This is going to be a long one. Click in if you’d like to read about my experience with The Daniel Fast
What is it?
OK first off, what IS the Daniel Fast? Well, let’s be clear first that this is a fast, not a diet. I’m sure you’re familiar with fasting from the Bible. You take a set time to quit eating and use that time for prayer. There are many instances when people fasted and prayed. The first that popped into my mind was Esther telling the Jews to fast and pray before she went to talk to the King. Daniel’s seemed to be a bit different. It two cases, he ate but only a limited type of food. In Daniel 1:
“Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.
Now as you noticed it does not specifically mention that it was a fast, only that they restricted their diet. In Daniel 10, he mentions restricting his food again as he mourned:
At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.
OK first off, there is a lot of interpretation from this if you ask me. From what I can tell, neither of these were specifically a set time of fasting and praying for Daniel (unless the mourning means a time of spiritual fasting?). However, these are the verses from which the Daniel Fast comes from, which is specifically a time of fasting and praying.
What can you eat?
From what I have found (and I have not read books on this), this is left up to great interpretation. If you take this at face value, you can only have vegetables and drink water. However, from what I’ve read by vegetables, it would also mean fruits. By “no choice food”, that would mean no sweeteners or breads. They also conclude after all this that no artificial or processed foods are allowed. This is not a case of natural vs. processed. Coffee and tea are natural but you can only drink water. Honey is natural but it’s a sweetener. As far as I’m concerned, a cow is natural but it says no meat. So basically the guidelines are: eat vegetables, nuts, and fruit and drink water. Many people make their own interpretation and allow honey. I would suggest reading and then letting the Holy Spirit guide on what is best for you. God continually said to me, “I’m not a dictator, it will be ok.” I chose not to eat honey but a lot of my issues are with sugar so I chose to avoid it.
So what did you eat?
This was a huge change for me. Surprisingly, I really could care less about the meat, but I never realized how much I relied on sugar and dairy products (cheese! milk! sour cream! cream cheese!). In all honesty, it was really hard but I found as with many things, once you find your groove, you’re fine. I found in most cases, I was eating 5 small meals instead of 3 big meals and 2-3 snacks.
Here are some things I ate:
- Grits made with water, sprinkled with garlic powder, salt and pepper. (Wow, super dry if but filling.)
- Oatmeal made with water, with strawberries. (YUCK. I hate oatmeal anyway so I don’t know why I tried this.)
- Homemade hummus with carrots
- Sweet potato fries
- Oven roasted potatoes with homemade ketchup
- Salad with balsamic vinegar/oil dressing
- Baked potato sprinkled with salt, pepper and seasoned salt
- Mixed nuts
Fruit with one of the above
- Grace’s Golden Carrot soup made with tomato juice instead of broth and pureed into marina over whole wheat pasta
- Vegetarian Chili
- Havana beans and brown rice
- Sautéed squash
- Popcorn (not packaged).
- Plain raisins. These tasted like nectar compared to what I was eating!
- Mixed nuts.
- Rice cakes with natural peanut butter spread on it
For dinner, I also ate some of the lunch items I mentioned. Like a salad and potato fries for example. Basically I just mix and matched whatever I felt like eating.
Since I chose to only do 10 days (many do 3 weeks or even 40 days), you can see I just recycled most of this. I tried to not make this about the food, but more about the praying.
I bought the Version 2 cookbook found here. In general, I wasn’t impressed with the recipes but I did use the following recipes: sugar-free ketchup, balsamic, garlic and herb dressing, oven roasted potatoes.
What about the family?
This was actually one of my biggest concerns going in and to be honest, the kids didn’t eat so great. The first few days I got some chicken from the store and spread that over a few days and let them eat that with a veggie and fruit. They ate the oven roasted potatoes one night, the sweet potato fries one night and Emma LOVED the sautéed squash. Other nights, they got pizza or ate breakfast for dinner and I made myself something different.
Scott actually ate what I ate for dinner when he wanted and other times, made himself a salad or sandwich. He is working nights right now too, so many nights he wasn’t even home for me to cook for.
How was it?
It was unlike anything I’ve done. I don’t know how to describe it, but I felt very connected to God. I know He answered my prayers and gave me a word. I would expound but it’s not really my story to tell. Let’s be clear though that I did this for spiritual reasons and that is the real motivation I had to stay on top of what I ate.
I needed to do this from a physical aspect. I had gotten so lax in what I was eating. I’d been watching my friend Kristi go through a 3 week sugar detox and all the reasons she did it was why I needed to do it too. Bottom line, I think my body was addicted to sugar. I preach to my kids about not having too much sugar. It shuts your immune system down, it messes up your blood sugar, it even feeds cancer cells. I just needed to say no. At one point this winter, I was 10 pounds more than I had been a few years ago when I was eating healthy and exercising. I knew it was all the sugar and carbs I was eating.
Well, it’s now been 12 days since I did this and I am down 6 pounds. I feel clean. I don’t get tired in the afternoon. I’m not craving food all day. In fact, after dinner, I rarely eat any snack. And I am SURE my body is rejoicing from the break! Who knows what kind of good it is doing!
What about now?
Here’s the thing. When the 10 days were over, I didn’t gulp down a Mountain Dew and eat the box of Girl Scout cookies that had arrived during my fast. I got up Sunday morning and ate a banana like I had been. The bagel and coffee at church didn’t appeal to me. When we went to Jason’s Deli for lunch, I didn’t use Ranch on my salad, didn’t eat the bread and didn’t have the ice cream. For dinner, I ate the leftover Vegetarian Chili from Saturday. I LIKED how I felt and what my body was doing and was so motivated to keep it going. Yes, I have added some things back in slowly. I ate corn chips with the chili, had tuna for lunch yesterday and even splurged on ONE Girl Scout cookie last night. I’m planning to add back in meat and would like to enjoy coffee again. I don’t know how long this will last or how I will find the balance in what I eat. But I can say I’ve done food both ways…eat the basics and eat what I want and I 100% feel better eating the basics.
And if you read all that, congratulations, you win the P2P reader award today LOL. I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have after that if it’s possible. If you’ve done the fast, I’m very curious as to the recipes you used and would love if you shared!
And in closing, I just want to thank God for sustaining me through this, being close to me and answering my prayers in a very real way. He’s awesome!