Daniel, after whom Daniel's Challenge is named, was a young Israelite who was taken into captivity in 605 BC at the time Babylon conquered Israel. He served with distinction as a counselor to kings in the royal court for more than 70 years. Daniel’s powerful influence with Babylonian Kings eventually led to the granting of permission for Israelite slaves to return from Babylon to Israel, as well as permission to rebuild their temple and city. He is also known for significant end-of-time prophecies and is revered as one of Israel’s greatest prophets.

As a young slave in the royal court Daniel found that the rich palace foods did not enable the physical and mental strength or the wisdom he was accustomed to. He asked the keeper of the slaves if he and his Israelite friends could eat according to their plant-centered, Israelite eating customs, rather than eat the King’s meat and drink the King’s wine. A 10-day test was set up to see how Daniel and his friends would fare if they were allowed to eat pulse instead of meat and to drink water instead of wine and if they were allowed to enjoy any of the fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds they desired from the marketplace. According to the record, which is recognized as the first nutritional trial recorded in the annals of history, as Daniel and his friends embarked upon this Food Trial they became wiser, stronger, and more physically active than all other palace slaves. They were subsequently permitted to eat according to their Jewish customs indefinitely. 

How might history have changed had Daniel continued to eat from the King's royal buffet table? If he and his Israelite friends had not been permitted to eat according to their own Israelite traditions, it is likely that he would not have fulfilled his mission or great purposes on earth. Why? Because his physical and mental strength, as well as his great wisdom would have been significantly impaired by diminished health. Rather than having been stronger, more active, and wiser than other slaves, He likely would have been fat, obese, disabled, diseased, and tired in body, mind, and spirit -- just as anyone who bellies up to the royal buffet day-after-day. Moreover, his longevity as the most trusted advisor to Babylon's Kings likely would have been diminished by several decades as well.

We live in a time when two in three Americans are fat and when we suffer from the highest rates of obesity, disability and disease in the world. Our productivity potential is severely diminished; nearly 50 percent of the U.S. population now lives off of the labors of others, rather than from their own labors. Wisdom has failed our counsels; we are a warring nation; we are weak, and are no longer the great nation under God we once were. We are divided and we are swiftly and dumbly giving up our liberties and our sovereignty. Daniel’s Challenge is designed to enable individual vitality, longevity, and contribution potentials, that we may collectively restore wisdom to our counsels and to our nation, if it is not too late for us already. 


Your Mission in Life Hangs in the Balance

Powerful physical, psychological, and emotional cravings are intertwined in your dietary lifestyle habits. Without a basic knowledge of the addictive nature of certain foods, a sound diet can become easily unmanageable. (See Original Fast Foods, Chapter Three.) Today’s common eating patterns feed unsound dietary addictions. Left unchecked your physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being is at stake. Our capacity to do and to accomplish is compromised as our will becomes subjected to habits that cause God’s more perfect and loving will for us to become subverted.  

Just as Daniel’s mission in life was greatly influenced by His dietary lifestyle choices, so too does our personal health impact our capacity to think, to do, to feel, and to act wisely. According to the voice of one of the God's servants, "For every degree of physical health we attain unto, our spiritual capacity to do increases exponentially." God’s dietary wisdom helps us to maximize our capacity and sustains our efforts to discover and fulfill our important purposes with distinction, as did Daniel. 

Most all of us possess the genetic potential to be slender, strong, and to live long and without disease from birth until death; however, during the past few decades, the dietary landscape of our nation has altered so swiftly that all of us have been affected adversely.

Honest admission of dietary weakness opens the gate to a power that is far greater than our own to help us overcome this weakness. If we do not recognize and admit our weaknesses, we cannot successfully call upon God to help us overcome them, and we are left to self-defeating pride and self-will that binds and limits us. By comparison, God delightfully stands ready to help all whose souls hunger to have weak things made strong unto them. Many who have struggled with dietary lifestyle issues have tried many programs and have experienced temporary successes here and there. Eventually, they learn that self-will, shame, and self-defeating pride do not and cannot produce sufficient power to enable them to have their weakness truly made strong unto them in dietary matters. Lasting success for only occurs as we turn our lives fully to God and His transforming power in these matters.


Action Steps 

Read, ponder, and record your thoughts and feelings regarding each of the following bulleted points:  

  • How do you feel when you attend any church, family, or other social event where food is served? 
  • Are you able to choose only foods to eat that are sound dietary choices or do you choose unhealthful foods? 
  • Identify the places and kinds of situations you find yourself in that tend to feed an unsound dietary lifestyle.
  • Where can you place your trust when you find yourself in situations that test your dietary resolve (2 Nephi 4:18-21)?
  • How did Moses described himself as compared to God? (See Moses 1:10.)
  • How can having access to God’s power, wisdom, strength, and mercy help you in your moments of weakness?
  • What happens when you do not ask for or receive God’s help when it is needed to overcome temptation?
  • What is your worth to God? (See Gen. 18:31, Ps. 8:5, Isa. 13:12, D&C 18:10, Moses 1:39.)
  • What are the feelings and actions of a tender parent toward a child that needs help?
  • How are God’s feelings and actions toward us when we come to Him, as a child, with our struggles?
  • What is our hope as we hunger and thirst after righteousness before God?
  • By comparison, how do you feel when you hide or cover-up food addictions and how does such behavior delay meaningful change?
  • What hope have you found as you’ve discovered humility concerning your dietary weaknesses?
  • What true hope do you begin to feel inside of you as you admit to yourself and to God your inability to manage a sound dietary lifestyle? (See Proverbs 12:22.)

 

This article is an example of a series of discussions that have been thoughtfully prepared to enable further success among Daniel's Challenge participants. Each discussion has been written to support a new edition of Daniel's Challenge, which will become available soon. We believe this discussion and those that follow will have a powerful effect upon those who read them and then take the time to prayerfully record their thoughts and feelings about each of the bulleted items found beneath the "Action Steps" of this discussion and those that follow.

 

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I so appreciate this article.  I have long said that certain food is addictive.  And right now I am going through a cycle of feeling tired all the time, knowing that the food choices that I am making are creating much of this.  Thank you for the reminder and the path back to health and vitality. 

Awhile back, I prayed that I wouldn't crave unhealthy foods. I found that I wasn't craving them so much, but that I was still choosing to eat treats that were around me. I didn't think I should keep praying about it when I was still choosing to eat unhealthy treats. But Heavenly Father in His love and mercy made it so that when I eat unhealthy foods, I get pain across my shoulders! I had to ask myself, "What is it that causes me to make bad choices?" After watching some of your recipe video clips,  I decided that I needed to find healthy treat recipes that I can whip up to take for me to eat instead of the unhealthy food offered. I am now satisfied with almond cookies, spice cake, chocolate or key lime mouse, brownies and Ice cream made with nuts, dates, avocado, and fruits and don't desire to eat the unhealthy refreshments. The way I look at it is that I wouldn't eat butter, sugar or flour straight, but I would eat nuts, fruits, or dry fruit. They still must be rare because of the high calories, but I don't feel clogged and have pain from eating them on occasion. Heavenly Father really does care and does help you overcome food addictions.

Thanks for sharing! I asked for a similar blessing recently, specifically that from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet each and every cell would naturally desire food that aligns perfectly with His dietary wisdom for me. What followed was extraordinary as a physical change took place. Every cell in my body was on fire for nearly two days (not fun) and all desire for unhealthful foods I've craved all my life no longer interest me in the least. Prior to this, my healthful choices were a matter of self-will and discipline and not natural preference. Now healthful choices are natural and most desirable to me, but only because a change was wrought upon my body. I didn't want to go my whole life having to exert great discipline just to eat more healthfully and so I simply asked for my bodies natural preferences toward food align perfectly with His great wisdom concerning the human body and my body in particular. I think the steps for these kinds of mighty changes involve sacrifice, obedience, drawing close to God, calling upon Him for the help we cannot give ourselves (His transforming power), obeying His voice or will in the matter as He makes it known, and keeping His commandments (walking peaceably in the world loving our neighbor as self). BTW, there are some really fun healthful treats that we've developed that you might like. The lemon swirls are terrific and I believe we've developed seven or eight raw-food crackers, from sweet to other flavors. Each flavor tastes like a new favorite until you put the next one in your mouth:)

Carolyn Clark said:

Awhile back, I prayed that I wouldn't crave unhealthy foods. I found that I wasn't craving them so much, but that I was still choosing to eat treats that were around me. I didn't think I should keep praying about it when I was still choosing to eat unhealthy treats. But Heavenly Father in His love and mercy made it so that when I eat unhealthy foods, I get pain across my shoulders! I had to ask myself, "What is it that causes me to make bad choices?" After watching some of your recipe video clips,  I decided that I needed to find healthy treat recipes that I can whip up to take for me to eat instead of the unhealthy food offered. I am now satisfied with almond cookies, spice cake, chocolate or key lime mouse, brownies and Ice cream made with nuts, dates, avocado, and fruits and don't desire to eat the unhealthy refreshments. The way I look at it is that I wouldn't eat butter, sugar or flour straight, but I would eat nuts, fruits, or dry fruit. They still must be rare because of the high calories, but I don't feel clogged and have pain from eating them on occasion. Heavenly Father really does care and does help you overcome food addictions.

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