If you’re in the market for a new diet buddy, many would suggest looking for someone with a little more power. A higher power, if you will. In the last few years Christian-based diet and exercise programs have surged in popularity.
In 2011, Pastor Rick Warren introduced the Daniel Plan based on the Old Testament story of Daniel who was held captive by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel and his companions refused the heavy food and wine from the king’s table, instead consuming fruits, vegetables and water. After 10 days they were in better health than those who had eaten the king’s food.
Tonight on Rock Center with Brian Williams, Chelsea Clinton interviews Pastor Rick Warren on a matter quite different than his usual subject. No, he’s not talking about his bestselling devotional The Purpose Driven Life or how he leads a congregation of more than 20,000, instead he describes his newest project. It’s a diet called The Daniel Plan.
Warren has led Saddleback Church, a megachurch in California, for more than 30 years, and as his congregation has flourished so did his weight.
“I was blessed with an abundance of energy, and since I didn’t care about how I looked and I really had relatively few health problems, I paid no attention to my health,” Warren explains to Clinton.
He describes a moment two years ago when he realized things needed to change. The pastor was baptizing hundreds of converts, and began to see a trend: most of them were overweight.
“As I’m putting people under the water, I’m lifting 867 people, along about number 500, I had a thought. It wasn’t a very spiritual thought. It was, ‘Good night, we’re all overweight.’ And I thought, but I’m overweight. And I can’t expect people to get in shape unless I’m in shape,” Warren relates. (more…)
Warren, considered one of the most influential pastors in the U.S., is best known for his best-selling book The Purpose Driven Life. Recently Warren was struck by how overweight his congregation was, including himself. Warren admitted to gaining 90 pounds over the last 30 years and failing at various diets along the way.
This realization lead to the creation of the Daniel Plan. The Daniel Plan is a diet and lifestyle program that was devised at Warren’s church, Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California and gets its vision and name from the story found in the book of Daniel in the Bible. In the story, Daniel and his friends refuse to eat royal food and wine. They only eat vegetables and water. In Daniel 1:15 it says, “they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.”
The plan was also devised with the aid of three medical professionals: Daniel Amen, a psychiatrist; Mark Hyman, a family doctor; and Mehmet Oz, a TV host and cardiac surgeon. Essentially, the plan advises healthy food choices, promotes workout routines, and urges participants to join a small group for support.