I was so happy to receive a question on this subject, because the Daniel Fast is a very important and beautiful part of Christian tradition. The fast is based off of a story in the book of Daniel, wherein King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon besieged Judah. Some captives were brought from Judah to Babylon so that they could serve in the royal palace. King Nebuchadnezzar placed his chief of staff, Ashpenaz, in charge of making sure the captives were trained and fed certain foods, in order to make them suitable for service in the palace. Daniel was one of the captives, but he didn’t want to eat the meat and wine. He presented a ten-day challenge to the attendant, who agreed to his terms for him and his three friends. 12 “Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water,” Daniel said. 13 “At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king’s food. Then make your decision in light of what you see.” 14 The attendant agreed to Daniel’s suggestion and tested them for ten days. 15. At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king.
The Daniel Fast usually lasts for 21 days. It allows the following foods: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, juices, non-dairy beverages, and water.
The Daniel Fast does NOT allow the following foods: meats, eggs, dairy products, and caffeine, which are huge parts of the standardized KETO lifestyle. However, the beauty of KETO is that it is NOT a cookie-cutter way of eating. KETO can be vegan and decaffeinated! We simply have to remember the basic rule of KETO: high fat, low carb, moderate protein.
As we compare the Daniel Fast with the KETO way of eating, we find many similarites. The following foods are permissible in both:
BERRIES: Though the Daniel Fast permits all fruits, we know that many fruits are high on the glycemic index. Consuming them will spike our insulin and hinder ketosis. Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries can be consumed within reason. I’ve always limited berry consumption to 1/4 cup per day.
VEGETABLES: All of the cruciferous and low-carb vegetables that we enjoy are allowed during the Daniel Fast. Asparagus, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, greens, cabbage, squash… ENJOY. Furthermore, we can prepare these vegetables with many of the healthy unprocessed oils we love, in order to meet our daily fat macros.
FATS: Healthy, unprocessed fat sources are allowed with the Daniel Fast and with KETO, such as coconut oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil, almond butter, macadamia nut butter and peanut butter. Keep in mind that your nut butters should be simply nuts and salt. You can easily make your own in a food processor.
NUTS/SEEDS: All nuts and seeds are permitted, but be mindful of your carb count. Opt for high-fat nuts, like macadamia nuts and pecans.
FLOUR: Since nuts and seeds are allowed with the Daniel Fast, almond flour, coconut flour, flaxseed meal, hazelnut flour, macadamia nut flour and others are permitted. Avoid whole wheat flour. It is high-carb and causes inflammatory issues, including digestive discomforts for many individuals.
SEASONINGS/SWEETENERS: Pink Himalayan sea salt is allowed during the Daniel Fast, as well as many herbs and spices. Sweeteners are not allowed, however, I would probably personally lean towards breaking tradition and incorporating organic liquid stevia leaf extract for certain foods.
PROTEIN SOURCES: No meat or fish allowed? That’s ok! Remember that KETO is about moderate protein, and there are many non-meat sources of protein available! The hardest part about incorporating some of these sources will be monitoring your macros for carbs. Some vegan protein sources include: chia seeds, almonds, peanut butter, peas, pumpkin seeds, spinach, and artichokes. Soy is permitted with the Daniel Fast, but we know that soy products are directly linked to malfunction of the thyroid glands. I would personally avoid soy products.
A Word About Bullet Proof Coffee: Caffeine is not permitted with the Daniel Fast. Most of us enjoy coffee daily with KETO. Going without it means CAFFEINE WITHDRAWAL. I suggest a gradual transition. Our best case would be to start a week prior to the starting date of the Daniel Fast. Gradually incorporate decaffeinated coffee in your bullet-proof coffee, and use coconut oil instead of butter. MCT oil is still fine.
What Would a Day of Keto Daniel Fasting Look Like?
Hmmm… I would probably start my day with a quart-sized mason jar of lemon water. I would make myself a smoothie, using peanut butter or almond butter, almond milk, mct oil, lots of dark greens, and some berries. I would prepare roasted cauliflower, broccoli, or cabbage steaks, using avocado oil and lots of herbs for satisfying flavor. I might attempt to make a pancake with almond flour, macadamia butter, cinnamon and nutmeg. I would bake flax seed crackers and whip up a savory nut butter with Italian herbs to spread on them for a snack. I would have a huge salad with lots of vegetables, and I’d make a light salad dressing with oil, vinegar, and herbs. I would create a riced cauliflower stuffing for some bell peppers.
These are just a few yummy suggestions, but there are plenty of recipe ideas available on Pinterest, YouTube, and other sites that can be modified to meet our KETO needs.
Remember that fasting is sacred. It’s personal and intimate. Use your God-given intuition and be wise. Take this opportunity to enjoy as much quiet time with God as possible, because people may not understand and support what you are doing. You’re not worshiping them; you are worshiping God, and He has great things to say to you and show you through this experience.
Also, be mindful that foods are typically not grown from a fully-nourished ground, so still take your vitamins and supplements while staying well-hydrated with distilled or spring water.