I receive thousands of emails from men and women at this time of year as they share with me their experiences of the Daniel Fast. Most of them are a joy to read as the writers tell me of their amazing blessings, answered prayer and closeness with God.
But there are also some that are sad. They are those from people who started the Daniel Fast with great intentions, but then stopped the fast because the withdrawals from caffeine or sugar were too extreme or because they gave way to temptations for Big Macs or Diet Pepsi’s.
They feel defeated, down and wonder how to get back into God’s graces after their “failure.”
First, I tell them that Jesus has already provided the means to forgive them for giving into temptations. I encourage them to begin the fast again . . . but this time to prepare their spirits, souls and bodies for the fast.
In the same way that you would prepare yourself for a long backpack trip, you want to be sure to prepare yourself for your spiritual journey of extended prayer and fasting. Taper off caffeine, sugar and processed foods so that your body is clean when you start the fast and therefore you avoid the painful withdrawals.
Learn about the Daniel Fast and about the discipline of spiritual fasting. The Daniel Fast book was written and published for the sole reason to help men and women be successful on their Daniel Fast.
You also want to pray about the fast and invite the Holy Spirit to prepare your heart so you’ll look forward to the experience and so you can enter the fast with joy and anticipation.
Many performance experts say that preparation accounts for 80 percent of one’s success. So be sure to prepare for your fast and allow the Lord to fulfill all the good He wants to shower over you during this amazing experience.
One of the ways you can prepare for the Januay 2008 Daniel Fast is to start getting the food you will consume ready. One food item you can prepare is flavored vinegars! But why not “kill two birds with one stone” and make extra vinegar to give as Christmas gifts. Here is a great recipe for Rosemary Vinegar that’s easy and reasonably inexpensive to make!
For best results, use organic apple cider vinegar, aged in wood barrels, unpasteurized and naturally filtered.
2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
Full bottle of organic, apple cider vinegar
Place rosemary sprig inside vinegar bottle until submerged. Shake.
Place bottle in cool, dark place (refrigerate is okay but not required) for about 2 to 3 weeks.
Filter vinegar and rebottle in decorative bottle if you have one or plain glass bottle or jar. This would be a great gift to add to a basket or pair with a condement set.
You’ll end up with a lovely, rosemary-flavored apple cider vinegar that smells absolutely divine and lasts for many weeks.
While the Daniel Fast will certainly benefit you physically, your body may do some kickin’ and screamin’ during the first few days! So don’t be alarmed if you experience light headaches, hunger pangs, or slight weakness. Your body might release an “unpleasant aroma,” both through the pores and your breath.
However, if you experience anything more severe, you will want to contact your health professional as it may be from another cause.
Remember, unless you already eat a healthy diet with little or no caffeine or other addicting substances, your body will experience a certain level of withdrawal and detoxification. There are a few things you can do to minimize the side effects.
Vitamin C – an antioxidant that supports detox. It may also help to decrease some of the side effects of the Fast, such as mild headaches.
Lemon – Lemon supports liver cleansing and is also refreshing to your mouth. Add lemon juice to salad dressings and include lemon slices in some of your water.
Dry Skin – Using a body brush in the shower will help eliminate the dry flakes and actually promote blood flow.
Water – Keeping well-hydrated has many benefits including flushing your body and reducing the physical feelings of hunger.
Meanwhile, the withdrawal and detoxification symptoms should pass in a few days. Even your level of hunger will subside after your body becomes more accustomed to few calories and less food consumption.