Benefits And Tips For Trying The Daniel Fast


The Daniel Fast is a spiritually developed, plant-based partial fast. During the fast, practitioners replicate the diet described in the book of Daniel from the Old Testament. This requires abstaining from rich, indulgent foods and alcohol for 10 days. Because it focuses on whole plant foods instead, it offers health benefits in addition to its spiritual origins and intentions.

Foods To Eat

The permitted food groups are fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts, seeds, and water. Some practitioners also allow for herbal tea (no caffeine) and fruit juice. Here is an example list of foods I’d recommend during The Daniel Fast.

  • Fruits - Emphasize seasonal and lower sugar fruits to maximize health benefits. Some of my favorites:
    • Citrus like orange, clementine, and grapefruit
    • Berries like raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries
    • Kiwi
    • Bananas
    • Apples
  • Vegetables - Veggies are great examples of foods that by and large love you back. Some healthy superfood options are:
    • Spinach
    • Carrot
    • beets
    • Brussel sprouts
    • Kale, swiss chard, and other leafy greens
  • Whole Grains
    • Barley
    • Farro
    • Millet
    • Black, brown, and red rice
    • Bulgur/cracked wheat
  • Beans and legumes
    • Black beans
    • Chickpeas
    • Kidney beans
    • Pinto beans
    • Black-eyed peas
  • Nuts
    • Cashews
    • Pistachios
    • Almonds
    • Brazil nuts 
  • Seeds
    • Flax
    • Pumpkin
    • Hemp
    • chia
  • Water
  • (maybe) Herbal tea + juices

Foods To Avoid

  • Overly processed foods 
  • Meat, seafood, and poultry
  • Dairy and eggs
  • Rich, indulgent food
  • Processed food
  • Foods that don’t fall in the categories of vegetables, fruits, grains, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, and water.

Potential Health Benefits Of The Daniel Fast

  • Mental toughness and sharpness
  • Physical reset
  • Mindful, spiritual benefits in line with the fast’s origin
  • Nutrient replenishment 
  • Potential blood sugar balancing
  • Taste reset (when we avoid overly processed, rich, or sweet foods we actually recalibrate our cravings to be more sensitive to overdoing it)
  • Potential for autophagy if overall caloric intake is drastically reduced
  • Possible anti-inflammatory effects
  • Rest for an overworked gut
  • Potential for weight loss


Two Biblical passages contribute to the basis for The Daniel Fast. Daniel 1:12 states: "Please test your servants for 10 days and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink." Daniel 10:3, also reads, "I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled."

Daniel’s fast was a test of faith and fortitude. He was an original practitioner of detoxing excess from the system. Abstaining from richer foods helps focus mind body connection and provide clarity, lightness, and strength for both.

Steps To Start A Daniel Fast

  1. Make a list of your favorite foods that fall under the allowed categories. Following through on any diet is easier when you love the foods on your grocery list.
  2. Stock the fridge and pantry. Having plenty of fast-compliant foods on-hand will help drive away temptation.
  3. Prep! If you enjoy pre-cut veggie sticks, pre-portioned starches, ready-to-go smoothie cups, or pre-washed fruits, make sure to have those ready to go. 

Sample Menu

Day 1


  • Smoothie: Blend together spinach, banana, frozen mixed berries, unsweetened almond milk, and a tablespoon of ground flaxseed.
  • Herbal Tea: A cup of herbal tea without sweetener.

Mid-Morning Snack

  • Apple Slices with Almond Butter: Sliced apple with a tablespoon of unsweetened almond butter.


  • Quinoa Salad: Quinoa mixed with chickpeas, diced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper, red onion, and a lemon-olive oil dressing.
  • Fresh Fruit: A small bowl of mixed berries.

Afternoon Snack

  • Carrot Sticks and Hummus: Fresh carrot sticks with a serving of homemade hummus.


  • Vegetable Stir-Fry: Stir-fry a mix of broccoli, snap peas, bell peppers, carrots, and onions in olive oil with garlic and ginger. Serve over brown rice.
  • Mixed Green Salad: Mixed greens with avocado, cherry tomatoes, and a balsamic vinaigrette.

Evening Snack

  • Nuts and Seeds: A handful of mixed unsalted nuts and seeds.

Day 2


  • Oatmeal: Cooked oats topped with sliced banana, chopped nuts, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  • Herbal Tea: A cup of herbal tea without sweetener.

Mid-Morning Snack

  • Fresh Fruit: An orange or a handful of grapes.


  • Lentil Soup: Lentil soup made with lentils, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, and vegetable broth.
  • Whole Grain Crackers: A few whole grain crackers.

Afternoon Snack

  • Celery Sticks with Almond Butter: Fresh celery sticks with a tablespoon of unsweetened almond butter.


  • Stuffed Bell Peppers: Bell peppers stuffed with a mixture of black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, quinoa, and spices. Bake until tender.
  • Steamed Vegetables: A side of steamed broccoli and cauliflower.

Evening Snack

  • Fruit Salad: A small bowl of mixed fruit salad (melon, grapes, and pineapple).

Day 3


  • Chia Pudding: Chia seeds soaked overnight in unsweetened almond milk with a bit of vanilla extract. Top with fresh berries.
  • Herbal Tea: A cup of herbal tea without sweetener.

Mid-Morning Snack

  • Mixed Nuts: A small handful of mixed unsalted nuts.


  • Vegetable Wrap: A whole grain wrap filled with hummus, mixed greens, shredded carrots, cucumber, and avocado.
  • Fresh Fruit: A sliced pear or apple.

Afternoon Snack

  • Bell Pepper Strips and Guacamole: Fresh bell pepper strips with homemade guacamole.


  • Baked Sweet Potato: Baked sweet potato topped with black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, and a sprinkle of cilantro.
  • Green Beans Almondine: Steamed green beans tossed with sliced almonds and a bit of olive oil.

Evening Snack

  • Smoothie: A small smoothie made with unsweetened almond milk, spinach, frozen berries, and a teaspoon of chia seeds.

For more targeted guidance or to learn more about foods that love you back, schedule a consult.

Want to learn more about fasting? Check out my book, Intuitive Fasting, to learn how to amplify health benefits, balance rest and repair, and enjoy nutrient-dense, delicious foods.


Absolutely, but understanding the intention and spirituality behind it is likely to help you get more out of it.

That is up to you. Sometimes intermittent fasting, eating only 1 or 2 meals a day, can help with decision fatigue and temptation, but do what feels right for you.

No caffeine is allowed on the Daniel Fast. And yes, that includes decaf as even decaf coffee has trace amounts of caffeine.

No animal products are allowed during the Daniel Fast. This includes eggs.

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Dr. Will Cole, DNM, IFMCP, DC is a leading functional medicine expert who consults people around the globe, starting one of the first functional medicine telehealth centers in the world. Named one of the top 50 functional and integrative doctors in the nation, Dr. Will Cole provides a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. He is also the host of the popular The Art of Being Well podcast and the New York Times bestselling author of Intuitive Fasting, Ketotarian, Gut Feelings, and The Inflammation Spectrum.

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