The Daniel Diet

I grew up on a farm in northeastern Iowa and in the summer we had huge vegetable gardens grown in some of the most fertile soil in the country.

Now that I have moved to Minnesota, where we live on the wrong side of the glacier, I can really appreciate that rich black soil and the delicious vegetables we used to eat.

A few months ago I joined a local CSA (Consumer Supported Agriculture) and now receive delicious, fresh vegetables on a weekly basis.fresh vegetables

It brings back memories of being on the farm and truly “living off the land”.

I am not a vegetarian but can honestly say that I feel better and healthier since I started eating more fresh vegetables.

One day, while unloading my shares box, I was reminded of the story in Daniel chapter one about Daniel and his friends eating only vegetables and water. This has been referred to as “The Daniel Diet”.

In this Bible story, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon besieged Jerusalem (1:1). The king instructed his men to bring some of the young men of Judah’s royal family and other noble families to his service (1:3).

The king instructed his men to select only strong, healthy and good-looking young men (1:4). The king assigned these young men a daily ration of food and wine from his own kitchens (1:5).

Daniel refused to eat the food given to him saying that it would defile him. He asked the chief of staff permission not to eat these unacceptable foods (1:8).

Daniel refuses food

According to, Daniel may not have eaten the kings food because it contained foods not prepared according to religious laws or because the food had been previously offered to idols.

The kings chief of staff was afraid that if Daniel did not eat the food offered to him that the king would become angry and behead him (1:10).

The other fear was that if Daniel had only vegetables and water, he and his companions would become pale and thin (1:10).

Daniel asked that he and his friends be fed a diet of only vegetables and water for ten days. After the ten days Daniel and his friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the kings food (1:15).

Daniel and his friends were then brought before the king and no one impressed him as much as Daniel and his friends (1:19).

Was Daniel one of the world’s first vegetarians? Was he healthier and better nourished that the other young men because of the power that God had given him or because of the food?┬áThe Bible does not say. I guess that is left for us to interpret. I believe it was a combination of his diet and God’s power.

I am a true believer in spirit, mind and body.


I used to get up at 5 a.m. Monday through Friday and work out for an hour. I would eat at least 5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables and read the Bible on a regular basis.

I still read the Bible on a regular basis but have given up the strict five- a- day vegetable plan and exercise. What happened?

I’m afraid that I have developed some bad habits over the past year or so and need to get back to the basics.

By eating the fresh vegetables from my local CSA I have been reminded of how good I physically and mentally used to feel.

According to a study by the University of Warwick, eating more fruits and vegetables can substantially increase a person’s level of happiness.

According to the American Heart Association, regular exercise also leads to a physical and mental “feel good”.

How do I get myself back on track? I rely on the power that God gives me.


Isaiah 40:29 reminds me that God gives us the strength to increase our weaknesses, aka, bad habits.

I have vowed to get myself back on track.

To not only eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. To not only read God’s word but also to get plenty of exercise.

The Daniel Diet may not be totally for me. But I believe the lessons we learn from this Bible story can help us lead healthier, happier lives.