“The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life,” evangelist and author Rick Warren's first book published since “The Purpose Driven Life,” has been among the books on Publishers Weekly's best-sellers list since its debut Dec. 3.
Warren, founder and senior pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., wrote the book with Mark Hyman, M.D., a practicing family physician who also is founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center, chairman of the board of the Institute for Functional Medicine and a regular medical contributor on Katie Couric's TV show, “Katie.” The book's other co-author is Daniel G. Amen, M.D., a physician, certified psychiatrist and founder of Amen Clinics in San Francisco and Newport Beach, Calif.; Bellevue, Wash.; Reston, Va.; Atlanta and New York City.
“The Daniel Plan” (Zondervan, $24.99) details a healthy lifestyle program based on five essential principles of food, fitness, focus, faith and friends, with the latter three being what Warren describes as “the secret sauce.”
The program was developed and originated at Warren's Saddleback Church in 2011, and within the first year, more than 15,000 church members collectively lost more than 250,000 pounds while experiencing decreases in health issues and stress and increases in spiritual growth and energy.
Feeling the weight
The concept for “The Daniel Plan” was developed by Warren after baptizing 827 adults in one day by lowering each under the water and lifting them back up. At that time, Warren said he literally felt the weight of America's health problems while being simultaneously convicted by his own unhealthy weight and habits.
He enlisted three doctors — Hyman and Amen, as well as Dr. Mehmet Oz — to develop “The Daniel Plan,” which was conceptualized from the Old Testament biblical account of Daniel, who refused to eat the rich foods from the king's table and challenged the ruler to a 10-day health contest.
“‘The Daniel Plan' is far more than a diet; it is about living a healthier life based on biblical principles,” Warren said. “You can't love if you don't have the energy to love. If you go home every night and lie on the couch because you're exhausted from not eating right and your blood pressure is too high, well, how can you make a difference? Change your life and change the world. That's our goal with this book.”
The authors said “The Daniel Plan” focuses on practical tips, such as eating real, whole food; viewing physical activity as play, rather than exercise; setting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound goals; and finding a group of individuals to provide encouragement for healthy lifestyle choices.
“‘The Daniel Plan' is not a book, it's a movement,” Hyman said. “In addition to the faith element, what makes ‘The Daniel Plan' different from other healthy lifestyle programs is the essential of friends. We have found people who did the program together lost twice as much weight as individuals who did it alone. It is the power of the community. They shop, cook, eat and exercise together. And that accountability — the love factor — is what helps people change.”
In addition to “The Daniel Plan,” Zondervan simultaneously released the supplemental resource “The Daniel Plan Journal” ($14.99), as well as small group materials, “The Daniel Plan: A DVD Study” ($24.99) and “The Daniel Plan Study Guide” ($11.99). A four-color, 100-recipe cookbook ($29.99) will release in March.