I haven’t read The Daniel Fast, which was the first book written by Susan Gregory about the Daniel Fast. While I have friends who have done the 21-day Daniel Fast, I have not personally done it. The Daniel Fast has become popular within the last several years; it is based on Daniel’s fasts as recorded in Daniel 1 and 10. It is a partial fast, which simply means some foods are restricted while others are still consumed.
I agreed to review The Daniel Cure because I am interested in learning more about fasting. I also like to read a variety of books, so this is a change from what I normally read. I recently went to the dentist and she gave me the “as we get older” speech, so it was yet another reminder I need to be aware of my actions and what I eat (and, in that particularly situation, flossing my teeth).
Many people who have done the Daniel Fast have found a positive change in their health. Now, here’s my bias about fasting: fasting is not the same as dieting. I am not a fasting expert by any means, but it does annoy me when people who are fasting constantly complain about what they can or cannot eat. Honestly, I’m not sure why everyone needs to know you are fasting since it’s historically a private thing between you and God. I understand the benefits of telling others so they can keep you accountable, but I do not understand the benefits of telling others so you can complain. Then people treat fasting as a diet. I think this so entirely misses the point.
Lynne M. Baab writes:
“Fasting offers the opportunity to step back from our culture and cross the doorway into God’s presence. Fasting ushers us into a reflective place where we can listen to God and pray wholeheartedly for things that really matter.”
I kept this bias while I began reading this book. I tried to remain open-minded because I do recognize you can learn something from just about everything. I tried to remind myself I wanted to read this book so I could learn from it.
What I Didn’t Like:
The focus of this book is to take “readers take the next step by focusing on the health benefits of the Daniel Fast.” They want you to take the fast and create a new way of living and eating. In the book they discuss the epidemic of obesity, which I realize is a real problem. If this book changes peoples’ lifestyles into more healthy lifestyles, then I do believe it is worth it. I even think it’s really helpful to write from a Christian perspective because God does care about how we care for our bodies. However, writing about the Daniel Fast in connection with its health benefits perpetuates the idea that fasting is done for the same purposes of a weigh-loss diet.
The book includes recipes and a 21-Day Daniel Cure Devotional. Maybe some would like something like that included in this book, but I thought it was a waste of space. The devotional could easily have been included as a download from the book’s website. In my opinion, the book did not need to include recipes because recipes could easily be looked up on the internet. The recipes take up pages 167-235. That is a large chuck of a book that’s only 336 pages. I do think they are helpful, but not overly necessary.
The book contains four chapters detailing the lifestyle diseases of obesity, Type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and inflammation. Perhaps this is helpful to people, but it’s not all that interesting. Honestly, I skimmed those chapters. If you are interested in learning about these, this book lays them out in an easy to understand way. However, none of this information is new, and you can probably find it elsewhere.
What I Liked:
They do talk about prayer and self-examination, so I do not believe the writers see the Daniel Fast as just a new diet fad. I believe their hearts are good. They want people to eat clean and grow closer to God. In the beginning of the book, they do explore fasting as mentioned in the Bible. They discuss the spiritual side of fasting.
“A fast is a highly focused period of time when we examine our lives and seek to align ourselves with the ways of God. We do this by separating ourselves from our typical patterns and routines and entering a spiritual experience for a given time.”
They write, “One can pray without fasting…but you cannot fast authentically without praying.” I think this is key when it comes to fasting. Fasting in an opportunity to grow closer to God. Fasting is a way to humble one’s self (in Psalm 69:10, David “humbled [his] soul with fasting”). Fasting reminds us to realize what controls us. Fasting reminds us that God sustains us on a deeper level than food could ever sustain us. Fasting is not about us and we benefits we receive, unless the benefits are a deeper level of intimacy with God.
“When we fast, we fully surrender ourselves to God—spirit, soul, and body. We submit our will to God, follow a set of guidelines about food, and open our hearts to this mystery.”
They also say changing your lifestyle is about progress, not perfection. When it comes to diets, people sometimes make the mistake they cannot mess up. The writers say it’s all right to include a cheat day or two. That way you do not feel the need to beat yourself up if you eat something processed or sugary. Maybe this is not the best mindset, but while working in the kitchen of a nursing home, we have to make sure residents maintain healthy weights. This means they may have restricted diets. However, when one resident just wanted pudding, it seems cruel to deprive her of the enjoyment she received from the sugary processed packaged pudding. Especially since—and this is just the reality—she is likely to die within a couple years. We should eat healthy, yes, but we should also embrace living life to the fullest and enjoying parts of life.
This book also provided some good perspective:
“A recent news report highlighted the story of an American man who, while traveling throughout Africa on a mission trip, was asked, ‘Is it really true that people in America actually pay money to lose weight?’ The man who asked had little food to eat. He would consider himself blessed to sit down to one good meal a day or to provide the same for his family.”
Obesity is a crisis in the United States. This brings to my attention how we need to be aware of the resources we have been given. Are we being good stewards of those resources? When it comes to our eating habits, I do think we need to be aware of what we are eating. This awareness needs to broaden our scope into an awareness of all our actions: how we spend our money and time.
Overall, I give this book three out of five stars. It did not present that much new information, but overall, it was a helpful read. I would recommend it if you are interested in doing the Daniel Fast and even more so if you want to take the fast and make it into a lifestyle.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.