Friday, December 01, 2006

Daniel Diet

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This is a terrible time to tackle the subject of being overweight. First, because I am several pounds over my desired weight, and second, in the USA, Thanksgiving just passed and some of us didn’t pass on second helpings. We’re drowning in gravy guilt.

Recently, The World Health Organization labeled the world’s obesity problem as pandemic. No pun intended, but that means widespread. For the first time ever, statistics show that the number of overweight people outnumber the undernourished.

Approximately 1.6 billion adults age 15 and up are overweight and 600 million are undernourished. By the year 2015 the number of overweight people is expected to rise to 2.3 billion. This preventable pandemic is threatening to overwhelm every medical system in the world as cases of diabetes and heart disease increase.

Affluent countries are no longer the only ones facing this problem. Middle and lower income populations are gaining weight at an alarming rate. In any public setting, it’s plain to see that many struggle with regulating their intake of food.

Many of us avoid exercise or changing eating habits and follow J. Loveland’s idea: “An alternative to losing weight, I use when all else fails; Tho’ I’m unable to stay on a diet, I can stay off the scales.”

Daniel is a Bible hero who instills hope and gives helpful dietary guidelines. Captured in Jerusalem, he and many others marched to foreign Babylon. There, young men of Israel, who showed intelligence in “every branch of wisdom” (Daniel 1:4), were chosen to serve the king. As part of the royal wining and dining, they were given the king’s choice food (literally the fat of flesh) and wine.

However, Daniel and his three friends wanted to follow the dietary laws of the Hebrews. To remain faithful to God and for consciences’ sake, Daniel requested water and vegetables for himself and friends. At the end of ten days their countenances reflected vitality and health, more so than the others who ate the king’s buffet.

Daniel’s faith, wisdom, food choices, and his regular prayers illustrate how one can be under extreme stress and maintain a clear conscience before God. His good choices still inspire today.

Several years ago to get on a better eating regimen, I followed Daniel’s lead and limited my intake to fruits, veggies and water for a couple of months. This December, I’ll do the same, because the weight of the world is bothering me in a personal way, and with God’s help, I’ll do something about it. I’m off to peel an orange for breakfast and scrounge for a celery stick . . . how about you?

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