For 28 days, approximately 100 Southern Adventist University students participated in a Daniel Fast designed to deepen their spiritual walks by creating a clearer mind for worship and teaching a reliance on the Holy Spirit to resist cravings and temptations. The project, initiated by student leaders in Campus Ministries and the School of P.E., Health and Wellness, also included components of journaling and daily devotions.
Katie Schuen, a student worker in Campus Ministries and community wellness management major, said the fast was a reflection of the diet eaten by prophet Daniel in the Bible (Daniel 10:2-3), and promoted whole foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds while eliminating sweeteners, animal products, and bread. To assist students participating in the diet, Southern’s Dining Hall labeled items that were appropriate for the Daniel Fast.
While developing the idea for the Daniel Fast last semester, Katie prayed for someone willing to do a research portion for the project. Just across campus, Caitlin Hobbs, senior health science and accounting major, was praying for a research idea that combined ministry and health for her Southern Scholars senior project through the School of P.E., Health and Wellness, but had no idea where to start. When a professor suggested she meet with Katie, they both knew their prayers had been answered.
Apart from the spiritual aspect of the fast, Caitlin tested the resting metabolism of students doing the Daniel Fast with assistance from Harold Mayer, professor in the School of P.E., Health and Wellness. The research results showed that the body becomes more efficient in how it burns calories after eating the right diet.