The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life

The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life

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The Daniel Plan is far more than a diet plan. It is an appetizing approach to achieving a healthy lifestyle by optimizing the five key essentials of faith, food, fitness, focus, and friends.

Unlike the thousands of other books on the market, this book is not about a new diet, guilt-driven gym sessions, or shame-driven fasts. Your path to holistic health begins here, as Pastor Rick Warren and fitness and medical experts Dr. Daniel Amen and Dr. Mark Hyman guide you to incorporate healthy choices into your current lifestyle.

The concepts in this book will encourage you to deepen your relationship with God and develop a community of supportive friends who will encourage you to make smart food and fitness choices each and every day. This results in gradual changes that transform your life as they help you:

  • Conquer your worst cravings
  • Find healthy replacement foods for the foods you love
  • Discover exercise you enjoy
  • Boost your energy and kick-start your metabolism
  • Lose weight
  • Think more clearly
  • Explore biblical principles for health
  • . . . and ultimately create an all-around healthy lifestyle

It's time to feast on something bigger than a fad. Start your journey to impactful, long-lasting, and sustainable results today!

Plus, get more from The Daniel Plan with The Daniel Plan CookbookThe Daniel Plan Journal, and The Daniel Plan 365-Day Devotional.  

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310344308
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 12/03/2013
Series: The Daniel Plan
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 62,775
File size: 5 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

As founding pastor of Saddleback Church, Dr. Rick Warren leads a 30,000-member congregation in California with campuses in major cities around the world. As an author, his book The Purpose Driven Life is one of the bestselling nonfiction books in publishing history. As a theologian, he has lectured at Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, University of Judaism, and dozens of universities and seminaries. As a global strategist he advises world leaders and has spoken to the United Nations, US Congress, Davos Economic Forum, TED, Aspen Institute, and numerous parliaments. Rick has also founded the Global PEACE Plan, which Plants churches of reconciliation, Equips leaders, Assists the poor, Cares for the sick, and Educates the next generation in 196 countries. You can listen to Pastor Rick’s Daily Hope, his daily 25-minute broadcast, or sign up for his free daily devotionals at


The Washington Post called Daniel Amen, MD the most popular psychiatrist in America and Sharecare named him the web’s #1 most influential expert and advocate on mental health.  Dr. Amen is a physician, double board certified psychiatrist, television producer and ten-time New York Times bestselling author.  He is the Founder and Medical Director of Amen Clinics in Costa Mesa and San Francisco, California, Bellevue, Washington, Reston, Virginia, Atlanta, Georgia and New York, New York.


Dr. Mark Hyman is a practicing family physician, a six-time No. 1 New York Times bestselling author, and an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator and advocate in his field of Functional Medicine. He is also the founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center, chairman of the board of the Institute for Functional Medicine, a medical editor of The Huffington Post and a regular medical contributor on Katie Couric’s TV show, “Katie.” For more information, visit 


Read an Excerpt

The Daniel Plan

By RICK WARREN, Daniel Amen, Mark Hyman, Andrea Vinley Jewell, Jim Ruark


Copyright © 2013 The Daniel Plan
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-310-34429-2


How It All Began


Wow! Everybody's FAT!

That shocking thought kept reverberating in my mind one bright spring day as I was baptizing 827 adults.

I'll admit it wasn't a very spiritual thought for a pastor to have, especially while baptizing! But I was getting tired, since our church baptizes the way Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River—by lowering people under the water, then lifting them back up.

That day, based on the average weight of Americans, I lifted more than 145,000 pounds!

I had read plenty of articles about the growing epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease in America, but that day I actually felt the weight of America's health problem in a dramatic way.

While my first thought was that everyone I baptized was overweight, my second thought was more personal and pointed:

But I'm fat too! I'm as out of shape as everyone else is!

In that moment of clarity, I realized the terrible example I was giving with my own health. How could I expect my congregation to take better care of their bodies if I was such a poor model? I had ignored my own growing problem for thirty years.

Let me explain:

I grew up in a family that didn't drink alcohol or smoke, but all food—no matter how unhealthy it might be—was considered okay. And growing up, much of my life centered around food.

Every memory of my childhood, both good and bad, was connected to food. When we were happy, we celebrated by eating. When we were sad, we consoled ourselves with comfort food. If I had a difficult day as a child, the antidote was cookies and milk or a piece of fresh pie.

Living on five acres in the country, my dad grew a huge vegetable garden, my mom loved to cook, and we all loved to eat. Eating was our entertainment, and we had huge meals every night. In fact, our handmade fourteen-foot dining table made of a single four-inch slab of redwood was the largest piece of furniture in our house. It dominated our home, and our family life revolved around the meals we shared together.

Blessed with good health, a high metabolism, and an active life, I could eat everything I wanted and as much as I wanted and never gain a pound. When I married kay, I was as thin as a flagpole even though I rarely exercised and ate junk food constantly. I paid no attention to my health.

Then, in 1980, at age twenty-five, I became the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California. As the church rapidly grew to thousands of members, I worked long days, ate meals on the run, and spent hours sitting while leading meetings, counseling people, and studying for sermons. I began adding a few pounds every year, but because my energy remained high and I didn't care much about appearance, I ignored my growing health problem. By 2010, I was severely overweight.

Ironically, over the past decade I had sent nearly 21,000 of our church members overseas to 196 countries to serve the sick and the poor through a program we developed called the P.E.A.C.E. plan. The C of the P.E.A.C.E. stands for "Care for the sick," and our members had compassionately cared for the health of others around the world who were suffering from poor nutrition, poor water, malaria, and HIV/AIDS. But I ignored my own declining health and that of my own members.

That baptism was my wake-up call to the health issues in my life and in the lives of those in our congregation. I knew drastic changes were needed, so I began educating myself about preventative health. What I learned shocked me:

• For the first time in history, as many people are suffering from the result of too much food as malnutrition. While millions of people suffer from not having enough to eat, millions are struggling with the effects of being overweight.

• Seven in ten Americans are overweight.

• Diabetes, heart disease, and other "lifestyle-based diseases" now kill more people than infectious diseases worldwide.

The next Sunday, I stood before my congregation and made this public confession:

Friends, I've been a poor steward of my health and a terrible example for you. While we've been helping many around the world, I've ignored the problem here at home.

So today I am publicly repenting, and I ask for your forgiveness! God expects us to take care of the bodies he has given us, but I have not done that. Now, I've only gained two to three pounds a year, but I have been your pastor for thirty years. So I need to lose ninety pounds! Do any of you want to join me in getting healthy?

The audience responded with sustained applause.

Honestly, I expected that maybe a couple hundred people would join me in my quest to get healthy, so I was overwhelmed when more than 12,000 Saddleback Church members signed up that day! Now I needed a plan. It had to be simple, inexpensive, and scalable. Since I was preaching that day about a man in the Bible named Daniel who refused to eat junk food and challenged a king to a health contest, I named the program The Daniel Plan.

Since I knew nothing about getting healthy, I recruited three nationally known doctors—Dr. Daniel Amen, Dr. Mark Hyman, and Dr. Mehmet Oz—to coach me in getting healthy and help me design The Daniel Plan to be used in our church. All three doctors graciously volunteered their expertise and time for free because they care about our health.

Over the first year of The Daniel Plan, Saddleback members collectively lost more than 250,000 pounds! But even more important, we learned insights, developed skills, and established habits for a lifetime of healthy living. The Daniel Plan is far more than a diet. It is a lifestyle program based on biblical principles and five essential components: Food, Fitness, Focus, Faith, and Friends. These last two components—faith and friends—are what I call the secret sauce that makes The Daniel Plan so effective. When you have God and a group helping you, you now have far more than willpower helping you make positive changes, and you are far more likely to stay consistent.

Let me be clear: There is no magic pill, no quick fix, no instant formula, and no shortcut that will make you healthy overnight. You must make wise choices every day. You will likely have setbacks. I have! In fact, as I write these words, I am recovering from a recent setback. My family experienced a tragic loss that was devastating to all of us. In my grief, I didn't sleep much, and that left me exhausted, both emotionally and physically. Overwhelmed by sorrow and fatigue, I stopped making healthy choices and began to add unwanted weight. All those pounds I had lost kept finding me! But as anyone in recovery will tell you, setbacks are part of the process in long-term change. Rather than beat myself up, I simply asked God and my friends to help me get back on track.

The plan you will read about in this book is really quite simple. Dedicate your body to God. Ask for his help, and get involved in a small group of some kind that will support you on your journey. Then start making healthy choices—such as replacing donuts with fresh fruit and making exercise a part of your daily routine. Make whole foods a regular part of your diet. Live a more active lifestyle. Get more sleep. Cut down on your stress. It's not rocket science. It's just good, common sense. After all, God expects you to use the brain he gave you.

Many diets and fitness plans use guilt as a motivation, but that never works in the long run. You can guilt yourself into doing anything short-term, but the change will last only as long as the guilt (or fear) does. In contrast, The Daniel Plan is built with love as the motivation: Experiencing God's unconditional love for you, learning to love him back, learning to love whom God made you to be, and learning to give and receive love from others in a small group setting.

The Bible says, "Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance" (1 Corinthians 13:7 NLT). It is love—not fear, not guilt, and not peer pressure—that causes us to keep going when we feel like giving up.

The Bible also tells us that lasting change begins with committing your body to God. Romans 12:1–2 says, "... give your bodies to God.... Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think" (NLT, emphasis added). Notice the strong mind-body connection in this verse. Two thousand years after this verse was written, we now know that not only do our minds affect our bodies, but also our bodies affect our minds.

What you do with your body sets the tone for everything else. Physical health influences your mental health, your spiritual health, your emotional health, your relational health, and even your financial health. How many times have you read a book, heard a message, or attended an event that motivated you to make some change, but then you didn't have the physical energy to do it? Instead, you laid down on your couch and watched TV.

A major motivation for me to be physically healthy is that I want the energy and alertness to make other changes in my life. My guess is that you too have other areas of your life you would like to improve. So we are going to begin by raising your energy level, since you can't do anything without a body! We are going to start at the most basic level of your life: your physical health.


The Christian family I grew up in attended church ser vices every week. I have listened to thousands of sermons on what God has to say about our souls, our minds, our wills, and our emotions. But not once had I ever heard an entire sermon on God's view of our bodies. The subject was completely ignored. This is why most people still have no theology of health. While our culture is obsessed with physical beauty and sexy bodies, many believers ignore their bodies as if they don't matter. But they do.

God has a lot to say about the importance of the body he gave you. It is talked about through the Bible. But for the sake of brevity, let me show you just one chapter of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 6:12–20:

"I have the right to do anything," you say—but not everything is beneficial. "I have the right to do anything"—but I will not be mastered by anything. You say, "Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both." The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! ...

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Wow! This is definitely an in-your-face, tell-it-like-it-is, no-holds-barred description of what God considers to be the right and wrong use of our bodies. In this and other passages of Scripture we learn five radical truths about our bodies that run counterculturally to everything you hear today.

1. My body belongs to God. It is his property, not mine. I don't own it, God does. He created my body, and he expects me to use it the way he intended for it to be used. Now we naturally rebel against this idea. Our culture teaches us, "My body is mine to do whatever I want to with it." But God says, "No, you're wrong. It's not your body, because you didn't create it. I made it, and I loaned it to you to live in while I put you on earth, and I expect you to take care of my creation."

The fact is, everything you can see on earth was created by God. He made it, and he owns it. What you think you own is really on loan. The Bible says, "The body ... is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body" (1 Corinthians 6:13).

Today we make the same common mistake Greek philosophers did thousands of years ago. Aristotle, Socrates, and Plato believed in dualism, which included the idea that your mind (or spirit) is important, but your body isn't important spiritually. They devalued the body. In fact, some Greek philosophers taught that your body is evil, so it really didn't matter if you messed it up.

The Bible tells us the exact opposite. Your body is holy because God made it, and everything God makes has a purpose. We are to bring glory to God with our bodies, so we can't compartmentalize our lives and think that we can divorce our bodies and live as if only our spirit matters. God owns your body!

2. Jesus paid for my body when he died for me on the cross. As we saw earlier, 1 Corinthians 6:19–20 tells us that our bodies have been bought!

Millions of TV viewers love watching American Pickers and Pawn Stars because it's fun to guess how much old items are worth. The owners often think something they own is more valuable than it really is. But the reality is that something is only worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it! You may think your house is worth more, but it's really only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it.

God has never made a person he didn't love. If you want to know how valuable your life is to God, just look at the cross. With his arms outstretched, nailed to the cross, Jesus was saying, "This is how valuable you are to me. I love you this much! I'd rather die than live without you." You are priceless.

Now, if you are worth dying for, don't you think God wants you to take better care of yourself? If you bought a million-dollar race horse, would you feed it junk food and keep it up all night? Of course not! You would protect your investment. The fact is, Jesus has made an investment in you. He paid for your life with his life, and he expects you to take care of his investment.

3. God's Spirit lives in my body. When you say yes to God, accepting by faith what Jesus did for you and trusting his grace and forgiveness to save you, then God puts his Spirit inside you as a guarantee of your salvation. The Bible says it like this: "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?" (1 Corinthians 6:19).

When God puts his Spirit inside you, your body becomes a temple of God, a residence for his love. So let me ask you this: If you saw someone vandalizing or damaging a temple dedicated to God, wouldn't you consider that a crime? Of course! But you abuse and vandalize God's temple, your body, when you deprive it of rest and sleep, overeat, put too much stress on it, and fail to take care of it.

4. God expects me to take care of my body. I am not the owner of my body, but I am the caretaker, or manager, of it. The word for manager in the Bible is steward. Taking care of my body is an issue of spiritual stewardship. In fact, God tells me that one day I will have to give an account for how well I managed everything he gave to me, including my body. I will stand before God and have to answer the question, "What did you do with what I gave you?"

In The Purpose Driven Life I explain how your life on earth is a test, a trust, and a temporary assignment. This life is preparation for our next life, which will last forever in eternity. God is testing you on earth to see what he can trust you with in eternity. He is watching how you use your time, your money, your talents, your opportunities, your mind, and yes, even your body. Are you making the most of what you've been given? God isn't going to evaluate you on the basis of the bodies he gave to other people, but he will judge what you did with what you have been given.

5. God will resurrect my body after I die. God never wastes anything. He gets the maximum use out of all he creates. Right now you are living in the 1.0 version of your body. You will get the 2.0 version of your body in heaven. The Bible says, "By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also" (1 Corinthians 6:14).

We don't really know what our resurrected bodies will be like, but we do have a few clues. We know that after Jesus came from the grave, he walked around Jerusalem for forty days in a resurrected body. He was seen multiple times by many different groups of people, including one event where more than 500 people saw and talked with him. So we know that other people will still recognize you in the new 2.0 version of your body in heaven, but there will be one major difference: in heaven your body will be perfect, with no blemishes, no broken parts, no wounds, and no pain.

Excerpted from The Daniel Plan by RICK WARREN, Daniel Amen, Mark Hyman, Andrea Vinley Jewell, Jim Ruark. Copyright © 2013 The Daniel Plan. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 How It All Began 13

Chapter 2 The Essentials 31

Chapter 3 Faith 49

God's Power 51

Our Part in Change 62

Chapter 4 Food 73

Foods That Heal: So What Should We Eat? 76

Foods That Harm: What Should We Avoid? 106

Designing Your Eating Life 127

Chapter 5 Fitness 149

Becoming Daniel Strong 151

Discover What Moves You 159

Putting It into Action 176

Chapter 6 Focus 135

Change Your Brain, Change Your Health 187

Renew Your Mind 200

Attitude and Purpose 213

Chapter 7 Friends 225

The Gift of Loving Community 228

The Foundation 236

Chapter 8 Living The Lifestyle 249

Chapter 9 Daniel Strong 40-Day Fitness Challenge 283

Daniel Strong Play of the Day 267

Daniel Strong Fitness 280

Chapter 10 40-Day Heal Plans 285

40-Day Core Meal Plan 287

The Daniel Plan Detox 294

The Daniel Plan Recipes 304

Metric Conversion Chart 333

Acknowledgments 335

Notes 339

Customer Reviews

The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Mike54MP More than 1 year ago
This book links the biblical mandate to take care of what has been given to you with with step by step instruction. It lines out a life change not a diet. While it dose not reflect the exact diet that Daniel ate it dose reflect his desire to do what is good for him. I am a holistic nutritionist and I could nit pick the diet plan. I won't because over all it is a rock solid diet that any would do well on. If your mind body and soul are just where you want them to be than don't buy this book. If you want to change your life in 2014 than buy the book, find a friend and go through it. Mike
storms1 More than 1 year ago
the daniel plan is a wonderful book writtion by pastor rick warren and is a real blessing to have during the holidays since there is far too much food to eat and far too much food to be tempted by . this amazing book shows how you can use your faith as well as certain charts and smart ways to eat that is taken from scripture that you can truly make a difference in your health and your life. also recamended: the reason for my hope salvation by billy graham, all books by ben carson, good tidings great joy by sarah palin, this is your captain speaking by gavin mcloud
staceb More than 1 year ago
A new year usually brings lots of resolutions to get healthy or lose weight.  It's even on my to-do list. I have been hearing a lot of buzz about Rick Warren's new book, "The Daniel Plan", so I decided to request an ebook to review from Booksneeze.  I usually don't like to review these ebooks.  I'm a hands on paper type of girl.  But I really wanted to read this book and it was the only one available. *sigh* The first thing the author does is make a confession that he hasn't been the best example to his congregation regarding his weight.  Because of this, he feels his church is overweight as well.  Something has to change, he thought.  He gathered his folks, formed a get healthy community, and the rest is pretty much n chapter 5, Pastor Ricks hares that some foods we eat can harm, like food allergies such as gluten.  He takes you through a way to detox yourself from foods that may be harming your body. The Fitness portion shows you how to incorporate exercises to do each of the 40 days.    They're broken up into Aerobic/Stretch and Strength training which include directions and a small illustration.  Most of this book shows you how to start the Daniel Plan, while the plan itself is at the very end.  You'll also find recipes and a pre-made shopping list which to me, is very helpful. history.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am so tired of diets and programs that just focus on the physical side of healthy, when getting healthy requires action from your entire body. Reading through this book I became motivated to get a group of friends together and get healthier emotionally, physically, mentally & spiritually with The Daniel Plan and I am sure you will too! I believe that with God, community and the words of Pastor Rick Warren you can begin to make the changes needed for a healthier YOU!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am enjoying both the books I purchased and all the recipes, the setup of the book and all the great information.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WyattStephens More than 1 year ago
It is apparent that a lot of thought and research was put into this book. This book truly gave me insight on how to live a healthier life with step by step instructions. The majority of the book is for those looking to lose weight but I would also say that it personally helped me gain more focus and energy. I strongly recommend this book to anyone that wants a lifestyle change. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sample is almost as long as the book. Thought I was getting the electronic version of the hardback. Very diasappointing.
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lisareads247 More than 1 year ago
Still working on reading the book, but I've skimmed thru and read certain sections. I have also been on the website and following the plan as best I can. It is my goal to eat healthier and get in better shape. This book gives very practical advice.
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Hey r u still here?
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Found this book to be very informative from someone who has been there. David has given us a first hand glimpse into the left and how they think and operate.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its ok a bit expensive but pretty much worth it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book.
nookjunkie More than 1 year ago
It is less expensive at Amazon for the electronic edition.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Join to choose your catogory with the test in the next result(planner, assistant, animal whisperer, climber, electronics, or actor). Then perform the plan of the week in third result. Are you ready?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ok ill go set up the deceration crew
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ive never read your book but some many people have told me about it so i want on1 of my own