Those Who Hunger: The Daniel Fast and You

Folks, I just found a great online resource for you as you fight the good fight of faith against your eating disorders. A Christian blogger names Kristen Feola has a page (has writen a book, too) about the biblical principle of a "Daniel Fast" and how to practice this form of abstinence as a spiritual discipline. Her blog, "Those Who Hunger", contains many, many recipes, and is nutritionally very sound.

I recommend this site to all of you still struggling, whether your fight is against anorexia or you are still in the early stages of battling bulimia. What makes this blog's approach so good is that the focus is where it belongs - on Christ, and growing closer to Him - and not on the food itself. It is not a "diet"; nor is it a meal plan. It is not a magic "Six Steps to Self-Improvement" program. Kristen cites appropriate Scripture, points people towards the Word of God as they choose to "simplify" their eating for a season, and has a daily devotional for her readers.

Why am I recommending a page about "fasting" to my eating-disordered readers? Remember, this is NOT a complete food fast; it is a "Daniel Fast". This practice is taken from Daniel's abstainance from the Babalonian king's "choice food" for spiritual reasons. Bringing discipline and self-control into your eating habits (honoring God with your body; 1 Corinthians 6:20) is a spiritual matter. Being constantly in prayer, humble before our God, is the goal of any fast - it affords an opportunity to draw nearer to Him. Kristen writes:

A 21-day partial fast based upon Daniel's own experiences as recorded in the Bible. The purpose is to restrict commonly enjoyed foods as an act of worship and consecration to God. Someone who chooses to undergo a Daniel Fast demonstrates a physical commitment that reflects a deep spiritual desire for a more intimate relationship with the Lord.

On one occasion, Daniel was greatly concerned for his people and sought the Lord's wisdom during a 3-week time of prayer and fasting. Daniel 10:2-3 says, "At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips." The meaning of "choice food" is not clear; however, most commentaries conclude that he ate no bread or sweets. The Message translation sums up Daniel's eating habits during that time: "I ate only plain and simple food."

The intention of today's Daniel Fast is not to duplicate exactly what Daniel did but the spirit in which he did it. Daniel's passion for the Lord caused him to hunger and thirst for spiritual food rather than physical food, which should be the desire for anyone doing the Daniel Fast.
Additionally, I really recommend the recipes and guidelines she gives (on what to eat) as being very appropriate during the "abstinence phase" or "re-feeding phase" for bulimics and anorexics. You will not be overwhelmed with the heavy, fatty or rich foods that often trigger a binge; nor is sugar allowed on this fast (which is chemically addictive and a known binge-trigger). Of course, those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that I am certainly not a "food legalist" - there are no "good foods" or "bad foods" and I believe that everything can be enjoyed in moderation - but in my experience, the more simply and "abstinently" you eat in the early days of your repentance from food addiction, the less tempted you will be to purge. Following the guidelines on this site (with special emphasis on prayer and Scripture study) will surely be beneficial to any recovering food addict.

Zondervan's synopsis says of the book:
"The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast offers practical encouragement for doing the Daniel Fast, a 21-day fast from foods like sugar and meat, so you can spend less time thinking about what to eat and more time focusing on the Lord. You will discover that “to fast” means “to feast” on the only thing that truly nourishes - the powerful Word of God."
(Emphasis mine). I always recommend that ladies, in addition to seeking biblical counseling, meet with a nutritionist wherever possible. Distance or money may prevent some of you from doing that. I am happy to offer whatever doctrinal counsel I can, but I am not nearly as inclined to provide specific "food guidelines" as some others are (I'd much rather study systematic theology than cook, anyway). So I am very glad to recommend a site to you which provides both practical eating advice with Scriptural encouragement! Do NOT, however, get so caught up in "doing the fast" and obsessing over the recipes that you lose sight of the main point - drawing nearer to God. Be blessed by it, and be sure and let the author know if you find something helpful on her site.

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