Frequently Asked Questions
“Can I have…” Fill in the blank here, and you’ll get one of the most common questions of the Daniel Fast.
Remember, this is a fast, not a diet. The idea is to deprive your body of favorites and stick to essentials as an offering to God as you seek to draw closer to Him. The grace-filled answer is, “What does your heart tell you?” Because it’s a heart issue, people like my wife, LaKendria, can participate in the Daniel Fast even while adding chicken because of her nutritional needs. That’s a lot of the beauty of it!
But I’ll be honest; I’m hardcore. I want to stick to the details, and I read the labels on everything when I’m fasting like Daniel. I want it to cost me something, because I don’t want to give an offering to God that does not cost me something personally. To me, that means adhering to Daniel’s example.
LaKendria fasts just as dedicatedly as I do, and her heart is just as focused on the Lord. Each of us is different, but below are some common questions and answers regarding specific items on the Daniel Fast.
Q—Why can’t I eat meat?
A—The meat on the king’s table of Daniel’s day was likely sacrificed to an idol. Daniel rejected the king’s food to adhere to his Jewish dietary and spiritual rules, and we follow his example for this fast. Also, by choosing only vegetables and related foods, you’re depriving your body of something it likes (meat) and forcing it to make do with a healthy essential (veggies). Vegans do it all the time, so don’t whine.
Q—Why can’t I eat bread? It’s not meat.
A—Regular bread has yeast in it, and during special times God commanded His people to fast yeast and use “unleavened bread” in their meals, such as Passover. We keep that tradition alive by fasting yeast like Daniel, though you can eat other whole grains. Flatbreads and other yeast-free wholegrain foods are OK.
Q—Is “chicken” and “fish” considered meat?
A—Yes. They’re animal products. Pretend you’re vegan, and use that as a guide—if it came from an animal, you’re probably not eating it on the Daniel Fast. As I’ve said, you may have extenuating circumstances—food allergies or nutritional requirements—that mean you alter the fast. I urge you to do this only as genuinely needed and not as a cop-out.
Q—Will I get enough nutrition during this fast?
A—Yes. Vegans do it all the time. It may take a little creativity, but you can get everything you need from the foods on the Daniel Fast. And think about this: if you were doing a water-only fast (which I like to do to start my Daniel fast each year), you wouldn’t be getting enough nutrition at all. And guess what? It’s OK! You live through it, even with just water. Remember, it’s a fast—it’s OK if you don’t get everything you think you need for 21 days.
Q—What about sweeteners?
A—You’re fasting sweeteners, along with sweets, because it’s a fast, and it’s about self-denial. Just because it’s healthy or all-natural doesn’t mean it’s OK, so put back that organic honey.
Q—Surely I can have my coffee, right?
A—Nope. Even without sweetener or milk, I’m afraid caffeine is off the menu. Let me put it like this: Do you rely on your cup of morning coffee to get going? Do you rely on it more than God? What would happen if, just saying…you relied on God, not a stimulant, throughout your Daniel Fast? Would that be like trusting Him to get you through instead of your morning stimulant? Food for thought, right?
Q—Isn’t this all legalism?
A—No. Can it go there? Yes. The boundaries of the Daniel Fast are there to provide a historical framework used by a great man of God for his fast. We’re emulating that in Fast Like Daniel, not seeking to impose a rigid set of rules. The spirit of the fast is to deprive yourself while still eating essentials, so that your flesh takes the back seat and your spirit is in the driver’s seat. If you honestly do that while altering some details of the fast, that is between you and God. It’s my prayer that you’re able to draw closer to God, not that you’re able to keep to the details of the historical fast Daniel did.