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Youth, Special Diets, and the Daniel Fast

 I want to answer some questions I’ve received about the Daniel Fast and how to handle various circumstances.

First things First: Remember the definition of fasting – to restrict food for a spiritual reasons. The Daniel Fast is a biblical model, but there is nothing powerful about the specific foods eaten or not eaten. The “power” in the fast is that a believer is consecrating (setting aside or separating) himself or herself for a period of time for prayer and fasting. This period of consecration will affect the body, soul, and spirit. By restricting some foods on the Daniel Fast, one is taking authority over the flesh and requiring that it submit to the spiritual discipline.

Youth and Teens on the Daniel Fast: First of all, the Daniel Fast is a very healthy diet. So if young people are signing up for the fast, there really isn’t a problem of getting enough nutrition. I think the bigger question is youthfulness, schedules, and perhaps physical demands of young people in sports.

If your child, a Sunday School class, or a youth group is entering the fast, then you might want to ask the young people what would work for them. Perhaps they will fast all sugar and “junk food” and otherwise eat their normal diet. Or maybe they will stick with the Daniel Fast at home, but resume their normal food intake when at school.

Talking with the teens and having them pray about the fast and how they can be authentic and true, but at the same time not set themselves up for failure, is important. Also, if a teen has high protein needs, then keeping eggs and other dairy in the fast might work or not eliminating meat, but just breads, desserts, fried foods, etc.

Diabetic requirements: First of all, anytime you are changing your diet or exercise plan, you should consult your health provider. So please do so if you have special diet needs and plan to enter the Daniel Fast.

With that said, the Daniel Fast is actually a very healthy diet! If you are willing to eat different foods than what you may normally consume, you will have all the protein, vitamins, minerals, and other requirements that your body needs. Since diabetics need to keep their food intake in proper balance, you may need to make some adjustments . . . but that’s all okay. Remember, this is a spiritual fast. Any fast should never cause harm! You might even find yourself in better health while on the Daniel Fast with lower sugar consumption and healthier carbohydrates.

Here’s an idea: Ask your doctor to supply you with a vegan or vegetarian eating plan specifically designed for diabetics. Use this as your fast and then, just like all fasting – stick with the plan! You will likely find it very similar to the Daniel Fast.

Special Health Needs: If you are currently under a doctor’s care or have health issues that concern you, please be sure to consult your health provider before entering the fast. Direct them to this site where they have immediate access to the Daniel Fast food list and guidelines.

Other questions: Please contact me if you have other thoughts and questions. My goal with the site is to provide quality information for people as they seek a deeper relationship with the Lord through prayer and fasting.

29 Comments Post a comment
  1. Rebecca Sander #

    I know that you have been very clear in saying we need to okay dietary changes with our healthcare provider and I recognize that you do not claim to be an expert in that area. Unfortunately, I have found over the years that most healthcare providers available to me know less about nutrition than I do myself. Do you know where I might find someone who could telll me whether the Daniel fast is appropriate for pregnant women? The only problem I can see is a possible difficulty in obtaining the amount of protein that I’ve been often told I need during this time. I assume there is no limit on natural oils–that doesn’t seem to be mentioned much one way or the other.

    December 31, 2007
  2. Hi Rebecca. The Daniel Fast is primarily a vegan (no animal products) dietary plan. So you might want to find some advice about vegan diets for pregnant women. Perhaps the Vegetarian Resource Group at http://www.vrg.org will have some good information.

    If you are not able to find satisfactory information, I suggest you take this route: follow the very best eating plan that you’ve received from your health provider using only natural food products and then stick to that diet in the same dedication as you would adhere to the Daniel Fast. The power is not in the foods eaten or not eaten, but rather in the dedication to the Lord and your relationship with Him.

    The Daniel Fast is a very healthy eating plan, but when your body has special needs (like growing a precious baby in its womb) then it’s totally appropriate to make adjustments. You might be able to follow everything in the same way, but just add chicken and fish. But I do still suggest that you contact your health provider if you are making significant changes.

    I hope this helps . . .

    December 31, 2007
  3. Rebecca Sander #

    Thank you very much. Your every word rang very true in my heart. I think it mirrored exactly what I felt, but sometimes (especially in these fuzzy-headed first trimester days) I do not have clearly outlined expression to my ideas and feelings. Put in the terms of a vegan diet I think I know who to ask specific questions of and the rest of your message helped the commitment in my heart take form. My family is doing this fast together (all 11–should we now say 12?–of us in some degree or another) and I am excited about joining them.

    December 31, 2007
  4. Stacey #

    I am 6 1/2 months pregnant, and I would like to start the Daniel Fast, I know if anything it would benefit me and my unborn child getting rid of the processed foods, the only thing I would be concerned about is getting enough calcium eliminating dairy. Do you have any suggesstions?

    December 31, 2007
  5. Hi Stacey. First off, please check with your health provider. I am a Christian writer and not a nutritionist so I can only give my opinion. So here goes:

    I would say calcium is an issue and perhaps protein. I would say don’t eliminate dairy, but eat only organic products (which I would do anyway) and add chicken and fish to your diet.

    My guess is that if you checked what you are to eat now, that the Daniel Fast along with organic dairy, chicken and fish would be in line with each other. The Daniel Fast is a very healthy diet and you will likely see improved health and a higher level of energy. You might find that you stay with it for the remainder of your pregnancy, perhaps adding whole grain breads.

    I hope the very best for you during your fast and as you provide a safe place for your growing baby.

    December 31, 2007
  6. Suzy #

    My husband and I are starting the Daniel fast this week and I have concerns about our 1 year old son’s diet. Is it okay to continue soy and/or rice milk in our diet? Should we keep meat in his diet? Is it okay to give him all legumes in stead of meat for protein? Not really sure what else to ask, just not sure about what to feed him. He is eating what we eat at this point, no purees anymore. Thank you.

    January 7, 2008
  7. Hi Suzy,

    I don’t see anywhere in Scripture where young children fast. It seems a child needs to be at level of understanding before a fast should be invoked. My suggestion is that you and our husband do the Daniel Fast, but continue to feed your son the healthiest sugar-free and chemical-free diet you can.

    I don’t know that children should start fasting until they are around four years old and even then just a few foods so they can learn the discipline.

    I wish you and your family the very best on your Daniel Fast.

    January 7, 2008
  8. Araceli #

    I wanted to know if I could eat pinto beans during the Daniel Fast. I want to eat only fruits and vegetables, but I wasn’t sure if I could eat beans. I do love what you said about teens fasting. We are fasting at the end of this month and everyday we are asking them to fast something different. One day gum, the next day soda and so on. Would you consider that appropriate? I do understand that it isn’t the food you eat or don’t eat, but the concentration on God during this fasting. Thank you.

    January 17, 2008
  9. Hi Araceli,

    Yes, all beans are allowed on the fast. If they are canned, make sure to READ THE LABEL to insure they are sugar-free and chemical-free.

    Regarding teen — I think you idea is good. Is it progressive? I mean they give up soda for the rest of the fast; then the next day they give up gum for the rest of the fast? If they are only giving up soda for one day, that might be too “light weight.”

    Blessings to you on your fast.

    January 17, 2008
  10. Sharon #

    I have just completed a 21-day corporate fast and am sure that fasting will be a part of my life from now on. I did not do the Daniel Fast this time — since I don’t normally eat meat anyway, the DF was not a radical departure from my usual diet, so I did a liquid fast. In looking at the DF for the future, though, I am confused about the prohibition on herb tea. If, for example, I eat an orange, that’s okay. If I drink orange juice, that’s okay. If I drink orange tea (Bigelow’s flavored teas is what I have in mind), then that is not okay. I don’t understand. I am not trying to “fudge” the guidelines or cut corners — I just don’t understand the reasoning here. Any information would be appreciated so that I can make appropriate choices for the next fast. Thanks.

    January 30, 2008
  11. Hi Sharon,

    This is probably the most frequently discussed issue. It’s a little confusing and “gray.” Here are my thoughts about it. Also, keep in mind that I did not invent the Daniel Fast.

    In Daniel 1 he reported that he drank only water. In Daniel 10 it says he drank no wine. These two scriptures tell me the Daniel Fast should be water only.

    Now, here’s the rub. The same type of logic is used for juice. If fruits and vegetables can all be eaten, and if juice is just pureed fruits with water added, then why not juice. The original contemporary writers about the fast listed juice as “okay” and so I have continued with that position, however I myself drink only water, sometimes with a lemon slice in it.

    The same goes for herbal tea . . . and then there is the herbal coffees . . . and then there is bread made without yeast . . . and then why not honey because it is all natural . . . and then — well you get the point.

    I go back to the Scripture. Daniel drank only water . . . that’s what the Word of God says so that’s why I list that as the only beverage that should be consumed.

    With all that said, I believe people should take the matter to the Lord in prayer and get His leading on it. Just as you needed a different fast for your needs, others may continue to drink juice or herbal tea and be okay. There is a room for interpretation for the Daniel Fast, but I try to report on the Scripture and maintain the integrity of the fast with a consistent message.

    I hope this helps.

    January 30, 2008
  12. Laurie #

    Today is day 2 of a 21 day fast. I think I may be eating too much. Yesterday and today I had 3 meals. At lunch time I eat a bowl of almonds and raisens and a piece of banana. Today I had some peanut butter with the banana. Do you think I should limit the amount of almonds and raisens I eat? I usually eat them until I am no longer hungry. Thanks!

    February 5, 2008
  13. Hi Laurie,

    There is no problem with three meals. I just suggest that you add more vegetables unless you want to gain weight during the fast! All the foods you mentioned are pretty high in calories. They are good food, so don’t eliminate them, but I suggest that you balance your meals with whole grains and vegetables like salads, hot cereal, sliced fruits and veggies.

    God bless you on your fast.

    February 5, 2008
  14. YOLANDA #

    I WENT ON THE DANIEL FAST (21 DAYS) WITH THE WOMEN AT MY CHURCH. WE ONLY ATE NATURAL FOODS, NO CHEMICALS OR PROCESSED FOOD, NO ADDED PRESERVATIVES OR ANYTING. WE ATE JUST VEGATABLES, FRUITS, AND BEANS AND NUTS, WATER OR HERBAL TEA WITH NO SWEETNERS. MY CONCERN ABOUT IT WAS THAT MY PERIOD BECAME IRREGULAR EVEN TO THE POINT OF NOT HAVING IT OR SPOTTING FROM TIME TO TIME- I ASSUMED BECAUSE IT WAS SUCH A HUGE CHANGE IN MY DIET, BUT AS SOON AS I WENT OFF THE DIET- I WOULD SAY IT TOOK ABOUT A MONTH AND A HALF FOR MY PERIOD TO BE REGULAR? HAS ANY ONE ELSE EVER COMPLAINED ABOUT THIS- OTHER THAN THAT THE DIET WAS GREAT FOR MY BODY AND MENTAL AND SPIRITUAL HEALTH.

    March 3, 2008
  15. Hi Yolanda,

    I have not heard of this, although changing one’s diet can cause the body to react in different ways. Were you eating a lot of soy products? If so, that may have had an effect since soy produces estrogen.

    If you are concerned, you should call your health professional. The Daniel Fast is a very good way to eat . . . so it should only bring good health to your body.

    I hope this helps.

    March 3, 2008
  16. Sara #

    I am new and I was wondering if you have a special 21 day menu sample to go by.

    May 14, 2008
  17. Hi Sara,

    Yes, the Daniel Fast Cookbook has 21 days of menu plans, plus all the recipes you will need for all the meals. It’s available for immediate download by going to the first page of the blog.

    I hope this helps!

    May 14, 2008
  18. Sandra #

    I have enjoyed the comments. I am started the Fast for the 2nd time on June 1. I would like to know if grits are allowed and FF spray margarine. Thanks and God Bless

    June 2, 2008
  19. HI Sandra,

    Grits are fine on the fast . . . but while I am not familiar with spray margarine, it probably is not allowed. Read the label and review the ingredients. My guess is that it has chemicals in it and would be considered processed and refined.

    Be blessed on your fast!

    June 2, 2008
  20. Confused #

    How does one maintain their fitness. I have begun fasting. However, I have not exercised because I don’t feel I have the energy. Are you, is it safe, advisable to exercise.

    Thanks!

    January 8, 2009
  21. Dear confused,

    Lack of energy is usually a symptom of detox. So I encourage you to drink at least 1/2 gallon of filtered water and increase your vitamin C. These symptoms will pass and you will likely gain a lot of energy within the week. If you work out a lot you may need to increase your protein. You can do that with complete proteins by coupling beans and rice or adding high protein foods.

    I hope the very best for you on your fast

    January 8, 2009
  22. Haley #

    I am pregnant and looking to possibly do a modified Daniel Fast and I can’t find any information on here about that. I thought that a few years ago when I was on this site there was information but I can’t find it now. Any advice? Thanks!

    February 5, 2009
  23. GodsAngel #

    hello

    i am pregnant looking to do a modified version of the Daniel fast. Can I eat shrimp? I can only eat so much fish due to health reason so Im trying to find other proteins other than red meat or pork to include. Thanks

    February 22, 2009
  24. Dear “God’s Angel”

    I discourage shrimp for health reason and would instead encourage you to add occasion fish, poultry and cheese to your diet to boost your protein. The Daniel Fast is a very healthy way to eat. Check out the Daniel Fast Guidelines, which you can order at http://www.Daniel-Fast.com and run the food lists past your health professional.

    Be blessed!

    February 24, 2009
  25. Lesley #

    I know soy is allowed as a protein substitute. Do we know if Daniel had access to soy in his day and did he likely eat it?

    I am allergic to soy, so without eggs or dairy, I will have a hard time getting protein. I understand restricting milk as it has sugar in it. However, can I keep eggs to ensure I’m getting protein?

    Thanks for the blog!

    Lesley

    May 28, 2009
  26. Hi Lesley,

    There is plenty of protein in the Daniel Fast, even without soy! That is unless you are pregnant, nursing or have a need for lots of protein. You will get adequate protein with beans, rice, leafy green vegetables and legumes.

    I hope this helps!

    June 1, 2009
  27. Karen Steudle #

    I have 3 month old baby and am exclusively breast-feeding, do you have any recommendations or cautions for me in doing the Daniel Fast? I want to make sure the I am getting enough nutrition so that my milk supply doesn’t change. Also I know you have mentioned having beans as a form of protein but aren’t they very gaseous for babies?

    September 15, 2009
  28. im starting the daniel diet today and iam also a diabetic iam having trouble with giving up all meats i wanted to add fish to my diet is that ok?i think iam more focus on the diet then the fasting part i understand i dont have to fast like daniel did but at the same time it wouldnt be a daniel fast if i dont is it just giving up unhealthy foods or everything im so confused by this fast.. please help

    June 6, 2011
  29. Daniel Fast Team #

    Hi Sheena,
    The definition of fasting is to restrict food for a spiritual purpose. Using the Daniel Fast eating plan for strictly health purposes would be a Daniel Diet rather than a fast. Many people do use the Daniel Fast eating plan to improve their health and for weight loss.
    Men and women with insulin or Type 2 diabetes experience wonderful results on the Daniel Fast if they are wise about the foods they eat. Whole grain cereals and leafy green vegetables are packed with protein yet very low on the glycemic index. The same is true of legumes. Many people with Type 2 diabetes are able to balance their blood sugar levels with the food they eat and can soon eliminate or drastically reduce the meds they take. The same is true with insulin-dependent diabetics – often able to greatly reduce the amount of insulin necessary to balance their BS levels.
    You will want to make sure to eat foods that are low on the glycemic index and not sugary fruits. Of course you want to take the advice of your health professional and access your own knowledge. But you can get plenty of protein in other ways than nuts and peanut butter. Whole grains, legumes and leafy green vegetables are excellent sources of protein, and if you’re still not getting enough protein by all means modify and add in some fish to your fast/diet.
    If you don’t already have one you can order a copy of the Daniel Fast Guidelines by going to http://www.daniel-fast.com and enter your email address, they will be emailed back to you, this is a great resource to have on hand while on your fast. I hope this helps, Be blessed in your Journey!

    June 7, 2011

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