My church, CityChurch of Olive Branch, is starting 2017 with 21 days of prayer and fasting. We are doing the Daniel Fast together this year starting Sunday, January 8th. Here are eight practical tips for thriving during the fast. I am not ignoring the spiritual side, just giving some practical tips.
1. Plan, plan, plan. Know specifically what you can and cannot have. After you have researched, plan out breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for each day for a week at a time. If you're feeling advantageous, plan for the entire three weeks in one sitting.
Here is a sample meal plan for us:
Breakfast: fruit smoothie (frozen berries, 100% apple juice and frozen banana)
Lunch: taco salad with guacamole and apple slices with peanut butter
Dinner: 4 bean chili with a side of green beans
Snacks: mixed fruit, clementines, mixed nuts
2. Tell yourself you won't quit. Tell yourself that you will complete the 21 days. If you say you're going to "try" then you are giving yourself room to fail. It's tough but it's supposed to be tough. If you slip up and eat a handful of M&Ms, repent, forgive yourself and keep going. Don't give yourself an out to quit.
3. Have readily available snacks when you get hangry. For me, I like easy fruits (bananas, clementines, apples) and mixed nuts. I also keep sugar free applesauce on deck.
4. Realize temptation is going to come and that you can overcome it. Whenever my husband or I have done fasts, it seems like we get invited to lots of parties with all you can eat pizza buffets with a 5 tiered chocolate cake. Either don't go to those food filled outings or eat before you go and bring approved snacks along so you're not tempted.
5. Check your labels carefully. While you're mostly eating whole, fresh foods, you will use some prepared foods like canned beans. Now, if you're like me, you would assume there would be no added sugar in a can of pinto beans you're using for a chili but most have corn syrup in. There are some jarred salsas without added sugar and pasta sauces without added sugar.
6. Invite friends or family over to have dinner with you. During our first Daniel Fast in 2012, we had another couple over for dinner that was also doing the fast with us. We had mixed fruit as an appetizer and a 4 bean chili for the main course. They brought the most delicious guacamole with baked corn chips. We had a great time sharing recipes, encouraging each other and praying with and for each other.
7. Caffeine withdrawal is tough. Realize the first few days will be very tough if you're used to drinking soda or coffee on a regular basis. You will have headaches and most of the time, they will die down after day 3. Drink lots of water.
8. Experiment with new foods so you don't get bored or stale. Sometimes, we just have a baked potato for dinner because of our lack of creativity and because we're just hungry. We love to go to Whole Foods to get inspired with new foods. They also have a buffet with many DF approved foods. It's a nice treat not to prepare a meal.
Remember to drink lots water, eat as much as you want with DF approved foods, and get enough protein. Remind yourself that it's only 21 days and that you're stronger than you think.
Each year, many people tell us they aren't doing the Daniel Fast because they "already eat like that." Chances are, that's probably not true and more of an excuse than anything. If you find yourself pushing back hard, you may need it the most. But if you legitimately eat similar to the Daniel Fast on a regular basis then I encourage you to do another fast like a 3 day juice fast.
Click here for some Daniel Fast approved restaurants.
And click here for some Daniel Fast recipes.
And click here for more info on what exactly the Daniel Fast is.
You can do this.