On Faith: “The Daniel Plan” Offers Inspiration for Healthy Living

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ZONDERVAN NEW BOOK“This is more than a diet, more than a focus on food,” explained Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, author of “Purpose Driven Life” and co-author of “The Daniel Plan.” “Friends and faith are the secret sauce that make the plan so effective. Thousands of books deal with fitness and food, but they’re missing the other three, which are focus, friends and faith.”

Pastor Warren was one of many inspiring speakers who demonstrated the faith-based program to the four thousand people who attended the recent rally at Saddleback Church, with many more streaming online.

“The Daniel Plan” is a healthy lifestyle program based on Biblical principles and five essentials of faith, food, fitness, focus, and friends.

The idea for The Daniel Plan came to Pastor Warren in 2011 after he baptized over 800 adults in one day by lowering each one under water and lifting them up again. He literally felt the weight problems of many Americans, while realizing his own unhealthy eating habits.

He asked brain specialist Dr. Daniel Amen, metabolic expert Dr. Mark Hyman and TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz to use their expertise to develop The Daniel Plan. The name came from the Old Testament story of Daniel who refused to eat the king’s rich foods, choosing simpler, healthier foods instead.

Pastor Warren asked if others were interesting in joining him in losing weight, believing people need support when trying to make life changes. Within the first year, more than 15,000 church members from 191 countries lost more than 250,000 pounds. Participants experienced increases in spiritual growth and energy and decreases in stress and health issues.

“The Daniel Plan is about real people getting real results,” said Dee Eastman, director of The Daniel Plan, as she greeted the audience and congratulated them on their commitment to health. “It’s about small steps equaling big results.”

“Seventy percent of Americans and 40 percent of kids are overweight,” Dr. Hyman said. “What we eat is connected to how we feel. Food is the most powerful medicine on the planet and it has almost no side effects. We created this program so people can serve God, and do the things they need to do to fulfill their purposes.”

“This isn’t hard, being sick is hard,” said Dr. Amen. “Use the big brain God gave you to think out 30 years. Five reasons to stay healthy are to have great energy, look great, make great decisions, be a great role model and avoid the dinosaur syndrome, which means as your weight goes up, the size and function of your brain goes down.”

Dr. Amen founded the Amen Clinics Method in 1989 to provide a multidisciplinary approach to mental and physical health. There are six clinics throughout the United States. The Newport Beach Clinic recently moved to Costa Mesa.

The Daniel Plan has three simple exercise programs and a balanced meal plan, including recipes.

Mareya Ibrahim and other chefs conducted on stage cooking demonstrations of several of the recipes published in the book, commenting that healthy food need not take long or cost a lot to prepare. Ibrahim, a chef, author and co-inventor of Eat Cleaner products, is a member of Saddleback. She created the Regular and the Detox meal plans, and most of the recipes in the book.

The book “The Daniel Plan” topped The New York Times Bestseller list the first week it debuted, right before Christmas, and continues to be on the list.

For further information, see danielplan.com.

Cindy can be reached at [email protected]

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