Fasting is a crucial aspect of a Christian’s life. The majority of believers fast for clarity by relying and focusing solely on God, scripture, and prayer instead of living off of food and drink. If a Christian does not have any experience with fasting or have any idea of what foods a Christian can and can’t eat during a fast, I have conquered up all of the answers for you.
What can Christians eat when they fast? It depends on the type of fast that a Christian is participating in. Many fasts have the abstinence of food which is just the intake of water. Others fast from specific foods such as sugar or caffeine.
In this article, I am going to be covering the foods that are permissible and prohibited during a Christian fast, the different types of fasts, and also alternative items you can fast from that doesn’t pertain to changing your diet.
Importance of Fasting
Before I go into the specific foods a Christian can and can’t consume during a fast, I think that it is important for you to know the importance of this practice. Fasting is relying only on the Lord and not on the necessities a body needs. With this, Christians fast for the importance of growing a more connecting and intimate relationship with the Lord.
4 Types of Fasts & What Christians Can and Cannot Eat
There are four specifically segregated fasts that have rules against different foods. There are the full, Daniel, three-day, and partial fasts.
Here are the highlighted rules and regulations of each fast.
Full (Complete) Fast
This particular fast is the abstinence of food and liquids (besides water) and is supported in Esther, the book in the Bible located in the Old Testament. Queen Esther also called for this type of fast in chapter 4.
Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: ‘Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will as fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.’Esther 4:15-16
The main reason these scriptures pertain to fasting is that Esther and her people fasted for their freedom.
The only consumption a Christan can have during a full fast is water. All foods are put on hold and water is the only intake. It is highly recommended that this type of fast be done with extreme caution and not for extended periods of time.
This type of fast is very similar to the Full Fast. This Christian practice lasts for a small time period and has the abstinence of food. Like the previous fast, believers that participate in this diet only drink water for their decided fasting period. Again, I highly recommend if you are wanting to fast to take this action with extreme caution.
If you are new to fasting I recommend you read my other blog on Fasting for beginners called How to Honor God With Your Fasting & 20 Tips for Beginners.
This type of fast is essentially a vegan fast. Instead of binging on fat and sugary foods, the Danial fast contributes to replacing unhealthy foods with fruits and vegetables.
Here are the genres of foods a Christian can consume during a Daniel Fast.
Nuts & Seeds: All varieties of nuts and seeds are allowed during a Daniel Fast as long as there is no salt added. Types of nuts that are allowed are almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts, cashews, pistachios, pecans, etc.
Also, types of seeds allowed are pistachio, sunflower, pumpkin, chia, poppy, flax, sesame, and any other type of seed.
Fruit: Fresh or frozen, and low-glycemic fruits are highly encouraged. These types of fruits include apples, berries, peaches, grapefruit, grapes, and cherries. Any type of canned fruit is also an option, but only if there is no added sugar, coloring, or other preservatives.
Whole Grains: It is highly recommended for participants of this fast go easy on the processed varieties and instead focus more on whole grains. Brown rice, barley, quinoa, millet, wheat, and oats are in this food group. Yeast is not allowed (such as leavened and flat loaves of bread). Any type of edible grain that has yeast in it, does not fit within the dietary plan.
Meats & Eggs: During a Daniel Fast, any type of protein from an animal is not allowed. Meat is mainly avoided in the Book of Daniel and instead encourages the consumption of fruits, whole grains, seeds, and nuts.
Vegetables: Frozen, fresh produce, or canned vegetables are permissible on a Danial diet as long as there is no salt added.
Christians can consume all types of produce (including a considerate amount of potatoes) in moderation.
High-Quality Oils: Plant-based oils are accepted during a Daniel Fast, but they should be used in moderation. Canola, peanut, sesame, olive, walnut, coconut, grapeseed, and avocado oils are all good alternative options.
Herbs & Spices: Herbs and spices are allowed for this particular type of fast. The reason is because of them bring plant-based. The different varieties of herbs and spices constitute of rosemary, basil, cumin, nutmeg, thyme, mint, turmeric, paprika, etc. Salt is allowed during the Daniel Fast diet but should be used as minimal as possible.
Dairy: The type of food genre is not allowed at all. However, others can use substitutions (as long as they are not processed). Eggs, milk, and cheese are not permissible are avoided by all participants of this type of fast.
This type of fasting is the traditional way for Christians to honor Jesus before the Passover (Easter). The traditional fasting approach is consuming one meatless meal (sometimes two smaller meals if needed) consumed to combine less than a full meal. Liquids are not allowed at all, and no consumption can be happening at any time of the 46-day period.
Fasting Obligations for Catholics
For Lent, Catholics are mainly who observe Lent and fast for 46 days. With that, their denomination is very strict with what a believer can eat or drink during the fast.
Abstaining from meat on Fridays is the main regulation that a Catholic is to follow in regard to Lent. This is for ages varying from fourteen and higher. There are also different conflicting ideas of what meat consists of for this fast.
The Abstinence Law includes the fast to have no consumption of:
- Seasonings or condiments (from animal fat)l
- The meat of a mammal
Alternatives for Fasting
Fasting food is not meant for everyone. People who are triggered by food (from eating disorders or health issues) do not have to participate in this practice. Believers do not necessarily have to fast food to rely on the Lord. Fasting is not commanded by scripture but it is recommended and expected of us (so there are no rules on what a Christian can and can’t fast). Here are some ideas for you to fast to grow a more intimate relationship with the Lord.
Sugar & Caffeine
Second, another alternative is avoiding unhealthy sugars and caffeine for a specific time period. Substituting your need for coffee or soda and instead of talking to God will bring you closer t Him.
Who knows? Maybe the Holy Spirit will fill you up with energy instead of the endless amount of processed sugar instead of those sugary drinks.
First, a good alternative is fasting from television or your cell phone. Billions of people a day scroll through social media and make spending screentime more of a priority than connecting with the Lord. All you have to do is design a specific time period of how long you will be fasting and spend that time meditating on scripture and praying.
Altogether, fasting is appreciated and highly recommended by the Lord. When Christians fast from food, technology, or anything that takes up their time (instead of connecting with the Lord), they are showing their love and honor to Him.
It’s important to show the Heavenly Father that we cherish the endless and infinite amount of love that He provides for all of humanity. We worship by reading, meditating, and praying for scripture. His word shows His sons and daughters (of the Kingdom) how to respect, love, and act with one another.