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What is the Daniel Fast?

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  • Written By: Sarah Denson
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2016
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The Daniel fast is a spiritual fast based on the life of a prophet named Daniel from the Bible. In chapters one and ten of the book of Daniel, he partakes in fasts to show his faith in and servitude to God. In the first chapter, Daniel ate only vegetables, fruits, and water during the fast. The tenth chapter reports that Daniel did another fast and went 21 days without eating meat, bread, or precious foods. Scholars believe that precious means sweet, therefore eliminating any sweeteners, such as sugar, from Daniel’s diet.

During the Daniel fast, a person is allowed to eat all types of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Also, he or she is allowed to use spices, seasonings, herbs, and oils, such as canola, olive, or vegetable oil. Foods that are prohibited include meat, other animal products, dairy products, sweeteners — both artificial and natural — leavened bread, processed or refined foods, deep-fried food, solids fats, and any beverage other than water.

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The Daniel fast aims at affecting three different aspects of the human self: the spirit, the body, and the soul. According to the Christian faith, the spirit is what welcomes the Holy Spirit into a believer's body, therefore giving the spirit power to control the body and soul. A Daniel fast affects the body by providing an all-natural diet that helps rid the body of toxins, as well as addictions to caffeine or sugar. The soul is affected by the fast because it is where one’s emotions and impulses lie. Also, the fast tests one’s ability to react to cravings for food or emotional impulses that might hinder the completion of the 21-day fast.

Unlike other common religious fasts, the Daniel fast does not restrict when or how much participants can eat. It also allows for exceptions to the fast. This is the case, however, only after the participant asks the Holy Spirit for guidance on the matter.

Like any diet or fast, the Daniel fast has been known to produce side effects in its participants. This is due to the overall change in eating habits. The most common side effects are fatigue, headaches, leg cramps, and general physical discomfort.

There are also benefits to this fast. Most participants report weight loss due to the lack of sweeteners, meat, and fatty foods. Other participants have reported that the Daniel fast has helped their diabetes, arthritis, and even cancer.

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orangey03
Post 3

@JackWhack – You may be right about people not drinking enough water on the Daniel fast. Getting plenty of water would reduce cramps, and it would also help prevent hunger pangs.

The cramps might also be a symptom of withdrawal from some foods, though. I've heard that people going into detox sometimes get cramps.

Kristee
Post 2

You have to be really disciplined to follow the Daniel fast rules. I don't think I could do without bread and meat for any extended period of time.

I feel like my focus would be more on how hungry and irritable I would be instead of on my relationship with God. I choose not to fast for this reason. I don't think it would benefit me spiritually, and that's kind of the whole point.

However, there are people who do very well on this fast. I know a lady who did it, and she seemed so much healthier and full of energy.

JackWhack
Post 1

I wonder what aspect of the fast causes leg cramps? I thought that these were usually caused by a lack of potassium, but if you are eating mostly fruits and vegetables, you should be getting plenty of that.

Could it be that people on the Daniel fast are not hydrating properly? Some people don't like to drink plain water, and if they are going without their usual sugary sodas, they might not be drinking enough.

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