It’s shocking, I know, but I find it hard to be mean. West Coast Denn is what I’m called at work, and it’s not meant to be complimentary. So, now and then, I reach for my trusty pal Art Schopenhauer and turn to the page wherein he writes, paraphrasing:
“Goddammit! Write In blood. Spill it. Cut your wrist and paint the page. Never waste your time reading anything not written in blood and never ever write anything without it.”
So, today I put on my Schopenhauer hat and rant. Just a little. Stop here if you want.
Recently, I recommended Dr. David Katz’s site and books for sound, reasoned, and science-based nutritional advice. His isn’t the only good book about nutrition at the bookstores, but it’s one of the best. Want to know what one of the most popular health books are these days? The Daniel Plan – 40 Days To A Healthier Life. By? Pastor Rick Warren. And not happy to just shill diet books between sermons, you can now buy The Daniel Plan Journal, The Daniel Plan Study Guide, The Feast, The Cookbook – I don’t know – maybe there’s a Praise Music To Dine By CD. I don’t even know what all this stuff is, but there’s a lot of money to be made. It bothers me, too, that Dr. Daniel Amen of PBS, and Brain Warrior is intimately involved.
I’ll come clean. These might be great books. I haven’t read them and I don’t intend to. I already know that there is nothing here that, if useful, is new. Crappy advice comes and goes weekly. What I don’t like is how they are marketed. And how this entire scheme is pyramided to make money. You’ve got a culture of fat people. Those that go to church are reminded about how sinful they are and how they gossip and how they secretly tape Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce and how they don’t really care for the poor. Then they’re told that “God designed our bodies to be healthy, providing everything we need to thrive and live abundantly” and they groan a little. Time to lose weight. Time to suffer a little. All I need is this book, and those audiotapes, that journal. Gotta have that cookbook, too. Lucky for them the Bible bookstore has all these laid out in a row for them to pick from.
To be fair, a quick Amazon search reveals lots of diet books for religious types. Your Muslim Cookbook has the ‘famous bean pie’. There is Eternal Food for Hindus and Buddhists. Not to be outdone by other Christians, the Mormons have their Mormon Cookery. For the brave, there is Food and Adimu of the Cuban’s Santeria (in English). It purports to have many fine recipes and instructions for sacrificing animals and using or eating their entrails.
I’m instantly suspicious when I see anything natural and normal tagged as religious. There will be quackery, or money involved. Someone is trying to convince me that the laws of physics don’t really apply here or that this is the way God wants you to do it. See? It says so right here. Ugh.
Deep breath. Okay. If you need Siva or Daniel or aliens hiding behind comets to help you improve health, then go for it. Good for you. But my advice is to forget the Daniel Plan and its ilk – this is just a money-making scheme. And I have all the advice you need and you don’t even need to pay for it. It comes from Michael Pollan and sums up everything good about food, nutrition, and health:
Eat food. Less of it. Mostly plants.
Thank you. Selah.
Truth be told on an associated topic. I don’t know what I would do with this kind of fame. I read a post from teacher Beth Moore recently, and she warned that, if you are teaching or saying something, the very first time you think, “How can I cash in on this? How can I grow my business with this?” it’s time to run. And time to sort yourself out and your motivations. I don’t know much about Warren, either. I know good and smart people who revere the man and what he writes. I don’t know what it costs to run his empire and don’t know what kind of ministry or helps for the poor he offers. I want to think he needs this money to continue to operate his food programs in Asia and India. I shudder a little to imagine that, instead, he’s buying new pews for the church again.
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