Nutrition

What Is the Daniel Fast, Chris Pratt’s 21-Day, Bible-Inspired Diet?

Technically speaking, the Daniel Fast is not a diet but rather a 21-day period of fasting and prayer that some Christians observe. The Daniel Fast has been around since Susan Gregory, its creator, started blogging about it in 2007. However, thanks to actor Chris Pratt, who recently informed his 22.2 million Instagram followers that he is on day three of the Daniel Fast, it is gaining momentum once more.

According to the Huffington Post, he described it to followers in an Instagram story as “21 days of prayer and fasting.” It will also, coincidentally, take place during the Lego Movie 2 junket. Therefore, I’ll probably be having hallucinations when you see me. Pay attention, he warned.

What is the Daniel Fast?

The Daniel Fast is based on Daniel’s experiences with fasting, an Old Testament prophet. The Daniel Fast is referred to as a “spiritual experience” that is similar to “pressing the ‘stop button’ on life so you can come closer to God” on its website.

The website claims that thousands of Christians begin the Daniel Fast after the start of the year, generally on the first Sunday. Many churches, study groups, and individuals began their fast this year at sunrise on Sunday, January 6, and they will keep it up until the sun sets on Saturday, January 26. Although beginning in the first few days of January has become customary, the website emphasises that anyone can begin their 21-day Daniel Fast at any time of the year.

The Daniel Fast food list.

Daniel Fast, which is based on a translation of the King James Version of the Bible, permits only “items cultivated from the seed,” similar to a vegan diet (with other restrictions). Fruits, vegetables, entire grains, and unleavened bread are all included in this. Nuts, seeds, and healthy liquid oils are also acceptable.
What you can eat during the Daniel Fast:

Foods allowed during the Daniel Fast:

Here’s exactly what you can eat during the 21-day Daniel Fast:

  • Fresh, frozen, dried, or canned vegetables such as broccoli, kale, mushrooms, tomatoes, and corn
  • Fresh, frozen, dried, or canned fruits such as apples, blueberries, dates, oranges, and raisins
  • Whole grains and legumes such as brown rice, buckwheat, oats, quinoa, popcorn, wild rice, black beans, chickpeas, and lentils
  • Healthy liquid oils such as canola, corn, olive, safflower, and soybean
  • Nuts and seeds such as almonds, cashews, sesame seeds, and nut butters including peanut butter

Foods that are prohibited during the Daniel Fast

Here’s everything you can’t eat during the Daniel Fast:

  • Beverages other than water such as coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, and alcohol
  • Meat and animal products including beef, lamp, pork, poultry, and fish
  • Dairy products including milk, cheese, cream, butter, and eggs
  • Sweeteners including sugar, honey syrups, stevia, and agave nectar
  • Leavening agents and leavened bread including baked goods and Ezekiel Bread
  • Refined and processed foods with artificial flavorings, additives, chemicals, white rice, white flour, and preservatives
  • Deep-fried foods including potato chips and French fries
  • Solid fats including shortening, margarine, and lard

Getting ready for the Daniel Fast

The website advises gradually cutting back on caffeine a week before the 21-day Daniel Fast if you want to avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms while you’re fasting. The same is advised for sugary foods, which can also result in unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, such as candy, desserts, and soda.

Is the Daniel Fast healthy?

The website acknowledges that some people do use the Daniel Fast eating plan solely as a way of enhancing their health and losing weight, even though the Daniel Fast involves restricting food for a spiritual reason. In fact, it states that the fast has helped “thousands of people with health and weight issues.” However, one nutritionist believes that this is incredibly unlikely.

According to Alissa Rumsey, MS, RD, nutritionist and creator of the Ditch the Diet Challenge, “This diet is short-lived, and any benefit would probably not be seen in such a limited time frame.”

Instead, you’ll probably encounter completely unpleasant side effects. Rumsey claims that when the body is suddenly given less food than it is used to, it enters a state of survival. This may result in a variety of unpleasant symptoms both during and after the fast, such as increased cravings (which may cause binge eating or overeating), increased fat retention, slowed metabolism, and elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

The fast may even have negative long-term effects, such as a higher risk for cardiovascular disease and a shorter life span, even though it is only temporary, according to her. The abrupt deprivation of nutrients upsets the body’s natural desire to maintain a specific set point, according to Rumsey.

The Small Change Diet author Keri Gans, MS, RDN, says the Daniel Fast may be safe for someone in good health but doesn’t recommend it. However, because of the low calorie content, “many people may experience negative side effects such as fatigue, headaches, and irritability,” claims Gans.

If I had to find a silver lining, Gans says, it might be that a person would be eating a lot of fruits and vegetables that are high in nutrients.

Can you lose weight on the Daniel Fast?

The Daniel Fast is simply not a sustainable weight loss strategy, according to both nutritionists. Any weight you do manage to lose during the process will probably come right back.

According to Rumsey, “Weight loss at such a rapid rate is typically a combination of water weight and muscle loss.” Once a person resumes eating “normally” again, the water weight will return quickly. According to her, this weight fluctuation may even lead to distortion of body image after the 21-day period has passed.

What does the evidence show?

Unfortunately, there is little research on the Daniel Fast. 43 participants were examined in a 2010 study published in the journal Lipids in Health and Disease to see how the Daniel Fast affected their metabolic and cardiovascular health. Following a fast, researchers found lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure among the participants, with no adverse effects on blood count or metabolism. The effects of other plant-based diets have been studied and have been found to be similar. However, given the study’s small sample size and the fact that all of the participants were generally young and healthy, more analysis is unquestionably required to fully comprehend the Daniel Fast’s effects.

Should you try the Daniel Fast?

Do the Daniel Fast for your own spiritual purposes, as its creator intended, if you’re interested in it. Rumsey advises against engaging in the fast with weight loss as your main objective. If you insist on fasting, concentrate on the deeper meaning behind your motivations and be aware that the desired health effects from the fast are unlikely to last over the long term and might even be harmful.

Gans concurs. People need to understand that this is only a temporary fix for weight loss, she adds. “They need to learn how to change their eating behaviors, not just eliminate foods, especially the foods they love, in order to lose weight for the long term.”

Talk to your doctor to make sure the 21-day fast is safe for you, especially if you’re pregnant or have existing medical conditions, as you should with any extreme eating plan.

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