What is the Daniel Fast?
The Daniel Fast is a Biblical based partial fast. It is a method of fasting that men, women and young people all over the world are using as they enter into the spiritual discipline of prayer and fasting.
There are two references to fasting in the biblical book of Daniel from which the “Daniel Fast” is drawn. Daniel, chapter 1, describes how Daniel and his 3 friends ate only vegetables and drank only water. (Daniel 1) At the end of a 10-day trial period, Daniel and his friends appeared healthier than their peers who ate the rich foods from the royal table. In Daniel, chapter 10, Daniel fasts again, abstaining from “pleasant food,” meat. (Daniel 10)
There are two anchoring scriptures for the Daniel Fast. In Daniel 1 the Prophet ate only vegetables (that would have included fruits) and drank only water. So from these scriptures we get two of the guidelines for the fast:
In the first Book of Daniel, the Prophet ate only vegetables and fruit, and drank only water for 10 days. A short rundown of acceptable foods include:
All fruits and vegetables.
Nuts and seeds.
Herbs and spices.
Conversely, there is also an agreed upon list of foods to avoid. Keep in mind that no artificial or processed foods nor any chemicals are allowed in the Daniel Fast.
All meats and animal products.
All dairy products.
All deep fried foods.
All solid fats.
Carefully read food labels. Foods often contain hidden ingredients. Make sure the foods you buy are compliant with the Daniel Fast.
Then in Daniel 10 we read that the Prophet ate no meat nor any precious breads or foods. So from this scripture, we get a third guideline:
No sweeteners and no breads
Another important guideline is drawn from Jewish fasting principles, where no leaven is used during the fast. So that’s why yeast, baking powder and the like are not allowed on the Daniel Fast.
When asked about the eating plan on the Daniel Fast, I often say it is a “vegan diet with even more restrictions.”
Make your meals somewhat lighter for a few days leading up to your fast. It’s a good idea to especially reduce your intake of caffeine.
During the time of fasting, you will face temptations, resist them in the name of Jesus Christ.
When you have finished fasting, eat light meals and slowly build back up to your normal diet.
Your days should be filled with unselfish prayer. During the fast, increase the frequency of your daily prayer time by a factor of 3 or more.
Foods to include in your diet during the Daniel Fast
All fruits. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Fruits include but are not limited to apples, apricots, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cantaloupe, cherries, cranberries, figs, grapefruit, grapes, guava, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemons, limes, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, pears, pineapples, plums, prunes, raisins, raspberries, strawberries, tangelos, tangerines, watermelon
All vegetables. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Vegetables include but are not limited to artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chili peppers, collard greens, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, ginger root, kale, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, mustard greens, okra, onions, parsley, potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, scallions, spinach, sprouts, squashes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, watercress, yams, zucchini, veggie burgers are an option if you are not allergic to soy.
All whole grains, including but not limited to whole wheat, brown rice, millet, quinoa, oats, barley, grits, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat tortillas, rice cakes and popcorn.
All nuts and seeds, including but not limited to sunflower seeds, cashews, peanuts, sesame. Also nut butters including peanut butter.
All legumes. These can be canned or dried. Legumes include but are not limited to dried beans, pinto beans, split peas, lentils, black eyed peas, kidney beans, black beans, cannelloni beans, white beans.
All quality oils including but not limited to olive, canola, grape seed, peanut, and sesame.
Beverages: spring water, distilled water or other pure waters.
Other: tofu, soy products, vinegar, seasonings, salt, herbs and spices.
Foods to avoid on the Daniel Fast
All meat and animal products including but not limited to beef, lamb, pork, poultry, and fish.
All dairy products including but not limited to milk, cheese, cream, butter, and eggs.
All sweeteners including but not limited to sugar, raw sugar, honey, syrups, molasses, and cane juice.
All leavened bread including Ezekiel Bread (it contains yeast and honey) and baked goods.
All refined and processed food products including but not limited to artificial flavorings, food additives, chemicals, white rice, white flour, and foods that contain artificial preservatives.
All deep fried foods including but not limited to potato chips, French fries, corn chips.
All solid fats including shortening, margarine, lard and foods high in fat.
Beverages including but not limited to coffee, tea, herbal teas, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, and alcohol.