by Sharman J. Monroe
I just finished the Daniel Fast! (http://daniel-fast.com/). For those of you not familiar, this fast is a “powerful spiritual experience to help followers of Jesus Christ develop a more intimate relationship with their Lord, seek answers to prayer, and grow in the love and knowledge of the Savior.” It is based on Daniel 1 and 10. During the fast, you cannot eat meat, bread, pasta, dairy, artificial or processed foods, sugar, or yeast and baking powder. You can eat fruits and vegetables and your only beverage is water.
I heard about the fast from two friends who just finished it. When they said you couldn’t have sugar on this fast, I freaked! You see, I am a chocoholic and completely devoted to sugar. It is nothing for me to eat the death-by-chocolate triple layer cake at the restaurant and take the entree home to eat later. But both of my friends survived (one was also a chocoholic) and one lost ten pounds. The loosing weight got my attention. I wanted to loose weight and thought the fast would be a good jump start for me. I was not looking for “a powerful spiritual experience”. To me, that meant a “Saul on the road to Damascus” type of thing. That was not my goal. I didn’t pray for answers or a revelation to a heavy problem I was wrestling with. Nope, not me. I was honest with God. I told Him my main reason for doing the fast was to loose weight (He already knew anyway), not to have a “powerful spiritual experience.” Nevertheless, I told Him I knew I could not do it without Him and all my efforts on the fast would be to bring glory to Him. I prayed for His help.
The day before I started I went to the store and brought fish, oatmeal (old-fashioned), apples, grapes, melons, cantaloupes, sweet potatoes, white potatoes and all kinds of vegetables. I was reading labels. Do you know how many items have sugar in them? Pretzels have sugar! On Day One, I thought I would starve to death. Since I live with my daughter, I didn’t purge the house of the untouchable foods. There was a bag of Oreos, two cakes and my favorite cold cereal on the top of the refrigerator, not to mention the food in the refrigerator. But I was good. I didn’t eat any of the untouchable food although I’m sure I heard a “psst” from the Oreos. I ate my oatmeal stuffed with apples and raisins. (didn’t know raisins were soooo sweet!). To my surprise, I adjusted quite quickly to the fast. By the second day, my desire for chocolate and sugar was gone. I even stuck to the fast when I went to a reunion. (I brought my piece of cake home and put it in the freezer to eat later).
Since I finished the fast, I clearly did not starve to death. But I learned a lot in doing this fast. Instead of focusing on what I could not eat, I focused on what I could eat. When I did this, I saw so much I could eat and enjoy. I ate food I had not eaten in a long time like cabbage, succotash, raisins and peanuts. I learned to make sweet potato fries with cinnamon and nutmeg; they have been added to the Thanksgiving menu. I reacquainted my cooking to different spices. You have got to try cabbage with caraway seeds and peas with basil. But most importantly, I learned I do, in fact, have self-control just as God said in 2 Timothy 1:6-7. So, to my surprise, the Daniel Fast accomplished for me exactly what it was supposed to do which, according to the website is, “…teach us to deny our ‘selves’ and instead put our spirit in control over our flesh.” I indeed had a “powerful spiritual experience.” (isn’t God funny?).
I don’t know if I lost weight. It’s not important right now because I’m off to Starbuck’s to get a salted hot chocolate, or a pumpkin spice latte or maybe a chai tea with soy milk. And while I’m out, I might stop at my favorite cupcake store……
To God be the glory!!!
Question for Comment: Have you done the Daniel Fast? What did you learn from it?