I took the quiz at the back of the book. It was supposed to help me determine the toxicity in my body by examining a variety of possible symptoms ranging from itchy ears, to poor concentration, to asthma, to acne, to hay fever, to craving certain foods. The further I went through the list and marked the boxes that applied to me, the more convinced I was that I was a very sick woman.
The results of my questionnaire were stunning. My toxicity level far surpassed the highest score you could receive on the quiz. I was so used to feeling crummy that I didn’t even realize that it was not normal.
I first began to realize that I needed an intervention when my scalp began to morph into snake-skin two years ago. I began losing my hearing and my hair. The skin on my ears and scalp was literally plaguing me and I couldn’t understand what was happening. It was mortifying for me to see how my hair was scraggly, missing in patches, and lifeless.
But then I swallowed my pride and went to see my dear friend who is also my hair stylist. She took a look at was happening to my scalp, and she said, “Amber, your body is screaming at you”. I just couldn’t interpret what it was saying. I was embarrassed, frustrated, and in physical pain. I cried a lot and asked God to heal me.
After suffering with it for quite some time, I finally did my research. I had psoriasis of the scalp. My doctor agreed-I had severe psoriasis and my hair was falling out at a rabid pace. It could grow back if I got it under control. He prescribed a shampoo full of steroids. I was overjoyed to find some relief, except when I went to the pharmacy, I discovered that the medicated shampoo would cost me 600 dollars, out of pocket. Gulp.
I cried some more-and considered shaving my head-one of the extreme measures that some doctors recommend to allow sunlight to help heal the scalp. And then I cried some more.
Meanwhile, I was getting debilitating migraines again. During one particularly horrid headache in November, my husband came home to find me lying in my own vomit and urine, delirious. Every month I was in the emergency room or urgent care trying to recover from the violence of my headaches.
And then I had two biopsies for cancer which turned out to be benign. I was a wreck.
It had to stop. My body was in absolute rebellion and although I wasn’t sure what it was rebelling from, I felt a prompting from God that the first step in getting healthy was changing my eating habits and getting exercise.
So I picked up a copy of Rick Warren’s new book The Daniel Plan, 40 Days to a Healthier Life that he co-wrote with NY Times best-selling authors Dr. Daniel Amen and Dr. Mark Hyman. It was the beginning of December, right in the middle of the holiday food madness. My husband was sick and tired of being sick and tired too, and so we committed to detox during the Christmas holiday which also included both his birthday and my birthday-we would have to find other ways to celebrate, instead of with food.
While everyone else was drinking eggnog, sipping wine, and gorging on prime rib with potatoes, cheesecake and chocolate soufflé with rum pudding, we were going through an intense 10 day detox where we cut out all gluten, dairy, sugar, artificial sweeteners, stimulants like caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods.
It was hard, I won’t lie. But it felt invigorating, and for the first time, I was hopeful. In order to stick with it, we decided to go through the channels to become Life Group Leaders at our church, and we formed a 10 week study group in our home with a group of ten wonderful people from our church to go through the plan together and support each other.
The Daniel Plan focuses on 5 elements to help you be successful: Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus, and Friends. The meal plan includes practical tips, encouragement, and menus to help you on your path to wellness by eating whole foods that God intended us to eat.
We read the book cover to cover, changed our lifestyles, radically altered the way we eat, and made hard choices.
It’s been three moths. So what has resulted for me?
Within the first few weeks, my psoriasis was completely gone! My hair has grown back, and my skin has never looked better. I have had only one migraine and it was the most manageable one to date with a quick recovery. And, I am down 15 pounds!
The Daniel Plan emphasizes that “Food is medicine.” It’s my new life motto. Most of the people in our group did not need to lose weight, but when you understand how processed foods make your body sick, how quickly you can turn around chronic illnesses with proper food intake by adding healthy seeds, nuts, low-glycemic fruits, vegetables, lean meats and fish, and by drinking water, you literally can get your life back. I was so sick that I didn’t even realize it. Eating healthy foods healed me in ways that medication could not.
How about you? Do you live on caffeine? Have trouble sleeping? Carrying around an extra 10 pounds or more? Is your energy low? Do you lose focus easily or forget what you were saying? How is your skin? Your allergies? Suffer from inflammatory diseases?
If you want to stop feeling crummy, you can take control and change. I am going to be writing a series for the next several weeks about each of the 5 Essentials of The Daniel Plan, and I’m hoping you will agree to join me!
You won’t have to read the book or dive in to a major change with your own eating just yet, unless you want to. My hope is that when you see how well-rounded the book is and how helpful it is for us as believers to understand God’s plan for our lives-to honor God as an act of worship with our bodies, that you will be richly blessed by reading, regardless of whether you join me in this lifestyle or not. I’ll also be sharing the impact this book has had on the lives our children too!
This post is not sponsored in any way, I simply feel passionate about how much it has helped me when I felt helpless. There are affiliate links in this post, and if you purchase the book through those links, then I get a few cents from your order and that helps the ministry on this blog-thank you!
YOUR TURN! Do you feel unhealthy? What aspect of your life is just not working for you? Are you considering The Daniel Plan?
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