Leona and I spent the last 21 days on “The Daniel Fast” as we have been praying about a number of things, particularly our next steps in ministry. It was not a “diet,” but an intentional fast for the purpose of reconnecting with God and hearing His voice more clearly. I have some insights about that aspect of the last three weeks but I first wanted to share a few thoughts about the fast itself, and my experience with it.
1. “The Daniel Fast” is essentially an eating/not eating plan based on the story of Daniel and his friends from Daniel 1:6-16. There are several versions of “The Daniel Fast” that can be found online, but essentially they involve eating mostly fruits and vegetables and staying away from all meats, sugar, caffeine and anything with preservatives. We used a version that Elevation Church used a few years ago that allowed whole grains. The plan we used can be viewed/downloaded here: DanielFast.elevationchurch.org/DanielFast.pdf [PDF File].
2. When we first started the fast, it didn’t really feel like we were fasting. We were eating a lot of food, so it didn’t seem like we were doing anything too dramatic. By week two, that changed for me. I was really starting to miss some of my favorite foods and snacks. But I also started to notice that I just felt better, overall. Something about losing the sugar and preservatives, adding nutritious fruits and vegetables and experiencing that general sense of “purging” just made me feel … well, better. Not sure how else to describe that. And of course, as any doctor or nutritionist will tell you, that effect just makes sense.
3. It was not our goal, or why we were doing the fast but a nice “side effect” of our experience is that Leona and I both lost over 12 pounds in the last three weeks. If you saw pictures of me at my son’s wedding this summer, you know I needed to lose that spare tire, anyway! When I saw those photos, I was startled to see that I had begun to resemble Alfred Hitchcock. 🙂 Now obviously, if I return this week to eating exactly like I did before the fast, I’m going to gain all of that back and then some. But we’ve decided to let this be a kick start into a healthier lifestyle going forward. I’m no vegan and will be enjoying easing back into my carnivorous ways, but will be approaching that with a bit more restraint and balance going forward.
4. The hardest part of the fast for me was going without coffee. I knew, however, going into it that the fast would not be as powerful for me if it didn’t really cost me something. You guys know how much I enjoy a good cup of coffee, so it was an obvious thing to set aside as I passionately sought to hear from God during this time. To me, coffee is one of God’s good gifts 🙂 and so I’m enjoying a cup even as this post is being typed. But I intend to continue enjoying it with much more moderation and wisdom from this point forward.
It was a great and important three weeks for us. I have a few insights unrelated to the food and health aspects of the fast that I’ll share in another post.