The Daniel Fast has become an increasingly popular way for Christians to participate in a partial fast inspired by the Biblical prophet Daniel. During this 21-day period, followers restrict themselves to a diet of only fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils. The purpose is to draw nearer to God through prayer and fasting. But a common question that arises is: can I have cookies on the Daniel Fast?
What are the Daniel Fast food guidelines?
The basic guidelines of the Daniel Fast aim to avoid all processed and artificial foods. Here are the key rules:
- Eat only fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils like olive oil.
- Drink only water. Avoid coffee, tea, carbonated drinks, alcohol, and juice.
- Eat only whole, unprocessed foods. Avoid refined flours and sugars.
- Avoid additives like chemicals, colorings, flavorings, and preservatives.
Based on these guidelines, most traditional cookies would not be part of a Daniel Fast diet. Cookies tend to contain processed and artificial ingredients like refined sugars, chemical leavenings, and preservatives. Even if you bake them at home, the white flour and brown sugar generally used in cookie recipes would not align with the whole food restrictions of the fast.
Are there any Daniel Fast compliant cookies?
While traditional cookies don’t fit the Daniel Fast criteria, there are some modified recipes you could make that would be considered compliant:
- Oatmeal cookies: Using 100% whole oats and natural sweeteners like maple syrup or dates.
- Nut cookies: Made with almond or cashew butter and naturally sweetened with honey or fruit purée.
- Fruit and seed cookies: Using dried fruit, nuts, seeds, coconut, and spices for flavor.
- Bean cookies: With a base of blended white beans to provide a dough-like texture.
Some acceptable cookie ingredients could include:
- Whole oats
- Nut butters
- Dried fruit like dates, figs, raisins
- Nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds
- Honey, maple syrup, or molasses as a sweetener
- Pure extracts like vanilla, almond, or peppermint
- Coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, or sunflower oil
- Flour alternatives like almond flour or coconut flour
- Spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg
As long as you avoid refined sugars, flours, and artificial ingredients, you may be able to come up with a compliant cookie recipe to satisfy a sweet craving during the Daniel Fast.
Should you have cookies during the Daniel Fast?
While it may be possible to bake Daniel Fast approved cookies, some would argue you should still limit or avoid them altogether during the 21 days. Here are some reasons why cookies and other sweet baked goods may be counterproductive:
- Sugar cravings: Eating sweets can trigger more cravings and make it harder to stick with the fast.
- Hunger levels: Cookies don’t offer lasting fullness and satisfaction.
- Nutrition: Cookies often lack nutrient density.
- Time investment: Baking cookies takes extensive time and planning.
- Portion control: It can be easy to overindulge in cookies.
That being said, an occasional compliant cookie may be a reasonable treat for some doing the Daniel Fast, depending on your goals. Strict adherents, however, may choose to avoid sweets altogether during the 21 days.
Tips for avoiding cookies and sweets on the fast
Here are some suggestions if you want to avoid cookies and other sweets while doing the Daniel Fast:
- Keep tempting foods out of the house so they aren’t staring you in the face.
- Stay busy with activities so you don’t have time dwelling on food cravings.
- Drink plenty of herbal tea or water when a craving hits.
- Go for a walk or do another form of exercise.
- Practice positive self-talk and remind yourself why you are fasting.
- Find accountability through fasting with a group or prayer partner.
- Focus on the Biblical reasons for fasting and connect with God in deeper ways.
It’s normal to miss sweets and other restricted foods during a fast. But keeping your higher purpose in mind can help you push past the temporary desire for a cookie.
Healthy cookie alternatives
If you want the taste and texture of a cookie without straying from the Daniel Fast guidelines, here are some recipe ideas to try:
No-Bake Fruit and Nut Cookies
- Dried apricots, raisins, cranberries or other dried fruit
- Walnuts, almonds, pecans
- Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds
- Shredded coconut
- Cocoa or cacao nibs (optional)
Pulse dates in a food processor until a sticky paste forms. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until evenly incorporated. Scoop tablespoon sized portions and press together to shape into cookies. Refrigerate until firm.
3-Ingredient Banana Oat Cookies
- Mashed ripe bananas
- Rolled oats
- Almond butter
Mash bananas well and combine with oats and almond butter. Portion onto a baking sheet and bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.
Chickpea Cookie Dough Bites
- Cooked chickpeas
- Peanut or almond butter
- Quick oats
- Maple syrup or other liquid sweetener
- Chocolate chips or cacao nibs (optional)
Blend chickpeas until smooth. Add remaining ingredients except chocolate and mix well. Stir in chocolate if desired. Form into balls and chill before serving.
The bottom line
Most traditional cookies do not comply with Daniel Fast guidelines due to containing processed ingredients like refined sugars and flours. However, it is possible to adapt cookie recipes to use wholesome ingredients that align with the fast’s emphasis on natural, minimally processed plant foods. Some may choose to avoid sweets altogether on the Daniel Fast while others could consume them in moderation. Focusing on the spiritual purpose of fasting and keeping tempting foods out of sight can help overcome cravings. With creativity, you can make healthy cookie alternatives to satisfy a sweet tooth when needed.