Fasting, for those who are unaware of the concept, is abstaining from food or drink most commonly for religious observance. It plays an important role in spiritual strength and should be accompanied with a focus on prayer, Bible study and meditation.
There are several types of fasts that are promoted for health reasons or for detox purposes. Some of which are the juice fast, cleansing, water fasts, etc. However, none are as thorough or effective as the Daniel Fast.
The story of Daniel is well known. He was favored by the king and promoted to positions of authority for his intelligence. Despite how the king may have felt, Daniel was caught praying to God during a period where it was forbidden to pray to anyone other than the king. For this, he was thrown into the lion’s den where he would most certainly be killed. The king fasted and prayed for him throughout the night and found him healthy and untouched the next morning.
This story exemplifies the power of fasting and prayer. It is not only good for the spirit but great for the body. Fasts and cleanses help remove the impurities that we often consume unconsciously. Processed foods, chemicals and sugars are present in so many food items it is often hard to restrict those things from a person’s diet. Fasting and cleansing now and then is the same as hitting a “reset” button allowing the body to refresh itself.
The same is true for our spirits. We are often exposed to things without realizing it, such as profanity, sexuality, and negative confrontations that will pull us away from Christ and His word. The Daniel Fast will not only “reset” our bodies, but also our spirits and our souls.
So, what exactly is the Daniel Fast? The answer is as simple as the question – only fruits and vegetables, water and no breads. When Daniel was ordered to eat the meat and wine from the king’s own kitchen, he offered to the chief of staff a proposal. Daniel and his three friends would eat only fruits and vegetables for ten days and after the tenth day the attendant could test and compare them to the other young men in the king’s program. This was done and on the tenth day, the results showed that they were healthier and better nourished. At another time, Daniel was distraught after having visions of war and hardship. For three weeks, he ate no meat and drank no wine.
Because of these examples of the power of faith and prayer, some believe the fast should be for ten or 21 days. There are no set guidelines for how long to obey this strict fast. Ten days is usually an appropriate time period for a person’s body to be refreshed completely, especially for someone who has not undergone a diet experience such as a cleanse before.
It is physically taxing because our bodies will crave what we are not allowing ourselves to partake. The temptation to cheat would be even stronger than with a normal cleanse. We are also tested emotionally; our moods would be directly impacted by what we are denying ourselves physically. And most importantly, we would be spiritually tested. That is why it is crucial that this cleanse be coupled with prayer, meditation and dutiful Bible study. The strength God will bless us with will assist us through this voluntary struggle and make our successful fast a powerful tool to draw us closer to Him and His love.
The following are recipes offered on the Daniel Fast website that meet the standards of this fast. (Additional recipes for dinner, breakfast and snacking can be found via the web address below).
Simple Orange and Red Onion Salad
(Makes approximately 4 servings)
4 Cups torn romaine
2 medium navel oranges, peeled and sectioned
1 small red onion, sliced and separated into rings
1/4 Cup olive oil
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 Teaspoon salt
1/8 Teaspoon pepper
Arrange romaine, oranges and onion on a platter or in a bowl. Combine all remaining ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake vigorously. Drizzle over salad, serve immediately.
Greek Vegetable Stew
(Makes approximately 4 servings)
2 Tablespoons oil
2 onions, chopped
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
2 cloves chopped garlic
4 Cups water
4 tomatoes, quartered
1 pound green string beans, broken in half
1 package frozen or fresh spinach
6 zucchini, chunked
4 yellow squash, chunked
2 cups celery leaves
1 Teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons fresh basil
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
8 slices of lemon (1 lemon cut in half, then each half is quartered)
Lightly brown the onions in hot dry skillet with the 2 tablespoons of oil. Add oregano and garlic, sauté for one minute. Add the water and tomatoes. Let it cook for 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, cover, and cook for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with lemon slice in each bowl. (Approximately 8 servings)
The Daniel Fast website has been a helpful site with scores of information for those interested. (http://daniel-fast.com/index.html)
***Consult your physician prior to beginning any fast or cleanse to ensure that you are physically well enough for the experience.***