www.RonTravisSr.com by Ron Travis

June’s tennis team won First Place in the Birmingham Interclub League in 1977


“Exercise that you enjoy will make you feel younger and recapture the joy of your youth”

(This book report is my Summary of the first 262 pages of Rick Warren’s book describing a holistic approach to Dieting and Physical Health. The last two chapters contain Specific Fitness Programs and Meal Plans and can be downloaded from the Daniel Plan Website or Kindle. The book supports my belief that several principles should guide every decision we make:         1. Love God -  2. Love Yourself as God’s perfect creation. - 3. Take care of yourself in every area to maximize your health, energy, and happiness. - 4. Find God’s will for your life and serve others in the power of the Holy Spirit.) 

The prophet Daniel was devoted to honoring God. He was chosen to serve the King of Babylon by training: Physically – Intellectually – Relationally - and Spiritually. Daniel served the King faithfully, while honoring God with a; Strong body – Mind – Character – Confidence – Courage - and Faith. 

The book was written by Rick Warren (Saddleback Church) and three doctors he recruited to coach him in getting healthy and losing 80 pounds. They learned insights, skills, and habits for a lifetime of healthy living based on five components: FOOD – FITNESS – FOCUS – FAITH - FRIENDS - Rick Warren’s son had a lifelong battle with depression and other emotional disorders. His eventual suicide has had a tremendous impact on Rick Warren and his reliance on the Holy Spirit within him. This is evident throughout the book. 


“Then God said, I give your every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food” (Genesis 1:29).

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). 

  • HAVE LOADS OF FUN AND FELLOWSHIP - Create your favorite dish while listening to great music in the background. A small herbal garden or growing tomatoes, peppers, etc. can also be fun
  • SMALL GROUPS, using the Daniel Plan can be one of your Church’s greatest outreaches: - Assist other people in getting better health. - Pass on a healthy lifestyle to your children. - Improve the mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being of your friends. - Reduce medical costs by promoting healthy lifestyles. 




50%  - Non-Starchy Vegetables

25% - Whole Grains or Starchy Vegetables

25% Proteins – Lean Animal – and Vegetables   

Low glycemic fruit & Water or Herbal Teas





Bell Peppers

Brown or Black Rice










Gogi Berries

Collard greens

Green Peas







Green Beans





Sweet Potatoes











 STOCK YOUR PANTRY SHELVES WITH THE ITEMS ABOVE PLUS: Chopped vegetables - Artichoke hearts – Cucumbers - Cauliflower – Snap peas - Hummus – Guacamole – Salsa - Fresh Greens – Baby spinach – Collards – Lacinto kale - Berries – Use them in your smoothie, Oatmeal – Salads – Frozen organic berries – Blueberries  are brain foods and antioxidants - Strawberries are packed with vitamins, fiber, and high levels of antioxidants – Avocado - Coconut milk, Curry paste, Herring or mackerel – Salsas – Tomatoes, tomato sauce and paste – Nuts of all kinds – Sesame, pumpkin, or sunflower SeedsBalsamic vinegar – Low sodium chicken or vegetable broth – Extra-virgin olive, coconut, grape seed, avocado or sesame oil – Wheat-free tamari (soy souce) – Black pepper – Cinnamon – Chili peppers or powder  - Oregano – Rosemary – Sea salt – Almond butter – coconut butter – Macadamia nut butter – 100% fruit spreads – Hot sauce – Mustard – Natural ketchup – Sauerkraut – Tomato sauce - Raw honey, pure maple syrup or raw sugar.

  • EAT REAL WHOLE FOODS THAT YOU ENJOY VERSUS FACTORY MADE SUBSTITUTES. Celebrate the fact that the proper food will improve our health with: Reduced disease -More energy - Mental clarity, concentration, and focus.– Less weight – Satisfaction and happiness – Better digestion and elimination – Less joint pain and arthritis - More relaxed - Better sleep and improved sleep – Better breath – Reduce chronic fatigue – Food allergies, Heartburn – heart disease – Crohn’s disease – Irritable Bowel – Sinus congestion – Skin rashes..
  • 75% of the expenditures in the health-care system are for chronic lifestyle preventable and reversible disease.
  • 95% of chronic illness is not related to your genes, but to what those genes are exposed to in your lifetime.
  • PILE ON FRESH FRUITS, VEGETABLES AND LEAN PROTEIN - beans, whole grains, nuts seeds, eggs, chicken, fish, lean beef - Healthy carbs, fats, protein - Healing spices, drinks and super foods. 
  • AVOID SUGAR - Sugars and artificial sweeteners in sodas - Refined or processed white foods like bread and pastas, and Ice cream. Sugar increases bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides and reduces (HDL) leading to a fatty liver - Sugar spikes your blood sugar and insulin levels. You become addicted to sugar requiring more and more to keep your blood sugar normal and this leads to age-related chronic disease like heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and dementia  
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables contain a rich combination of: Blood-Sugar Balancing, Anti-inflammatory, Detoxifying, compounds called phytonutrients.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables are the main source of vitamins, minerals that run every chemical reaction and metabolism in your body. They provide fiber to keep your digestive system healthy, feed the bacteria that keep inflammation down, and help balance blood sugar.
  • Avoid foods like white breads with a high Glycemic index of Carbs that will raise your blood-sugar levels and increase your LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • Drink six glasses of water per day. You can add lemon or lime. For variety, you may add green tea or herbal tea. Keep your body hydrated during the day.
  • More than one or two glasses of wine or other alcohol becomes a poison and is the source of high calories and sugar. It may cause damage to your liver and gut lining, and increases blood sugar and insulin. It disrupts hormones, depletes vitamins, and can cause brain atrophy.
  • DRINK NO MORE THAN TWO CUPS OF COFFEE EACH MORNING - More than that will raise your blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety. Caffeine increases your focus and concentration, and may help prevent cancer, dementia, etc. Caffeine will however increase stress hormones, anxiety, and irritability – Cause insomnia, acid reflux, heartburn.
  • SODA – SPORTS DRINKS – DIET DRINKS - AND ENERGY DRINKS ARE SUPER HIGHWAYS TO OBESITY AND BRAIN CHEMISTRY PROBLEMS. They have no fiber – no vitamins – no minerals. They do have high fructose corn syrup sugar caffeine, and phosphoric acid which causes osteoporosis, spikes your insulin, causes a fatty liver, increases triglycerides, lowers good cholesterol, raises bad cholesterol, increases cortisol (the stress hormone), and causes diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and dementia.
  • Minimize your milk intake (Consider Almond milk, coconut milk, or hemp milk with no sugar added) to avoid lactose intolerance where you can’t digest the sugar in milk. Dairy products also cause bloating and gas. They may also cause congestion, asthma, sinus problems, rashes, etc. If concerned eliminate dairy and glutton for 10 to 40 days and then add some every third day and notice your reaction. Eat unsweetened yogurt and kefir to add good bacteria. Eat more fiber –Take a multiple vitamin and fish oil.
  • Antioxidant rich foods prevent aging and promote overall health: Black rice, beets, spinach, grapes.
  • Super Foods – (Visit Daniel Plan website for a list)
  • Eat crackers made from seeds and nuts (non-flour).
  • Food bars should contain nuts, seeds, and fruits. Avoid trans-fat – high fructose corn syrup or sugar substitutes.
  • Fruit juice is liquid sugar and not health food.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, sesame oil are good for you. Avoid Trans-fat, and processed and refined vegetable oils or omega 6 oils which are flammable.
  • Trans-fats (hydrogenated) increase your risk for bad cholesterol, while reducing good cholesterol – Obesity and type 2 diabetes – Cancer – Impaired brain functioning and dementia – Increased inflammation.
  • SHARE ENTREES AT RESTAURANTS - Avoid things that include terms like: Glazed – Fried – Crispy – Breaded – Creamy. Choose foods with good words: Roasted – Broiled – Baked – Grilled – Seared – Steamed – Sautéed. Ask for extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar, and fresh pepper and make your own dressing
  • Avoid anything with MSG in it. Other terms for MSG might be Enzymes – Hydrolyzed – Glutamate – Gelatin – Malt –
  • Eat Organic foods and sustainably raised animal products (grass fed – free-range – organic or made without hormones and antibiotics.).
  • Keep your blended homemade Hummus on hand – 2 cans of organic garbanzo beans – 2 tablespoons tahini – 6 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil – 2 teaspoons ground cumin – Juice from one lemon – 1 teaspoon salt – Dash of ground pepper.
  • Avoid MSG (Monosodium glutamate) – Artificial sweeteners – Processed soy extract – Phosphoric acid – Artificial flavors – Carrageenan – Colors and dyes – Sulfites – Nitrites and nitrates.
  • KEEP GOOD SNACK FOODS WITH YOU - Rather than stopping for doughnuts and coffee: Raw or whole food protein food bars – Organic almonds – Organic dates – Apples – Pears – Hummus – Carrots – Hard boiled eggs – Dried figs or dates – Dark chocolate.
  • VITAMINS are good but keep it simple: Multiple vitamins – Fish Oil (Omega 3) – D3.
  • The Daniel Plan will improve your hormone cravings for sugar: Insulin produced by the pancreas – Cortisol (Stress) produced by the adrenal glands – Ghrelin (hunger) produced in the stomach – Peptide YY produced in the intestine and lowers your appetite.
  • EATING ON A BUDGET – Buy things in season (Strawberries in June) – When not in season, buy frozen fruits and veggies. – Eat beans and whole grains – Cook in bulk and store for 3 or 4 days to eat leftovers – Freeze excess soup or stews – Buy staples such as olive oil, vinegars and frozen food when they are on sale – Buy bigger sizes and freeze half – Cut up fruits and veggies and store them in containers in the fridge ready to eat – Eat a lot of greens – Make soup out of beans and veggies that are getting old – Get low mercury small frozen fish or shrimp – Buy a whole chicken or turkey, roast it , and eat it over a few days – Get nut-butters in bulk.
  • KNOW WHEN YOUR FOOD IS DONE – Vegetables should be crispy, not soggy and limp. Cook chicken, meat or fish until the pink is just gone. Fish should start to flake apart when it is done. Red meats should be cooked medium. 


 “…Your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God…Therefore, honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). 

  • DREAM BIG - Set and record goals and your progress. Exercise with your friends for enjoyment. Be flexible and mix your programs up. Your exercise time will become one of your favorite times of the day. Exercise is a key ingredient to having a fit, healthy, energetic body, which is an essential element of the Abundant Life. Good exercise will improve: Your strength – Flexibility – Endurance – Balance – Coordination – Weight loss – Overall fitness and health – Confidence – Self-esteem – Emotional well-being – Relationships, and quality of life.
  • KEEP YOUR FOCUS ON THE GOALS – Flexibility - Energy – Muscular strength, Tone, and Endurance – Reduced stress, anxiety and depression – Manage weight, body fat and cholesterol  – Productivity – Creativity – Intelligence - Focus – Memory - Better sleep – Relationships – Stronger bones -  Mobility – Posture – Reduce chronic disease – strengthen the immune system – Lower stress, anxiety, and depression - .
  • GET RID OF NEGATIVE EXCUSES: I don’t have time – I can’t establish the habit of regular exercise – Exercise is like work and is no fun – Exercise causes pain.
  • Exercise, especially active games and aerobic activities, is good for your strength and well-being and will: Help you feel younger – Ramp up a sluggish metabolism – Manage your weight – Boost your energy – Enhance creativity, problem solving, and Productivity – Increase cardiovascular endurance – Improve muscular tone and strength – Enhance sleep – Reverse heart disease; high blood pressure, and diabetes – Reduce stress – Bring joy and youthfulness back to your life – Increase lung capacity -  
  • GOD DESIGNED US TO MOVE – Muscles help us stand, sit, walk, bend, stretch, twist, push, pull, reach, and carry. God’s design is intricate, perfect, and Synergistic as we activate: Brain cells – Nerves – Muscles – Ligaments – Tendons – Bones. As these things are working together to do what we want to do, many other internal systems are functioning automatically as God designed them to function for 70+ years without our conscious thought. 
  • The world has slowed down starting with the industrial revolution. The natural exercise before that must be replaced with an exercise program.
  • When setting for a long period of time, get up and move a couple of minutes every hour. Take the steps versus an elevator – Loosen up and stretch – Touch your toes and hold – Do deep-knee bends – Rotate your shoulders, wrists or ankles.
  • Activities to play and keep you young at heart are: Tennis – Racquetball – Volleyball – Badminton – Softball – Basketball – Bowling – Bicycling – Skiing – Dancing – Huila hooping – Jumping rope – Skating – Soccer – Swimming – Table tennis – Trampoline – Unicycle – Zumba – Ultimate Frisbee - Weight training.


 Philippians 4:8 cautions us not to conform to the pattern of this world, but  be transformed by the renewing of our mind with God’s Word and to focus on things that are: Positive – Noble – Right – Pure – Lovely – Admirable – Excellent – Praiseworthy.

  • SET GOALS IN EVERY AREA OF YOUR LIFE: Specific  “Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air: (1 Corinthians 9:26). - Measurable and realistic. - Attainable and realistic but with stretch. - Relevant goals that matter. - Time bound means you set specific times to complete your goals. 
  • KEEP YOUR BRAIN HEALTHY BY AVOIDING: Illegal drugs – Excess alcohol – Brain trauma – Environmental toxins – Infections. Sugar - Carbohydrates – Hypertension – High Blood sugar – Insomnia – Chemotherapy – Obesity – Depression – Low hormone levels such as thyroid or testosterone. This will reduce the possibilities of: A poor memory – Poor judgment/impulsiveness – Short attention span/distractibility – Depression – Obesity – Low energy - Insomnia – Alzheimer’s.
  • HYPERFOCUS ON YOUR DAILY “TO DO” SHEET AND THE TASK AT HAND -  “It is hard by the yard – but a cinch by the inch”.
  • Keep a daily food and exercise journal of what you do physically and what you eat; when you eat, and how you felt afterwards.
  • MAINTAIN AN OPTIMISTIC AND POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE. Negative thoughts will produce anger – anxiety – depression – unhealthy behaviors. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you rein in and control your negative thoughts. Be motivated by God “…Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
  • BALANCE YOUR BRAIN CHEMISTRY with help for ADHD – Anxiety – Depression. Keep your blood sugar balanced – keep your blood sugar balanced – Optimize your omega 3 fatty acid levels.
  • God is all-powerful (Jeremiah 32:17) – God is love (Romans 8, 38-39) = God is all-knowing (Psalm 139:4-6) – God is merciful (Romans 8:1-2) – God is faithful (Lamentations 3: 22-23)
  • When negative thoughts go through your mind, ask are they really true. When you blame others, ask yourself if they are really to blame. Write down what you think and ask yourself, can that be really true? Replace the negative thoughts with biblical truths: “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give your hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
  • God wants to give us the desires of our heart: (Isaiah 41:10 – 2 Corinthians 12:9 – Matthew 11: 28-30 – Hebrews 4:16 – Psalm 37:4).
  • Don’t let negative thoughts take control of your life: It is their fault – I can’t do it – My parents were fat – I can do it later – Excuses – Your negative feelings – Focusing on the negative or little failures versus the successes. “Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life” (Proverbs 4:23).
  • Be positive and grateful “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Keep a grateful “TO DO” list and add to it daily. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
  • Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.
  • Return to the joy of your youth by playing kick the can with friends; albeit somewhat slower. Re-energize your body, mind, and heart.
  • Remove all foods with fructose corn syrup, trans-fat, and monosodium glutamate (MSG). Review packaged foods for colors, dyes, additives, nitrates, and other chemicals.
  • Maintain a blessings album and review and focus on your past and current blessings and accomplishments.
  • PROBLEMS AND SETBACKS - If you have a setback just refocus and ask God and your support group to help you to get back on track. Study obstacles and arrive at solutions to overcome them.
  • Review any failures and shortcomings only long enough to learn from them, make corrections whenever possible and then forget them.
  • God teaches us through our Circumstances – problems – pressures – heartaches – hard times – difficulties – stress - & stubbornness. Of course He prefers to teach us through the Bible and the Holy Spirit.  “Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways” (Proverbs 20:30). We rarely change until the pain exceeds the fear of change. We change because we fear the heat more than we see the light.
  • Bad things come from other people – faulty decisions – poor choices – bad judgment – sins – Satan – etc. Their source is irrelevant; God can still use them for good. Romans 8:28-29 tells us that God knows who will love him and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and He wants us to become like Jesus. God is always at work within us for our good. He will use all of our circumstances to teach us and mold us into his plan and purpose for our life.   
  • Accept forgiveness for any sins of commission or omission. Forgive others who disappoint you – reconcile with them whenever possible.
  •  “THEN WHAT?Say Then What? When you start to do something negative like, eating too much, saying something mean, losing sleep, skipping your exercise, etc. Always weigh the negative consequences of making bad choices.
  • NEW HABITS IN 30 DAYS – Remember that it takes a month to establish a new habit but only one skipped day to break them.
  • FORKS IN THE ROADSet long-term goals in every area of your life and make short-term decisions based on how they will affect your long term goals. For example:
  • DESIGN MOTIVATIONAL, INSPIRATIONAL, REMINDERS of where you want to be in one to five years.
  • You can let your body continue to just age without a plan and have brain fog, tiredness, depression, memory loss, and physical illness, or You can FOLLOW THE DANIEL PLAN and have more mental clarity, better energy, a brighter mood, great memory, and a trimmer and healthier body, skin, and brain.
  • REPENTENCE - A NEW WAY OF THINKING – PMA – QUIET TIME - “I once thought all those things were so very important, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done” (Philippians 3:7). “I meditate on your Word day and night” (Psalm 1:2; 119:148). “Blessed is the one…whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his Law day and night…whatever they do prospers” Psalm 1: 1-3.
  • CHARACTER – “You intended to harm me, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20). “We also have joy with our troubles, because we know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character, and character produces hope (Romans 5: 3-4).
  • STRESS – To avoid stress: Pray on a regular basis during your quiet time “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is true, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – If anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things” (Philippians 4:8) – Learn to delegate unless you have the time, the desire and the goal – Listen to soothing music – consider calming scents like lavender, geranium, rose, etc. – Drink green tea – Take B vitamins. – Laugh more and take yourself less seriously “A cheerful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22).
  • FINISH STRONG – “So let us run the race that is before us and never give up We should remove from our lives anything that would get in the way and the sin that so easily holds us back” (Hebrews 12:1). 


 “According to your faith let it be done to you” (Matthew 9:29).

“I can do all this through Him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). 

  • Spiritual health - Prayer – Fellowship – Community – Gods power. Run with perseverance. (Hebrews 12:1-2). Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Seek God’s perfect will.
  • NEVER BE DISCOURAGED OR GIVE UP “…At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9). “God can do anything…far more than you could ever imagine…in your wildest dreams” Ephesians 3:20).
  • GOD’S POWER VS YOUR WILLPOWER– “Don’t depend on your own power or strength, but on my Spirit” (Zechariah 4:6) – Also see: Romans 8:9-11 – 2nd Corinthians 3:18 - Proverbs 16:9 – Matthew 19:26. God created us and cares for our every area: Spiritual – Mental – Emotional – Physical. “…God’s power…at work in us who believe…is the same as the mighty strength which He used when He raised Christ from death” (Ephesians 1:18-20).
  • FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT – Love – Joy – Peace – Patience – Kindness – Goodness – Faithfulness – Gentleness – Self Control.
  • PRAY MORE THAN YOU WORRY – “Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you…I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me” (Philippians 2:12-13). The key is not to try harder and psych yourself up; but in relaxing in God’s Grace.
  • GOD’S LOVE – “Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong…The Width, Length, Height, Depth of Christ’s love is too great to understand fully” (Ephesians 3:17). His love is four-dimensional – It is everywhere I go – His Grace is unconditional and forever – His Love is the bedrock beneath my deepest valleys – His Love is high enough to overlook my sins which have been paid for by Christ. “I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world” (John 12:47).
  • THE BIBLE – “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work” (2 Timothy 3 16-17).


“Two are better than one…A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecc. 4:9-12). 

  • EVERY BODY NEEDS A BUDDY - Love one another – Encourage one another – Serve one another – Support one another – Motivate one another.
  • SUPPORT GROUP - Positive friends to provide community and constant encouragement to stay focused and motivated toward your goals and a lifestyle that is attainable and maintainable. God wants to be included also (Matthew 18:20). “Share each other’s troubles and problems and in this way obey the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
  • COMMUNITY OF FRIENDS – You will be better able to cope with: Fatigue – Fear – Frustration – Failure – Depression – Despair. “Your faith will help me and my faith will help you” (Romans 1:12). “Encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). “…Clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).