Daniel Fast Handbook

Written by McDonald, T.  |  Date 8th of April 2022    

You may have heard about fasting, but what is a Daniel fast?  Depending on the tradition or denomination a Daniel fast can be at different times of the year.  For instance, it may be at the beginning of the year or in lent.

What is a fast?

Fasting is the deliberate withholding  of something from one's self usually food or drink or both.  However, sometimes it can be a non food or drink fast; however, this is beyond the scope of this blog.  In a Daniel fast, the faster avoids consuming certain foods and drinks rather than abstaining from meals or food altogether.  There are two types of Daniel fast: 10 days and 21 days.  The 10 day fast is usually more strict. 

Who was Daniel?

Daniel is an Old Testament prophet; the prophet in the book of Daniel.  Daniel lived around 605 BCE in the Chaldean Empire (Babylonia) where Nebuchadnezzar II was King.  Daniel was taken to Babylonia after the Israelite capital of Jerusalem in Judah, his home, was conquered.  Later, Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream about a statue made from different metals.

The fast is in remembrance of the first chapter of the book of Daniel where Daniel refused to eat foods forbidden by God. Such food included meat that was not drained of blood or had been sacrificed to the Babylonian Gods.  Daniel instead asked for vegetables and water.  After ten days, it was observed his health was still good and so was allowed to continue the diet, which is where the ten day fast comes from.  

The length of the 21 day fast comes from chapter 10 of the book of Daniel, which tells us:

"At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks.  I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over."

What can I eat?

21 day fast

  • Vegetables of any kind
  • Fruits of any kind
  • Whole grans
  • Beans and pulses  
  • Nuts, and seeds
  • Oils that are liquid at room temperature 
  • Water

10 day fast 

  • Vegetables and fruit of any kind
  • Whole grains
  • Oils that are liquid at room temperature 
  • Water

What can't I eat?

21 day fast

  • Added sugars of any kind including syrups are forbidden. 
  • White flour of any kind and products made with white flours.
  • Processed foods
  • Caffeine
  • Additives
  • Alcohol   

10 day fast

It is a lot easier to look at the list of foods you can eat!  Although you can have oil, you can't have deep fried anything. 


I hope you enjoyed this blog.  Please let me know if you tried the fast or what your church allows on this fast.  Peace be with you!


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