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on January 6, 2015
From the book cover:

The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life by Rick Warren, Dr. Daniel Amen, and Dr. Mark Hyman is far more than a diet plan. It is an appetizing approach to achieving a healthy lifestyle where people are encouraged to get healthier together by optimizing the key five essentials of faith, food, fitness, focus, and friends.

The Daniel Plan does, indeed, center around those five essentials:

Faith - "If you don't trust God to help you get healthy, all you are left with is willpower--and you know from experience that willpower doesn't usually last very long. You get tired of doing what's right and you give up."

Food - "Food has the power to heal us. It is the most potent tool we have to help prevent and treat many of our chronic diseases--including diabetes and obesity. Truly, what you put on your fork dictates whether you are sick or well, slim or fat, depleted or energized."

Fitness - "[H]e walked her through these steps that make fitness doable in The Daniel Plan: dreaming big, discovering what moves you, setting and recording goals, mixing it up, and finding a buddy."

Focus - "[I]t is the loss of focus that causes may people to cycle through hopeful starts and many failed stops as other things vie for their attention. We will help you optimize your brain health, renew your mind, increase your focus, and live with a purpose-driven mind-set. All of the information in this book is designed to help you win the war between the thoughtful part of your brain that knows what you should do and your pleasure centers that always want gratification now."

Friends - "When you have friends to go with you on the journey toward better health, you are more likely to succeed. Life change happens in small groups."

I had heard much about The Daniel Plan, but this is the first time I've looked into it in any depth. In fact, a friend had mentioned it just a day or two before I saw it on the list of books available for review. That's why I decided to go for it.

I was a bit disappointed to see that the first endorsement on the back cover is from Dr. Mehmet Oz. I'll say that I'm not a fan and leave it at that.

Still, I was hopeful as I started reading. This is what I wrote to a friend about two weeks ago, when I'd read about a third of the book:
I've been reading The Daniel Plan, and I think I like the plan better than the book itself. I keep getting annoyed at the writers for a condescending tone, a reliance on the same handful of familiar Bible verses over and over, an emphasis on saving the environment through what we eat, and the assumption that we can get locally sourced foods all year. (Sure, Rick Warren lives in California. Most of us don't.) Other than that, I'm loving the book. :)

Those annoyances seemed to fade as the book progressed. By the end of the book I had mixed opinions about it.

I completely agree with the Faith essential. I've tried to diet and have had no long-term success. I believe that by trusting God instead of my own willpower, I would do much better.

I like the concepts mentioned in the above quote about Food. Some aspects of the plan make sense--things like filling your plate with 50% non-starchy vegetables, 25% whole grains or starchy vegetables, and 25% lean proteins. Keeping healthy snacks on hand so we don't reach for junk food makes sense. Don't drink liquid sugar calories: that's logical. Giving up artificial sweeteners, which confuse our brains and make us crave sweets, sounds like a good strategy.

However, I thought that the black-and-white rules about what to avoid, especially, were extreme. "Cut out sugar and white flour. Go cold turkey." No oils except extra-virgin olive oil, extra-virgin coconut oil, grape seed oil, avocado oil, and sesame oil (for flavoring). In my opinion, these absolute rules and lists of "bad foods" and "good foods" tend to make us feel guilty when we fail.

The diet plan is very specific, particularly in the Detox phase. Menu plans for three meals and two snacks per day are spelled out, and they include foods that my family would never touch: chia coconut brown rice breakfast bowl, quinoa breakfast bake, shrimp curry with snap peas and water chestnuts. The Core meal plan is a little better and it offers options to swap out meals and snacks. Still, it's pretty specific, and I seriously, seriously doubt that my family would be on board with this.

The Fitness essential, on the other hand, I like. The plan offers options for fun exercises, like dancing, hula hooping, pogo stick, table tennis, tag, unicycling ... you get the idea. It also meets you where you are: someone new to exercise isn't expected to start with a 20-minute run. It combines aerobic, stretching, and strength exercises. I would adopt this part of the plan even if I didn't use the rest.

The chapters on Focus address three strategies--brain envy (you have to passionately care about your brain), avoiding anything that hurts it, and engaging in habits that boost its health. Specifics include getting enough sleep, reducing stress, praying, and laughing more. The section also talks about failure and how to turn it into a learning experience. I liked this quote: "Failure can also be motivational. A lot of times we change, not when we see the light, but when we feel the heat."

I can't argue with the Friends essential. Have an exercise buddy and a friend (or friends) to keep you accountable. I can see myself in a support group to talk about progress and strategies, but I don't think I could say, "I weigh xxx pounds."

So ... I know this is long, but I hope I've given you enough information to make your own decision about The Daniel Plan.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book, at no cost to me, for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions I've shared are my own.
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VINE VOICEon November 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Daniel Plan is almost an eater’s encyclopedia of information. Besides a very effective eating plan, it has information about good and bad foods that I haven’t seen anywhere else in such a concentrated fashion--and I’ve been health food conscious for nearly 40 years.

Who knew, for example, that MSG, which many people avoid on general principle, could masquerade under so many different names and products? And who would have guessed that stevia, the “natural” artificial sweetener, actually may come in a processed form that renders it “bad”? What teenager or parent would likely know that “One can of soda a day increases a kid’s risk of obesity by 60 percent and women’s chance of getting diabetes by more than 80 percent”? Or that “One pound of factory-farmed meat requires 2,000 gallons of water and produces 53 times as much greenhouse gases as a pound of vegetables”?

Those statistics are not the main thrust of The Daniel Plan, however. They’re educational background, making readers want to change their ways of living to a healthier style. Nor is this book primarily about dieting to lose weight. It’s about wellness--eating right and living right to feel good. The weight loss is a side effect, caused by proper diet, exercise, and good thought patterns.

“The Daniel Plan” has five main emphases: faith, food, fitness, focus, and friends. Group support by friends and family is very important to achieving success. So is having a good mental attitude--and the authors will tell you how to achieve that. (Even such simple mind-habits as gratitude play a big role in overall fitness, they say.)

I highly recommend this book, and I look forward to trying it out as a way of life.
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on August 16, 2017
I read this book with a group of friends. It is truly a great read and so much help! It deals with you becoming a healthier person in all areas of your life--food, faith, friends, family and fitness. I need improvement on each one. This book is a great help to good nutrition and especially fitness, which I need so much. Each lesson is back up by verses from the Bible to help give you encouragement. I have learned how "planning" is so essential in our daily food intake, in our exercise program, whatever that may be, in how much you share of yourself with others, etc. Very helpful and I will, hopefully, continue to follow the lessons I learned. I am making it a "reference" book for my new life!
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on January 6, 2014
How many religious people do you know who are great at taking care of their spiritual needs and perhaps the physical needs of many others all while letting their bodily temple become rundown? This book is a much-needed reminder that we were created as whole beings - body, mind and spirit. One piece cannot be ignored without injury to another. The experts with whom Pastor Warren collaborated on this book appear to have a great appreciation for optimizing the health of the whole individual. Love this! Much needed! I hope it is embraced by my fellow Christian brothers and sisters. I will do my part to share it with others.
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on January 3, 2014
The only thing new about this book for me is the Biblical approach of taking responsibility for my body as a Christian. Good advice and a workable plan. It might be helpful to a non-Christian and help them have an attitude change regarding their body. Rick Warren takes the important stand that we must change our unhealthy habits and lifestyle, which is what most of the diet plans today are focusing on. He has a lot of helpful information all in one place. It will take discipline to change unhealthy habits for life and create healthy habits in keeping with God's laws if we want optimal health. It will be beneficial to do the Mobile App provided for this program as well as working with a support group to stay on track. Looks like good menus and recipes.
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on May 21, 2014
I am so glad my friend told me about this book. It is loaded with helpful information, lots of recipes, and it is very practical. I have lost weight and I feel healthier. My allergies have improved and I have noticed much less hair loss on the drain screen when I wash my hair. My family loves it and they have asked that we never stop eating this way. However, it is much more than a diet. Diets alone are simply possible with willpower, which is unreliable. This is about faith growth, mental health, relationships, and exercise too. It is such a well-rounded plan and speaks to all our basic needs. I highly recommend this book. It's hard not to tell everyone you meet about it because it really works.
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on December 30, 2013
I find this book to be the BEST. Have sent it to four members of my family, and they just love it. Causes us to think differently about our faith, food, physical, focus and
friendship. Have been reading up on the whole meaning of The Daniel Plan, and
am caught up in the moments of each. Just love it and highly recommend it to everyone. Mary
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on October 27, 2015
the recipe preparations were to time consuming for me, and I was less than satisfied with the taste of the foods.
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on January 7, 2014
This book is put together by two doctors that both eclipse, in my humble opinion, Dr Oz in eating properly. They are Dr Amen and Dr Hyman and they have the spiritual advice of Pastor Rick Warren.I saw them on Fox news a few days ago on Hannity, I believe and it was fantastic. My mother in law, Ina, kept watching and was ignoring me.
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on February 3, 2017
Really encouraging and uplifting. I can feel that I will need to read thus continuously.
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