The new bible for dieting is, for many, the Bible.
The Daniel Diet, inspired by the biblical prophet Daniel, has become a popular diet among some U.S. Protestant congregations to help encourage healthy eating.
According to two passages in the Bible, Daniel fasted twice. During the first fast, he ate only vegetables and water to set himself apart for God. For a second fast mentioned in a later chapter, Daniel stopped eating meat, wine and other rich foods.
Pastors across the country are encouraging their congregations to participate in similar fasts or diets inspired by these passages to kick start weight loss and to strengthen their faith.
In Hawaii, the First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu at Ko’olau holds an annual “21-Day Daniel Fast” for congregants to not only encourage healthy eating, but to help people keep their faith by refocusing their attention on their diet.
“We hope the fast will help reset your spiritual compass, which can get rusty and out of whack because of everyday cares and concerns,” First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu Pastor Dan Chun wrote on his diet support website.
The Saddleback Church, which has a congregation of at least 20,000, has launched a website and book, co-written by head Pastor Rick Warren, to promote a long term version of the diet renamed “The Daniel Plan.”
At a rally for the Daniel Plan last year, Warren said he was inspired to start the fast after performing 800 baptisms in one day and realizing most people he baptized were overweight.
“I had this thought, it wasn’t very spiritual, but it was ‘We’re all fat,’” said Warren.
Although the Saddleback church version of the Daniel Plan has specific diet directions, most versions of the Daniel diet are slightly improvised since the Bible doesn’t give detailed instructions. Versions of the fast include eating only raw vegetables or fruits for 10 to 21 days with water.
If you’re looking to slim down after a couple of days of Thanksgiving gluttony, maybe all you need is a little divine inspiration.
This diet as old as the Dead Sea Scrolls emphasizes eating fresh, organic and unprocessed foods. Meals are heavy on fruits and vegetables and light on meat. The eating plan emphasizes coldwater fish – wild salmon, halibut, black cod – that are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids.
The diet isn’t without its critics. The Daily Mail quotes a nutritionist who warns that strictly following this diet without supplements could leave you with a vitamin deficiency.
Source: ABC News