“The Daniel Plan” or Holistic Health

Posted on Feb 11, 2015

Todd Buurstra, Pastor of Worship and Witness

Todd Buurstra
Pastor of Worship and Witness
North Branch Reformed Church

What do you think of when you hear/read the word “health?” You probably think about things like: eating less chocolate, reading labels to get rid of MSG and trans-fats, renewing your gym membership, getting off the couch and on to the treadmill, etc. Those are all very good healthy pursuits. But they are only part of health. The food and fitness part; or we might say the body part.

I know a guy who is a specimen of health. He describes himself as a “gym rat.” His BMI is just right. He’s got a “six-pack.” His caloric and protein intake is perfect. Attractive, he has no difficulty getting women’s attention, but my friend can’t keep a relationship going past a few months. He feels far from God. No spiritual community. And unless he’s in the gym working out, he has little focus in his life. Is he healthy? Physically, yes. But I submit that to be holistically healthy he needs to be spiritually, mentally and relationally healthy.

The church of which I am a pastor is doing a holistic health focus in services and classes called, The Daniel Plan. The name comes from the Hebrew prophet Daniel who insisted on keeping kosher in exile in King Nebuchadnezzar’s court, and therefore appeared healthier than those who ate off of the royal table. This plan focuses holistically on five areas: food, fitness, faith, focus and friends.

So where do you need help to be holistically healthy? Do you keep your calories to 2000 per day, but feel like your prayers bounce off the ceiling? Are you doing planks, but seem to see every cup half-empty? Do you go to church, but sit alone on Friday nights?

I suggest that you start by identifying one area of health on which you need to work. Once you have that, connect with someone that you know is really good in that area. If it’s fitness, connect with a personal trainer or gym. If it’s food, talk to your doctor. If it’s faith, connect with your rabbi, priest or pastor, or if you don’t have one, connect with me at [email protected] If it’s focus, connect with a counselor, a cup half-full person, or First Step Counseling. And if its friends, take dancing lessons, join a social or service club, connect to a faith community.

She was the specimen of health. Even as a 30-something mom with two elementary school children, she fit in her workout around work. Her field included nutrition so she had fitness and food covered. But what about focus, faith and friends? Connecting with a similar religious community to her youth, the church I serve, brought her the holistic health that faith, focus and friends can. Now she’s healthy body, mind, soul and in relationships—holistically healthy. You can be too!