Hydrate. Eat real meals with real food. That means fresh, unprocessed food.
For the most part, the selection at most grocery stores is still very good. One of hidden blessings of being homebound more than normal is additional time to plan and prepare nutritious meals. And perhaps experiment with new recipes and cuisine.
Most Americans will get their food from supermarkets. However, if you can afford it, try to support local restaurants who struggle to keep the doors open with takeout orders. Order as many meals as possible; we need to do everything we can to keep local restaurants in business. Healthy options are readily available.
Don’t look to food for too much comfort. Most people will be moving around far less than normal. When that is added to a lot of junk food, the results will not be pretty. It’s been reported that sales of cookies and chips have gone up significantly in the last few weeks. We hope that isn’t you! The last thing you want to do now is weaken your immune system.
If you want to go deeper into eating well, consider the Daniel Diet.
The Daniel Diet is based on the diet of a young Jewish man coincidentally named Daniel who was exiled from Judah to Babylon circa 600 BC (see Daniel 1:3-16 MSG) (also Daniel and the lion’s den). Seconded by the King into an elite training program, Daniel successfully resists the King’s menu in favor of his own. The “diet” has become a traditional component of religious fasting and eating. A traditional Daniel Diet is essentially a vegan diet with only water to drink (i.e. no caffeine, alcohol, fruit juices, colas, diet colas or otherwise).
There are currently three popularized “versions” of the diet:
- The Daniel Fast: A “fast” can define anything from a short-term period (1 – 7 days) where one consumes nothing but fluids, to a longer period (say 21 days) of a diet limited to certain foods. The concept of a Daniel Fast is best summarized by the book The Daniel Fast (Gregory). This book is the best book about the concept of (short-term) fasting. Very good book, some good recipes. Any diet / lifestyle change begins with the 21 day Daniel Fast.
- The Daniel Cure: The Daniel Cure takes the Daniel Fast and makes it a lifestyle. Not just an occasional fast, but a full time diet and way of life. This concept is summarized by the book The Daniel Cure (Gregory / Bloomer). Gregory is a Daniel Diet authority and Bloomer is a scientist who has completed extensive research into the efficacy and success of the Daniel Fast. The book is excellent, and establishes a sound scientific basis for the success of the Daniel Diet. Good recipes.
- The Daniel Plan: a modified vegan diet including meat and fish. This concept has been popularized by Rick Warren (The Purpose Driven Life) and his book The Daniel Plan. It works, but in our view, is not as good as the Fast / Cure.
The Daniel Fast, Cure and Plan are all just variants of the basic concept of the Daniel Diet. There is also another book called the Daniel Fast by a different author (Feola) that is not great on concept, but has excellent recipes.
The Daniel Diet and Fast are not about weight loss, or even about a diet, but rather about what foods we eat, a lifestyle choice – adopting a lifestyle that will allow for a healthy weight, and for improved long term health and wellbeing.
Finally, here is a synopsis of the The Daniel Fast/Cure/Plan, along with some tips from other healthy eating plans (Eat Right For Your (Blood) Type, The Anti-Cancer Diet, The Spice Diet, and The Leptin Diet):
- Whole, fresh, organic, unprocessed;
- Fruits, vegetables;
- Foods with plenty of fiber;
- Omega 3 fats.
- Foods To Avoid Forever:
- High fructose corn syrup;
- Trans fats;
- Processed food, food additives, preservatives and artificial sweeteners;
- Any food in a box, can or package (except wild salmon, whole beans, and other(s) with limited ingredients).
- Foods To Avoid During A Daniel Fast (and limit when not on a fast):
- All sweeteners and sugars in any form – candy, cookies, cereals, pastries, liquid sugar (sodas), stevia;
- All leavened bread and all white flour products (bagels, bread rolls, wraps, pastas);
- All meat and animal products (including fish);
- All dairy products;
- Conventionally grown fruits/vegetables (peaches, apples, celery, nectarines, lettuce, pears);
- All deep-fried foods;
- Toxic fats – processed oils (fried foods, corn, safflower, sunflower, peanut and canola oils);
- All solid fats;
- All non-water beverages including coffee and alcohol
- Other Strategies
- Portion control.
- The right carbohydrates: low glycemic vegetables (lentils, chickpeas, soy), fresh fruits and vegetables (more slow burning, low glycemic vegetables), high soluble fiber (50 grams daily), minimize high glycemic cooked vegetables (potatoes, corn, parsnips, turnips).
- Protein at each meal (blood sugar, insulin balance and hunger control). Work to achieve right personal protein balance.
- Beans, legumes, whole soy products, nuts, seeds, omega 3 eggs, mercury free fish, organic (grass-fed, no hormones, antibiotic free) poultry, small amounts of (organic) lamb, beef, buffalo.
- Flounder, haddock, halibut, scallops, sea bass, snapper, catfish, cod (Pacific), lobster.
- Vitamin supplement, quality.