It’s a New Year. A new opportunity to live. To thrive. And to reset your life. One great way to do it: The Daniel Fast. This year, consider this 21 Day Fast to reset your diet, and reset your faith.
The prophet Daniel was a descendant of King David who lived around 600 BC. He was a well-respected prophet who could interpret dreams and visions. In the Book of Daniel, two verses record his dietary experiences and recommendations. They are:
This is the foundation for the Daniel Fast.
Essentially it is a vegan diet used for 21 days, that omits processed foods, meats, alcohol, and more.
The beginning of a new year is a great time to try The Daniel Fast for yourself. You can also follow Dr. Colbert’s 21 Day Detox and Fast, as it is very similar. It goes even further by recommending specific foods that help you detox your body from modern chemicals and toxins.
Here are the specifics of The Daniel Fast.
While this diet is referred to as a “fast,” it’s more of a diet modification for 21 days. And while many foods are omitted, there are plenty to choose from and enjoy. You can eat:
Choose fresh or frozen fruits, organic if possible, during the 21 days of The Daniel Fast. The more vibrantly colored the better for a flood of antioxidants in your body. Try to avoid canned fruit as it often has sugars and preservatives added. Instead, choose fruits such as berries, apples, peaches, grapefruit, cherries, pears, oranges, apples, grapes, pomegranates, and more.
Vegetables are a cornerstone of The Daniel Fast. You can eat fresh, frozen, or dehydrated vegetables. Canned veggies are okay as long as there is no added salt. Enjoy greens, carrots, avocados, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, and more.
Legumes are a great protein and whole-food carbohydrate source on The Daniel Fast. Try dried or canned (no salt added) varieties of black beans, chickpeas, lentils, and other bean varieties. These can also be eaten in abundance. In addition, soy products without additives are also allowed.
Nuts & Seeds
Raw and dry-roasted (without salt) nuts and seeds are another good protein and healthy fat option on The Daniel Fast. Try hemp heart seeds, cashews, macadamia nuts, almonds, walnuts, and more.
High-Quality Healthy Oils
Plant-based oils are allowed on The Daniel Fast. The best options are extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil.
Whole grains, that are not processed, are also allowed. This means you need to skip the processed breads, pasta, and cereals, and opt for homemade and unrefined whole grains such as amaranth, barley, brown rice, quinoa, millet, oats, and wheat. In fact, breads made with yeast are omitted, but those without yeast such as unprocessed flatbreads are allowed.
Herbs & Spices
Don’t forget to season with fresh or dried herbs and spices! These foods support whole-body health with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds. What’s more, they add great flavor. Small amounts of salt are also allowed but should be minimal.
Water is the only beverage allowed during The Daniel Fast! It can be distilled, filtered, sparkling, spring, or mineral water.
You can still take any no-sugar-added nutritional supplements on The Daniel Fast. Supplements such as collagen and vitamin D are important, especially during the winter months.
Many foods are healthy and nourishing, but not allowed on The Daniel Fast. Why? It’s simply a food-restricted fast for 21 days that omits specific foods. Here are the foods to omit.
Meat & Eggs
While eggs and some meats can be part of a healthy diet, they are omitted on The Daniel Fast. All animal-proteins are omitted. In fact, meat is specifically avoided in the Book of Daniel. Rather than eggs and meats, this moderately low-protein diet uses legumes, seeds, and some whole-grains for protein.
Like eggs and meats, dairy is an animal-sources protein that is omitted on The Daniel Fast. You can use nut-based non-dairy milk as desired.
Any food that is processed with artificial flavorings, chemicals, food additives, and preservatives is off-limits in The Daniel Fast. This means you’ll have to be extra-choosey at the grocery store. If food only contains ingredients that are real-foods (such as olive oil), this is okay. But colorings, chemicals, and additives – skip these!
The Daniel Fast restricts sweeteners, including sugar and natural sweeteners like maple syrup and honey. Fruit is the main sweetener used on the diet. If you need to sweeten your foods, try dates and other fruits.
Chewing Gum & Mints
Like other processed foods, chewing gum, candy mints, sugar alcohols, and more are omitted on The Daniel Fast.
Animal-Based Solid Fats
Like proteins, animal-based fats are off-limits. This means butter, ghee, margarine, lard, and other shortenings are omitted. Instead, use healthy oils for fats.
Since water is the only beverage allowed, all others must be avoided for the 21-Day Daniel Fast. This means no coffee, tea, soda, etc. during the Fast. Of note, 100% fruit juices and smoothies can be consumed if they are considered a meal, and not a beverage (100% fruit juice may be used in minimal amounts as a sweetener in the meals). Consider adding lemon, cucumbers, or fruits to your water to add variety.
The amount and timing of foods is not restricted on The Daniel Fast. However, since part of fasting is the practice of discipline, it’s still best to not overindulge in any allowed food.
The Daniel Fast has become so popular, studies are now touting its benefits. One study of participants found that the 21 day fast was very well tolerated, with almost a 99% compliance rate. The researchers found that the diet supported cardiovascular and metabolic health including healthy cholesterol, blood pressure, and more (1).
Of course, for many people, a fast is a spiritual practice rather than a science-backed diet. Fasting from foods or activities allows us time and energy to devote to God rather than earthly endeavors. It’s a “break” from our normal routines and foods meant to encourage us to renew and refocus on God. Throughout the Bible, believers have fasted from food and spent time in prayer rather than eating.
This is a different type of fast, but one that can be used to focus on God and the strengthening of our bodies, all the same.
If you’re wondering what in the world you’ll eat, consider these 3 Detox Recipes to start. They fit well into The Daniel Fast and are flavorful, detoxifying, and nourishing.
The Daniel Fast is a great way to start the New Year with a focus on the health of your body and your relationship with God. Get prepared and start The Daniel Fast this New Year!