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Toxin build-up caused by the food a person eats as well as the environment in which he lives can cause him to feel run-down. To counteract this, many find a detoxification regimen can help them feel more energized, and can help them lose weight and look better. One of these detoxification programs is the Daniel diet. The Daniel diet, also called the Daniel fast, is a detoxification program that is based on a Biblical story in the Old Testament. It features the elimination of meats, processed foods, and sweets from the diet and dictates the sole consumption of vegetables, fruits, and water.
The origins of the Daniel diet stem back thousands of years. In the Old Testament book of Daniel, the story of Daniel and other exiles being taken to the court of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, is told. During a training period, where Daniel and the rest of the exiles were to learn the king's language and literature, Daniel did not want to defile himself with Babylonian food. Thus, he asked permission for him and his friends to be given nothing but vegetables and water for 10 days. At the end of this time, he and his friends reportedly looked better and were healthier than all the rest that ate the king's food.
The Daniel diet takes this principal and turns it into a complete regimen. First, all meats and processed foods are eliminated from the diet. This includes baked goods, cheese, fish, caffeine, chicken, and eggs. The diet generally includes the consumption of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Since the diet is based on Judeo-Christian principles, it often includes focusing the dieter's attention on God, with the intention of making the diet an act of worship.
There may be certain benefits to eating according to the Daniel diet. The use of fruits, vegetables, and other high fiber foods, can help detoxify and clean out the body. Fruits and vegetables also tend to have fewer calories than meats and other foods, so the person may lose weight. Flushing out all those toxins also tends to leave the person feeling better and looking healthier. In addition, the cleansing nature of the fast may lead to a person lowering their cholesterol level, can help them concentrate better, and can help eliminate any physiological problems associated with eating less than healthy foods.
Before starting the Daniel diet, as with any diet, a doctor should be consulted to ensure a person is able to participate. Some people, such as pregnant women, may not be able to participate in the diet because they need to be sure they get adequate nutrition. In addition, a person may not be able to exercise while on the diet because he may not be ingesting enough calories for that type of exertion. A doctor will be able to verify how much exercise, if any, a person on the diet can do. Lastly, care must be taken to get all the nutrition a person needs to be healthy, so taking nutritional supplements may be necessary.
A popular pastor, Rick Warren, has even developed a 40-day small group Bible study based on the Daniel diet.
Obviously, it's a healthy plan in that it stresses eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains, but since it also eliminates all animal products (it's essentially a vegan diet), those on the diet need to make sure they're getting enough B12 in their diets -- usually through a supplement.
Christians do, however, believe that undertaking this kind of diet, even for a limited time, and focusing more on God, is a healthy spiritual exercise.