Welcome to my Daniel Fast journey, which has undoubtedly been one of my most challenging fasts since I started participating in this fast over a decade ago. Imagine juggling the never-ending needs of two energetic toddlers while embarking on a spiritual journey that would test my faith, discipline, resilience, and commitment to health. It was daunting, it was draining, but most importantly, it was transformative. That journey? The Daniel Fast.
You may be asking, ‘What exactly is the Daniel Fast?’ It’s a practice grounded in biblical history, based on the fasting experiences of the prophet Daniel. Daniel 10:3 states, “I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.” (KJV). It’s a spiritual commitment that bridges the gap between faith and personal health. In this 21-day vegan fast, you will not consume bread with yeast, meat, sweeteners, or fried foods, and alcohol, coffee, and other caffeinated drinks are strictly off-limits.
Join me as I share my trials and triumphs, practical tips, and nutritional guidance from the most challenging Daniel Fast I’ve undertaken to date, and discover how this experience can deepen your faith, provide spiritual reconnection, and give your health a much-needed reboot.
What Made This Year’s Daniel Fast a Challenge?
During my fasting period, I quickly discovered how much patience I needed. Fasting can make you hungry. It tests your willpower, especially when dealing with energetic toddlers. You’d think you’d have a moment to breathe, to focus on the reasons for fasting, but no. Toddlers wait for no one, especially fasting moms.
I vividly remember a day when my little ones asked me to color with them. Seems simple enough? But in my fasting haze, I asked for five minutes to gather my thoughts. But toddler time is different; five minutes may as well be five seconds. What followed was a sea of “Mommy. Mommy. Mommy. Come color.”
At that moment, I was exasperated, cranky, and just needed a break. But then, I took a moment to pause and breathe deeply. I had to reframe what was happening; they didn’t see a fasting mom; they saw their mom, their playmate, and their comforter. They wanted quality time.
So, I did what any mom would do. I grabbed a snack (Daniel Fast approved, of course), got some water, and dove into a world of crayons and coloring books. And let me tell you, it was the best decision I made.
The Daniel Fast is about physically and spiritually detoxifying, but it also serves as a reminder that moments of frustration can be turned into opportunities for connection. So, if you’re a mom on a fasting journey, remember to breathe, to reframe, and, more importantly, to color whenever you get a chance.
Image by Freepik
Practical Tips to Incorporate In the Daniel Fast
Once the Daniel Fast was complete, I thought about what I could have changed in my daily routine, so I didn’t feel overwhelmed. I came up with some practical tips that will help me next year, even with all the hustle and bustle of motherhood.
Before starting the fast, I will spend more time planning my meals. I will look for Daniel Fast-compliant recipes that are straightforward and quick to prepare. A good meal plan will save me time and reduce daily stress about food choices.
I will utilize my weekends to prep meals or meal components, such as chopping vegetables or cooking food that can be frozen and heated later. I will make larger portions to have leftovers for the upcoming week, ensuring I always have fast-friendly food ready. Portion sizes were a massive headache for me. I cooked what I thought was enough, only to discover that the toddlers loved the food and wanted second and third helpings.
I will stock up on Daniel Fast-approved snacks like fresh fruit, vegetable sticks, hummus, and unsalted nuts. I will ensure they are always within reach so I’m always prepared and never hungry when out and about. This became extremely important when I had to work late and got home to the fact that I actually needed to cook food to eat. I really wanted something warm, and a salad wasn’t going to warm my belly. If I had my snacks, I would have been able to take the time to prepare a warm meal.
I will make sure I carve out a moment each morning for prayer and bible reading. Starting the day centered on my spiritual goals set a calm and purposeful tone for my day compared to praying and reading the Bible in the evening when I was more tired.
Image by Freepik
Mothers considering the Daniel Fast should also involve their families and have a support network.
Remember, there is strength in numbers. I completed the Daniel Fast with my church family. You can join a church or support group, whether locally or online, which can provide the encouragement needed to continue the fast. Sharing experiences, tips, and recipes can be invaluable during the fast.
Transform the fast into a family journey. It eases your load when everyone eats the same meals and creates a supportive atmosphere at home. It also serves as a valuable experience of collective commitment and health consciousness for your children.
Nutritional Guidance for a Balanced Diet
While on the Daniel Fast, it is critical to maintain balanced nutrition for you and your family if they are participating. You should focus on:
Ensure your meals are diverse, incorporating various fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. This variety guarantees a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals essential for health.
Legumes, nuts, and seeds are excellent sources of plant-based protein that sustain energy levels throughout the day. Include these in your meals to meet your body’s protein needs. Healthline gives a list of proteins for vegetarians and vegans.
Hydration is Key
Keep hydrated with water and herbal teas. Fasting can lead to dehydration, so be mindful of your fluid intake.
For women, particularly those who are menstruating, iron is an essential mineral. I focused on beans such as lentils, kale, and spinach to help with iron intake during the fast. Medical News Today has a great article on iron-rich foods for vegetarians and vegans.
What Did I Eat On the Daniel Fast?
- Yellow Grits with sauteed vegetables. Many of my breakfast veggies included a mix of mushrooms, tomatoes, and spinach.
- Oatmeal with fruit.
- Vegetable wraps with hummus. I included lettuce, spinach, bell peppers, and cucumbers. I focused on raw vegetables I would typically put in a salad.
- Garden salad.
- Trinidadian doubles.
- Leftovers from dinner.
- Rice with curried chickpeas. This was a hit with the toddlers in the house. We didn’t have any leftovers for the following day.
- Vegetable fried rice.
- Black bean and sweet potato soup.
- Lentil pasta.
- Cauliflower tacos with cashew sauce.
- Corn chowder. This was another hit, so there were no leftovers. I used this recipe from Mindful Avocado
- Bean soup. The children love all types of soup, so they ate this without complaining.
Regarding the children, I also prepared a meal with meat if I felt they wouldn’t eat the main course.
This year’s Daniel Fast taught me patience above all else. I started this fast with the goal of renewing my spiritual connection. Just as God is patient with us, I am to be patient with others. Patience also helps us make better decisions as we take time to think about things before reacting. Proverbs 14:29 states, “Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” (NIV)
If you are considering the Daniel Fast, be prepared to be transformed spiritually, mentally, and physically at the end of the 21 days. You will be thankful for the changes.