Sunday, January 15, 2012

DAY 7 - Daniel Fast

One week is done.  How are you doing?  I woke up this morning thinking about fasting...and how maybe my fast isn't much of a fast.
Daniel Fast Party Food

Last night we went to a party, and it just so happened that many people at the party were also doing a Daniel Fast (January tends to be a pretty popular month for prayer & fasting in the Church, and for cleansing & exercise routines in the world).  I had brought the Daniel Fast Fudge and some whole-grain, gluten/dairy-free crackers with a garlicky vegetable dip so I could have something on my plate to nibble, but when I went to set my food on the table I saw that it was loaded with vegetarian goodies.  There were lettuce wraps with peanut sauce, hummus and veggies, corn chips with pico de gallo, two green salads brimming with fruits and veggies, hollowed out orange halves filled with fresh fruit (beautiful!), potatoes with skins on roasted in olive oil, and a corn-avocado-bean dip.  To drink was a pretty dispenser filled with water and floating lemon and limes slices.  There were exactly two items I could not eat: hot wings and birthday cake.  I sat down with my loaded plate and ate everything with a vague feeling of . . . not guilt, not condemnation . . . I wasn't sure what the feeling was.  Everybody laughed and talked about the Daniel Fast and what they were eating or not eating.  Maybe I was a little more sensitive to the conversation because my husband and I had been discussing the fast on our way over.

We had stopped at Whole Foods ( favorite store where I love to spend money?).  Jeff wanted to eat something because he was afraid there would be nothing at the party, so he had a salad from the salad bar.  We browsed the aisles for awhile and looked at all the yummy food.  I only bought the dip for the party, so I was a very good girl!  Then we walked back to the car and Jeff made the comment that he thought Daniel probably fasted a lot more simply than we were.  I said, "Well, of course he did.  He didn't have all the food choices and products and methods of cooking and storing and preserving that we do."  Jeff said, "No, I mean he probably ate a lot simpler...just vegetables to sustain him while he prayed.  He was in mourning."  Again, I countered," But this is much simpler for us...we're used to not just coffee, but flavors of coffee and toppings and add-ins.  We're used to fast food, junk food, sugar fixes.  We are denying a lot of what's popular in our culture."  Jeff said, "But Daniel lived in Babylon, he had access to good food. He could have eaten the king's "dainties."  That's really all we said, but the conversation came back to me when I was looking at my loaded plate at the party.

I woke up this morning and Daniel was the first thought I had.  I pulled out my Bible and read Daniel 1 and 10 again, with a new purpose...not what he ate on his fast but why he fasted.  The first time, when he was a young man, it wasn't a fast at all.  He refused "the king's dainties," for health reasons, knowing that vegetables were much better for him than the rich foods on the king's table.  (I wish my son would have Daniel's conviction!).  Then, jumping to chapter 10, Daniel goes on a 21-day fast while he prayed for his nation to come out of captivity according to the vision God had given him.  The Bible says he mourned.

And that was it...that feeling I couldn't put my finger on at the party the night before.  My fast was too was almost a game.  I thought about my week and how much time I had spent planning my menu, shopping for the ingredients, cooking appropriate meals, and then blogging all about them.  I certainly hadn't put the same amount of time and energy into prayer and the Word!  Oh, sure, I was taking time to pray and read, but I wasn't it making the focus of my day.  Daniel sustained himself on vegetables---simple, plain vegetables---so he would have more time to pray.  He didn't think about food.  When he got hungry, he ate something that took very little thought or preparation and then got back to praying.  I don't know about you, but when I mourn I'm not very hungry and I certainly don't feel like partying.  Food takes a back seat to the issue at hand.  I think food was becoming the main focus of the fast for me.  So this morning I resolved to redirect my attention on those issues I was fasting for in the first get a little more dig a little deeper.  It reminded me of a scripture in Ecclesiastes that I had just quoted off-handedly the day before, only today it had meaning:  "It is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of mirth."  In other words, life isn't a party.  It needs to be lived with a seriousness and sense of the eternal.

I made simple oatmeal for breakfast, a small portion.  At Sunday dinner, "the gang" was together, so I made a big meal like I always do, but I ate consciously and purposefully.  And this evening I kept it simple again, snacking on an apple and popcorn with brewer's yeast.

So, here is today's menu.  Go ahead and enjoy the flavors of the Greek lunch, but do so with thankfulness to the Lord for blessing you with access to plenty of safe, clean and nutritious food.  Focus on Him.  Think about why you are on this fast in the first place, and then go back to those reasons and bring them before the Lord.

Today's re-alignment has made me feel as if a week of fasting really has been worth it.  My spirit  is growing and my flesh starting to shrink ever so slightly!  Week 2, here I come...refocused and renewed!

BREAKFAST:  Oatmeal with dried fruit and nuts

LUNCH:  Greek salad, lemon potatoes, asparagus, whole-grain (or sprouted) pita with hummus and bruschetta

For the salad, start with romaine lettuce and then add fresh cucumber, tomato, green pepper, onion and olives and top with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

The potatoes are easy, just toss some Yukon Gold or baby reds or whites in a shallow roasting pan and drizzle on some olive oil, then sprinkle sea salt, fresh-cracked pepper and rosemary.  Roast in the oven for 45 minutes until tender.

Asparagus is par-boiled for a few minutes until bright green, then drained.  Return to the pan and lightly saute in a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.

For the pita, get whole-grain pita and lightly brush it with olive oil.  Warm in the oven.  You can wrap the pita while you heat it and it will stay soft, or you can lay it right on the oven rack and it will get crispy.  Both ways are good.  Then spread them with hummus and bruschetta.

My family ate lamb with's one of our favorite meals.  You know, everything was so flavorful that I didn't even miss the meat!

DINNER:  Fruit and popcorn with brewer's yeast (also called nutritional yeast)

I pop my popcorn in my Nordicware microwave popcorn and then use my Misto to spritz it with either light olive oil or grapeseed oil, then sprinkle it with brewer's yeast and a touch of sea salt.  Today I added something new.  It's called Bragg's Organic Sprinkle and is a blend of herbs, spices and dried vegetables.  Brewer's yeast is quite nutritional, adding protein, minerals and Vitamin B complex to your diet.  I got hooked on this when I was in college.  The flavor is unique, my kids don't like it, but I LOVE it!  And so did all the girls in my dorm!  Try sprinkling a bit of it on your popcorn and see what you think.  It's sort of like sprinkling on parmesan cheese.  I think I mentioned it before, but popcorn is my favorite snack...I could eat it every day, I think!

This is what nutritional flakes look like


  1. Hey Karyn. I just want you to know how much that story blessed me. I've been searching the internet for more daniel fast recipes; this is my first time doing it so this week was hard for me to figure out what to eat while still keeping my focus and attention on the purpose and heart behind it. Anyway, your story was super encouraging for me and makes me excited to go into this next week with a renewed heart and mind towards the fast. And seriously thank you for all these recipes! This is my one-stop-shop from here on out :)

  2. So glad to hear that, Tiffany! It's going to be a powerful 21 days for you, and the coolest part is that you reap the benefits not just during the fast but long after too! And I'm glad you are enjoying the recipes. I still find new ones each year, which keeps things interesting for me too!