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The Diet From God, by Olga Khazan, 11/26/2012

The Daniel fast is growing in popularity, often prompted by Christians' desire for a deeper form of prayer. Many are reporting lasting physical benefits, too.


"Daniel 1:8 states: "But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank..."

"Daniel said he and his friends would eat a diet of only vegetables ("pulse"). After 10 days, they grew healthier and stronger than the Babylonians, and his diet became a small demonstration of his opposition to the King's power.

"This passage is occasionally used to encourage Christians to resist the corrupting influences of the outside world. But several years ago, some Protestant churches began to take the "diet" aspect of Daniel's story literally.

"Motivated by both faith and fitness, today many protestant Christians around the country are, like Daniel, occasionally limiting themselves to fruits and vegetables for 21-day increments. Several such believers told The Atlantic that while their intention for the initial fast was simply to enter a period of Lent-like self-denial in deference to their Lord, they have since found that the fast broke a life-long pattern of unhealthy eating and seems to have set them on a course toward better nutrition even after the 21 days ended. Now, a longer-term version of the Daniel fast is being promoted by the California-based Saddleback Church, the seventh-largest church in the U.S."

"In 2012, 48 percent of Americans described themselves as Protestant. In 2005, 58 percent of the South and 44 percent of the Midwest described themselves as born-again or evangelical. If the Daniel trend takes root, it has the potential to reshape the eating habits of huge swaths of the American Christian population, who some studies show are more likely to become obese than their secular peers"

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