Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Weight Loss, Daniel's way and God's Way was Daniel Trying to Cut his Carbs?

This is hopefully a short one. I have been hearing bits and pieces about Rick Warren's Daniel Plan, and how non Biblical it is. And i think those claims are justified. Jan Markel's "Understanding the Times" (which i only catch occasionally) has done a great job of covering that angle, check out her archives.

The summary is that Warren is sharing his pulpit with occultists/non-Christians to give out health advice. This of course makes 1 Timothy 4:1 all the more relevant. (Stay in 1 Timothy, we're going back later!) Here are the experts. ("Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. Daniel Amen, and Dr. Mehmet Oz").

I want to cover a different side, but first what is the Daniel Plan? From what i gather, these folks are trying to lose weight and get healthy using a "Biblical" model. Finding no scripture verse that supports exercise and weight loss, they did the next best thing. Take a chapter out of context. They took Daniel 1, and ran with it.

Here's their version, i had a real hard time getting to the real meat, but the simplified version is OK at doing that. Basically, Daniel 1 is their justification. I don't really see that they actually bother to quote Daniel, they just seem to assume that people will know enough to realize that Daniel did restrict his diet.
How closely the follow Daniel's "diet" i cant say.



But what does Daniel 1 actually say about food?

Daniel 1:4 - 16

And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.

Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:
Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel [the name] of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.

And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which [are] of your sort? then shall ye make [me] endanger my head to the king.

Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,

Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.

Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king's meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.

So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.

And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat.

Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.


The reason Daniel changed his diet was because it would defile him. In all likelihood, the meat did not conform to God's standards outlined in the Torah. (See Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Exodus for the dietary laws. Also, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashrut which more applies to today's standards for Jews but is a good overview.)

Daniel also gave up wine for other reasons. We're not told why the meat and wine were "unclean" but given that he was in Babylon, anything was possible.

But the long and short of it is, he wasn't trying to lose weight.

So, does the Bible say anything about exercise?

Not alot. But also keep in mind that in the times of the Bible people farmed and lived more active lives, their work WAS their exercise. But here's what Paul says:

1 Timothy 4:8

For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.


Now, i don't think he's saying not to exercise, but he's saying that pursuing your relationship with Christ is even more important. And it is. Make that priority number one. But also recall our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19) so, in my opinion (in addition to keeping our bodoes free from sin) we are to take care of it properly including diet and exercise.

Opinion Zone (check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program)

Some "Christian Exercise" tips. First, don't do anything obviously sinful, like Yoga. I would even say that the striptease exercise classes are probably a bad idea. Instead, stick with something simple like aerobics, walking, running, swimming and other safe sports.

You can even use some of that exercise time to grow closer to the Lord. What i do sometimes while walking is listen to podcasts. (Check out itunes, for revelations radio, 66/40 and others) why just waste the time walking when you can hear great teaching about God and the Gospel?

The last thing you can do for a healthy body, in addition to exercising is to eat healthy. I don't even need to cover that here.

So before joining the Daniel plan, at least know that there are non-Christian and antiChristian elements in it. Also know that Daniel was not trying to lose weight, but He was trying to stay right with God.

Remember, Jesus commanded us to "let no man deceive us." That includes me, that includes Rick Warren and his "Daniel Weight Loss Plan."

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