Faith is key part of diet's 'secret sauce'

By: The Oklahoman
January 12, 2014
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he Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life," evangelist Rick Warren's first book published since "The Purpose Driven Life," has been on Publishers Weekly's best-sellers list since its debut Dec. 3.

Warren, founder and senior pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., wrote the book with Dr. Mark Hyman, a practicing family physician who also is founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center, chairman of the board of the Institute for Functional Medicine and a regular medical contributor on Katie Couric's TV show, "Katie." The book's other co-author is Dr. Daniel G. Amen, a physician, certified psychiatrist and founder of Amen Clinics in San Francisco and Newport Beach, Calif.; Bellevue, Wash.; Reston, Va.; Atlanta and New York City.

"The Daniel Plan" details a healthy lifestyle program based on five essential principles of food, fitness, focus, faith and friends, with the latter three being what Warren describes as "the secret sauce."

The program was developed and originated at Saddleback Church in 2011; within the first year, more than 15,000 church members collectively lost more than 250,000 pounds while experiencing decreases in health issues and stress and increases in spiritual growth and energy.

The concept for "The Daniel Plan" was developed by Warren after baptizing 827 adults in one day by immersion. At that time, Warren said he literally felt the weight of America's health problems while being simultaneously convicted by his own unhealthy weight and habits.

He enlisted three doctors - Hyman and Amen, as well as Dr. Mehmet Oz - to develop "The Daniel Plan," which was conceptualized from the Old Testament biblical account of Daniel, who refused to eat the rich foods from the king's table and challenged the ruler to a 10-day health contest.

"'The Daniel Plan' is far more than a diet; it is about living a healthier life based on biblical principles," Warren said.

The authors said "The Daniel Plan" focuses on practical tips, such as eating real, whole food; viewing physical activity as play rather than exercise; setting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound goals; and finding a group of individuals to provide encouragement for healthy lifestyle choices.

"'The Daniel Plan' is not a book, it's a movement," Hyman said.

In addition to "The Daniel Plan," the publishing company Zondervan simultaneously released the supplemental resource "The Daniel Plan Journal" ($14.99), as well as small group materials, "The Daniel Plan: A DVD Study" ($24.99) and "The Daniel Plan Study Guide" ($11.99). A four-color, 100-recipe cookbook ($29.99) will be released in March.

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