Matthew has decided to participate in a popular Christian fast known as the Daniel Fast. This is NOT a diet to lose weight. It is an opportunity to commit yourself spiritually through prayer. The Daniel Fast is based on the book of Daniel in which a number of young men are brought to King Nebuchadnezzar's palace to live for a period of three years. During these three years in the pagan palace these men "receive a set amount of food and wine from the king's table. However, Daniel resolves not to defile himself by partaking of the royal food." He requests to eat only fruits and vegetables and drink water only. Because Daniel stood up for what he believed, the Lord granted Daniel with special insight and knowledge as well as the ability to understand dreams and visions (Daniel 1:17). Many years later Daniel is still receiving the visions from the Lord and in Daniel 10, he receives a particular vision that disturbs him greatly and he goes into a state of mourning (which is also known as fasting) for a period of three weeks. In this chapter it speaks of the "diet" he ate during this period of time when he prayed vigilantly to the Lord for not his own needs, but for the people that he loved. This is where the Daniel Fast comes into play. The theory behind fasting is that when your body is hungered or craving a particular food it is a physical reminder to stop and pray. Matthew has asked me to participate with him and although I support him in his desire to embark on this journey, I will not be joining him fully. There are several reasons for me not taking on this challenge. #1 being pregnant, although this is a very healthy food list, I feel like I would not be able to get the adequate calories and nutrition needed. and #2 I think this requires a strong spiritual desire that I don't feel I have been burdened with at this time. I feel like if I were to commit to this fully, I would be doing it for the wrong reasons (because Matthew asked me) and not because I have a very specific need or desire to be in that spiritual frame of mind. But since I want to support Matthew in his goal, I have agreed to help him prepare meals for the whole family to enjoy at dinner time. I will not eat or drink anything from the "no no" list in front of him.
He is using the book pictured below as his guide/cookbook. The basic idea of the diet is a vegan diet only more restrictive. A vegan diet consists of any fruits and vegetables and any food that does not contain any animal products. So no meat or dairy. The fast goes a step further and says no artificial sweeteners or preservatives as well as no enriched grains of any kind. And since Daniel drank only water, that eliminates all other beverages...coffee, soda, tea etc. This is where most people suffer the most. I know I for one can not eliminate the small amount of caffeine I am able to drink. Weak, I know...but I'm just being honest. Over the next couple of weeks I will keep you all updated on Matthew's progress. I will also post some of the recipes that we try. Yesterday (January 1st) was day 1. And it did make Matthew physically ill not having had any caffeine. However today, he has felt much better. I know there will probably be a few more days of him feeling the withdrawals, but in the end I think he will be amazed at his physical health as well as his spiritual health.