Daniel’s Fast. I haven’t stumbled into it for decades until 2016, when it actually changed my life.
Do you already know it or are you interesting to discover it? It is a religious partial fast. Popular among Evangelical Protestants in the US where they avoid consuming meat, wine and other rich foods to take only vegetables and water for 3 weeks. If used religiously it helps to get closer to God.
This was not how I get into it. As a seeker, for me it always need to come from the inside, something I discover in the external world and make sense to it then explore alone without other’s telling me how to.
“Please give us this test for ten days: Don’t give us anything but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then after ten days, compare us with the other young men who eat the king’s food. See for yourself who looks healthier, and then decide how you want to treat us, your servants.”Daniel 1:12-13 ERV
As it comes in the bible at first mention, remembering back when I read this verse above, I had a strong sense of importance and purpose to bring it’s promise to test. I found something, which I need to work with and if its promise is true I assumed that will be good to my body. Knowing so little about actually how much trust it will start to build up with God… That was not my desire.
So I took only water and plants for 10 days. I added for more clarity not to consume anything which is processed: flour, coffee, sugar etc.
First 10 days seemed easy, except missing coffee terribly. I remember that moment clearly, when broke free from my own jailing habits building up as a wall around myself for decades. I let another reality come to life, which I was actually craving for over 10 years, be a vegetarian.
Then I let myself breath for 10 days, and restarted the fast again. That time it took me a bit of a struggle to live through the days without milk, coffee or bread. Bread is something again terribly “missing-able”. And I went on like these cycles for a few months till the end of 2016.
What that thought to me?
- Willpower: first in my life I got to finally build up willpower which is related to my body, and not like jumping through exams or other hoops of life with being mentally invested to do so. It was something I never exercised before. It was about controlling instincts, body cravings..
- Focus shift: realized how much difference it makes to pay attention to what comes into my body and my mind like consuming the Bible daily. Feeling all healthy, and balanced.
- Accomplishment: feeling successful to deliver something I set up for myself and which drives out of my comfort zone continuously. It all lead to feeling of satisfaction.
- Rewiring: I have pushed ideas on myself for years that “can’t live without meat” “I would be useless all day without my morning coffee” etc. All these only existed in my mind. These only had power over reality when I allowed them become truth.
- Appreciation: towards real tastes of foods without additional ingredients and manufactured stabilizers. Appreciating mother nature in its wholeness as our ancestors once did it.
- Humbling: losing all that unnecessary intake which my body never ever needed. Think about the tons of sugar you put into your body by that single morning coffee. Buying things which I don’t need wasn’t any issue by this point to me, but feeding on useless thoughts or meals was. It humbled me to see how simple things can bring happiness.
As I kept being a vegetarian since, it is making me grateful for this 10 days version of the fast to lead me redefine myself truly.
Last year December I was craving draw closer to God, and I got the feeling of reading Bible daily again, praying and fasting. That was the point I realized what I have done 2 years back was actually called Daniel’s fast and has many followers today all over the world. Even have an other – for me hidden at that time– second chapter of it: 21 days.
“During those three weeks, I didn’t eat any fancy food; I didn’t eat any meat or drink any wine. I didn’t put any oil on my head. I didn’t do any of these things for three weeks.”Daniel 10:3 ERV
I had learnt to make amazing food from 3-6 ingredients top: rice, chilly, coconut oil, and sea salt became my best friends. I cooked ahead and eat only freshly made things. I discovered a newly came skillset of actually being able to cook and make something out of anything. This is actually very useful when you live from a day to an other…
When I was craving filling meals, I took some potatoes or oats soaked in water. Sugar-cravings? Ate a ball of mixed fruits and often times noted why on earth I have ever buy into ice- or whipped- cream when nature had made so yummy tastes? Bored of water, add lemon juice, or chamomile for hot water. Solution can be found for everything you body needs by only taking what Mother Nature offers plainly.
It has been the 3rd times I finished a fast since last December. As I am taking my first coffee with soy milk and a tiny sugar in it, I still wonder what else is there for me to learn from this experience.