Celebrate Good Times, C’mon!

Today is the last day of my family’s 21 day Daniel Fast, and I want to share just two short thoughts.
1. Kids can absolutely participate in a fast and understand what is happening.  We have had several conversations with Lex about fasting.  He asks and talks about it at nearly every meal.  I don’t fully understand what this means to him, nor do I feel like I have to.  But it has been great.  So, if your kids haven’t been participating, go ahead and start today.
2. We decided to end our fast on day 21 with a celebration dinner and fun with our kids.  My main thought was how boring would it be to just wake up on Saturday and eat bacon and eggs.  Sure, it would be good, but it would also miss an opportunity to really celebrate what we just accomplished together as a family.  So, we went to dinner tonight and feasted.  It was great.  Now, I’m waiting for a movie to start, and the whole family is here, and excited.  So, be creative when your fast ends.  Have fun.  Party it up with those who joined you on this journey.  And… be sure to celebrate good times!



The Want Factor

My family and I are currently wrapping up week one of the Daniel fast.  Honestly, I haven’t found it as hard as years past, probably because I don’t eat out nearly as much as I used to.  We’ve been on a steady diet of salads, vegetable soup and beans.  If you come across any good recipes, do pass them this way.

I wanted to share something that I learned this week as part of this Daniel fast.  As I said previously, this is a partial fast.  The interesting thing about it, though, is that you get to eat as much as you want.  There’s absolutely no limit to the amount of food you can consume.  In other words, there’s really no reason you should ever be hungry while on the Daniel fast.  With the right amount of planning, you get all the needed essentials for the human body.  In fact, this is the way alot of people choose to live their daily lives… 1% – 3% of the American population, actually.  That’s roughly 3- 9 million people.  So what gives?

In a typical fast, you give up all food.  Spiritually speaking, you are learning that Christ is all you need for life.  He is your sustenance, your nourishment.  One author spoke about fasting as “feasting” on the presence of Christ.  But this is not the Daniel fast lesson.  For the Daniel fast, you only give up a certain grouping of food, typically the grouping the many people enjoy the most.  Spiritually, I am learning not that Christ is my sustenance, but that Christ is my pleasure; He is all the pleasure I want.  This is a different, but equally valuable, lesson.

As my family wraps up our first week, I’d like to say a prayer over you, whether you are partaking in the Daniel fast or not.

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you : wherever He may send you;
may He guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;
may He be your pleasure : when you’re not getting what you want;
may He take you home rejoicing : at the wonders He has shown you.

Thoughts at the beginning: Get to it!

For my experience in this 21-day Daniel Fast, I’ve decided to read the Gospel of John, one chapter a day.  As reading plans go, this one is easy.  If you want something more intense, you could always read through the New Testament in 30 days.  It is an ambitious plan, but you won’t regret it afterward.  As part of these daily readings, I’m going to post a couple of thoughts, or takeaways, that can be used to meditate on each chapter.  A lot could be said, but I’m going to limit myself to only one or two thoughts.  Since today is January 3rd, I’ll go through the first three chapters in this post.

John 1 – God is not just the great God who created the universe, the one through whom everything that exists finds their beginning.  He is also the one who comes close and near to us in Jesus Christ.  We have been invited, through Christ, to be so close to Him that we are called his children.  God’s greatness revealed through relationship with us!  We should be thankful.

John 2 – When Jesus enters the temple, he notices that the people there are so distracted by material goods and wealth that they have forgotten the purpose of the place they were, a place ripe for a spiritual move.  Part of the reason for this fast is to prepare our hearts and minds for the spiritual move about to take place.  Let’s not be distracted and made forgetful.

John 3 – #1 In Jesus’s own words, he is on a mission to rescue the world, and that includes your neighbors, co-workers, friends, family, bosses, enemies, etc.  I like that!  I wanna be a part of that mission!

#2 John the Baptist said, “He must become greater; I must become less.”  (v. 30)  How can you make Christ greater and you lesser today?  Get to it!

Daniel Fast Q and A

As part of the 21-day Daniel Fast, I have decided to read and study through the Gospel of John.  Since it has 21 chapters, I’m planning to read a chapter each day for 21 days.  If you want to join me in this also, feel free.  I’ll post a few thoughts about each chapter as an additional post each day.

Also, I wanted to include some questions that somebody might have when working through the Daniel Fast.  The most important thing to remember is that this is not intended to be legalistic.  If you mistakingly eat a food that was “Daniel Fast Approved,” don’t beat yourself up or allow the enemy to heap guilt on you.  Admit you made the mistake and move on.  Also, trying to find loopholes in the plan isn’t really the idea either.  If you find yourself doing that, take a moment to evaluate why you are fasting.

What about prepared foods? Read the labels of all prepared foods. Remember the Daniel Fast is sugar-free and chemical-free. So, if you use any canned fruits, vegetables, packaged foods, or prepared sauces you should read the label to be aware about just what is in there.

What about pasta? Make sure the label says whole grain pasta with no additives (watch for sugar). Whole grain pasta offers 7 grams of protein per serving (3/4 cup of dried pasta).

I know it says raw, unsalted nuts, but what about roasted nuts? The goal would be to stick to raw, unsalted nuts. But these are harder to find so in a pinch just make sure you get plain roasted, unsalted nuts with no preservatives.

How do I get enough protein in my diet while on the fast? The following are protein-rich foods that are allowed on the Daniel Fast… almonds, sunflower seeds, lentils, quinoa, brown rice, split peas, whole grains, and tofu.

What kind of peanut butter is allowed? A natural peanut butter with no additives…watch for sugars including molasses. Smucker’s creamy natural peanut butter has nothing but peanuts in it.

How can I identify whole grain foods? Typically if the ingredient lists “whole wheat”, “rolled oats”, or “whole corn” as the first ingredient, the product is a whole grain food item. Another way to identify whole grains in the foods you eat is to look in the nutritional facts information and check if the food item contains dietary fiber. If it contains a significant amount, it most likely contains whole grains. “Wheat flour” is not a whole grain and therefore does not indicate a whole grain product.

What about salad dressing? Olive oil and lemon or lime are an option.

Do I need to eat organic foods while on the fast? No, but it is suggested because organic foods are produced without the use of feed or fertilizer of plant or animal origin and without employment of chemically formulated fertilizers, growth stimulants, antibiotics, or pesticides.

Where can I go out to eat? Well, you can go anywhere and order cautiously, asking lots of questions to the wait staff, knowing ahead of time that you may be ordering a salad with olive oil and a baked potato with no extras.

What about bread? You can eat Ezekiel bread found in the freezer section of your grocery/health food store.  Also, look for breads made from “whole grains” as described above.

How much can I eat? As long as they are the appropriate foods, we are recommending eating until satisfied with no limits.


Daniel Fast: Foods to Include and Avoid

We are starting on January 1st.  Some people choose to start on the first Sunday of the new year.  What I’ve seen, is that most churches and people choose to start the second Sunday of the new year.  Any choice is fine.  The list below is adapted from several I’ve found online.  It’s really meant to be a suggestion.  You don’t want to get legalistic about your lists.  That might very well defeat the whole purpose.  Make sure your heart is in the right place, but don’t go easy on yourself either.  I’ll have a caffeine headache for a few days too!

Foods to include in your diet during the Daniel Fast…

All fruits: These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned (watch for added sugar).

Apples, Apricots, Avocados, Bananas, Berries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Boysenberries, Breadfruit, Cantaloupe, Cherries, Coconuts, Cranberries, Dates, Figs, Grapefruit, Grapes, Grenadine, Guava, Honeydew, Melons, Kiwi, Limes, Mangoes, Melons, Mulberry, Nectarines, Oats, Olives, Oranges, Papayas, Peaches, Pears, Pineapples, Plums, Prunes, Raisins, Raspberries, Strawberries, Tangelos, Tangerines, Watermelon, Sprouts, Squashes, Sweet potatoes, Tomatoes, Turnips, Watercress, Yams, Zucchini, Lemons

Vegetables: These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned (watch salt content).

Artichokes, Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chili peppers, Collard greens, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Garlic, Ginger root, Kale, Leeks, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Mustard greens, Okra, Onions, Parsley, Peppers, Potatoes, Radishes, Rutabagas, Scallions, Spinach, Sprouts, Squashes, Sweet potatoes, Tomatoes, Turnips, Watercress, Yams, Zucchini

Legumes: Dried beans, Black beans, Cannellini, Pinto beans, Split peas, Lentils, Black eyed peas, Green beans, Green peas, Kidney beans, Peanuts (includes natural peanut butter), Beans, Lentils, Lupines, White, Peas

Seeds: All nuts (raw, unsalted), Sprouts, Ground flax, Cashews, Walnuts, Sunflower, Sesame, Almonds, Natural Almond Butter

Whole Grains: Whole wheat, Brown rice, Millet, Quinoa, Oats, Rolled Oats, Plain Oatmeal- not instant, Barley, Grits (no butter), Whole wheat pasta, Whole wheat tortillas, Plain Rice cakes, Popcorn

Liquids: Water (spring, distilled, filtered), Unsweetened Soy Milk, Herbal (caffeine free) Tea, 100% Fruit/Vegetable Juice (no added sugar)

Other: Tofu, Soy products, Herbs, Small amounts of Honey, Small amounts of Sea Salt, Small amounts of Ezekiel Bread, Small amounts of Olive Oil, Spices (read the label to be sure there are no preservatives)

Foods to Avoid:

All animal products including all meat, poultry, fish…

White rice, White bread, All deep fried foods, Caffeine, Coffee (including decaf b/c contains small amount of caffeine), Carbonated beverages, Energy drinks, Foods containing preservatives and additives, Refined foods, Processed foods, Food additives, Refined sugar, Sugar substitutes, Raw sugar, Syrups, Molasses, Cane juice, White flour, Margarine, Shortening, High fat products, Butter All, leavened breads, Baked goods, All dairy, Milk, Cheese, Yogurt, Cream, Eggs, Alcohol, Mayonnaise


Daniel Fast

My family and I are planning to start the new year off with a 21-day Daniel Fast.  With a new year comes an opportunity to examine your life, make changes, and move forward.  Fasting during this time is like feeding your spiritual man meat and potatoes while doing P90X.  You’re probably thinking, “Isn’t fasting suppose to be done in private?  Then why are you announcing this to everyone on the internet?”  In a way, you are correct.  Fasting is a private practice not meant for public display.  However, as a leader, we are often asked to make public our private devotion in an effort to lead others in their own private devotion.  In other words, I want to invite you to take this journey with me and my family.

If you’ve never heard of the Daniel Fast, it is a spiritual discipline designed to better connect us with God.  It is a partial fast, which means that you eliminate some common things from your daily diet, but you still have generous options available. Mostly, you focus on eating fruits and vegetables that are pure and simple.  It comes from the Old Testament book of Daniel.  If you look around online, one thing you’ll notice is that there are many ways to do the fast. This is, in part, due to the lack of clarity in the bible as to exactly what Daniel did during his fast.

To keep it simple, I will post what our family will be doing as far as foods to include and avoid.  This fast will require preparation as most meals will be made from scratch. I plan to post the occasional recipe here.  So, if you’re feeling up for it, and more so if not, consider joining me and my family for this 21-day Daniel fast.  You won’t regret it!