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In the early 1900s just 1 in 150 Americans were overweight. By comparison in 2009 two in three were overweight and we suffered from the highest rates of diet-induced disability, illness, and disease in the world. Compare how Americans ate then versus now? Then, two-thirds of what we ate was fresh from the garden. Now, ninety-three percent of what we eat is sugar, oil, refined grains,and animal-based foods. If you are satisfied with your present body weight and your health, then keep doing what you are doing. If not, consider Daniel's Challenge and the steps you can take to enable the dietary habits of the slimmest, longest living, and most disease-free people in the world.


Dietary Habits of the World’s Healthiest People

The following dietary habits are enjoyed by populations that experience 1/10 the U.S. disease rates and only 1/50 the U.S. rate of obesity:

  1. First, healthy people meet all nutritional requirements within a caloric budget that enables them to maintain ideal body weight. By comparison, the average American exceeds a stay-slim caloric budget without meeting basic nutritional requirements. When vital nutritional needs go unmet, because of poor food choices, the cells recognize they are not receiving all the raw materials needed for maintaining their proper form and function. The cells, through the neural network then communicate their needs to the brain and the brain reactivates the the hunger drive leading to further eating and to weight gains. Learn to satisfy vital nutritional needs and your appetite within a stay-slim caloric budget, which is 2000 calories or less for the average American. 
  2. Second, healthy people are able to eat until satisfied without gaining weight because the foods they consume are high in volume but low in calories. By comparison, the average American exceeds a stay-slim caloric budget before consuming sufficient volume to feelsatisfied. Achieve satisfaction by eating foods that are high in volume but low in calories. Foods higest in volume and nutreints are leafy greens and all non-starchy vegetables, followed by fruits, then legumes, and then starchy vegetables. Foods lowest in volume and nutrients and highest in calories are sugar, oils, butter, most all processed and refined foods, and animal-based foods. 
  3. Third, the digestive burden of healthy people is extremely low, requiring just two to six hours for a complete meal to fully enter the bloodstream. By comparison, the digestive burden of the average American requires eight to 24+ hours for a complete meal to fully enter the bloodstream. Cut your total digestive burden in half by learning to meet nutritional requirements with the most easily digested foods. Fruits require just two to three hours to fully enter the bloodstream; vegetables, grains, and legumes require just four to five hours to fully enter the bloodstream, and animal flesh requires eight to 24+ hours depending upon the amount consumed. As you significantly slash your digestive energy requirement, while atthe same time you increase satisfaction at the gut and cellular levels, you will experience a significant increase in vitality, as energy and nutritional resources of the body can be directed towards maintaining greater health. 
  4. Fourth, healthy people love the foods they eat and they keep food preparation remarkably simple. Your diet must be simple and enjoyable and it must offer variety and satisfaction. If you don’t enjoy a healthful diet, or if it becomes boring, or is too hard to do, then you will stop doing it. Take the necessary time to learn how to eat healthfully; then master the elements of healthful eating until you can apply them simply, swiftly, and enjoyably. 
  5. Fifth, the healthiest populations don’t have chips, fries, sodas and McDonalds, or process and refined foods. Foods most affordable and available to them include whole fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Moreover, they can afford very little meat. It is easier for them to satisfy themselves in a healthful manner because of the natural and wholesome dietary environment that surrounds them. By comparison, restaurants line our streets that offer far more unhealthful than healthful dietary choices. From school and church cafeterias, to neighborhood, and civic socials and gatherings, we are faced with more poor food choices than good ones. In fact, there are now over two hundred thousand unhealthful food choices available in any common U.S. supermarket. With thousands of unhealthy choices that surround us daily, the deck is stacked against you as an American, if you simply go with the flow. Unless you acquire a proper understanding and an ability to apply sound dietary principles, and unless you establish a personal environment (pantry, refrigerator, workplace, car, etc.) that supports the application of sound dietaryprinciples, you too will consume more unhealthful than healthful food choices and will suffer accordingly.

In 1989, Journal of The National Cancer Institute reported that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) suffer from less cancer and live longer than other populations. In June 2006, just 17 years later, Brigham Young University reported LDS have since become the most obese of religious populations in the world, a trend associated with decreases in longevity and increases in degenerative diseases[i]. So why did the generation of LDS who died between 1968 and 1975 live 10 to 12 years longer than the average American and enjoy far better health than LDS enjoy today? The credit for their longevity has been given primarily to their abstinence from coffee, tea, cigarettes, tobacco, and alcohol.


While LDS often give complete credit to temperance for the long-living LDS populations, research also reveals that rural Chinese suffer just a fraction of the LDS cancer rate, even though nearly all adult Chinese smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol. Dietary superiority is responsible in large part for their lower disease rates. While temperance is an important factor in LDS good health of the past, diet may have played an equal or possibly even a greater role. Let’s compare eating patterns of LDS who died between 1968 and 1975 with LDS today.


These long-living seniors were born in the 1800s and got their dietary lifestyle start long before today’s eating trends. Two-thirds of what they ate was whole fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes, compared to today's average American that consumes just seven percent caloric intake from whole garden foods. Similar to today’s older generation in Okinawa that boasts the highest rate of centenarians in the world, long-living LDS who died in the 1970s continued to eat sensibly even as eating trends worsened for LDS in general.


Consider that while Okinawa centenarians follow more healthful and traditional Japanese eating patterns today, the youth of Okinawa are now the most obese of all youth in Japan. Due to U.S. military presence, U.S. fast-food chains have become well established in Okinawa and the youth have developed an appetite for Western fast-food eating trends. As these youth "go with the flow," of these new eating trends, they lose the distinct dietary advantage of their predecessors.


Let’s look at USDA food trend statistics. They reveal significant changes in eating patterns that have occurred which can help us better understand why our health today isn’t what it was in the1970s. Consider the following trends that occurred between 1909 and 1999, as reported by the USDA:

  • Animal Based Foods: intake has more than doubled to 42% daily caloric intake
  • Fat: intake has more than doubled
  • Sugar: intake rose from 5 to 135 pounds per person per year
  • Soda: intake is more than seven times greater
  • Salad Oil: intake has increased more than 1300%
  • Fresh Garden Produce: intake has decreased by 1300% Grain Consumption: is 100 lbs less per person per year.[ii]
  • Overweight: rose from one in 150 people to two in three who are now overweight; greatest changes came after 1970.

Today 93% of the average American’s caloric intake comes from sugar, oil, refined grains, and animal-based foods (see 9 through 12 below) and only 7% come from whole garden foods (see 1 through 8 below)[iii]. By comparison, long-living LDS who died in the 70s ate two-thirds of their calories from whole garden foods and less than one-third from sugar, oils, refined and processed grains, and animal-based foods.


Foods are listed below in order of highest to lowest, based upon nutrient density, or in other words, based upon which foods provide the most nutrients per calories consumed. The higher you center caloric intake on this list, the slimmer you will become and the longer you will live:

  1. Leafy green vegetables: kale, leaf lettuces, spinach…
  2. Solid green vegetables: asparagus, broccoli, cabbage...
  3. Non-green, non starchy vegetables: cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, peppers, tomatoes…
  4. Fruits: all varieties
  5. Legumes: beans (red, white, black, etc.), lentils…
  6. Starchy vegetables: cooked carrots, corn, potatoes…
  7. Whole grains: amaranth, barley, rice, millet, wheat…
  8. Nuts and seeds: almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts…
  9. Animal-based foods: all dairy, eggs, fish, fowl, meat…
  10. Refined and processed foods: all varieties
  11. Refined oils: all varieties
  12. Refined sweeteners: sugar, Nutrasweet, Equal…

Fruits and Vegetables


Science reveals, per calorie, fruits and vegetables possess more vitamins, phyto-chemicals, and minerals than all other foods. Consuming whole fruits and vegetables abundantly, as did long-living LDS predecessors, provides the best support possible for sustainable vitality and good health. Together, fruits and vegetables provide the perfect balance of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Meat and grains should be used primarily to complementfruits and vegetables. Let’s look more closely at grains and animal-based foods and why they should be secondary to fruits and vegetables in a healthful dietary lifestyle.


Animal-Based Foods


Science has demonstrated that most everyone can consume up to 10% of their caloric intake from animal-based foods, without producing detrimental effects, but that as caloric intake exceeds the mid teens degenerative conditions begin to rise. Why does exceeding certain caloric limits with animal-based foods cause disease rates to rise?


The human body requires only so much protein for growth, repair, and maintenance. When that level is surpassed, protein is broken down and is converted to energy or is excreted from the body. Harmful by-products of animal-protein breakdown lay the foundation for many of today’s most common diseases. They retard bone formation, leading to osteoporosis; they initiate autoimmune disorders; they lead to cancer; they lead to premature aging, arthritis, and so forth. The over consumption of animal protein and fat are linked to numerous diseases.To enjoy vitality we must either eliminate animal-based food consumption or consume it sparingly. In general Americans eat four times more animal protein and fat on a daily basis than can be ideally metabolized.




Grain is the staff of life for man and animals. A staff is a secondary support tool, to be leaned upon as needed. The over-consumption of grain leads to problems for both man and animals. For example, grasses are the primary food for horses; the over-consumption of grain by horses leads to arthritic symptoms and allergies. Similar conditions are triggered in man as fruits and vegetables are under-consumed and grain is over-consumed. Fruits and vegetables meet the vital nutritional needs of the body with the fewest calories while providing the greatest volume. Use grains and legumes to complement and to fill caloric needs that remain unmet with fruits and vegetables.


Secretary of Agriculture


Ezra Taft Benson, former Secretary of Agriculture for the United States, saw first hand what was happening in the U.S. food industry, as whole foods were being converted to shelf-stable foods. On at least two occasions, he encouraged us to begin eating in a healthier manner, like the prophet Daniel of the Old Testament. He said, "To a significant degree, we are an overfed and undernourished nation digging an early grave with our teeth, and lacking the energy that could be ours.... We need a generation…,who, as Daniel, eat in a more healthy manner than to fare on the'kings meat' —and whose countenances show it." [iv]


Based upon recent population studies and dietary trends, this counsel is good for LDS, the youth of Okinawa, and for all populations who have trended away from whole garden foods toward significant increases in refined and processed and animal-based foods. Do you really want to consume 93 percent of your calories from sugar, oil, refined and processed foods, and animal-based foods?


Remember, prior to these downward shifts in U.S. foodtrends, just one person in 150 was overweight. Nowadays, two in three Americans are overweight and suffer from the highest rates of diet-induced disability, illness, and disease in the world. You cannot avoid these realities by practicing temperance alone.


Well, if you are satisfied with your present body weight and your health, then keep doing what you are doing. But, if not, consider adopting the dietary habits of the slimmest, longest living, and most disease-free people in the world. Today’s most healthful populations eat very similar to the way long-living LDS ate, who died in the 1970s. Learn how you can enjoyably center your eating patterns high on the nutrient-density chart by accepting Daniel’s Challenge. Become a modern Daniel


What is Daniel’s Challenge?


Daniel's Challenge is a modern challenge to learn to follow a pattern of eating that was followed by the ancient prophet Daniel and that is followed by today's healthiest populations the world over. It includes the following recommendations:

  • 4+fruits freely each day;
  • 2+ pounds of vegetables (leafy greens and other non-starchy vegetables daily);
  • meet most remaining caloric needs with properly prepared grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables;
  • limit the use of animal-based foods to no more than ten percent of your daily caloric intake (200 caloires for the average American);
  • minimize or entirely eliminate the use of processed andrefined foods and sugar.

Let's talk about Daniel for a moment.In 605 BC, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, having conquered Jerusalem, selected from among the Jewish slaves, young men of Judah's royalty and nobility to attend Babylon's top University. Babylon maintained a practice of integrating conquered people into their way of life. They did so by teaching the Chaldean language and literature to hand-picked slaves that were also trained for important administration work within the government. It was an intensive 3-year training program.


The brightest of these students became counselors to the King in his royal court. According to scriptural records, Daniel served as a counselor in the royal courtfor at least 71 years. All slaves who had been selected to be so trained were fed the finest meats, delicacies and wines from the king's own kitchen. There were no limits. Students were permitted to indulge in whatever they desired and to consume as much as they desired. However, Daniel chose not to eat these foods.


When thekeeper of the slaves heard that Daniel and his Israelite friends--Shadrach, Messhach and Abednego--refused to eat the king's food he spoke with them and told them the King would kill them, and possibly him, if they did not look as fit as the other slaves. Daniel asked his keeper to test he and his Israelite friends for 10 days and to observe and judge their appearance for himself, before insisting that they eat the King's meat and wine.


After 10 days of drinking pure water instead of wine and eating fresh fruits and vegetables from the marketplace, pulse (combination of grains,legumes, nuts, and seeds), and dates instead of the King's meat, Daniel and his friends proved to be far stronger, wiser, and more active than all other slaves. They were consequently permitted tofollow their Jewish eating traditions indefinitely.


Daniel's Challenge today is a challenge to follow the dietary habits of the healthiest people in the world for just six weeks. During this time you will notice a significant difference in how you feel, in how easily you lose excess weight, and in measurable improvements with healthbiomarkers (such as cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood-sugarlevels). It is common to lose 20 to 40+ pounds during the six-week challenge and all excess body weight as the challenge is continuedlong-term.

It is also common to arrest and begin the reversal of any diet-induced disease from which you may suffer. Based upon your six-week results, you will then choose whether to adopt these habits for a lifetime.


Getting Started


Follow the eating recommendations outlined in our free Daniel's Challenge download. Also enjoy our many online support resources. These include a weekly call-in show where you can call-in live to ask and discuss your questions with us; you will also gain valuable insights by listening to the questions and discussions we have with other challenge participants. You can also enjoy the many show-me-how videos of recipes and meal plans, a discussion forum, and live chat where you can communicate live with other challenge participants who are online at the same time as you.


You can even join or startour own local support group where you can meet with others for various activities that support Daniel's Challenge. For instance,some support groups get together monthly for a potluck dinner whereyou can try many new recipes and determine more easily which ones you want to learn. And some support groups get together to walk daily or weekly!


In addition to these extraordinary online resources, the book Original Fast Foods teaches the what, why, when and how of a sound dietary lifestyle. It provides a foundation of sound understanding that will enable you to succeed long term. And, the resources found on this website provide their greatest benefit, only as you gain a sound understanding and knowledge of how to best integrate this information into your daily life.


Gain this understanding by reading Original Fast Foods. With more than 160 recipes, meal plans, and extraordinary information, it helps to lay a solid foundation for your long-term success.


To Your Best Health!


Jim and Colleen Simmons



[i] BYU Scroll Online, Spiritually fit but not physicallyfit, June 7, 2006, "http://www.byui.edu/Scroll/archive/20060606/news3.html">http://www.byui.edu/Scroll/archive/20060606/news3.html.This reference no longer exists and we have not been able to find the original article. If you have influence with the BYU ScrollOnline, perhaps you can persuade them to make this helpful article available again.

[ii] Major Trends in U.S. Food Supply, 1909-1999; Food ReviewVolume 23, Issue 1;Credit and Source: USDA’s Economic Research Service; "http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/foodreview/jan2000/frjan2000b.pdf">"http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/foodreview/jan2000/frjan2000b.pdf">http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/foodreview/jan2000/frjan2000b.pdf"http://www.danielschallenge.com/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/paste/pasteword.htm?ver=3241-1141#_ednref3">

[iii] Fuhrman, Joel, Eat To Live, pp. 49-50."http://www.danielschallenge.com/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/paste/pasteword.htm?ver=3241-1141#_ednref4">

[iv] Benson, Ezra, T., compare Ensign, September 1988,p. 5; and an earlier speech, In His Steps, given at Brigham Young University on March 4, 1979 "http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=6718" target="_blank">http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=6718

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i can\t get Daniel's challenge ebook to download. I even re-downloaded my adobe reader. I get a message saying
expect a dict object
I don't know what that means but I do know it is not working for me and I really want to get Daniel`s challenge so I can get started
How many people do your Daniel's Challenge recipes feed? I am a household of ONE. If I buy too much produce, it goes bad before I can eat it all. If I don't get enough I don't have a variety for the different dishes. But if I know how much to scale back each recipe, that would give me a place to start. 
This is most likely an issue on your personal computer. This is the first report of not being able to download the ebook. Try downloading form another computer. Jim

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