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The Daniel Fast
12/18/2018 6:06:56 PM by: CL Lawrence

What is a Daniel fast?

        The concept of a Daniel fast comes from Daniel 1:8-14, “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, ‘I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.’

        Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, ‘Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.’ So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.”

Background of the Daniel Fast

        Daniel and his three friends had been deported to Babylon when Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians conquered Judah (2 Kings 24:13-14). Daniel and his three friends were put into the Babylonian court servant “training program.” Part of the program was learning Babylonian customs, beliefs, laws, and practices. The eating habits of the Babylonians were not in complete agreement with the Mosaic Law. As a result, Daniel asked if he and his three friends could be excused from eating the meat (which was likely sacrificed to Babylonian false gods and idols).

        A Daniel fast is eating only fruits and vegetables for a certain amount of time and abstaining from meat products. Some people use a Daniel fast as a dieting method. Some people use a Daniel fast instead of fasting from food entirely. The Bible nowhere commands believers to observe a Daniel fast. As a result, it is a matter of Christian freedom whether to observe a Daniel fast.

The Daniel Fast Food List

  1. Fruits
  2. Vegetables
  3. Grains
  4. Legumes
  5. Nuts and seeds
  6. Drinks

All fruits. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. However, you will fill much better physically if you consume fresh fruit. If you decide on canned fruit, make sure that no sweeteners of preservatives were used in the process. Avoid juiced fruit (if you juice at home), as the released sugars will spike your blood sugar levels too fast. By keeping the fiber you will still enjoy the fruit, while also keeping your body happy.


  • apples
  • apricots
  • bananas
  • blackberries
  • blueberries
  • boysenberries
  • cantaloupe
  • cherries
  • cranberries
  • figs
  • grapefruit
  • grapes
  • guava
  • honeydew melon
  • kiwi
  • lemons
  • limes
  • mangoes
  • nectarines
  • oranges
  • papayas
  • peaches
  • pears
  • pineapples
  • plums
  • prunes
  • raisins
  • raspberries
  • strawberries
  • tangelos
  • tangerines
  • watermelon

Vegetables (fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Same rule would apply to canned vegetables as to that of fruit)

  • all kinds of greens
  • artichokes
  • asparagus
  • beets
  • broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • cabbage
  • carrots
  • cauliflower
  • celery
  • chili peppers
  • collard greens
  • corn
  • cucumbers
  • eggplant
  • garlic
  • ginger root
  • kale
  • leeks
  • lettuce
  • mushrooms
  • mustard greens
  • okra
  • onions
  • parsley
  • potatoes
  • radishes
  • rutabagas
  • scallions
  • spinach
  • sprouts
  • squashes
  • sweet potatoes
  • tomatoes
  • turnips
  • watercress
  • yams
  • zucchini.

All Whole Grains (including but not limited to):

  • whole wheat
  • brown rice
  • millet
  • quinoa
  • oats
  • barley
  • grits
  • whole wheat pasta
  • whole wheat tortillas
  • rice cakes
  • popcorn

All nuts and seeds (including but not limited to):

sunflower seeds, cashews, peanuts, sesame. Also, additive free nut butters including peanut butter, although I highly recommend avoiding peanut butter, unless it is freshly made, as it might be highly processed and roasted oils (as found in roasted nuts) are harmful to our health.

All Legumes These can be canned or dried. If canned, make sure not preservatives or sugars were used.

  • Legumes include but are not limited to:
  • dried beans
  • pinto beans
  • split peas
  • lentils
  • black eyed peas
  • kidney beans
  • black beans
  • cannellini beans
  • white beans.

Beverages: Spring Water, Distilled Water or other pure waters.


  • soy sauce
  • vinegar
  • seasonings
  • salt (sea or Himalayan salt preferred, see below for a detailed explanation), herbs and spices.


Table Salt is highly processed, and most of the times not vegan in nature, which means it has some sort of animal residue in it, due to processing. Oftentimes, to bleach salt it is processed through crushed animals bones. Since it is highly processed it has NO nutritional value and is sure to raise your blood pressure.

As humans we need very little salt in our diet and we regularly consume way too much of it.  This fast will be an opportunity for you to retrain your body to eat healthier… and to feel better!  If you do decide to use salt, buy the kinds still have minerals in it, such as Sea or Himalayan salt.

Foods to Avoid on the Daniel Fast

All meat and animal products (including but not limited to):

  • beef, lamb, pork, poultry, and fish.

All dairy products (including but not limited to):

  • milk, cheese, cream, butter, and eggs.

All sweeteners (including but not limited to):

  •  sugar, raw sugar, honey, syrups, molasses, and cane juice.

All sweet baked goods.

All refined and processed food products including but not:

  • limited to artificial flavorings
  • food additives
  • chemicals
  • white rice
  • white flour
  • foods that contain artificial preservatives

All deep fried foods (including but not limited to):

  • potato chips, French fries, corn chips.

All solid fats including shortening, margarine, lard and foods high in fat.

Beverages including but not limited to:

  • coffee, tea, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, and alcohol.

READ THE LABELS! Foods should be sugar and chemical free. Using boxed whole wheat pasta products, as long as they contain basic ingredients, should be just fine.

Medication & Supplements during the Fast

You should seek the advice of your health care practitioner about medications you might be taking. If you depend on them for any serious reason DO NOT discontinue them without first advising your doctor. Supplements are food for the most part and can be safely taken during Daniel Fast.

Special Note: if you have health issues, please be sure to contact your health professional for advice before committing to any fast. You can print out the list of foods you will be using on the Daniel Fast and take it with you.

For Pregnant and Nursing Mothers

If you are an expectant mother OR if you are nursing, talk to your doctor first.


Grocery stores are heavily processed, so they won’t meet Daniel Fast guidelines. You will find it necessary to make your own meals.  Meal preparation can be very simple, or more complex, depending on how much time you desire to spend in the kitchen. It can be as simple as slicing up some veggies and fruits and snacking on them throughout the day, or more involved if you want to create a very special dinner for yourself and your loved ones.

Meal Planning

You will find it easy to succeed if you plan your meals a few days ahead of time. You can plan them for the entire week. Once you make sure you have all the ingredients you won’t be as tempted to grab foods that you used to consume before the fast to satisfy your hunger.

Preparing your meal plan for the week and buying groceries for it, clean out your cupboards from all of the foods that are not Daniel Fast acceptable–out of sight, hopefully, out of mind. It is much easier to overcome a temptation to have Ben & Jerry’s ice cream when you cannot easily find it in your house. Instead, when you open your fridge you might see an apple or a banana and go for it.

Set a Cooking Day

Another way to save time and avoid temptations is to prepare your meals ahead of time. Use a day when you are not working to wash, chop, cook and refrigerate/freeze your meals for the whole week, or several meals in advance. For example you can make a large pot of soup and refrigerate/freeze portions of it to be eaten throughout the week. It makes it easy to pull it out and warm it up later. You can also prepare all of your salad ingredients, place them into bags or glass containers and refrigerate, so when you want a salad all you would have to do is pull out your containers and quickly assemble a scrumptious salad.

A True Fast

In all things, I would like to remind you that being legalistic about these guidelines is not the best decision.  After all, a true fast happens in the heart of the person fasting—it is much more important than the foods s/he eats. If you end up being stranded somewhere and cannot fulfill the fast guidelines you choose, you will have to eat what you can. Maintaining a heart of worship and humility is going to be what matters in the end. That is the fast that the Lord chooses.

Read Isaiah 58:6-9 (and the whole chapter) (NIV):

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.”

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