The Daniel Fast
The Daniel Fast for the body. soul, and spirit
The Bible teaches us that we are a spirit, we have a soul and we live in a body. The Daniel Fast affects all three parts of us as we enter into a period of time for focused prayer and fasting.
The Body - Certainly our bodies are affected as our diet is changed, for some in very dramatic ways, during the Daniel Fast. Many men and women experience detoxing from caffeine, chemicals and sugar. The symptoms are most often headaches, leg cramps, fatigue and malaise.
Most people lose weight during the Daniel Fast. And many report healings from diabetes, allergies, arthritis and cancer.
The Soul - Frequently referred to as "the flesh" in the Bible, the soul is also greatly impacted during the Daniel Fast. The soul is the seat of our emotions, intellect, personality and will. It is in the "soulish realm" where we experience cravings, frustration, anger . . . and even happiness.
Retore Your Spirit
During the Daniel Fast, your soul may very well rebel against the dramatic change in your diet. Experiencing and winning this battle over the flesh is often one of the most powerful lessons of the Daniel Fast.
The Spirit - Our spirit is that born-again part of us that surrenders to God and then abides with the Father and the Son. Our spirit is filled with the Holy Spirit when we yield to Him. During the Daniel Fast, we want to put our spirit in charge of the other two parts of us. When our flesh is acting out with a craving, we take control of it with our spirit (just as a parent takes control of a rebellious child).
During the Daniel Fast, we are putting our spirit in charge over our soul and our body. When our soul cries out, "I want that cup of coffee!" or, "I want that hamburger!" out spirit tells our soul to, "Sit down and behave. I am in charge. You can't have everything you want." This authority from our spirit can also take place when resentment, fear or jealousy tries to take command in us. Again, we say choose the way of faith. We walk in the spirit as He is in the Spirit. Instead of resentment, we choose forgiveness. Instead of fear, we choose trust in God. Instead of jealousy, we choose thanksgiving. Instead of darkness, we choose His marvelous Light. Instead of death, we choose life.
This exercise can help while going through the Daniel Fast and when dealing with emotions and circumstances. Hopefully you will gain much insight about yourself and our relation to the Spirit.
Step One: Get a sheet of paper and on the top half, draw three side-by-side stick figures. Under each of stick figures, name them as Spirit, Soul and Body. Now on the top of the paper, write your name. Take a couple minutes and think about this being a "portrait of YOU!" As simple as this is, this little drawing shows you as a spirit, a soul and a body.
Step Two: It is your spirit that is born-again when you accept Christ as your Savior. It's often referred to as the "inner man" or "the new creation." Under the "spirit" figure, write the character qualities of the spirit. You can look up Galatians 5:16-22 and see the nine fruits of the spirit. List them under your "spirit figure."
Step Three: The "soul" is also referred to as "the flesh." It is where our will, emotions and intellect reside. This is the part of us that we surrender to God to be transformed into the ways of Christ. Under the "soul" label, make a list of what comes out of the soul (i.e. anger, pride, jealousy, etc.).
Step Four: The "body" is like a puppet and subject to what the "spirit" or the "soul" causes it to do. The Word says that our body is the "temple of the Holy Spirit." Yet, too often we don't treat our bodies in this esteemed state. Our soul-man feeds it foods that are not good for it or we bring destruction to it.
Study this simple "portrait." Let it minister to you and bring truth to your spirit. And allow it to give you understanding as you continue through this period of prayer and fasting. How to study the Bible . . .
During your Daniel Fast you will spend time drawing closer to God and studying His Word. You may already be experienced in studying the Bible and have adopted methods that will work for you. But if you are like many who feel a bit lost then it's just them and a Bible, let me offer these tips.
Study Faith: A very powerful study is to get a concordance and look up the Scriptures about "faith." Read and meditate each one and then ask yourself how it applies to you. Consider memorizing at least one of these verses each week.
Enter His Secret Place: During the Daniel Fast, study and meditate on Deuteronomy 28:1-14; Psalm 34 and Psalm 91. Don't hurry through the Scriptures. But instead read the verses slowly and ponder them. Write down insights you gain during this time.
Study the Book of John: Use your Daniel Fast time to acquaint yourself with Jesus by getting to know Him from the Book of John. Read it over and over again paying attention to Christ's nature, His love for the Father and His love for you. Keep notes and choose a verse each week to memorize.
Fasting is always coupled with a spiritual goal. So during this time of fasting, you will want to focus on prayer, study and meditation.
The Daniel Fast teaches us to deny our "selves" and instead put our spirit in control over our flesh. As you plan your meals and eat your food, keep in mind that the definition of a fast is to deny food for a spiritual purpose.
More liquids, less weight
If you haven't been drinking enough water, your body may have developed a pattern of storing water. This water retention equals extra unwanted weight.
By increasing fluids during the Daniel Fast, you are flushing out toxins and teaching your body that it no longer needs to store water. Drink hot water with lemon slices throughout your day, especially before eating, to help reduce fluid retention. Be sure the water is filtered and free from chemicals. Love those hunger pangs!
So often when we have hunger pangs, we rush for snack or something that will make it go away. But these little insights about hunger pangs may have you making a different choice.
Hunger pangs actually mean that your body is using stored fast in our body. So if you want to lose some weight during the Daniel Fast, then welcome those hunger pangs.
Dehydration often sends a message that "reads" like hunger. So instead of grabbing a snack . . . go for a tall glass of filtered water!
Finally, hunger pangs often pass after a few minutes. So when you sense hunger . . . wait it out.
READ THE LABELS
A new habit for those of us on the Daniel Fast is to READ THE LABEL so we can learn the ingredients included in the food inside the box, bag, can or jar. We are not so concerned about the nutritional list. But we are very concerned about the ingredients to make sure there are no sweeteners, dairy products or chemicals included in the food. Remember, this is a fast!
It's important to keep in mind that we are on a fast, which is restricting food for spiritual purposes. So while we can eat as much food as we want and any time we want . . . we want to keep in mind that we are fasting.
Try to stick with three modest meals and one or two small snacks. The average-sized adult should drink about 1/2 gallon of filtered water each day.
You will quickly find that most of the prepared meals you find in grocery stores contain ingredients that are not acceptable for the Daniel Fast. Consequently, you will need to prepare most of your meals from scratch!
Meal preparation can take more time during the Daniel Fast, but you can also adopt some habits to streamline this essential part of your fasting experiences.
Meal Planning - Plan all of your meals for one week. Make sure you have all the ingredients you need along with snack foods!
Set a Cook Day - Plan all your meals for the coming week and then cook several meals in advance ( pots of soup, vegetable chili, chapatis and many other dishes). This saves hours of time and lots of frustration in the coming week, plus it's fun!
Salad Prep - Wash and trim all your salad ingredients as soon as you get home from the grocery store. Then store each item in a container for easy use later in the week. You can make a lovely salad in less than a minute because all the ingredients are already prepared!
FOOD GUIDELINES FOR A DANIEL FAST
FOODS YOU MAY EAT: Whole Grains: Brown Rice, Oats, Barley Legumes: Dried Beans, Pinto Beans, Split Peas, Lentils, Black Eyed Peas
FRUITS: Apples, Apricots, Bananas, Blackberries, Blueberries, Boysenberries Cantaloupe, Cherries, Cranberries, Oat, Figs, Grapefruit, Grapes, Guava, Honeydew Melons, Kiwi, Lemons, Limes, Mangoes, Nectarines, Papayas, Peaches, Pears, Pineapples, Plums, Prunes, Raisins, Raspberries, Strawberries, Tangelos, Tangerines, Watermelon, Plantains,
VEGETABLES: Artichokes, Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chili Peppers, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Garlic, Gingerroot, 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 not allergic to soy.
LIQUIDS: Spring Water, Distilled Water, 100%, All-Natural Fruit Juices, 100%, All Natural Vegetable Juices. You may also drink protein drinks.
OTHERS: Seeds, Nuts, Sprouts, Ezekiel bread, whole wheat tortillas and pita bread, whole wheat pasta., all natural honey, Popcorn (no butter)
FOODS TO AVOID: Meats, White Rice, Deep Fried Foods, Caffeine, Carbonated Beverages, Foods Containing Preservatives or Additives, Refined Sugar, Sugar Substitutes, White Flour and All products using It, Margarines, Shortening, High Fat Products NO DAIRY PRODUCTS.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Daniel Fast
What is the Daniel Fast? It's a biblically based partial fast based on two accounts of the Prophet Daniel's fasting experiences (see Daniel 1 and 10). The Daniel Fast eating plan is similar to a vegan diet with additional restrictions. See the Daniel Fast Food List for a more complete outline of foods to include and foods to avoid.
Can I take medications during the Daniel Fast? Fasting should never bring harm to the body, so medications should be continued. With that said, yes you should take prescribed medications.
Are supplements okay to take during the Daniel Fast? Yes, but read the label to make sure they are of good quality and not packed with sweeteners or chemicals.
Can I have herbal tea on the Daniel Fast? This is a common question! The reason that no tea is allowed is because they contain caffeine.
What about marital relations during the Daniel Fast?
The Bible does speak of husbands and wives abstaining from sexual relations during fasts. However, this is to be a mutual agreement by both the husband and wife. Many couples do refrain from sex while fasting and find their relationship strengthened as they intentionally express love for one another in other ways.
So, abstaining from sex during the Daniel Fast is not required, however it is an opportunity to experience growth in your marriage and in your relationship with the Lord.
What if I want to do the Daniel Fast for dietary reasons and not spiritual purposes?
The definition of fasting is to restrict food for a spiritual purpose. Using the Daniel Fast eating plan for strictly health purposes would be a Daniel Diet rather than a fast.
What if I have health issues?
The Daniel Fast is a very healthy way to eat! So health professionals will support this eating plan, but might suggest a few modifications if you have health issues that need special attention.
How can I identify whole grain products? Whole grain products can be identified by the ingredient list. Typically if the ingredient lists "whole wheat", "rolled oats", or "whole corn" as the first ingredient, the product is a whole grain food item. Another way to identify whole grains in the foods you eat is to look in the nutritional facts information and check if the food item contains dietary fiber. If it contains a significant amount, it most likely contains whole grains. "Wheat flour" is not a whole grain and therefore does not indicate a whole grain product. Many breads are colored brown (often with molasses) and made to look like whole grain, but are not. Additionally, some food manufacturers make foods with whole grain ingredients, but because whole grain ingredients are not the dominant ingredient, they are not whole grain products.
How do I get enough protein in my diet while on the fast?
The following are protein-rich foods that are allowed on the Daniel Fast…almonds, sunflower seeds, lentils, quinoa, brown rice, split peas, whole grains, and tofu.
Where can I go out to eat?
There are a few restaurants with Daniel fast friendly menus—Chipotle and Applebee’s have a steamed vegetable plate and a sizzling vegetable skillet (remember, no butter)
ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR FAST
Hot drinks 1. Heated 100% pure apple juice 2. Hot water & lemon with honey. Snacks: 1. Tostitos chips & salsa 2. Popcorn (O. Redenbacher simply salted) 3. salt & peppered cucumber 4. raw vegetables w/ light Italian dressing 5. plain dried fruit (no sugar coating) 6. fruits of any kind 7. Plantains (lightly fried) 8. trail mix (Check food list. Some are not acceptable)
Breakfast Ideas: 1. Oatmeal made with pure apple juice (instead of water) topped with your choice of fruits. 2. Fried potatoes, various peppers, onions, & mushrooms wrapped in a tortilla. 3. Fried Plantains lightly dusted with seasoning salt. 4. Breakfast smoothie. ½ c soy milk, 1 banana, ½ c frozen berries blended.
Lunch & Dinner Ideas: 1. Garlic potatoes and green salad. 2. Beans (of any kind) & brown rice accompanied by green vegetable. 3. Vegetable stir fry w/wheat or whole grain spaghetti topped with soy sauce and a cucumbers, tomatoes, & onions salad. Vinaigrette or Italian dressing. 4. Quick vegetable and Beans soup.
There are many recipes for the Daniel fast online, just put “recipes for Daniel fast” or tianyi@danielrecipes in your search engine. But stay true to our food guidelines. Some food guidelines may vary.