"In an age of media-induced addictions, where we race from one emotional fix to another, the maverick message, “Dare to be a Daniel” spells refreshing freedom."
Being victimized by the jaws of hunger during a raw diet set me to wondering. I wondered which feat took greater daring, Daniel facing a den full of ravenous lions or the decision to abstain from the finest Babylonian fare. I have successfully fasted on juice and water many times over the last 18 years, but my first 30-day raw diet gave teeth to a familiar Sunday school song, "Dare to be a Daniel."
Why the Daniel Fast Can Really Bite
Why is the Daniel Fast more challenging than juice fasting? During water or juice fasting, the digestive system shuts down. Within a day or two, hunger is removed from the equation and physical craving is not far behind, leaving, for the most part, smooth sailing. Not so with a raw diet. Hunger and craving can actually intensify for the first three to five days. A digestive system accustomed to breaking down meat will be high in hydrochloric acid, and can take time to adjust to a diet far less demanding on the system. Therefore, the beginning of a raw diet often includes the uncomfortable feeling of ever-present hunger, even after a large raw meal. That satisfied feeling when pulling away from a table full of meat, potatoes and gravy can be sorely missed during a raw diet, leaving an emptiness in stomach and emotions.
An honest confession: Until the last few years, I have been unsuccessful at fully completing a 30-day raw diet. It has been a personal nemesis, a thorn in my pride. After all, I of all people should be able to fast on raw food. In spite of many juice and water fasts, it was not until I reached the end of my first 30-day raw diet that I finally felt I had make my peace with hunger. What a liberating experience to know beyond a shadow of doubt that I was in control of what I eat, and not the other way around. It has made all the difference.
The Modern Daniel Fast Fad
So why, after 2,500 years, are millions still drawn to read about this man Daniel? An even better question is why in this modern day, when all food has been made clean, are we drawn to emulate this highly restrictive diet? After all, there is no commandment, calling or even suggestion in the Bible to do so, and yet people all over the planet carry out the now popularized Daniel Diet. Whole books have been written about the Daniel Diet.
I believe it goes beyond the nutrition of raw food. There is something in Daniel we all aspire to, a strength of character that comes from a clear sense of who he is. In an age of media-induced addictions, where we race from one emotional fix to another, resulting in escalating obesity, illness and loss of self, the maverick message,“Dare to be a Daniel” spells refreshing freedom. His strength to speaks to the real you suffocating under years of saying yes to the wrong things; to the real you that is wired in the image of God―creative, fiercely individualist, and full of life and passion.
The success I experienced during my first 30-day raw diet demanded a greater act of will than any previous juice fast, especially for the first ten days. Consequently, I was rewarded with a profound feeling of triumph that resulted in establishing greater confidence and self-respect. While everyone around me was eating a diet that contradicted their expressed desire to lose weight and be healthy, I stood apart in the conviction that God blesses hard choices. I did not have the false expectation that His blessing would make it any easier. I knew I would have to face the pain of years of dietary mismanagement, face a willpower weakened by years of compromise. But I believed that God had wired all humankind to be free, and He would meet me in the pain of hard choices. I would get through it and be the better for it.
The Daniel Diet will exercise your neglected will muscle, but you know what happens to muscles when you use them: they get stronger. Today a 30-day raw diet, tomorrow the lion’s den. Dare to be a Daniel and you will never be the same.
Related Article: A Biblical Look at the Daniel Fast