Friday, 1 February 2013

the daniel fast

In the quest for healing I have learned that you must be extreme in order to see radical change in your life. You must go to the places that others dare not go and do the things that others dare not do. I have experienced this on a physical level, particularly in the last year, as I have done detox after detox and fast after fast, all in the name of good health and natural living. But, in the quest for healing I must go beyond the physical, and charter the stormy unchartered waters of my emotional and spiritual wellbeing too. You see, I am not just on a quest for restored physical health but I am on a quest for wholeness.

And so, I dare to do the Daniel Fast. What is the Daniel Fast and why would I dare to do it? The Daniel Fast is a 21-day restrictive plant-based partial fast that many Christians use as a tool to draw near to and encounter God. The fast is based on the experiences of the prophet Daniel from the Old Testament in which there are two accounts of Daniel practicing a partial fast, where he abstains from some food, but not all food. In the first account Daniel and his friends only ate foods that came from seeds (i.e. plant-based foods) and only drank water (Daniel 1: 12). In the second account he consumed "no delicacies, no meat or wine" (Daniel 10:3) for a full three weeks.

Though he was restricting food and drink, there were spiritual purposes behind both accounts. As my Daniel Fast approaches I am not only deciding what food I will restrict (I have to be very specific about what "delicacies" I will abstain from!) but I am setting out my spiritual purposes for fasting before God. And just as God heard Daniel (Daniel 10:12) I believe God will hear me too. Yes, God already hears me; He hears my prayers, my thoughts, and He hears my heart. But when I choose to abstain from certain things like food, for spiritual purposes, I am purposely making room in my life so that I may hear Him.

And it is in this give-and-take of relationship that God works to restore me spiritually. For this is the very reason that God gave His only Son to the world; that through Jesus Christ we may be reconciled to Him. So, even though it is important for me to take care of the physical body He gave me, in my quest for wholeness I must also address my spiritual wellbeing. I believe that spiritual restoration comes from being in a relationship with God. Fasting is just an expression of my commitment to Him, and however extreme it may seem, it is something I am willing to do in order that I may be whole.

You may be reading this and realise that you too need to do a "spiritual detox". For more information on the Daniel Fast I recommend reading The Daniel Fast by Susan Gregory or The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast by Kristen Feola. For now, I'll leave you with a favourite plant-based recipe of mine that you can eat for a Daniel Fast lunch or dinner. This recipe uses the grain-like seed quinoa, which is a source of complete protein as it contains all nine essential amino acids, and is also high in dietary fibre, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and calcium. Sprouting the quinoa will make all these nutrients, vitamins and minerals more easily assimilated into your body.

sprouted quinoa tabbouleh

1 cup quinoa, soaked for 2 hours and sprouted for 24 hours
1 cup tomatoes, diced
1 cup cucumber, diced
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1/4 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup spring onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Juice of a lemon

Rinse and soak the quinoa in filtered water for 2 hours. Drain quinoa and let sit in a medium bowl for 24 hours at room temperature to sprout. Marinate the sprouted quinoa in the olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and cayenne pepper while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Add and toss until well mixed. Keeps well in the fridge for up to three days.

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