The Daniel Fast Pt. 2

Season 5
Episode Number
Release Date
September 2, 2023
8 But Dani’el resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food or the wine he drank, so he asked the chief officer to be excused from defiling himself. 12 “Please! Try an experiment on your servants — for ten days have them give us only vegetables to eat and water to drink. 📚 Daniel 1:8,12 CJB


I did the Daniel Fast for the first time about 5 years ago.[1] Despite having completed the fast a few times since then, the my most recent fast was very different from the other experiences I had and I want to discuss it with you.

What is the Daniel Fast?

The Daniel Fast, to be honest, means something different to everyone you talk to. It’s loosely based on two totally different fasts Daniel embarks on in the book of Daniel. The first fast is described in chapter 1; the second fast is discussed in Daniel 10.

📄 Daniel 1
📄 Daniel 10
📏 Length of the Fast
3 years
21 days
🙅🏾‍♀️ Restricted Foods
Only consumed vegetables and water
No meat, no wine
💡 Reason for the Fast
Avoiding unclean foods (foods sacrificed to pagan gods) provided by the king
Mourning a vision he received

People generally do either 10 days (taken from the 10 day trial period Daniel asks for in Daniel 1:12) or 21 days (based on Daniel 10). Both times Daniel abstained from meat, but people generally suggest only drinking water whether you do a 10 or 21 day fast. Other additions people add are abstaining from dairy and processed food—I even stumbled across one person who was abstaining from salt!

The first time I did the Daniel fast, I noticed this subjectivity, but it didn’t bother me. At the time I was simply fasting because I had never fasted before and it seemed like something I should do. Since I already don’t eat meat and trend toward plant-based by not consuming dairy (unless its cheese 🤤), these extra restrictions were a welcome challenge.

However, this last time, I found myself annoyed. There were three primary reasons why:

  1. Because I actually had a spiritual reason to fast—and a large part of that was my disdain for my current kitchen—and I had cut out substitutes (so no almond milk in place of real milk or homemade veggie burgers in place of beyond burgers), I actually was struggling a bit to find things to eat.
  2. In my original episode on this, I talked about how fasts should be personal. It is pointless for a person who hates coffee to fast from coffee. Daniel’s fasts were specific to his situations and were personal to him. For a fast to impact us we have to be giving up something that matters to us personally.
  3. One of my biggest pet peeves is people adding to and taking from the Bible, thus causing misinterpretation. Following Daniel 10, you could argue quiet a few things depending on how you interpret the text. The KJV says Daniel avoided “pleasant bread,” while the CJB translates this as satisfying food. The word translated bread in the KJV could mean food (in general) but of the 297 times its used in the Hebrew text, it’s only translated as general food 21 times.[2] If it was only intended to mean bread, commonly avoided foods like chocolate and sugar aren’t actually excluded. Similarly, while it says he abstained from wine, it doesn’t say he abstained from tea or juice. It doesn’t even say he abstained from dairy. Conversely, sometimes “meat” means general food—what if he ate nothing for 21 days? (Don’t worry, I checked, the word used here is specific to flesh.)

Things I Changed This Time

All other Daniel fast’s I’ve done, I have used almond milk and coconut milk yogurt (as long as they are devoid of sugar) as usual. Granted, overnight oats sans sweetener or vanilla extract (it contains alcohol unless you find the halal[3] version) is not tasty, it still left an option that I was able to prepare ahead of time and take with me to work. Removing that option made it very difficult to decide on breakfast.

The other major change I had in this fast is that I was fasting for a reason. All my other fasts have been more or less about discipline and the idea that believes should be fasting. This time however, I was trying to snap myself out of the unnecessary pity party I’ve been having since I relocated.

I’m not a fan of my current apartment—there’s a crack in the front door so my electric bill is higher than when I had a house in 100+ weather with vaulted ceilings and more square footage; the seal around the freezer/fridge is broken so my food doesn’t keep well; the kitchen is a windowless corner and has black cabinets and appliances so it’s pitch black even during peak sunlight hours; the washer and dryer don’t work; one of the rooms has smelled like cigarette smoke since I moved in; and more… Because of this, I’ve been putting everything (podcasts, journaling, YouTube videos, etc) off for when I move.

When I saw a homeless woman begging for money as I was driving I was reminded of a post I wrote a while back called

. Sure, there are a lot of valid reason why I don’t like my apartment but I have a roof over my head and food in my belly! If I can’t praise The Most High in a low that is still a high for a large portion of the world, my faith is broken. What would I do in the end times when true believers are forced to flee for their lives? What would I have done during the Exodus when the Israelites were sleeping in tents for 40 years?

I had been planning all summer to Daniel fast of thankfulness when I move to my new place in the fall. But when I looked at the homeless woman, I realized that like Daniel, I was in mourning and should do it now. (I probably should have done it at the beginning of the move to be honest.)

A New Experience

Because I was fasting for a reason this go ‘round, I actually saw change. By the third day of the fast, I felt more energy. I proved that even though I dislike the kitchen in my apartment, I can in fact cook in it. I even managed to meal prep a whole weeks worth of food after the fast had ended—something I haven’t done since I moved. I’m really happy with how this fast turned out.

References and Footnotes

  1. 🎙️
    The Daniel Fast
  2. Strongs H3899. לֶחֶם”. Blue Letter Bible; visited September 2023

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