It’s been several years ago, but during one January, many members of our church decided to participate in the Daniel Fast.
If you haven’t heard of it, this is the breakdown: It’s based on the prophet Daniel’s fasting experiences in the book of Daniel. He basically eats fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts for a period of time. For a more comprehensive look, you can visit this site, which talks about all the foods in the Daniel Fast.
Before I go any further, let me say this: however you feel about fasting, this is my personal perspective on food fasting: it doesn’t work for me. It’s not that I can’t complete a fast such as the Daniel Fast (I did that for three weeks); the purpose of a Biblical fast from food is to get closer with God. When I fast, I get closer with my scale. I’m just being honest here.
I enjoyed the Daniel Fast. There’s something just clean about eating just fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts. After the members of our church completed the fast, my husband and I talked it over about how much we enjoyed eating differently, how much better our bodies felt after the feasting of Thanksgiving and Christmas.
If you’re still working off those holiday pounds, you may want to try the Daniel Fast simply to jumpstart healthy eating. Eating healthy foods is much better that say, doing a five-day juice cleanse while attempting to potty train at the same time. Not that anyone would do something THAT ridiculous, right?
(I lasted a day and a half. Then I downed an iced cookie like it was the last one on earth.)
The first week was hard. You can’t eat sweets – and coming off of the holiday season, this was exceptionally hard for me. You can’t eat meat, and we basically eat meat at every meal. You can’t eat dairy. I can’t tell you how much of an addiction I have for cheese.
Green beans are just a poor substitute for sharp cheddar. Just saying.
The second week was better. My body started to adjust to the green beans, to the peanut butter on whole wheat tortillas, to the fruit – and the fruit was starting to taste sweet. Like really sweet. We started eating fruit for dessert. We also delved into tofu at this point, which, to my meat-loving husband, was unheard of before this experience. For those of you like me, who have balked at tofu…it wasn’t too bad. It definitely wasn’t real hamburger meat, but it looked like hamburger meat, and that’s half the battle. Add some vegan cheese and a whole lot of beans, and for us who hadn’t had meat or cheese in a week and a half, and our tacos tasted delicious.
The third and final week was the best. Not only were we nearing the end, but we also had come so far already. In fact, when we ate meat for the first time in three weeks, it tasted strange. Foreign. Like something we shouldn’t have in our body.
Don’t get me wrong; I do like some meat. Even after watching “Food, Inc.” (which turned me into a vegetarian for a solid month before I caved – though there are still some fast food restaurants where I will not go), I sometimes just absolutely crave a juicy hamburger. But I think, at least for our family, we had gotten to the point where we felt meat was necessary at every dinner.
Not only is meat not necessary at every dinner, but meat is expensive! I meal plan our food every week, and a couple of weeks ago, I forgot to add some non-meat nights to our dinner schedule. Our grocery bill was much higher than it should have been – because we had meat every night.
So even though you may not be religious or may not want to do it as part of a religious routine, this isn’t a bad diet to complete. The only negative aspect I found was finding recipes online. However, since it has been several years since I did the three-week experience, I’ve found several more sites in case you’re interested in completing this.
Daniel Fast recipes
Ultimate Daniel Fast (look under the Recipes tab)
Daniel Fast Recipes (the Southwest Corn and Black Bean Salad looked amazing)