The Daniel Fast is a biblical fast introduced in, you guessed it, the book of Daniel. Today I’m going to unpack the Daniel fast and its implications for our lives.
In the book of Daniel, we learn about King Nebuchadnezzar’s siege on the land of Judah. Nebuchadnezzar asked for healthy men to be trained for 3 years. Among the men he chose was Daniel.
The king placed the men on a regimented diet and gave them “a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table”. But Daniel did not want to eat the King’s food. He asked to eat a different diet. As proof that Daniel’s diet would stand up against the king’s food, he proposed an experiment:
“‘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 of what you see.'” (Daniel 1:12-13)
We know that the word “vegetables” has a broader definition than we think of today. “Vegetables” included fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains. So for ten days, Daniel and his men ate a diet consisting of these plant foods while the King’s men ate the King’s food: meat, wine, and other choice foods.
“At the end of the ten days, [Daniel’s men] looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice of food and the want they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.” (Daniel 1:15-16)
Because Daniel and his men refused to take part in King Nebuchadnezzar’s plans and turn the King into an idol, God kept them alive. In fact, he gave them more strength than the other men. When Nebuchadnezzar evaluated them, “he found none equal to Daniel” (Daniel 1:19).
Daniel’s story teaches us two lessons:
Some people choose to eat the way Daniel ate as a 30 day diet or spiritual fast. This fast can have very strict rules, besides those presented in the book of Daniel.
For example, no beverages besides water are allowed.
The fast can be used as either a diet or a spiritual tool, and I think both of these options are great and can be used to regain your health and/or strengthen your faith. But why stop at 30 days? If Daniel ate fruits and vegetables for only 10 days and experienced noticeable strength improvements, what would happen if we adopted a similar (but slightly less restrictive) diet as our lifestyle?
So. Many. Good. Things.
Not only would we live healthier, we would strengthen our bodies, our minds, and most importantly our faith. We could gain discipline, self-control, and virtue. In joining Daniel, we could live in a way that emulates one of the most important and faithful Biblical men. We could spend less time thinking about fancy, unhealthy, choice foods, and spend more time in prayer and more time living our faith.
As a plant-based Catholic, I choose to follow in Daniel’s footsteps by trusting in God and eating simple, nourishing plant foods. I hope you’ll join me and rejoice in your newfound strength.
a daughter of the Lord who eats lots of plants. I’m glad you’re here! On The Plant-Based Catholic I bring you nutritious, plant-based (vegan) recipes, explore the relationship between food and faith, and share my unique lifestyle.
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