There are so many different ways to lose weight and my weapon of choice has always been strength training mixed with intermittent fasting. Now, of course, intermittent fasting isn’t the only type of fast to dramatically reduce your caloric intake, but it’s just my personal choice.
Another kind of fasting, spiritual fasting, has traditionally been used to strengthen an individual’s connection with their religious beliefs and one spiritual fast that I’ve been particularly intrigued by has to do with the Daniel Fast guidelines developed over a period of time by Christian scholars. While this fast obviously has strong religious intentions, I’m not sure that it would be the most successful at creating a lean and muscular look with it’s lack of protein and overemphasis on whole grains. While that might be the case, it still sounds like you can lose a significant amount of weight in the process.
Religious Background Of The Daniel Diet
The Daniel fast is based from a short verse from the Christian Bible, Daniel 10:2, 3, stating
In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.
The story goes that Daniel was once ruled over by Babylonian kings as a servant and during his times of service he underwent multiple fasts. From this short verse, a very literal and detox-style diet has been developed by Christians in order to gain noticeable weight loss benefits as well as a stronger connection with God.
This eating plan is only a partial fast since participants will still be eating, but the allowable food types are quite limited. From the verse, there are 4 main conclusions that can be drawn from the speaker’s experience that I will detail next.
Daniel Fast Instructions To Follow
I ate no pleasant food…
The term “pleasant food” is obviously quite subjective to one’s personal tastes, but in this diet’s case, Christian development of Daniel fasting has attributed this line with most kinds of bread and all sugary items. Unleavened breads are considered okay because they don’t contain any yeast, so the safest bread option has been limited to whole grain bread without any sort of yeast or honey.
…no meat or wine came into my mouth…
This cut and dry rule clearly suggests that Daniel didn’t consume any meat or alcohol while on his fast. This line has been extended to represent all animal products whether they are the actual meat or items received from animals like eggs or milk.
…till three whole weeks were fulfilled.
Typically this fast is followed for a total of 21 days and that’s perfectly fine considering you still get to eat as often as you like. If this were an intermittent fast-style technique, you’d want to eat at least 3 meals a day on the weekends to replenish vitamins, minerals, and necessary protein that may have been displaced during the week.
Brief Daniel Fast Food List
I like this subheading here because it almost leads you to believe that Daniel was eating “fast food” during the time of that verse. It’s a silly joke, I know, but in all seriousness, there are some very specific things that you can and can not eat while following the Daniel Fast guidelines.
- Whole grains
- Nuts and seeds
- Herbs and spices
What You Can Not Eat
- Any meat or animal products
- Dairy products
- Real or artificial sweeteners
- Bread containing yeast or honey (unleavened)
- Processed foods
- Deep fried foods
- Solid fats
- Any beverages that are not water (Tea is an exception)
Are The Daniel Fast Guidelines Good For Becoming Lean And Muscular?
If you notice from the food list, it would be very difficult to consume nearly as much protein as you did before undergoing this type of fast. That means the chances of muscle deterioration all along the way are very high and that’s why I wouldn’t recommend this fast for someone that’s purely doing it for the body-fat reduction benefits.
Of course, this is a more religious-based fast than anything and is commonly used to create more lasting connections between Christian followers and God. The weight loss that would be gained by the end could still be rather dramatic leaving your body feeling very refreshed and full of energy, but if muscle preservation is an equally important goal, you might want to alter this strategy or try another tactic altogether.P.S. If you're interested in the diet that I use when I want to get particularly lean, it's Eat Stop Eat. It's very progressive, and probably not like anything you've tried before.