Fast based on the food deprivation experiences of the prophet Daniel wins new adherents in search of healthy nourishment for body and soul
Chris Pratt, lead actor in “Guardians of the Galaxy”, sparked the curiosity of many of his 22.5 million Instagram followers when he revealed his newest diet. Last month, the US actor posted videos saying he was following the Daniel Fast. “It’s 21 days of praying and fasting,” he explained in the stories he posted on his social media account. Although the Daniel Diet has become popular in the last weeks thanks to the Hollywood star, we cannot call it something new – its origins are as ancient as the Bible. The diet became widespread in 2007 after blogger and writer Susan Gregory created a meal plan based on the fasting experiences of prophet Daniel and in traditional Jewish fasting principles. The meals proposed by this short-term diet are very similar to strict vegetarian ones, but with some added restrictions.
Neither bread, nor wine
Despite the biblical inspiration, wine, fish, and bread – the most popular foods in the holy texts – are being left out of this diet. People who take part in this 21-day practice drink only water and eat only food that has been cultivated from seeds, such as fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Whole grains, nuts, chestnuts, and healthy vegetable oils are also allowed. Industrialized products, coffee, energy drinks, meats of any animal, eggs, dairy products, sugar, as well as beverages that contain alcohol are forbidden. The rules were based in the Old Testament’s Book of Daniel. In it, two passages are told in which the prophet waives the pleasure given by meat and wine, replacing them for water and legumes, in order to fast and show his devotion to God. In one of the chapters, the prophet spends three weeks fasting – hence the period of the diet’s duration.
Is the Daniel Fast healthy?
The Daniel Fast has been created with a religious and spiritual purpose, adding restrictive feeding to prayers, and not as a diet to lose weight. But that doesn’t mean the fasting won’t help to lose weight and improve health – some people use the feeding plan inspired by the prophet Daniel to obtain precisely those goals. Researches on this fasting method done by the University of Memphis’ School of Health Studies have shown health benefits among people who were following the diet and have been analyzed. After just three weeks, the diet helped reducing risk factors for metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, and reducing oxidative stress. Richard Bloomer, who was in charge of the studies, told TIME magazine that the diet is potentially healthier than the vegan one, since it eliminates processed foods which may contain sugar, fat, salt, and preservatives.
According to functional nutritionist Marcela Caron, an expert in natural and vegetarian eating, “removing these foods causes the organism to detox. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are rich in fibers, which help the functioning of the intestine and prevent a series of chronic diseases.” By excluding alcohol, sugar, and other highly caloric foods, the weight may be reduced. “As long as the consumption of vegetable proteins is adequate, it is an alternative to lose weight.”
“Since the diet is done for a short period of time, its risks are usually not severe for healthy people,” says Marcela. Still, there must be previous concerns. “People with diabetes, elderly people, pregnant women, and children, should always look for authorization from their doctors and nutritionists,” warns the health professional.
In the first days of fasting, some people may feel headaches, cramps, and backaches – in her book, “The Daniel Fast”, Susan claims these symptoms are normal in a detox process. Nutritionist Denise Kawski explains that our toxins are stored in the adipose tissue, and that “whenever there is a process of weight loss or fasting, there is a mobilization of fat, and these toxins are thrown into the bloodstream, causing such symptoms.” That is why she recommends drinking plenty of water during the fasting period, in order to help the body to eliminate such toxins in a much more efficient way. If symptoms are too intense or persist for too long, the diet should be suspended and it is advisable to talk to a doctor.
What is allowed
- All kinds of fresh, frozen, dried or canned fruits and vegetables;
- All kinds of whole grains and legumes;
- Healthy vegetable oils (canola, corn, grapeseed, olive, peanut, safflower, soy, and sunflower);
- All kinds of nuts and seeds.
What is forbidden
- All kinds of meats and foods of animal origin;
- All dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and butter;
- All kinds of sugars and natural or artificial sweetener, including honey and molasses;
- Bread or any other fermented foods;
- All refined or processed foods, including artificial flavoring agent, food additives, white rice, white flour, or foods with preservatives;
- Fried foods, including snacks, French fries, and chips;
- Solid fats, including margarine, lard, and foods with high-fat content;
- Beverages such as coffee, teas, carbonated drinks, energy drinks, and alcoholic drinks.
Source: official diet website (www.daniel-fast.com)
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Jejum baseado nas experiências de privações alimentares do profeta Daniel ganha adeptos em busca de alimentação saudável para o corpo e para a alma