Let’s take a look at the Daniel Fast food list, what is allowed on the fast, and what should be avoided.
By Guest Contributor Nannette Elkins
If you are contemplating trying The Daniel Fast, maybe you are wondering where it all began and what did some guy named Daniel have to do with it? We will look at where this relatively new and now popular fast has come from and then we will be particular at what is allowed and what is not acceptable when embarking on this fast.
In the first chapter of the Book of Daniel, we read that Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were recruited for King Nebuchadnezzar’s training program while they were in exile. The Babylonians were used to consuming the richest of foods and their meat had likely been sacrificed to idols, which was definitely forbidden to the Jewish people.
Not wanting to be defiled by the rich food the Babylonians feasted on, Daniel requested that the four of them be given only vegetables and water for ten days. At the end of that time, the King could decide if they were in better shape and better health than those that had been on the heavy and rich diet.
Of course, when it was all over, Daniel and his three friends proved to be much healthier and it was agreed they could continue to eat the way they preferred! Because of his wisdom, Daniel found favor and was appointed an advisor to King Nebuchadnezzar. It was at that time he began to interpret the King’s dreams.
Later on, in the tenth chapter, Daniel had a vision of a great war that caused him to mourn and fast for three weeks. This is where the Church today has taken what we now call The Daniel Fast. The Prophet Daniel ate only plant-based foods for three weeks. Many churches and individuals pattern their fast after him in what they eat and some even the timing of the 21 days.
Naturally, God doesn’t mention the Church participating in a Daniel Fast particularly. But He did expect us to fast. The Daniel Fast is a great way to introduce fasting into your life, to learn to go on an extended fast and then eventually work your way to fasting without food completely. Don’t panic! That is another post for another day! This pattern after the prophet is a great way to deny ourselves pleasure from foods that we love so much. If done for the right reasons, God will honor it and we can draw closer to Him; the ultimate goal!
Let’s look at the approved food list for the Daniel Fast of this century. There are no rules, per se, but guidelines that most follow when participating in the fast.
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The Daniel Fast Food List
Foods included and allowed in your diet during the Daniel Fast:
All fruits. Fruits include, but are not limited to: apples, apricots, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cantaloupe, cherries, cranberries, figs, grapefruit, grapes, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemons, limes, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, pears, pineapples, plums, prunes, raisins, raspberries, strawberries, tangelos, tangerines, watermelon. You may eat them fresh, frozen, dried, canned; just be sure there is no added sugar.
All vegetables. You can consume your vegetables fresh, frozen, juiced or canned! Vegetables include, but are not limited to: artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chili peppers, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, ginger root, greens, kale, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, okra, onions, parsley, potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, scallions, spinach, sprouts, squashes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, watercress, yams, zucchini.
All whole grains. It is advisable to read the labels when it comes to grains, so you are not consuming added sugar on the fast. Whole wheat, brown rice, millet, quinoa, oats, barley, grits, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat tortillas, rice cakes and popcorn are all allowable foods.
All nuts and seeds. You can have sunflower seeds, cashews, peanuts, sesame and any other member of the nut and seed family. Nut milk and nut butters are also allowed, including all natural peanut butter with no added sugar (you get used to it and it is really good!)
All legumes. Dried beans, pinto beans, split peas, lentils, black eyed peas, kidney beans, black beans, cannellini beans, navy beans and white beans, canned or dried.
All good quality oils such as canola, grape seed, olive, peanut, sesame and vegetable are acceptable.
Beverages. Water is the beverage of choice when fasting, including spring water or even distilled water if you like. You will likely make some smoothies but these will be meal replacements and using unsweetened almond, cashew or soy milk.
Other: All herbs and spices are allowed, as are soy products, vinegar and tofu. Be careful with the salt!
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Foods NOT to EAT on the Daniel Fast:
All meat and animal products. This includes fish.
All dairy products.
All sweeteners. Sugar, raw sugar, syrups, molasses, and cane juice are not allowed on the Daniel Fast. Honey is a toss-up here. Some do consume it, seeing it as a natural food. Others consider it a pleasant food that Daniel would not have eaten so we leave it up to the individual.
All leavened bread is excluded. This includes any Ezekiel Bread that contains yeast and all baked goods, commercial or homemade.
All processed foods. Artificial flavorings, food additives, chemicals, white rice, white flour, and foods that contain artificial preservatives are forbidden.
All deep fried foods. Examples are potato chips, French fries, and of course any breaded, fried foods.
All solid fats. This consists of shortening, margarine, lard and foods high in fat. Remember in the approved list, quality, healthy oils are allowed!
Beverages. Coffee, tea, herbal teas, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, and alcohol are all prohibited on the Daniel Fast.
More Considerations For the Daniel Fast Food List
As we have said many times, every fast is personal and some are very strict in their interpretation and then others do not cook, do not have time to cook or maybe do not have access to certain things and so they have to adapt and make it work for them.
We do not judge another’s fast!
For example, some use Ezekiel Bread but it does contain yeast, which is leaven, and that would be forbidden on the normal Daniel Fast. Whole grains are totally different. If it contains WHEAT FLOUR, it is NOT a whole grain. Read the ingredient list. You are looking for whole wheat, rolled oats, whole corn as some of the first ingredients. What you do NOT want to see listed is yeast, sugar, wheat flour, flour, high fructose corn syrup, etc.
If you have access to an organic or health specialty grocery, you might find some Daniel Fast approved foods such as whole grain flatbreads and tortillas. They are wonderful for making veggie sandwiches. Just be sure you are reading the labels and see that the ingredients are allowed on the fast.
But even though the physical benefits of a Daniel Fast are wonderful, the spiritual benefits are what we are concentrating on. We are not fasting to get God’s attention, change His mind or manipulate Him into doing something for us. If we are fasting, and going to all of this trouble to change our mealtime, but we are not praying? We will have wasted 10 or 21 days of our lives.
Fasting without prayer is called a diet.
The purpose of ANY FAST is that it is a SACRIFICE to the individual; denying ourselves pleasures and things we enjoy so we can spend time with our God in prayer and the Word.
It is then that He will speak and we will hear. Isaiah 58.
Nannette Elkins has served in various ministry positions, most recently as a pastor’s wife and missionary to Eastern Europe. She is the author of The Daniel Fast Devotional and blogs at HopeintheHealing.com. Mom to the Fantastic Five, Nana to Lark, Norah and Lilia, she lives happily with her Sweetheart of 39 years in Tennessee.
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