The Daniel Plan

I hardly read any non-fiction.  But when I do, it’s usually about food, health, fitness, or historical.  Lately I’ve noticed that my tastes have gone more towards fitness and health.  Previously I had read the books, Clean and Clean Gut, by Dr. Alejandro Junger.  These two books made me reflect on the relationship between what I eat and how it affects other systems in my body outside of digestion.  Since those two books, I’ve had my eye out for other books that are similar; relating the idea of what we eat to overall health.

The Daniel Plan, by Rick Warren, Dr. Daniel Amen, and Dr. Mark Hymen, furthers that idea Daniel Planbut also adds in important suggestions for fitness, faith, and friends.  I was skeptical about the potency of what would be suggested.  Many times, books that mix religion and diet tend to either be way too prescriptive or very vague.  Daniel Plan had a good mix of principle and prescription so I feel that there was a good balance.  Basically, the authors take a holistic look at the elements of what affect our diets: food, friends, fitness, faith, and focus.  Each one of those elements is spun off as a chapter.  The weakest one, in my opinion was focus.

Focus is the idea that we sometimes have a very negative view of our relationship with our food.  We tend to have negative self-talk about eating right or our ability to lose weight, begin a workout regimen, etc.  I agree with all that.  I just felt they took it a little too far and made it sound like I have to meditate before any meal to make sure I only have positive self-talk.  Sometimes I’m just hungry and want to eat.  I’m not looking to do yoga before every meal.

I felt the sections on fitness and food were science based, but also practical.  I do not think that you have to be wealthy to afford a bunch of supplements, nor be able to hire a person chef.  The authors were very balanced in their ideas for how to achieve success in choosing and preparing food as well as incorporating fitness into our lives.

One of the shocking sections was friends.  I had never analyzed the role my friends or family play in my health, but it makes sense that with whom we spend time tend to influence our habits.  If we hang out with people who constantly snack or wanting to go out to eat, we are going to adapt to that.  Or if you family is the meat and potatoes people, we will tend to eat that way.  The authors cautioned that it’s not that we have to abandon our family and friends who have negative impacts on our diet, but we have to be willing to stand up for our boundaries and eat right and work out regardless of the friends and family want to do.

I recommend this book if you want a practical guide to diet and fitness.  It’s not an exhaustive look at either, but it’s a good starting off point.

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