www.danielfastresearch.com is dedicated to presenting scientific evidence pertaining to the health and spiritual benefits of Biblically-based Christian fasting, with a specific focus on food modification in accordance with the Daniel Fast.
Fasting, although not a firm Biblical command, was a common ritual during the days that Jesus walked this earth, and is practiced by many Christians today in an attempt to enhance their relationship with God through a period of focused “listening” to His guiding Word. While numerous health benefits can be realized when adopting a structured program of fasting, the primary objective of a true Christian fast is always to strengthen one’s relationship with the Lord.
Over the past several years, the discipline of fasting has experienced renewed interest, with many Christians adopting an approach similar to that of the prophet Daniel. This “Daniel Fast” has received considerable attention in recent years, with thousands of individuals worldwide partaking in the usual 21 day fast period, often commencing at the start of the New Year.
The concept of a modern day Daniel Fast comes from Daniel 1:8-14 (NIV),
“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.”
In essence, this was an early example of a controlled scientific experiment, in which one group (Daniel and his three friends) received the “treatment” (vegetables; or in other Biblical translations “pulse” or “food grown from seed”) and the other group (the king’s young men) received the “control” (sometimes in clinical trials referred to as a usual care condition). The guard’s subjective assessment of their physical state of health served as the “statistical analysis”, with the treatment of vegetables and water clearly outperforming the king’s usual diet of fatty meats, rich food, and wine (p<0.05). This is indicated in Daniel 1:15-16 (NIV), as Daniel and his three young friends appeared “healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.”
The above scenario would be akin to a large scale experimental drug trial being stopped prematurely because the investigators noted in an early analysis that the treatment group experienced far better results as compared to the control group. Due to this finding, it would be considered unethical to continue with the trial and retain a portion of research participants within the control group, while knowing clearly that they are missing out on the benefits of the experimental treatment. In the passage above (Daniel 1:15-16), the guard clearly noted a difference between the physical health of Daniel and his three friends, as compared to the other young men—and he made an executive decision to put all men on a diet of vegetables and water.
An additional reference to this fast is found in Daniel 10:2-3 (NIV),
“At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.”
Considering the above passages, coupled with the fact that the word “vegetables” is translated as “pulse” (food grown from seed) in some texts, a Daniel Fast is most commonly undertaken for 21 days and food choices are limited to essentially fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and oil. The only beverage consumed on the Daniel Fast is water, also taken from the reference in Daniel 1:12. The plan resembles a vegan diet; however, a Daniel Fast is more stringent, in that aside from the exclusion of all animal products, there are no processed foods, white flour products, preservatives, additives, sweeteners, flavorings, caffeine, or alcohol allowed.
For more complete details pertaining to the Daniel Fast, the allowed foods, recipes, and inspiration related to completing a successful fast, you are encouraged to read The Daniel Cure: The Daniel Fast Way to Vibrant Health (Zondervan, 2013). You might also consider reading “The Daniel Fast: Feed Your Soul, Strengthen Your Spirit and Renew Your Body”, an excellent resource written by Susan Gregory.
Due to the fact that an abundance of high quality information is already available pertaining to how to fast, what to eat, what not to eat, daily devotionals, and other related material, www.danielfastresearch.com makes no attempt to provide such information. Rather, this site is solely dedicated to providing scientific evidence pertaining to the health and spiritual benefits of Biblically-based Christian fasting, with a specific focus on the Daniel Fast.