This new year I'm making a lot of changes to the way I live. I wanted to share my goals and strategies with you, so over the next few days that is what I will be doing. Please leave a comment or send me an email(firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions.
I'm a planner. A very serious planner. I do tons of research before I even buy a new mascara(seriously). So, imagine my reactions when just a few days ago I started to feel this tug. This pull from God...to fast. But not just any fast. To do the Daniel Fast. I felt God saying to me, "Start the new year fresh. Do the Daniel Fast to get rid of last year's junk(physical and spiritual) and renew yourself for the coming year." My reaction," Well, I would need to do some proper research which would take me approx. 14 days, so how about I start in February?" Sometimes i think God just shakes His head and laughs at me. Over the past few days I've been seeing the Daniel Fast everywhere. Everywhere I turn there is a book or an article or a friend confiding in me their desire to fast to begin the new year. So I've relented and will be starting the first 21 days of the new year by fasting the way the prophet Daniel did. I found a great book to help me along this journey(other than the Bible) its entitled, ironically, "The Daniel Fast" by Susan Gregory.
The Daniel Fast is based off of the example of the prophet in the book of Daniel chapters 1 and 10. Daniel 1:9-14 says," But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, " I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you. Daniel then said to the guard who the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, " 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 your royal food, and treat your servants in accordance to what you see." So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. " Daniel was from a well respected Jewish family. He was, at the time of the above passage, a captive in Babylon. The King had invaded Israel and taken captive a good majority of the people as slaves. Daniel, being from a good family, had a good education, was handsome, wise, ect. Everything a good king would look for in one of his officials, which is what Daniel was being trained for. Therefore Daniel and his friends were treated with special respect, the king himself even ordered their food. But Daniel refused to eat the food because: 1. He was Jewish and they had strict guidelines as to how meat was to be prepared and the Babylonians did not follow these guidelines and 2. The meat itself had been sacrificed to pagan gods. So Daniel presented his own plan for healthy eating as you can read in the above passage. After the 10 days testing period Daniel and his comrades appeared healthier, stronger and wiser than those who had eaten the kings food, so the meal plan stuck. The original Hebrew text would have used the word Pulse for vegetables which means anything from a seed, so the Daniel Fast included anything from a seed such as fruit, veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds, ect.
We gain more guidelines for the fast from Daniel 10:3," I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips;" "Choice food" is sometimes interpreted as "pleasant food" which is why the Daniel Fast does not include any sweets, whether they contain sugar, honey, agave nectar, ect., and also no alcohol.
The Daniel Fast is essentially a vegan diet with some added restrictions. The things one CANNOT have on the Daniel Fast include:
-all dairy products
-all leaved bread
-all refined and processed food products
-all solid fats
-all non water beverages(This includes coffee and tea even though they are both natural. I'm a big coffee and tea drinker though, so I've decided to give up the one that is hardest for me,coffee, and limit myself to just a few cups of tea a day)
The foods one CAN have while on the Daniel Fast include:
-all whole grains
-all nuts and seeds
-all quality oils
-soy foods(this includes soy milk, which is not a dairy product)
-condiments and cooking ingredients
To some this may seem like a crazy idea. For those who are not use to eating like this, the Daniel Fast can be daunting. The hardest part I think is going to be all of the preparation. I will have to literally cook every single meal. No more grabbing a granola bar as I run out the door in the morning(it contains sugar as well as other processed ingredients) no more running through Wendy's for a quick dinner. I have to think ahead and plan my food according to what I will be doing that day.
To help myself be organized through out this process I will be planning menus one week at a time: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some of the food can be prepared a few days in advance, so I will also be doing a lot of that.
You are probably wondering, why? Why are you doing this? Why do you feel God is calling you to this? The last 12 months of my life have been filled with a lot of junk, both physically and spiritually. I'm doing this as a way to get rid of that junk and to start this year fresh, completely surrendered to God. I'm excited I can't wait to see what He has in store for the next year.
I will occasionally share a recipe or an experience I have on here, but rest assured this fast is all about me and God and has nothing to do with blogging. I am however, more than willing to answer any questions you have about this fast or about why I am doing it. Feel free to leave a comment for jot me an email with your questions.
God is good, my friend, and I so look forward to seeing Him in a new way over the coming weeks.