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2020 is reason enough to hit the reset button on your mind and spirit and a Daniel Fast is a great way to do it. I had some other reasons as well….I just completed a two year marathon in divorce court, sold my house while still living in it with 4 dogs and 2 boys, jumped back into the work force after a decade of volunteer work as a homemaker and homeschooler, and lost one of my precious siblings to cancer. Yes, the last two years have left my spirit like a torn and tattered pair of leather work boots with the soles worn so thin and a few holes where a particularly large toe would stick out like a hitchhiker in the rain. Exhausted and numb.
In fact, it wasn’t just my mind & spirit that needed renewing…my body had taken quite the hit as well. Horrible habits of drive-thru, easy fixing and grab-n-go style of eating became my new norm. Not to mention the stress that ran through my mind and therefore through my body. Yes, I needed the highest form of self-care…taking this self to the Father for an overhaul. I knew the typical 3 day, 10 day or even 21 day fast wasn’t going to break the toxic habits and strongholds. But 40 days might.
What is the Daniel Fast?
The Daniel Fast comes from scriptures Daniel 1:12 and Daniel 10:2-21. In sum, the King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, chose Daniel and his cronies to teach them the ways of Babylon and have them serve him. He ordered his chief to assign the men a daily amount of choice food and wine, but Daniel did not want to ‘defile’ himself with the King’s food.
"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. At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young mean who ate the royal food. [Daniel 1:12-15]
What foods to avoid on the Daniel Fast
- Animal products including any meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy products
- Processed foods of any kind (chips, crackers, white flour, white rice)
- Bread anything including yeast
- Sweeteners including sugar, stevia, maple syrup and honey
- Drinks including coffee, tea, sweetened beverages, soda, and alcohol
What food to include on the Daniel Fast
- Vegetables (fresh, frozen, canned, or dried): All vegetables
- Fruits (fresh, frozen, canned or dried): All fruits
- Whole Grains and legumes: including brown rice, quinoa, corn, wild rice, bulgur wheat, oats, popcorn, and all legumes including beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas.
- Healthy liquid oils: including olive, canola, corn, grapeseed, peanut, sunflower, safflower
- Nuts & seeds: including nut butters with no added sugars
So basically, a vegan diet minus any sweeteners, alcohol or caffein. It also means meal prep, planning and lots of cooking. If you’re not use to cooking A LOT, then planning ahead will be absolutely essential to the success of your fast.
Daniel Fast Recipes that are now staples in my menu!
A Couple Cooks was my exclusive online resource for Daniel Fast recipes that kept me within the boundaries of restrictions but also introduced me to a totally fresh, healthy and flavorful way of cooking that kept me in the game all 40 days. This was my all-time favorite…Easy Sheet Pan Dinner
Tips/Tricks that helped me
First, prepare for the worst and hope for the best! No matter what I do to plan the day, something always happens out of my control and there goes my time and plan right out the door. So…make sure you have some food items that you can grab in a pinch like a bag of almonds, peanut butter (the kind with only peanuts and sea salt in the ingredients), hummus and veggies (already washed and cut and ready to grab). and fruit.
Second, make sure your friends and family know what you are doing so they can encourage you along the way and not inadvertently tempt you by dropping by with a dozen Krispie Kremes!. I made sure to get together with each of my friends, before starting my fast, for a final feast and to share with them my plan. They were all so encouraging and played a significant role in keeping me going. I know the scripture that talks about not telling everyone you’re fasting, but that scripture is actually saying…don’t wear your fast like a badge of honor. Go about it humbly and don’t look for attention.
Third, keep a journal. You’ll want to remember the conversations you have with God during this time and more importantly, you’ll want to remember what revelations you receive.
Finally, every time you begin to talk yourself into quitting, tell God your plan. He is quick to respond with the perfect encouragement to keep you going. At one point, I forgot my “why” and I was knee deep into justifying quitting at around 24 days in. I told God, “I think I’m done. I want to eat the same meal as my kiddos again.” I literally heard in my spirit, “yes you could and that would be just fine and it would probably taste so good…or you could keep going and receive the blessings that will taste so much sweeter.” So, I kept going and I’m so glad that I did!!
My personal journey…
As you can imagine, the first week was a blur. Mostly because of the detoxing my body was going through, but also because it took that long before I got into the flow. The flow of thinking about everything going into my body and acknowledge all that was happening to me physically. The flowing of turning my attention to Jesus and seeking Him when my body was screaming like a two year old in a candy store for the lollipop bigger than my head!
I got hungry.
I craved sweets like crazy.
I had real symptoms of detox.
I experienced extreme foggy brain.
I wanted to quit so many times.
Then, around day 10, the fog began to dissipate, my body leveled out, the cravings were calming and the real work began. I had a lot of things I needed to bring before the Lord and a lot of questions I needed to have answered. I needed Him to help me break some horrible habits I had allowed in my thinking. Habits! In other words, things that had become second nature. Things that had become paved pathways in my physical brain. Habits of thinking that were like heavily traveled trails through the terrain of my mind. It was going to take seriously huge equipment to renovate this landscape! Bulldozers, excavators, diggers and probably a wood chipper for those pesky memories that just won’t leave!
I also needed Him to show me what I wasn’t seeing, the habits I was unaware of, the wrong thinking I had accepted as right thinking, the quiet fears that disguise themselves as other things like sarcastic humor or pessimism. Anyone? Am I alone here?
I needed Him to show me where I was standing in the way of doing the things He has placed me here to do or being the person He created me to be. I needed Him to usher me back into the Daddy-Daughter embrace that once was. I wanted to draw near to Him.
What He actually did…was draw near to me and gave me eyes to see. He bent down toward me!
He showed me things I was really worrying myself about (that I didn’t even realize) and how He is in complete control of all of them. Like my kiddos and their relationship with Him. He gave me the sweetest moments with my boys in the past 40 days that reassured me that the seed of truth is in them and it is in fact being nurtured.
He showed me that I am surrounded with people that are for me and not against me. One particular friend turned out to be my accountability partner and she single handedly talked me off the edge of quitting the fast more than a few times. Thank you Laura!
He took me on a journey of my memories of the past two years and showed me how He was present for it all. He showed me how each battle was specially designed to strengthen me both spiritually and physically, humble me and prove how trustworthy God really is. He gave me a new filter to view all that has happened and reassured me that if I continue to fight the good fight, none of it will be in vain.
Well, I would like to report that I intend to stay sugar free and eating as clean as I have learned to in the past 40 days, but I really really really miss having coffee with creamer. Seriously! It’s a quality of life thing.
But, I am not willing to go back to where I was 40 days ago: not in my headspace (thought life), not with my body (eating habits) nor in my spirit (numb and complacent). I want to honor the struggles and battles I have fought in the past 40 days with a promise to myself and God that I am worth it…HE IS WORTH IT.
I’ll continue to be kind to myself and make healthy choices, but leave room to celebrate with a toast or a piece of cake. I’ll continue to seek out the Lord diligently and daily, because this ride is going to get bumpy or at least I hope it does.
I can’t imagine that He would wire me the way He has to live a quiet, peaceful lifestyle. I have been told many times that I’m “wired for sound.” Not sure exactly what that means, but I suspect it has something to do with intensity and energy. I ride on high octane and my energy is off the charts. I love adrenalin and making a splash. My default is to go against the grain and swim upstream.
We are all wired for something. For me…Am I even living for the Lord if I’m not holding on to Him for dear life like a grasshopper on the windshield of the modified vehicle in Mad Max flying down the dusty, dirt roads of chaos?
My gift to you…
For having made it through this entire post, I have a give away just for you. So, I’m giving away one copy of A Couple Cooks: Pretty Simple Cooking Cook Book to one very special person. In order to get your name in the drawing for this fabulous cook book, just enter your email address into the side bar and hit the Subscribe button. You’ll receive an email to confirm your subscription and that’s it! Your name is in the drawing! I will announce the winner of the drawing on my Facebook Page and, of course, by email on November 3, 2020. I expect that day to be historic.
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