Scientific Evidence on Why the Daniel Fast Is Amazing for You
Daniel Fast Epic Fail
When I lived in Montana, I went a church that encouraged the Daniel Fast. I didn’t know what it was, but everyone was excited about it. Anytime there’s a reason to shop, it’s kind of exciting, even if it’s for healthy foods to start a new way of life. I have considered it again, for a few reason. But when first tried it in 2013, however, it was a complete fail. I have to be honest – I didn’t even finish the Daniel Fast. I do remember eating a lot of those oversized mushrooms at ‘meat’, and then ingesting steel-cut oats like a crazy-person. I gained weight, there’s was a lot of bloat, and I actually felt less-energized. At that time, the person who tried the Daniel’s Fast with me was becoming irritable, angry and less patient. Due to this, we had to end the Daniel’s Fast early. I probably would have finished it, but at the time, we were in this together and I didn’t really like the attitude that was creeping into this person’s soul. It was definitely not spiritual or Biblical. “Um, Daniel would not have behaved like that, so why did you?” That’s a little judgmental, though, and we are, after all, human. What I did love was being creative with vegetables and being forced to buy healthy things. I had a reason to buy colorful, green, bright and interesting foods, even weird foods…foods I would have never second-glanced before.
The Daniel Fast in a Nutshell
The Daniel Fast is inspired by Daniel (the prophet). According to the Bible, in Daniel 1, Daniel gained wisdom, learning, skill, deeper spiritual understanding, favor, and even looked better. In Daniel 10, the rewards for the fast included spiritual insight and an answer to his prayer. Daniel didn’t eat meat, dairy, or alcohol (wine, mostly). Daniel did this fast with Azariah, Hananiah, and Mischael. The Fast was vegetarian in nature. In essence, Daniel and his friends only had water and vegetables.
Scriptures that Mention the Daniel Fast
In Daniel 10:3, he said that he didn’t eat bread, or meat, or wine for three weeks. He did go on to mention that he did not ‘anoint’ himself, and that probably means that he did not take a bath or shower. At that time, people used to slather their body with oils as well, so maybe he wasn’t moisturizing since it may have been considered a luxury…but both of these are moot points, as we aren’t focusing on Daniel’s skin care routine in this article.
In Daniel 1:8-14, Daniel mentioned he didn’t want to defile himself with the King’s wine, or meat. He was advised not to do this, as the King would get extremely angry is Daniel looked not-so-great in comparison to the other young men his age. Daniel asked the guard, even though the guards’ neck was literally on the line, to please give them just vegetables and water for ten days. After ten days, the guards were to see how healthy or unhealthy the boys looked and from there, decide if it’s okay to keep giving them vegetables and water. After ten days, the boys looked great and healthy, and more so than those who were eating the food of the King. They continued the fast, as permitted graciously by the guard.
In Daniel 10:1-21, as a consequence of the fast, David had a revelation regarding Belteshazaar, and was able to understand the vision. He used the fast as a time to pray upon his knees at least three times a day. He gave thanks to God as well.
Scientific Evidence that Supports the Daniel Fast
I don’t like to write about things that don’t have some kind of scientific evidence. I don’t like to use certain websites that anyone can alter or change as my source for information. I like to use scientific journals to back up facts, especially if they are events that occurred in the Bible. I was curious about what modern science had to say regarding the Daniel Fast. Here are a few scientific journals containing information about subjects who were studied participating in the Daniel Fast, and the effect it has on their minds and bodies.
Hypertension, Diabetes, and White Blood Cells...Oh, My!
In a 2010 study, Metabolic processes, as well as cardiovascular disease factors were observed in women and men who participated in the twenty one day Daniel Fast. The individuals (whether fit or obese or anything in between) benefited from the Daniel Fast. LDL cholesterol was reduced, diastolic and systolic blood pressure was reduced. Insulin was reduced as well. The study mentioned that those who have diagnosed metabolic issues (like diabetes), and cardiovascular disorders (like hypertension) can received improved health by following the Daniel Fast. Calorie intake seemed reduced by at least twenty percent since the fast was more natural and higher in fiber and used low glycemic carbohydrate foods. Patients were fuller longer with nutrient dense foods, which, consequently, reduced the calories ingested. If the food is not organic, and if one is not used to eating so much fruit and vegetables, it was noticed that the white blood cell count went up, as the body is trying to respond to possible food pathogens, but this is just a theory. Reduced fat ingestion equated to reduced overall bodily inflammation. The biggest hurdle for most patients was the lack of caffeine, but they feel that the ‘ad libitum’ nature of the Daniel Fast, where you can eat anything without weighing or counting calories, made up for the lack of caffeine, mentally.
Antioxidants, Cholesterol and the CRP (What's CRP?)
Another study was done in 2013 showed that reducing dietary protein and the intake of saturated fatty acid resulted in losing lean body mass and even reducing the HDL cholesterol. In this study, twenty nine men and women did the Daniel Fast for twenty one days. An increase of antioxidant intake was observed, especially with Vitamin A and C which reduced the body’s CRP count. CRP is C - reactive protein, which is produced by the liver and is actually a better indicator of heart disease than the LDL test. High Levels of CRP within the body mean there’s infection, cancer, or inflammation. Processed meats have been studied to increase heart disease and diabetes, so this fast lowered the incidence of both of these, and it was evidenced in not only the lower CRP and cholesterol, but in the insulin reduction. The subjects in this study either did the Daniel Fast (strict and only vegan), or the modified Daniel Fast (which included 3 ounces of turkey, pork, fish, chicken or beef) and eight ounces of skim milk. Decaffeinated coffee and tea were allowed, as well as water.
Look Good & Age Less with Less Free Radicals In Your System
A 2011 study noticed that the fast increased antioxidants, lowered oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a disturbance within the balance of your body’s antioxidant defenses and the free radicals in your body. Free radicals are atoms in the body that are unstable, and they kill cells, cause sickness, and even promote aging. (This could be why the Daniel Fast had Daniel looking fresh and youthful after 21 days). Interestingly, overall, the subjects lost weight, with fat mass accounting for forty percent of the reduced observed. Hip circumference and waist measurement decreased by one point five centimeters. The elimination of food preservatives, additives, and processing agents found in many meats may have added to the health benefits experienced by the people involved in the study. Decreased fat, decreased calorie, increase in nutrients and fiber and addition of more whole grains are collectively a recipe for better health.
Bring on the Daniel Fast Reinforcement Calvary!
Since it might get a bit repetitive, I will mention that a 2018 study mentioned that the Daniel Fast decreased weight, circumference of waist, and cholesterol levels. The participants felt full of vitality, and experienced better mental health. The fast followed included blended fruit/vegetable drinks and foods like celery with natural peanut butter, lemon dill quinoa salad, and strawberry banana coconut smoothies. This 2012 article also reiterates that blood pressure is improved, but it may lower HDL-C. HDL-C is considered ‘good cholesterol’, and suggested that krill oil supplementation did not have any negative effect on the positive benefits of the fast. It also suggested that in as little as twenty one days, a large number of health numbers improve vastly. A 2010 article that talked about the impact of religious fasting on a person’s health also reiterated the health benefits. A 2019 article mentioned that plant based diets equate to having to take less medication due to increased health and increased dietary inflammatory effects. With the Daniel fast, there is improved folate, potassium and magnesium, as well as beta carotene. The main problem is that this fast does not provide enough B12, which could be an issue.
The Achilles' Heel of the Daniel Fast
It’s seems that people who are on the Daniel Fast, or plant based diets, seem to have a higher degree of mood disturbance. This is caused by the aforementioned lack of vitamin B12. It’s almost missing entirely within the plant based diets, and it’s mainly supplied by animals. B12 appears to be essential for cognitive and neurological health. In a study done by EPIC-Oxford, fifty percent of vegetarians shows serum levels that had a harsh vitamin B12 deficiency. Therefore, the supplementations of B12 is very much recommended, as vitamin B12 helps to regulate the development of the brain and maintaining normal function of the nervous system. Iron deficiency could be low as well, and this can lead to health effects that have to do with cognitive function. Learning and memory can be affected if an individual is iron-deficient. This can be corrected when an individual takes an iron supplement for four months. Anemia caused by iron deficiency can cause fatigue and a less than desired supply of blood to the brains, which again, can impair cognitive function. IF one wants to follow the Daniel Fast, it may be imperative to obtain blood test results to have a baseline of the levels, before, after and during (if you decide to continue with the fast for health benefits).
Daniel Went Through The Motions, Like Us
Interestingly, in Daniel 10, it mentions that Daniel was in morning, while avoiding the wine and meat. Later on, Daniel mentions to the angel that appears before him that he’s ‘too weak’ to be talking with the angel. The angel touches Daniel and gives him strength to consider fighting the Prince of Persia and Greece. Perhaps he was a bit low on B12 and iron, but we are all on different physical, spiritual and health-related journeys, after all. Maybe the altered states of cognition were required in order to Daniel to receive the visions and understand them, but honestly, that’s probably more between God and Daniel.
Tips If You Decide to Embark on This Epic Journey, and Why You Should Try It (Again)
If you decide to go with the Daniel Fast, make sure to drink a lot of water, and at least 2 Liters a day. All that fiber may be dehydrating, and water helps to flush out toxins that were harbored by the past ways of eating. Exercise, at least by walking, and be mobile. Expect gas, and some stomach pains associated with gas. To prepare for this, consider digestive enzymes. If you look up probiotic enzymes or super enzymes, you can find examples of what to look for and where to purchase it. Even through the difficulties, keep in mind that there’s spiritual healing going on as well. With the Daniel’s Fast, as Daniel did, you may hear the voice of God in a unique way, especially if you accompany the fast with scripture study. You may become more spiritually sensitive, and through hunger, you realize just how much you need Jesus. With the Daniel Fast, you can be part of the deep connection with Jesus where you participate in his suffering. In the Bible, he fasted for forty days and forty nights to prepare for his public work. When you fast, you undergo a certain spiritual discipline, and become more like Him. You follow his examples, and blessings and joy will follow. 1st Peter 4:13 says this: Instead, be very glad for these trials that make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.”
This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
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