What is a Daniel fast?

What is a Daniel fast?

The Daniel Fast is a diet based on the story from the book of Daniel in the Old Testament.  Daniel and his three friends decided to fast in the sense that they refused to eat the meat provided to them by the King of Babylon.  Daniel was not fasting in refraining from all food.  Neither was Daniel trying to improve his health by losing weight or by avoiding unhealthy fats.  Daniel was interested in obeying the law of Moses.

Daniel 1:8-14  But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself.  (9)  And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs,  (10)  and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, "I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king."  (11)  Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,  (12)  "Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink.  (13)  Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king's food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see."  (14)  So he listened to them in this matter, and tested them for ten days.

Daniel decided to fast, not for health reasons, but for spiritual laws in the Bible.  Nebuchadnezzar had conquered the nation of Israel and was training a group of captured Jews to become officers in his government.  Part of the social adaptation to their new kingdom and culture was to eat the King’s meat.  It is likely that the meat itself was healthy, but involved in idol worship.
The concept of applying the Daniel fast to dieting is when a person decides to refrain from eating meat for a period of time.  The Bible does not command or recommend a person follow Daniel’s fasting method for health reasons. We are at liberty to follow a vegetarian diet or a diet that contains meat.  Other scriptures that deal with the matter of eating meat are found in Romans 14 and 1 Timothy 4 and 1 Corinthians 8

Romans 14:1-4  As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.  (2)  One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables.  (3)  Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.  (4)  Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
1 Timothy 4:1-5  Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,  (2)  through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared,  (3)  who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.  (4)  For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,  (5)  for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
1 Corinthians 8:4-13  Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that "an idol has no real existence," and that "there is no God but one."  (5)  For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth--as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"--  (6)  yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.  (7)  However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.  (8)  Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do.  (9)  But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.  (10)  For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols?  (11)  And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died.  (12)  Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.  (13)  Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

Shad Sluiter