Determining that he needed to lose 90 pounds, bestselling author (The Purpose Driven Life) and Saddleback (mega)Church Pastor Rick Warren orchestrated the creation of The Daniel Plan: God's Prescription for Your Health with well-known Doctors Mehmet Oz, Daniel Amen, and Mark Hyman. The diet is inspired by the Bible's Old Testament story of Daniel, and these passages in particular: "But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way." (Daniel 1: 8) "Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see. So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food" (Daniel 1: 12-15). While Warren lost 60 pounds in a year, Saddleback Church members embraced the plan en-masse and collectively lost over 125 tons of weight.
There are six components to practicing the Daniel Plan:
1) Connect for Success - don't embark on this journey alone, enlist a friend or join a group, online or otherwise.
2) Rely on God's power - daily prayer and journaling will help you keep focus.
3) Eat natural, whole foods - lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, and eliminate all processed, junk and sugary foods.
4) Move your way to health - you must exercise daily.
5) Think sharper and smarter - you must get proper sleep, and engage your brain during the day.
6) Heal for life - a detox plan might be advisable as you recognize your sugar and various food addictions and allergies, as you will be planning a strategy for your long term health.
The diet itself is 70 percent plant based, 30 percent lean protein, healthy fats, whole grains, and starchy vegetables. Daniel Planners' mantra is: "If it grows on a plant, it's healthy. If it's made in a plant, it's not." It's a medically approved, scientifically backed, clean eating, vegetarian-leaning approach to nutrition which, if followed well, will accomplish its goals of reducing/eliminating inflammation, stemming the onset and/or symptoms of cardiovascular diseases, improving the condition of skin and hair, and shedding significant weight. Exercise is a requirement, though the type is up to you. Guidance is provided on particular forms of exercise beneficial for burning fat, building muscle, aerobic conditioning, etc., as well as an emphasis to discover a way in your life to make exercise a form of play - i.e. dancing, hiking, tennis, skiing, and such.
The Daniel Plan is a basic low fat, low calorie, low carb clean eating plan - nothing new here - but that of course is a sound nutritional approach to weight loss and improved health. Given its origins, there is a biblical study component, with an emphasis on prayer, that may not appeal to some. But overall, its positivity and spiritual, communal philosophy can only be viewed as helpful in the context of embarking on a weight loss battle. And most importantly, the entire plan is free at The Daniel Plan website.