Everybody knows fasting is in the Bible. Jesus and His disciples fasted (Matthew 4:1, 2; 9:14, 15), Moses fasted (Exodus 34:28), Elijah fasted (1 Kings 19:3-8), John the Baptist and his disciples fasted (Matthew 9:14; 11:18), Paul and the early church fasted (Acts 9:9; 13:1-3; 14:23), etc. Fasting is an important part of being a serious believer. It's an excellent tool for humbling oneself and gaining the focus needed for seeking knowledge and understanding as a part of a life of Bible study and prayer. In many cases, the Scriptures show a humbled state or a period of fasting first preceded major revelations or the start of a new ministry.
In Secrets to Fasting and Prayer, author Rebekah Montgomery, points out the difficulty but necessity of fasting. She says:
"Fasting is hard. But God honors the person who denies her own bodily desires for a time and devotes herself to prayer and fasting. It is clear from Scriptures that God expects us to fast. Jesus said, 'When you fast... ' not 'If you fast... ' He also gave instructions how to conduct your private times of prayer and fasting (Matthew 6:5-18)."
But how many people know a vegan diet can be considered fasting and that it's much easier than water only fasting? Many health and fasting experts consider a strict vegan diet to be a partial food fast and this can be found in the Scriptures as well. On one occasion before receiving an important revelation, Daniel mourned for three weeks and ate no choice food, no meat and drank no wine. Daniel 10:1-3.
Daniel and his brethren also practiced a vegan diet or partial food fast with the Lord's help during the initial stage of their captivity in Babylon. Daniel 1: 8-16. Faced with the unclean, unhealthy, luxury diet of the Babylonians they chose to eat only vegetables instead. As a result of their diligence and perseverance, they were rewarded with the good health effects that flow from a vegan diet, fasting, and following God's law. Their spiritual life was surely enriched and strengthened as can be seen by the rest of their story in the book of Daniel.
Some Christians take Paul's teaching in Romans 14:1-23 to indicate that foregoing meat and eating only vegetables is the act of someone who is weak in faith, and that it's permissible to eat everything and anything – even meat designated unclean by the law set forth in Leviticus 11:1-47. This clearly is not the case. We who understand the Law know Jesus did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. Matthew 5:17. Not only does the Messiah's statement that He did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets apply to not abolishing the Law of clean and unclean meats but includes the righteous acts of the Prophets such as Daniel's decision, with the support and assistance of God, to not defile himself with the royal food and wine which may have been sacrificed to idols or contained unclean meat prohibited by the Law. Daniel's example of eating only vegetables when confronted with unclean food and his foregoing choice meat and wine as a part of a 21 day fast are righteous acts worthy of emulation. We must not twist Paul's teachings to our own detriment. 2 Peter 3:15, 16.
There are many good reasons for going vegan and fasting. Here's a partial list.
1) Going vegan and fasting saves money on the food bill, a very important consideration in these tough economic times. Like Daniel in Babylon, we're also faced with an array of unclean, unhealthy, luxury foods that are just too expensive for regular indulgence.
2) A vegan diet and periodic water only fasting can quickly detoxify the body and reduce the cravings for drugs, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, addicting junk foods, and excessively sweetened and artificially flavored drinks. Pollutants, toxins and metals that reside in the body's fatty tissues are also removed. Again, money is saved.
3) The vegan diet and periodic water only fasting have been recognized by medical science to slow the aging process and to prevent and treat a host of diet-related diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, auto-immune disease, etc. See, for example, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), at http://www.pcrm.org/health/prevmed/index.html; Study Finds Fountain of Youth, Vegan Diet and Exercise, at http://www.dbtechno.com/health/2008/09/16/study-finds-fountain-of-youth-vegan-diet-and-exercise/; and Pub Med research report entitled “The effect on health of alternate day calorie restriction: eating less and more than needed on alternate days prolongs life”, at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16529878. Again money is saved on medical bills and by being able to remain fully productive for longer.
4) By going vegan you don't feed the meat and dairy industry the money it needs to stay in the business of feeding you and the rest of the population unhealthy food while it, at the same time, wastes natural resources such as water and land and pollutes the environment with excessive amounts of animal excrement and greenhouse gasses that contribute to global warming. Factory farms lace the water and grain it feeds its animals with tranquilizers, antibiotics and hormones in order to fatten and keep the animals healthy under crowded, unsanitary, cruel, and stressful conditions. These drugs and the conditions of confinement produce a fat-marbled and drug-tainted food product that is unsafe and unclean for human consumption by both biblical and commonsense standards.
5) By going vegan you make a statement that the health of the poor and hungry comes first. The Worldwatch Institute, says: “grain is used much more efficiently when consumed directly by humans. Meat production depends on feeding nearly 40 percent of the world’s grains to animals, creating competition for grain between affluent meat eaters and the world’s poor.” And, water only fasting on a regular basis reminds us what it's like to be hungry like the world's poor.
The supreme diet in my opinion is the strict vegan diet. No meat, no dairy, no eggs. It's the diet God started man out on in the beginning with a blessing, calling it "very good." Genesis 1:29-31. It wasn't until after the flood God permitted meat eating on the condition the blood be drained from it. Genesis 9:3,4. This was later modified to include the elimination of fat and certain animals considered unclean. Leviticus 3:14-17; 11:1-47.
Many Christian vegetarians, as well as this writer, believe God intends to restore the vegan diet during the Millennium when He brings peace to the world. Predatory animals living in harmony with their prey and eating vegetation mentioned in Isaiah 11:6,7, and the God made covenant between animal and man mentioned in Hosea 2:18 certainly suggest vegetarianism to be the Millennial diet.
In Micah 4:3, 4, God promises a Utopian horticultural society during the Millennium much like the Garden of Eden - before sin and animal sacrifices were necessary and peace and harmony prevailed - as men begin to focus on horticultural technique instead of war. Nothing is said about raising animals for slaughter and food, but instead a vine and a fig tree symbolic of abundant vegetation is mentioned. Certainly, man will finally figure out that it's an unnecessary waste of time and labor raising animals for food, and that they can nourish themselves much better and live healthier and longer lives on fruits and vegetables than on meat.
Today it's much easier to go vegan than in Daniel's time. There's a wide variety of meat substitutes available as well as many creative recipes. And, as calorie restriction and anti-aging research picks up, more ways to attain optimum nutrition while consuming less calories will certainly be devised. For now, however, the vegan diet is the best and easiest method available for restoring health, adding years to your lifespan, and connecting or reconnecting with your Creator on a spiritual level.
Internet resources for further study:
22 reasons to go vegetarian
The Christian Vegetarian Association
Secrets to Fasting and Prayer
Fasting: The Ultimate Diet
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Milk The Deadly Poison (You Tube video)
VEGAN. For the People. For the Planet. For the Animals. (You Tube video)
Fasting - Wikipedia
Please Support an Excise Tax on Meat
"Conquering Addiction" mentions the raw vegan diet being utilized to help people overcome severe chemical dependencies at a center in the state of Washington
Hawaii Natural Drug Rehabilitation & Raw Detoxification Retreat uses the raw vegan diet and juice fasting to help persons addicted to drugs and alcohol to safely detox from these substances
Fasting in Drug Addiction
Vegan Videos Worth Watching
food & intelligence (makes the statement that eating factory farmed meat which contains high levels of toxins due to feeding practices is a lot like eating a vulture - a biblically unclean animal)
How to live to 101 - reviews 7th Day Adventists and other populations antiaging success
92 year-old Seventh Day Adventist "Vegan" Still Performing Heart Surgery (He was recently on the Oprah Winfrey Show which pointed out he's now 94 and still doing heart surgery. See http://www.oprah.com/slideshow/oprahshow/20081009_tows_bluezones/10 and http://www.oprah.com/slideshow/oprahshow/20081009_tows_bluezones/11)
Dr. Gary Fraser lists his top 5 tips for healthy ageing based on his work on Seventh Day Adventists
Finding the Keys to Longevity - ABC News
Faith, sabbath keeping, and vegetarian diet add up to extra years of life for Seventh Day Adventists