The Daniel Fast: 21 days
My goal for January was to eat more vegetables. On January 6th I decided that I would join Transformation Church during their 21 days of prayer and fasting with the Daniel Fast. I figured this would give me a three fold benefit: spiritual growth, managing my physique, and eating more vegetables.
What is the Daniel Fast
Daniel Fast dietary restrictions include no dairy, meat, sugar, artificial sugars, yeast, juice, alcohol, and a few more items. Basically you can eat grass and air as you pray. It is recorded that Daniel fasted from food once while with King Nebuchadnezzar for 10 days and once while weeping the vision that terrified him for 3 weeks, aka 21 days. Those who choose to participate in the Daniel Fast give up the foods listed above and/or other activities like being on social media, complaining, etc. There are many alternatives to fasting but the route I took was for 21 days I would restrict my intake for every meal and not get on twitter.
For 8 days I was doing well. Praying, in the Word, and sticking to the dietary restrictions of the Daniel Fast. But day 9 changed everything. While I wasn’t hysterically uncomfortable I could tell my body was not happy with such an abrupt change. So I added a few pieces of meat to balance out my symptoms. After that moment I struggled with saying no throughout the fasting period, but did my best to stay the course.
What I did not expect was to enjoy figuring out what meals to eat. Personally, I have never been a fan of cooking. It takes me forever to make a simple meal and I don’t fully understand the science of seasoning. But the entirety of the 19 days (I cut out on the fast two days early) I was meal prepping and enjoying it.
Why did I Stop the Fasting
I stopped the Daniel Fast on day 19 vs day 21 because I realized I was continuing to day 21 just to say I did it. Going to day 21 wasn’t about obedience to God for me, it was about pride. Gotta finish what I started. So I ended the dietary portion of fasting on day 19 but continued with prayer and reading scripture.
Stopping the dietary portion so abruptly gave my body a shock, similar to my day 9 experience. For three days I could not eat just anything. I would look at something my mind wanted and it’s almost like my body would say “that’s for you, not me.” My body had become accustomed to the Daniel Fast dietary restrictions. And every time I wanted something that was too greasy or sugary the Pepto-Bismol theme song would come to mind “nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea. Hey Pepto-Bismol!”
Grab the Daniel Fast meal plan now!
What should I eat now?
The first two days I tried eating my “regular” meals. I ate in small portions because I could sense that my body wasn’t a fan of my food choices. To appease my new found appetite I decided to continue eating similar meals as the Daniel Fast. So day three I had quick oatmeal and a banana for breakfast, veggie burger with fries for lunch, and brown rice, black beans, corn, rotel, and shrimp with blue corn chips for dinner. These meals are not Daniel Fast approved, but they were similar enough to satisfy my cravings and avoid a night with Pepto.
While I’m not a fan of losing weight, as I’m already pretty tiny, I could stand to tone up in all areas. On day 7 or 8 I noticed the physical difference from the fast. I realized that I could fully button my work pants that I hadn’t been able to fit for a few months. I wore those work pants the week before, unbuttoned with a large sweater to cover. Look, it costs too much to purchase a new wardrobe to compensate for my slight weight gain, so I make it work. Being able to button my favorite pair of slacks made me enjoy the dietary restrictions even more.
I buttoned my pants and was able to sit without feeling like I was suffocating. I didn’t visually notice that I had lost any weight, but the pants fitting speaks for itself. At that moment I decided that I would continue a clean eating plan even after the fast ended. My body had experienced a major change simply by improving my food intake. I wasn’t working out at the time, mainly due to laziness, but also because I was afraid that my body couldn’t withstand such a drastic diet change as well as rigorous physical activity.
Personal Lessons Were Learned
Beyond the physical, I learned a number of personal lessons during this Daniel Fast as well. I depend on my own strength more than I do God or anyone else. And I like to finish what I started even if it’s not meant to be. I can write an entire book on the moment where these two habits have gotten me in a bind.
Being a Christian who doesn’t rely on God for the strength to move forward in tough circumstances is what we call delusional. Having a support system that is ready and willing to help, but never asking or telling them when I am in need because “I got this”? Again, delusional. And best of all, sticking things out just because I said I would at some point, even when the roof is caving in and the entire place is on fire? You guessed it, delusional!
Now, I call myself delusional as a tease, not in truth. Please talk nice to yourself, I will do the same.
Back to my point. Learning to trust in God is the only New Years Resolution I put on my list. There was no time wasted. The entirety of the fast I was confronted with decisions and feelings that forced me to act on that resolution. I find it ironic that my feelings were ‘in a dump’ up to day 18 of the fast.
I’m certain that was no coincidence. In the midst of my ‘dump’ I showed up for family, friends, and myself. I made every meal with joy and waited in anticipation to read the next scripture and journal my journey. I was so excited to share my experiences with those around me and hear about theirs. Basically, my spiritual journey did not miss a beat. I reminded myself that the faith that I have is not based on the feelings that can lift me up or weigh me down.
Purpose and Meaning
During this Daniel Fast I was searching for my purpose and meaning of life. I kept being reminded that there is nothing new for God to share with me. I already know that I will help others by sharing my journey with health and healing. All I have to do is accept that this is my path and the doors will be opened for me.
Personal development is by far my favorite DIY project. I am grateful to know that there is so much room for me to grow. One of the main areas I will focus on now are my eating habits as well as my physical activity. As of now I have accomplished my January goal for eating more vegetables. For February I will continue my veggie path and incorporate hitting 10k steps per day. I will track my progress by wearing my Fitbit watch. There are other more affordable health trackers as well!
Get Your Calendar
If you would like a calendar that allows you to create a new goal every month and has a reflection section for the end of 2020 then check out this blog post.
It’s officially the close of the first month in 2020. What were your resolutions? Comment below and tell me how you are doing with your goals!