Saturday, January 7, 2012

Concerning the Daniel Fast

In January, my family sets aside 21 days for fasting and prayer to start the new year off right. Traditionally, we do what is called the Daniel fast. So exactly is it?

Do you remember the story in Daniel when he asked not to have to eat the King's delicacies but asked rather to eat only fruit, vegetables, and grains? (Daniel 1:11-16) That is the fast! It is simply going without sugar, dairy, meat, processed foods, and other 'delicacies' for 21 days. Over the years, our family has gotten pretty fancy with our recipes (I'll be sharing some of those throughout the month) but the simpler the better. It's a time to put aside the things that our body craves (mostly sugar) and focus our time on God instead of what's going in our mouths.
We replace traditional milk with rice and almond milk (the unsweetened kind). Our diet has a lot of lentils for iron and beans for protein as well as nut butters like peanut and almond (also unsweetened). We try to stay away from preservatives and anything fried is out of the question! Potatoes are good for starch, but not instant potatoes which hardly have any of the original spud left in it. Soups and all fruit smoothies are always good! And though it's expensive, coconut milk is good as well as good for you. Soy is fine for the fast, but after all the horrible health issues it can cause, we have cut it out of our diet completely in the past couple of years. It helps to look up vegan recipes which pack a lot of protein and nutrients without including meat and usually without dairy either.
However, going without the vitamins and minerals that meat and dairy provide can be hard on the body. If, at any time, one of us gets to feeling poorly or we are limited in our physical or mental abilities, we'll add something such as an egg or fish to a meal to keep us healthy. This isn't something to risk your health on!

Personally, this fast is something that I look forward to every year. It is rejuvenating and always a great time with the Lord. It's healthy for your spirit and your body!

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