A Biblical Look at the Daniel Fast

By: Ron Lagerquist

"Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine . . . At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.."     

Daniel 1: 8-15

Now some rawtarian and vegan vegetarian teachers use this passage to provide biblical proof that their restrictive diets will result in better health. And in doing so, I think they completely miss the deeper elegance of this great story. Ask any Olympic trainer, athletes undergoing three years of rigorous preparation eating a highly restrictive diet of vegetables and water could never successfully compete against athletes eating a balance of the three macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats and protein. This passage is not a statement about the nutritional benefits of vegetables, but something of even greater importance and relevance.

Why was Daniel healthier than his peers? In the same way that the lion’s den and the fiery furnace were rendered powerless to bite and burn, the remarkable fitness level of Daniel after three years of eating vegetables and water was a miracle of God, not the magic of his diet program.

Dare to Stand Alone 

Nonetheless, this does not reduce the relevance of this story for those of us who desire to eat healthier and gain control over food addictions. Take a closer look. Daniel had available to him food fit for a king. And not just any king, but Nebuchadnezzar, who would have on hand all the finest chefs, as well as imported meats, herbs, and spices. We are talking about the equivalent of eating at gourmet restaurants for breakfast, lunch and supper.  

How about mousseline of pattes rouges crayfish with morel mushroom infusion, or tarte fine with scallops and black truffle? And that was only lunch.  For supper, your choice of ravioli with guinea fowl and burrata cheese, veal reduction, or tartar of Kobe beef with imperial beluga caviar and belons oysters with a side of veal cheeks.  Delicious, international foods, cooked fresh and steaming hot, washed down with vintage wine. It would be like dying and going to food heaven. No thank you, just a bowl of steamed Brussels sprouts for me.  

Daniel refused to defile his body with foods that had been sacrificed to false gods. Picture him sitting and eating his bowl of veggies with a tall glass of water among muscled men slurping on royal food, savory dishes that filled the air with mouth-watering fragrance. As men do when sharing fine food and drink, there would be boisterous camaraderie, a celebration of the senses. He stood alone in the conviction that his circumcised body was holy. This was not a secret impractical conviction but observable for all to see by how he lived—and how he ate.

It’s Not About Law

But under the New Covenant, didn’t Paul say that all foods are now clean to eat? Yes, we can enjoy all foods with a clear conscience. You see the connection here is not legalism; it goes deeper. I am sure you have learned by now that no form of legalism can tame the jaws of hunger—in fact it will only anger the beast within. Don’t make the mistake of misreading Daniel's intentions or you will miss the message. This was about love, not law. It was about how he saw himself and how he saw his God.   

In my late 20s, one of the first things that went out the window after I started the slow dietary slide into food addiction was my self-respect. To help me live comfortably with my expanding belly, I began wearing track pants around the house. Soon I was going out in those ugly gray track paints, a tucked-in plaid shirt, unshaven, with disheveled hair. My justification for this unkempt look was that Christians shouldn’t be vain anyway. But the truth is, I was losing respect for myself, and looking back at those dreaded photos, it clearly showed.

Living on hotdogs, burgers and fries undermines self-dignity. I watch it all the time. People who know what I teach look embarrassedly at me and say, “I know I shouldn’t be eating this.” I never say a word to make them feel uncomfortable; it’s how they feel about it. Every time you surrender to a food addiction, it’s another assault to the God-given desire to be healthy and self-controlled, and you can feel it. It feels like a small death.

Daniel’s self-identity was based on the fact that he was set apart, different from the rest. He saw himself through God’s eyes, and that affected every aspect of how he lived. If you want to gain back your self-identity, and set yourself apart from the herd, then I encourage you to experience the freedom that can be found during a Daniel Fast.

Related Article The Raw Diet
Give Us Your Feedback!
CLICK on the STARS below to give us your rating & comments:
Your Comments
Page size:
Page: of 1
Items 1 to 15 of 1