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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

"The Daniel Cure" (Susan Gregory and Richard J. Bloomer)

TITLE: The Daniel Cure: The Daniel Fast Way to Vibrant Health
AUTHOR: Susan Gregory and Richard J. Bloomer
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013, (224 pages).

Food is a big part of life in every culture. It is also a big contributor to our health as well as any illnesses. As one looks at the title, one may tend to ask, a "Daniel Cure?" What is the Daniel cure? What makes this book so different from other dieting books? Do we need a cure in the first place? If we look at the book closely, it is less about eating or dieting in particular. It is about learning the biblical way of eating, fasting, exercising, and general well-being. It was Susan Gregory whose blog on her journey through the Daniel Fast that created viral headlines back in 2007. Having received more than 9 million hits, her fans grew by leaps and bounds, one of whom is her co-author, Richard Bloomer who saw surprising results in her wife and child when they also went through the Daniel Fast. In 2009, Dr Richard Bloomer then did a clinical study and several experiments on the Daniel Fast and found rather astonishing positive outcomes in this simple dieting program based on the biblical book of Daniel.  It emphasizes four things:
  1. Fasting and Prayer;
  2. Self-assessment of overall health;
  3. Learning and Planning the Daniel Fast Program;
  4. Practical Implementation.
The premise of the book is simple: Take the Daniel Fast, and for a mere 21 days, you will get a life-changing experience.  After this, simple steps can sustain the ongoing health benefits. Learning from the prophet Daniel, one can begin a body cleansing regimen through the eating of plant-based diets. The fast here refers more to eating appropriate foods rather than abandoning from eating altogether (partial fast). Appropriate foods such as natural foods rather than processed foods; fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, natural oils, herbs, spices, etc. It also means avoiding fast food, deep-fried stuff, sweeteners, stimulants, and drinking only water.

This book is less about promoting a dieting program but more about encouraging a lifestyle change with dieting as a key factor. It is not simply about a vegetarian diet, for the Daniel Fast is even stricter in terms of forbidding "processed foods, refined carbohydrates, bread with yeast, sweeteners, additives, preservatives, flavorings, coloring, caffeine, or alcohol." It is low in fat, low in calories, low in glycemic index, but high in fiber and high quality carbohydrates like whole grains and beans. The DF is also an educational program as it inculcates a mental awareness of what we eat affects how we live. More importantly, the DF helps us "reset" our bodies back to its original condition. We learn about the connection between the eating and the physiological aspect of our bodies. We learn how the heart pumps 300 gallons of blood during an hour's workout. We learn of the importance of taking care of body, spirit, and soul. We are reminded about the high cost of poor health as well as the expenditures that range from gymnasium fees to medical insurance. We also learn about the way obesity is costing the nation that statistically speaking, we are obese unless otherwise stated.  The benefits of the DF are used to counter the effects of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, inflammatory diseases, and many more.

For a successful DF, one needs adequate preparation. It is a discipline that is not just physical but very spiritual. For instance, the art of perseverance requires the unity of mind, body, and spirit. Mentally, one can purpose well. Physically, one can train earnestly. Spiritually, one seeks divine assistance. Before the doing, one needs to be firmly educated in the planning. Once the DF becomes a routine part of life, it no longer becomes a tedious project. It turns into a natural way of life. This means forming good daily habits, just like we have daily devotionals. It means changing the way we think, just like we let the Bible inform our theology and biblical outlook. We need support from people around us, just like the biblical emphasis on community living. The authors even break down the different proteins, carbohydrates, fats, coming with a 20-60-20 formula of protein-carbohydrate-fat, supplemented by lots of water. They provide recipes, mean plans, and five steps for a meal success. Nearly everything in the kitchen is covered. Rice, grains, gravies, desserts, salads, soups, breakfast, main dishes are also described. The chapter on "Food for the soul" is a welcome difference from other cook books.  It contains 21 spiritual lessons to go alongside the DF.

The key question for anyone reading this book is not "Why try?" but "Why not try?" The benefits far outweigh the inconveniences and sacrifices from the way of eating that too many of us are addicted to. We are in need of overhauling our lifestyles. With the rising healthcare costs, taking care of our bodies using the DF is a big step toward improving our health. It is also a significant move in terms of being a responsible member of society. For when we are healthy, we free up healthcare resources for those who really need it. Being healthy is also a neighbourly act. For when we are well, we will most likely bring cheer and goodness to others. This book is truly a reminder that good food is God-given. For anyone of us who loves to eat, cheers to good health through eating the Daniel way.

Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Zondervan and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

1 comment:

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