WHAT IS A DANIEL FAST?
The Daniel Fast is a biblically based partial fast referenced in the Bible, particularly in two sections of the book of Daniel:
- Daniel 1:12, which states, “Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables [pulses] to eat and water to drink.”
- Daniel 10: 1-2, which says, “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.”
The Daniel Fast is a partial fast, meaning that some foods are eaten and other are restricted. The fast is typically followed for 21 consecutive days and is like a vegan eating plan with a few more restrictions.
First and foremost, the fast is a spiritual discipline where followers of Jesus Christ can draw nearer to God and focus more of their attention on Him and His ways. In today’s busy and distracting culture, entering into the fasting experience is like pushing the pause button on a hectic life and centering more on the rest that Jesus offers. This quieter and more focused time allows you to hear the still small voice of the Holy Spirit as He reveals God’s truth and direction for your life.
Church congregations, study groups, and individuals often use the Daniel Fast as their method of fasting to begin the New Year, during Lent, or other times. This method of fasting opens this powerful discipline to many people who find it difficult to fast for multiple days on a water-only or liquid-only method of fasting (called a normal fast). The blessing is that you can continue to meet your home and work responsibilities while fasting and receiving from the Lord.
Fasting was designed by God, not to change Him, but rather to change us! Fasting doesn’t show God that we are good or deserving. Only Jesus Christ does that for us. However, fasting does bring us into an experience where we lay down our own fleshly desires and our hearts are more open to what the Lord wants to show us for our individual lives or for the corporate Body.
While you will pay more attention to the foods you eat during the fast, focusing on this element of fasting keeps you from experiencing the richness that’s available to you. Focusing on the food keeps you attending to your flesh rather than your spirit that connects with the Spirit of God.
"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit." (Romans 8:5)
You can still enjoy your meals, however this is a time to be simple and more basic so that food and feeding the flesh is in balance with your spiritual experience of fasting.
Foods to include in your diet during the Daniel Fast:
All fruits. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. 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. Vegetables include but are not limited to 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, veggie burgers are an option if you are not allergic to soy.
All whole grains, including but not limited to brown rice, millet, quinoa, oats, barley, buckwheat, and plain rice cakes.
All nuts and seeds, including but not limited to sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds, peanuts, sesame. Also all-natural nut butters including peanut butter.
All legumes. These can be canned or dried. 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.
All quality oils including but not limited to olive, canola, grape seed, peanut, and sesame.
Beverages: Spring water, distilled water, other pure waters and caffeine free herbal tea.
Other: Tofu, soy products, vinegar, seasonings, salt, pepper
Foods to avoid on the Daniel Fast:
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, sauces 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, caffeinated tea, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, and alcohol.
Remember, READ THE LABELS!
While on the fast:
Only two 2 hours of television per day
Limited computer and social media (usage related to work or school)