The Daniel Plan: Faith-based health trend draws more than 200 to various meetings

Published 7:40 pm Friday, January 12, 2018

A new health trend has come to Vicksburg.

Starting this month, more than 200 people will be taking part in classes on The Daniel Plan at nine different locations throughout Warren County.

The first local class on The Daniel Plan, which is a faith-based approach to health and fitness, was held in September at the YMCA, and since then has spread to nine locations, which will be hosting 40 days programs.

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“The Daniel Plan is a faith-based method to health and wellness,” Bonnie Henry, who is leading the program at First Baptist Church and the YMCA, said. “Basically looking at our health through the eyes of our faith. Why does God call us to be healthy? Why is it important for our bodies to be healthy? That from a Christian standpoint is what motivates us. Working through our faith and doing something for his glory is always for our good.”

Rick Warren, the pastor of Saddleback Church in California, founded the program with help from Dr. Daniel Amen, Dr. Mark Hyman and Dr. Mehmet Oz. The program combines a nutritional program with daily devotionals to encourage people to honor their body as the temple of God and strive to be healthy so they can better serve God.

“There is a saying in one of your devotionals, if you want to start a new habit or a good habit, you’ve got to get to work. If you want to break a bad habit you have to get on your knees,” Henry said. “That very much means you’ve got to take it to the Father to break those bad habits. We are going to have a little bit of both, because we are going to be creating some new good habits and breaking some bad habits.”

The initial program is 40 days long, but the goal is to develop a lifelong habit of living healthy and caring for your body.

“There is no failure,” Henry said. “There is no test at the end of these 40 days because it is not 40 days and done. It is 40 days is your beginning to a forever. If you come in here and just do this for 40 days and you make no change, what has been the purpose of these 40 days? Why have you been in here?”

The program starts with an optional 10-day detox where people are asked to remove all gluten, dairy and sugar from their diet as well as processed foods. Gluten, sugar and dairy can eventually be added back in, but the goal is to stop consuming processed food and only eat “real food.”

“They are going to be working during that time to eat real foods,” Henry said. “Over the next 40 days we are going to cover the five essentials for health. We are going to start with faith. We are going to go over food. What is real food, because there is a lot of misconception about what is real food. They are going to be gaining a ton of knowledge about what food is.”

The program at First Baptist Church started Wednesday evening and the group will meet weekly to learn how to be healthy as they read through the accompanying book “The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Lifestyle.”

“My goal of coming in is to grow in my faith and to actually use and understand that my body is God’s and to hopefully be able to improve our eating habits for my family,” Jennifer Mallard, who is taking the course, said. “The main goal for me is to grow closer to God in that relationship and actually be able to use the body he has given me.”

The members of the course were given a free health screening by Mission Primary at the beginning of the course to measure their blood glucose, cholesterol, weight, body fat percentage and BMI. They will be rescreened at the end of the 40 days to track their progress.

The YMCA is also offering a free membership for the length of the course to all those participating.

“The faith part of it, the spiritual, the mind, body, sprit, the whole works,” David McDonald said of what he hopes to get out of the course. “Like Bonnie said, our body is supposed to be the temple and we need to keep it in good shape. That is a lot of it. Just for the healthy part of it just feel better and be around a while to enjoy my grandkids and hopefully my great grandkids.”

The weekly Daniel Plan meetings throughout Warren County are:

First Baptist: Wednesdays 6-7 p.m. and Sundays 5-6 p.m. led by Bonnie Henry.

First Presbyterian: Sundays 3-4 p.m. led by Peggy Gouras.

Highland Baptist: Starting Jan 24 6-7 p.m. and Tuesday Jan 30 at noon led by pastor Brian Ivey.

City Light: TBD end of Jan led by pastor Brian Crawford.

YMCA: starting Tuesday Jan 16 5:30-6:30 p.m. led by Bonnie Henry.

Greater Grove Street M.B. Church: Mondays at 5 p.m. led by Ebony Gardner.

Gibson Memorial United Methodist Church: Sundays 12:30-1:30 p.m. led by Dorothy Arnold.

Eagle Lake Area Churches: Wednesdays 9:30-11 a.m. led by Peggy Callaway.

Port Gibson Area Churches: Sundays led by Mille Wolfe.