Many people make resolutions to better themselves at the beginning of each year. Those might include fitness memberships or equipment, promises to do less of some things and more of others, or they may be spiritual goals. Many years ago, I heard about the Daniel Fast and learned that many people do this in January to start the new year by being spiritually focused.
What is the Daniel Fast?
The Daniel Fast comes from the book of Daniel in the Old Testament of the Bible. In chapter 10, verses 2-3, Daniel says he was mourning for three whole weeks and ate no pleasant food; no meat or wine came into his mouth. In modern times, people who observe the Daniel Fast consume whole, plant-based foods and typically choose a specific time frame for the fast, sometimes 21 days like Daniel, or other periods, depending on their circumstances.
Foods Allowed During the Daniel Fast
Most individuals and churches I’ve encountered participating in the Daniel Fast enjoy various fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. Water and unsweetened herbal teas are allowed to drink. Salt and spices are also allowed to season food.
Foods to Avoid During the Daniel Fast
The Daniel Fast avoids all meat and animal products, including beef, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products. Sweeteners, both processed and unprocessed, are excluded during this time. Yes, my precious maple syrup is on the list. Processed or leavened bread, deep-fried foods, alcohol, and caffeine are prohibited on the Daniel Fast.
People vary in how legalistic they are with this fast. Some people don’t eat peanut butter because it’s been processed; others will eat it as long as it has “clean” ingredients. Some will eat corn tortillas if only corn and water are on the ingredients list, and others avoid them because they are processed. I don’t think the book of Daniel gives us that much information.
Tips for Your Fast
It’s common to start something like this, a fast or diet change, with great intentions and then fail miserably. Like any fast, diet change, or meal plan, it’s important to be realistic with what you can do.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What foods will you really eat?
- How much food do you need in a day to be well?
- How much time do you have each day to prepare meals?
- Are there food restrictions or medical concerns that could make any fast dangerous?
Once you carefully consider each concern, choosing a list of recipes or making a meal plan is a great idea to plan for success. I recommend you keep it simple, especially if it’s a prolonged fast, and prepare meals you enjoy and already know how to make. Now is not the time to learn how to make extravagant meals; it goes against Daniels’s intentions.
Daniel Fast Breakfast Ideas
I like to make breakfasts ahead of time or make simple recipes. The following recipes may need minor adjustments to meet the Daniel Fast requirements. I typically use maple syrup as a sweetener in my oatmeal-based breakfast recipes. You would need to omit it from yours.
Daniel Fast Dinner Ideas
These recipes would work great for dinner, and I recommend using the leftovers for lunch the next day. Some recipes may need minor modifications. For example, if a recipe uses veggie broth, you could make your own or use water and add additional spices to enhance the flavor. I’ve found adding garlic powder, onion powder, and salt adds a big flavor boost in a pinch.
Other recipes use tomato sauce; you could substitute fresh or canned tomatoes by pureeing them. The flavor would be a bit different but still good.
- Hearty Veggie Soup
- Chickpea and Rice Soup
- Potato Wedges
- Plant-Based Mediterranean Bowl
- Instant Pot Refried Beans and Mexican Rice
- Instant Pot Black Beans and Rice
- Broccoli Potato Soup
- Broccoli and Mushroom Stir Fry
- Quinoa Lentil Salad
- Pico de Gallo
- Easy Mexican Rice and Bean Casserole
Your recipe substitutions will be determined by how strictly you interpret the meaning of processed food. Some people focus on the ingredients, while others focus on the process. I think it’s best to do the best you can while eating enough and taking care of your family.
Have you participated in the Daniel Fast? What tips would you suggest for anyone else considering it?
- Feed your soul, strengthen your spirit, and renew your body
- Gregory, Susan (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 304 Pages – 01/01/2010 (Publication Date) – Tyndale Momentum (Publisher)