What I'm Reading: The Daniel Plan and The Daniel Plan Cookbook

I've had some nagging health issues that seemed to get worse this past winter and I started to wonder if I could change my health by changing my diet. I started reading books and researching online, but I was discouraged with the conflicting information and the very strict diets that I found. I was very encouraged when I came across The Daniel Plan. It is a plan that is meant to help people make lasting changes and seems to be a good fit for me and my lifestyle.

The Daniel Plan takes a different approach from other books on this topic.  It doesn't just focus on food, but includes four other aspects of our lives that we can change in order to live a healthier lifestyle. The five main topics are Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus and Friends.

Since I really wanted to read this book to learn more about healthy eating, I've focused mostly on the Food chapter and only skimmed through the other topics. The chapter on Food is the longest chapter in the book and is full of helpful information that is written in a way that the average person can understand. The chapter (and the whole book) is full of inspiring stores and tips that are encouraging and make a healthier lifestyle seem doable.

The Daniel Plan teaches a whole foods approach to eating with a philosophy that made me chuckle the first time I read it:
"If it was grown on a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, leave it on the shelf."
The book also includes many eye-opening facts about our modern-day health and the food we eat that were very motivating.

Consider this fact:
"Hunter-gatherer populations consumed about 22 teaspoons of sugar a year; now the average American consumes 22-30 teaspoons of sugar every single day. In 1800, the average person consumed 5 pounds per year; now we average 152 pounds a year....The average 20-ounce soda has 15 teaspoons of sugar."
I've known for a while that I need to cut back on sugar in my diet and reading this was definitely the motivation I needed!

I've also found some great recipe ideas in The Daniel Plan Cookbook. The first section of the cookbook has a lot of information including how to get started, foods to avoid, food substitutions, reading labels and much more. I liked that the authors used every day ingredients in their recipes instead of fancy ingredients that might be hard to find in my area. I think my children would even eat many of the recipes, which in my opinion is the true test of a great cookbook!

I'm planning on making changes slowly and hopefully introduce some changes to my family as well. You will probably notice some different foods and recipes in the Meal Plan Monday posts over the next few months as I experiment with new foods and recipes.

If you've read this book and followed the eating plan, I would love to hear about your experience!