types of fasts commonly practiced by Christians today:
1. A partial fast. This is described in the book of Daniel. For three weeks, Daniel, who was a prophet during a time when Israel lived in exile, abstained only from delicacies like meat and wine .
2. A complete fast. A complete fast means drinking only water or sometimes juice when fasting for an extended period. Juice fasts will provide you with more energy than water-only fasts and still lead you into the humbling experience of denying your desire for solid, chewable food.
If you are new to fasting, start slow. Progressive steps help your body become accustomed to the drop in food intake. You can start by fasting for one meal a day, one day a week or one week a month.
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