Happy New Year! Today, my church begins a corporate fast. Everyone in the congregation is encouraged to participate. If you have never started your new year with a fast, I highly recommend it! In his book titled “Fasting”, Jentezen Franklin writes, “Fasting keeps you sensitive to His Spirit, enabling you to live holy.” Our church will be participating in a 21-day Daniel Fast, which is the most commonly used type of partial fast. (The term “partial fast” meaning that some food is ingested.) The Daniel Fast stems from Daniel 10: 2, 3 in the Bible, in which Daniel is under Babylonian captivity during the exile. He says, “In those days, I, Daniel, was in mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.” A Daniel fast is not just for a time of mourning, but it represents an opportunity to cleanse one’s body from impurities that build up over time, and also cleanses one’s spirit so that we can hear the voice of God more clearly. It is an opportuinity to demonstrate to God that we are more interested in the things of His kingdom than the things of this earth. The bodily benefits of fasting are natural side effects, but should not be the main goal of a fast. I must note that a fast is not a diet, it’s not a starvation plan for weight-loss purposes, and it is not merely going on a “cleanse” to lose weight or reap physical benefits.
During the Christmas season, most Christians desire to grow closer to the Lord and to meditate on the ultimate gift of Jesus Christ, given for all mankind. However, the hecticness of the season can sometimes thwart our efforts. What better way to begin the new year, than by seeking to grow closer to our God, and allowing ourselves to hear His voice, which will give us the direction that we need for the coming year? God honors fasting and a heart that is seeking Him. Only make sure that as you fast, you allow yourself the opportunity to listen and to hear. Perhaps limit your internet and television time, and increase your study and prayer time. Fast from certain types of food, but feast on God’s Word! Fasting as a couple, a family, or a congregation goes a long way toward building unity. Who doesn’t want a healthier new year, and who doesn’t feel the desire to be healthier after Thanksgiving and Christmas feasting? A fast gives a healthy kick-start to the new year while helping us to be strenghtened spiritually to face the challenges that 2011 will bring.
If you are not accustomed to fasting or have not participated in this particular type of fast, or if you have a health condition, you may want to check with your physician before beginning. Regular routine is generally a source of comfort for most humans, and disrupting yours may result in mood swings or feelings of emotional vulnerabiltiy. Upping the intake of fiber may cause slight stomach discomfort. I encourage you to press through these side effects; I believe it’s more than worth it. Below please find a list of acceptable foods and also a list of foods to avoid while on a Daniel fast. This list is borrowed from http://danielfast.wordpress.com/daniel-fast-food-list/, and I recommend this web page for links to other helpful Daniel Fast information as well. (I would also recommend procuring a copy of Jentezen Franklin’s book and studying it during your fast.) The idea of the Daniel Fast is to incorporate pure foods into your diet, and to avoid any chemicals. Read the labels of any boxed or canned foods to ensure that you are not ingesting any chemicals.
Many blessings for a healthy & happy new year!
Foods to include in your diet during the Daniel Fast
All fruits. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Fruits include but are not limited to 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
All vegetables. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Vegetables include but are not limited to 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, veggie burgers are an option if you are not allergic to soy.
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 and popcorn.
All nuts and seeds, including but not limited to sunflower seeds, cashews, peanuts, sesame. Also nut butters including peanut butter.
All legumes. These can be canned or dried. 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.
All quality oils including but not limited to olive, canola, grape seed, peanut, and sesame.
Beverages: spring water, distilled water or other pure waters.
Other: tofu, soy products, vinegar, seasonings, salt, herbs and spices.
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 leavened bread including Ezekiel Bread (it contains yeast and honey) and baked goods.
All refined and processed food products including but not limited to artificial flavorings, food additives, chemicals, white rice, white flour, and 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, herbal teas, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, and alcohol.