Modern Day Daniel's Fast
As the holidays quickly approach, that means fasting season is right around the corner (#IYKYK). While fasting has no specific schedule, starting off a new year with a spiritual fast is a given at this point for me and my tribe. During the month of January, we participate in the Daniel's Fast as a household and church-wide.
What is the Daniel’s Fast?
The Daniel’s Fast is a 21-day fast derived from the Bible. It involves a 21 day period of restrictive food intake, devoid of animal products and preservatives, and inclusive of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
The dietary concept of the Daniel’s Fast can be found in Daniel 1:8 - 16 (MSG): “But Daniel determined that he would not defile himself by eating the king's food or drinking his wine, so he asked the head of the palace staff to exempt him from the royal diet. The head of the palace staff, by God's grace, liked Daniel, but he warned him, "I'm afraid of what my master the king will do. He is the one who assigned this diet and if he sees that you are not as healthy as the rest, he'll have my head!" 11 But Daniel appealed to a steward who had been assigned by the head of the palace staff to be in charge of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: "Try us out for ten days on a simple diet of vegetables and water. Then compare us with the young men who eat from the royal menu. Make your decision on the basis of what you see." 14 The steward agreed to do it and fed them vegetables and water for ten days. At the end of the ten days they looked better and more robust than all the others who had been eating from the royal menu. So the steward continued to exempt them from the royal menu of food and drink and served them only vegetables”.
Regarding the duration of the fast, Daniel 10:2 -3 (MSG) can be referenced: “During those days, I, Daniel, went into mourning over Jerusalem for three weeks. I ate only plain and simple food, no seasoning or meat or wine. I neither bathed nor shaved until the three weeks were up”.
The Significance of the Fast
While fasting has several health benefits (i.e. calorie deficits, weight loss, etc.), the spiritual benefits are what excite me. I have done an annual Daniel’s Fast for the last 4 years and I find that clean eating, along with focused time with God, really does my mind, body and spirit well. I also tend to limit my social media presence and ratchet TV habit as a means of sacrifice during this time to truly clear my mind and spirit.
At this point, I now look forward to my church’s annual corporate fast and I know that when my spirit is in disarray, a fast may be the appropriate course of action so I may fast on my own a couple of times a year. Usually, when my mind is really a wreck, and it’s obvious - my husband will join in because you know when 2 or 3 are gathered...
What Do I Eat?
Participating in the Daniel’s Fast is becoming a strict vegan. No meat, no dairy, nothing processed - solely fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grains, certain oils (i.e. coconut, olive) and seasonings in moderation, soy/tofu, and water, 100% fruit juices and non-dairy milks, like almond or oat milk - I think you get the gist. Sounds simple right?!?!?!
Some of My Favorite Daniel’s Fast Meals
Sautéed Collards with Bell Peppers
This recipe was adapted from a video that I saw from @thekitchenista - a chef that I follow on IG (her smoked turkey wings recipe is out of this world but let me focus).
I added bell peppers to my adaptation of this recipe. OMG!!! These were so good. I love my granny and my aunties, but after using this recipe, I won't ever go back to the old-school method of making greens.
When I'm not fasting and can have meat, I add diced pancetta for a lil razzle-dazzle. Thank me later!! *Drake voice*
Ramen is one of those meals that is so delicious and so filling but often overlooked. It's loaded with vegetables of your choosing and broth...pretty simple right? Not to mention, my family loves it so it's a win-win. My fast-friendly version of ramen includes a mixture of veggies, organic vegetable broth, and brown rice noodles. The brown rice noodles are not as tender as regular ramen noodles so make sure that you cook them to your desired consistency.
I drink these every day (when I feel like making them) so these are a no-brainer when fasting. My two favorite juice combos are celery, cucumber, apples, ginger, mint, lemon and beets, apples, carrots, lemon, ginger. I haven't thought of any cute names for my flavors just yet but I'm open to suggestions.
In recent times, with most people wanting to adapt a healthier lifestyle, options are greater than ever. Like forreal, this PB Crunch from Toastique is an amazing and filling way to start your day on the go!
If you don't think you can get creative, simply use sites like YouTube and Pinterest to learn all the tricks. Also, don’t overthink your meal planning so much that you get frustrated or discouraged.
After all, this is supposed to be a spiritual realignment so you want to make sure that your mind is in a good place.
Until next time...