Christians Join Daniel-Style Fast for the New Year

Author and nutrition expert Kristen Feola is launching a three-week fast this Sunday. Hundreds will be joining her in giving up meat, dairy and sugar, among other foods.

Feola told The Christian Post that the Daniel Fast, on which her book The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast is based, is focused on the spiritual aspects of fasting.

It’s meant to “increase the time you spend in prayer,” and it sets the first part of the year aside to seek God for what’s to come, she told CP.

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No stranger to fasting herself, Feola makes no attempts to hide the fact that it is hard to do. But she will be providing encouragement and motivation to the almost 1,000 people doing the fast with her on her website. Each day she is going to post devotions and healthy recipes they can use for the fast.

One of the reasons she told CP that fasting is so hard is because “our culture is all about self-indulgence, and fasting is the antithesis of that.” Often people are afraid of what fasting means, but she said the Daniel Fast is like an “entry-level fast,” and once people do it they feel more confident about other types, like water or juice fasts.

The Daniel Fast is based upon accounts of Daniel’s fasting experiences as recorded in the Bible.

“The goal of the Daniel Fast is not to duplicate Daniel’s menu, but to imitate the spirit in which he sought the Lord,” Feola said in a released statement. “His passion for God caused him to long for spiritual food more than physical food, which should be the ultimate desire of anyone choosing to participate in a fast.”

The book of Daniel records that after receiving a disturbing vision from God, Daniel entered into a state of mourning, or fasting. The Bible says that he ate no choice food and had no meat or wine for three weeks. It is believed that Daniel ate simple foods, taking in only what was necessary for physical sustenance.

Foods that are allowed on the Daniel Fast are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and oils. Foods to be avoided include dairy, meat, sugar, all forms of sweeteners, yeast, refined and processed foods, deep-fried foods, and solid fats.

The theme for the upcoming fast is “Seek and Find.” She explained on her website, “To seek after something or someone means to look intently and with purpose. It’s not a casual or halfhearted attempt. When you seek, you search. You look carefully. Thoroughly. Completely. You don’t stop looking until you find what you want.”

And she wants Christians to start 2012 that way – seeking the Lord. “God promises that when we pursue Him with great intensity, we will find Him.”

On top of spiritual benefits, Feola also cited several health benefits of fasting.

“Fasting gives your body much-needed rest as it cleanses your body of chemicals and harmful ingredients,” she said in a released statement. “It also gives your body a chance to repair itself.”

Some studies have shown that fasting also decreases the risk of a variety of conditions including cancer and autoimmune diseases.

She told CP that at the beginning of a fast, your body might go through a bit of a rebellion, but once people get “past the first few days, their body settles in and it does get easier.” People start feeling good, because they are not used to all the nutrition and energy that a diet of healthy foods provide.

But most important to Feola is that “someone who does the Daniel Fast is spiritually going to experience God in a deeper way than they ever have.” She said “fasting is meant to draw us close physically” to God and the “body functions the way it’s meant to when you give it healthy foods.”

When it was originally released, The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast became a top 50 bestseller on the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association list. Today, it remains in the top 50 bestselling books on Amazon under "Christian Living" and a top 15 bestseller on their "Cooking, Food & Wine" list.

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