The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life | A Book Review

daniel-plan-book-review

Ever since getting married, I have slowly become more and more health conscience. It started with some Norwex cleaning products, then to Shaklee, and finally we started using Essential oils. I slowly got rid of all chemical cleaners in the house, and we focus on supplementing our bodies with healthy supplements that actually help, not harm us. Yes, being healthy is an investment, but we as a family believe it has paid off significantly. When Kina was born, we decided to try our best to keep her off of sugar for at-least her first year of life. We really did pretty good at it. We still try hard to not allow sugar, snacks, and junk in our house, but she is a typical kid and gets sugar when we go places. We have always made it a point to not feed her “kid friendly” foods just because she may not like healthy foods. In doing this, she has grown into eating most of what we set in front of her. In doing all this, I can tell myself, yeah we do pretty good, good enough right? Well as much as we try to do good at home, we still run to Casey’s and grab a Pizza, or go on ice cream binges and eat it every night for a week or two. We still “treat ourselves” to too much bad foods when we eat at potlucks or parties. It’s so easy to have not self control and think we deserve all the bad stuff. It’s all to easy to think eating healthy as a lifestyle is too hard or expensive.

Last January we tried a beach body workout (Hammer and Chisel) which we really really loved. Loren and I were in the best shape of our lives when we went to the Virgin Islands. But I was still not completely happy. While I felt strong and in shape, I still felt like we could do better. While we were working out, we were still choosing to eat unhealthy many times. I have always been a little frustrated at why sticking to a healthy eating style doesn’t work. I feel/felt like all happiness is gone if we choose to eat healthy and say no to certain things on a normal basis.

Before I got pregnant I told Loren I wanted to do some sort of detox or something. I stumbled upon the Daniel Plan book and decided to give it a try. Well shortly after that I got pregnant and decided a detox wasn’t in the best interest right now ;). We put the book on the shelf and left it for awhile. Recently I read a pregnancy essential oil book, and in it she talked about getting completely off of sugar during pregnancy. I decided I would commit to no sugar in my third trimester. I am kinda nerdy and love doing random challenges like this. With this in mind, I ended up deciding to read the Daniel Plan even if I decided against doing the 40 day fast for now. I was interested in learning to cook more healthy since I had decided to commit to no sugar at week 27. We have white flour in our pantry and enjoy waffles or pancakes every single weekend. With a no sugar commitment, I wanted to learn an alternative way of cooking to replace our semi-healthy habits.

I am so glad I ended up reading the Daniel Plan. It is not only a guide to eating healthy, no it is much more. It has 5 key elements to living a healthy lifestyle. They are Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus, and Friends.

The Faith section discusses how faith is a key element in living a healthy lifestyle. I love how it says “You may have tried a dozen diets and a dozen exercise programs. But health is about more than a program. Health comes from recognizing and using God’s power in your life and treating your body and mind with the care he intended.” I never really thought of food and my body in that way. It’s so easy to say, “oh I won’t smoke because it is bad for my health.” Why is sugar any different? If our body is a temple for God, I shouldn’t be damaging it with bad foods, just because I feel like I deserve them. I know also since God wants me to treat my body as a temple, he will help me. Because every other time I have tried to be healthy, it’s on my own doing. With a new perspective of God helping me, I feel much more confident to actually live out a healthy lifestyle.

Obviously the Food section is all about healthy foods. It give statistics on health problems, how much sugar an average American eats, what foods are harmful/good, etc. I love this book because it doesn’t focus on being gluten free, or dairy free, or vegan, or any specific type of diet, but rather looks at food as a whole and how it effects your body. It recommends obviously giving up things that your body reacts bad to, but instead of grouping everyone in the same category, it leads you to find out for yourself. I always struggled with the whole 30 plan, or paleo, or whatever, I didn’t see myself committing to a certain style of eating long term. This book focuses on getting rid of bad sugars, processed foods, processed wheat, etc. It’s main focus on a cleaner eating style for your body and substitutes for common things we may love. They also talk about how food can really actually heal us. We as American’s tend to run to the doctor and are put on medications, when really if we ate correctly is would solve many of our health problems.

I didn’t personally really glean anything too great from the fitness section. Mainly because I studied to be a Physical Therapist Assistant, run, and do beach body on a regular basis. I feel like I have the fitness aspect under control. But for someone wanting to learn more about fitness, this would be helpful!

I really loved the Focus section. This one talked about how to focus on actually making this a lifestyle!  It made a really really good point about our brains. “Why don’t we care about our brains? Because most people never see their brains. You can see the wrinkles in your face or the fat around your belly and do something when you don’t like how they look, but the brain is different. If you could look at your brain, all of a sudden everything would change. You could see if yours is troubled and do something about it.” Everything starts in our brain. What are we putting into it? Are we putting junk in it by negative thinking and excuses? Or are we striving to improve ourselves with truth and positivity. I love Dave Ramsey’s analogy I heard at the Business Boutique. We need to replace all the junk and negativity the floods our brains by replacing it with books, podcasts, songs, etc. We constantly get flooded with negativity in our world. It’s our choice to treat our brain as if we can see it or sink deeper in the negativity, believing we can’t do anything about it.

The friends section is just that, all about support and accountability. This is such a true thing. When left alone I know my resolve is weak. When Loren and I exercised together, we totally killed it. When one of us was sick or didn’t get up to exercise, the other justified  why they didn’t need to either. Loren and I plan to be each other’s accountability partner through this!

These are the main points of the book. It is filled with very helpful advice and more and I would highly recommend this book to anyone truly wanting to live a healthier lifestyle. The big con I had with this book was the bible verse translations. I personally prefer KJV, NKJV, or NIV which is pretty common in most christian books, NIV atleast. This book had translations that when I looked it up in one of the above, it was pretty different. I typically skimmed the bible verse and if I was familiar with it I wouldn’t look it up, if I wasn’t I usually looked it up in my preferred translation.

To start our journey toward a healthier lifestyle, I did end up buying the Daniel Plan cookbook. I will do a review after using that for awhile! I am excited about doing this. It is actually the first time I have not absolutely dreaded doing a “diet or healthy plan.” I think the difference is because I actually want to honor God with my body, not just get healthier because I want to lose a few pounds. I will update you later this year to tell you how it is going!

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