Last year around this time of the Holiday Season, two good friends of mine decided there going to embark on a Holiday food fast, and only eat certain foods. At first I thought, why not wait until after the New Year? But then after talking with them further, I understood why they were doing this.
They wanted to really reinforce their diet by making a food sacrifice to be healthy into the New Year, and with fasting this also draws them closer to God. The fast they chose is what is called the Daniel Fast, which restricts your normal food intake to include only vegetables and fruits.
When I heard this I thought of how they were going to miss out on the delicious turkey, and ham meats and gravies! They asked me if I was interested in such a fast. I stated I am not interested in giving up the delicious foods of the holidays and would rather do something like this after the New Year. However I can understand the benefits of certain fasts and according to this fast it becomes more then just simple health benefits, and also has amazing spiritual benefits!
The Daniel fast involves using sacrifice to deepen your relationship between you and God. So this diet is not just to eat fruits and vegetables, however to eat them in their natural state, meaning no processing or cooking.
For those who don’t know about the story that inspired this diet, in Daniel 1:5-16, Daniel and his friends were captives of King Nebuchadnezzar, as their King Jehoiakim the King of Judah, lost the battle! Daniel and the rest of the young men, were taken to be trained to be in service to the King Nebuchadnezzar.
Daniel and his peers were chosen due to their attractive appearance, showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge, and they had ability for serving in the king’s court. King Nebuchadnezzar ordered to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans.
Further King Nebuchadnezzar appointed for them a daily ration from the king’s choice food and from the wine which he drank, and appointed that they should be educated three years, at the end of which they were to enter the King’s personal service.
Daniel did not want to defile himself by eating King Nebuchadnezzar’s food so he sought permission from Commander of the Officials, to let him and his friends not eat of the King’s food, however the Commander of the Officials refused due to if Daniel and his friends faces looked more haggard than the other youths who were their own age, then the King would have his head.
Daniel then took his case to the Overseer who was under the Commander of the Officials, and he asked if the Overseer would test them for 10 days on just vegetables and water. Then after 10 days to let their appearance be observed in the presence of the Overseer, in comparison of the appearance of the youths who are eating the King’s choice food and then deal with Daniel and his friends according to what the Overseer sees.
The Overseer listened to Daniel and tested him and his friends for 10 days. At the end of 10 days their appearance seemed better and they were fatter than all the youths who had been eating King Nebuchadnezzar’s choice food. The Overseer continued to withhold their choice food and the wine they were to drink, and kept giving them vegetables and water.
So in overview of this story, on why did Daniel do this? This diet of vegetables and water was not Daniel and his friends, normal diet as some people mistakenly assume. Daniel did this not to defile himself from foods that were sacrificed to idols and God blessed him and his friends in honoring God with eating vegetables, and drinking water, instead of wine.
According to my friends who followed this diet, there are a variety of forms of this diet. The diet can be anything from 10 days to 21 days or other variations. One does not have to just eat vegetables and drink water. You can eat fruits, nuts, and fresh juices as well.
The purpose of The Daniel Fast is not to just lose weight, but to become closer to God. Talk with your doctor before starting the Daniel Fast, particularly if you have any health issues. The Daniel has many benefits for the body, mind and spirit!
The Daniel Fast can have physical benefits that can help break addictions to sugar, support the body’s detoxification, promotes healthy weight Loss, promoted healthy energy Levels, improves skin health, promotes healthy digestion and elimination, supports healthy inflammation response and promotes joint comfort, promotes healthy hormonal balance, and clears out toxins that can make you feel sluggish or depressed.
The Daniel Fast can have mental and emotional benefits by relieving anxiety and nervousness, can increase peace and shalom, clears your mind of negative thoughts and feelings, decrease brain fog, and helps increase your ability to trust God.
The Daniel fast can also have spiritual benefits by bring you closer to God. Make you more sensitive to God’s voice, Can help break addictions, can show weakness, and allow you to rely on God’s strength.
So you may be wondering how one can have so many benefits from this diet? Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, believed that fasting enabled the body to heal itself.
During a fast, there are many systems of your body that are given a break from the hard work of digesting foods that your body would normally have to manage. This extra energy your body gains, then gives your body a chance to restore itself, while the burning of stored calories gets rid of toxic substances stored in your body.
The digestive tract is the area where your body is most exposed to environmental threats, including bacteria, viruses, parasites and toxins. Also, most of your immune system is located in your digestive tract, so that your body can be in great shape.
When food is broken down in the intestines, it travels through the blood to the liver, the largest organ of the body’s natural detoxification system. The liver breaks down and removes the toxic by-products produced by digestion, including
natural ones and chemicals, which are typically present in our food supply and often on our daily menus.
During a fast, the liver and immune system are essentially freed up to detoxify and heal other parts of the body. The antioxidants and nutrients in vegetables and fruits help to add vibrancy to your health, including your immune system, fertility, skin and more. A diet high in vegetables and fruits is known for halting bodily inflammation and oxidation are two primary processes that can lead to sickness and poor health.
Water is a very important factor in this diet. The body is made up of approximately 60-70% water, and the body needs water to create new cells of all types, including blood cells, bone cells and skin cells. Additionally, every organ and bodily system requires water to function correctly and healthily. Drinking enough water keeps your lymphatic system in great shape so that wastes and toxins are removed from your body.
Water also keeps your joints lubricated, delivers nutrients to your nervous system, helps the blood transport oxygen and other essential nutrients to your cells, and even helps your heart to not work as hard in pumping blood through your body. Water regulates your metabolism, and aids in digestion and body temperature control. Also adequate water intake hydrates your skin cells.
The brain, which is around 75% water, must stay hydrated, as well and will redirect water from other areas of the body if it doesn’t get enough hydration. Drinking enough water also keeps your metabolism running, can help you feel fuller and can keep your weight balanced.
So after a fast, including the Daniel Fast, this is why people report a combination of spiritual, physical and mental benefits, including a closer relationship with God, answered prayers, a better state of health, freedom from food or beverage addictions, more energy, clearer thinking, a more positive attitude, feeling lighter and many more benefits.
So to sum this all up, this fast sounds like to me to be a great plan either before, during or after Holiday feasts! Again just make sure you are getting medical guidance before embarking on this diet or any other diets.
Thank you for reading!
Neil Saint Angeland