When the word “fasting” is mentioned, most people immediately think of not being able to have something they want. The word conjures up ideas of loss, sacrifice, and abstinence from all sorts of tasty things. And much of this is true. But what if our taste buds and desires for certain foods are based on unhealthy habits like eating sugar-laden sweets and artery-clogging entrees? It may be time to make a change in diet that leads to a healthier lifestyle even if you feel like it’s trying to turn around the Titanic. Luckily, we have a role model to follow from 606 BCE: Daniel of the Old Testament.
History of the Daniel Fast
According to that great work, Daniel was brought to Babylon to be trained for Nebuchadnezzar’s court where Daniel and his friends were honored by being fed “royal food”, food which to Daniel’s horror, consisted mostly of animals sacrificed to Babylonian gods. Daniel, of course, refused to eat any of it. Being Jewish and smart, he asked the guard charged with their care, to allow a short test of their diet first. After 10 days, the guard was so impressed by the glowing health of their physical appearance and mental health compared to those who ate the royal foods, they were judged by Nebuchadnezzar to be mentally and physically superior. This diet is still a healthy detox and source of nourishment for body, mind, and soul.
So, of what does this diet consist? Basically, the diet consists of “pulses” and water. What are pulses? According to most sources, pulses are anything derived from seeds: lentils, chickpeas, legumes, vegetables or any seed type food. Unleavened bread made without yeast or baking powder is acceptable. No food additives of any kind are allowed, either. No sugar.
You can eat only unleavened bread made without yeast or baking powder. No processed or refined breads are allowed. Whole grain flatbreads or breads made without yeast that are, available in health food stores, can be eaten. Unrefined brown rice, barley, oats and other whole grains are also allowed.
Water is the main source of hydration although natural hand-made orange fruit juices without any added sugars and milk from nuts such as almond, coconut kefir, rice, and soy milk are fine.
No processed foods. No fats like butter, lard, or margarine from animals; but there are a number of oils from seeds such as olive, sesame, grapeseed, canola, etc. that are good for you and your health.
No dairy products allowed whether they’re eggs, butter, cow’s milk or cheeses.
Food to avoid
On the Daniel Fast, you should not consume any of the other foods or beverages listed below. And, I want to mention that on the Daniel Fast some allow sea salt or Himalayan salt and others do not. My recommendation is to only use a bit of sea salt when necessary in flavoring dishes. Here are foods you definitely want to refrain from eating:
- Iodized salt
- Dairy products
- Breads, pasta, flour, crackers (unless made from sprouted ancient grains)
- Cookies and other baked goods
- Energy drinks
Daniel also used this fast again for 21 days, and it is said he had even better results! So, for the best effects, try the fast for either 10 or 21 days. As always, check with your health professional before starting any new diet program.
1. Daniel Fast: Benefits for Your Spiritual, Emotional & Physical Health. Dr. Axe.
2. The Daniel Fast: Foods You Can and Can’t Eat. Livestrong.com