The Jonathan Edwards Diet – My Biblical Alternative to the Daniel Diet

…Just for fun…

Over Christmas break I became aware of “The Daniel Diet” which purports to be “God’s prescription for your health”* Rick Warren is even endorsing this diet all over national media. The diet is “based on” Daniel 1. That is, it loosely cherry picks a few rough concepts from an approximation of a possible reading of one verse in that chapter. It also totally ignores that Daniel and his men were FATTER than everyone else after their “diet” (See: Daniel 1:15)**. Okay, I’m done. There is so much to laugh about with the “theological” premise of The Daniel Plan I could write a series.

Now, the Daniel Plan may in fact be an excellent diet plan! It may help you become healthier and lose weight! It just has nothing to do with Daniel, or the Bible, and I resent people peddling God’s word. So here’s my alternative offering, call it my New Year’s Resolution.

I call it The Jonathan Edwards Diet, and I base it on my word-for-word cherry picking of a few of The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards. Here is it, in the words of Edwards himself:

1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad’s of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.

4. Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.

6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.

20. Resolved, to maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking.

28. Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.

40. Resolved, to inquire every night, before I go to bed, whether I have acted in the best way I possibly could, with respect to eating and drinking.

56. Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.

And a final principle pulled from an entry in his diary.

By a sparingness in diet, and eating as much as may be what is light and easy of digestion, I shall doubtless be able to think more clearly, and shall gain time; 1. By lengthening out my life; 2. Shall need less time for digestion, after meals; 3. Shall be able to study more closely, without injury to my health; 4. Shall need less time for sleep; 5. Shall more seldom be troubled with the head-ache. (Works, I, xxxv)

Try applying these for a year and see where they get you. Edwards had a purpose for his diet: to maximize his effectiveness at God’s calling on his life. At this, history proves, he was imminently successful.

* The sad fact that people are looking for “Christian diets” or think that there might be a secret “diet code” hidden in the text of the scripture, or are so unfamiliar with the scriptures as to think that God prescribes a certain set of foods to Christians*** is grieving to me, whence this article.

** Yes, yes, I realize that “fatter” probably meant “healthier” and was probably more attractive in that culture, but you see my point.

*** God did restrict certain foods from the historic ancient nation of Israel, but this instruction is now obsolete