Star-lord Chris Pratt, in his latest bid to lose a few pounds, is turning to the ultimate guardian of the galaxy – God.
In a now-deleted Instagram post, Pratt announced that he was undertaking the Bible-inspired Daniel Fast – a diet popular with US evangelical Christians. Pratt has of late been vocal about his own “pro-Jesus” approach to being a Hollywood star.
The diet involves 21 days of fasting and prayer. Only foods grown from seeds – fruits, vegetables and whole grains – are eaten and only water is drunk. It’s a hard-core vegan diet, without the horrific fake cheese, veggie sausages and burgers that are meant to make veganism delightful. And all of which are processed.
Plus, there is the prayer aspect – which helps you fill up on God while cutting down the curves. If God isn’t your bag, then a dedicated meditative state probably does just as well.
Some social media haters have mocked Pratt – who came to public favour as the loveable dimwit Andy in the series Parks and Recreation – for believing in “fairy tales”. On the HuffPost public posts, one commentator got 4207 “likes” for suggesting: “So many lady boners out there just went limp.”
Another – “and he just became 0% attractive” – received 2754 likes.
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Thanks to @adelkyokushin at @unbreakableperformance for opening up on a Sunday for an epic two hour sweat fest. Lessgo! I actually had a nightmare last night that I was hours away from a real mma fight. I still had 25 lbs to cut. I was terribly underprepared and alone. No trainers. No friends. My phone was dead. I was hungover. Sick. I saw the kid I was fighting and I knew he was gonna beat me up. I was scared. That’s the anxiety I get sometimes. That I’m not working hard enough. That I’m not prepared. That I haven’t put in the work. Not today devil! Today we put in the work. If a nightmare hits you. Hit back. And know that when you follow God you are never alone.
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The backlash is a little misplaced as far as the diet goes. Several studies by Richard Bloomer, dean of the University of Memphis’s School of Health Studies, found after 21 days the diet was found to have lower risk factors for metabolic and cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, and improved biomarkers for chronic disease formation.
This wouldn’t have been a great surprise. A mountain of research has shown that a plant-based diet protects against chronic disease and promotes a longer life.
Dr Bloomer, in an interview with TIME, suggested that the Daniel Fast was healthier than a regular vegan diet, not because of the absence of animal protein, but because of there being no sugar, salt or processed ingredients. There is also no alcohol, caffeine, or fats, including cooking oil. He noted that the inclusion of healthy fats such as olive oil would be preferable.
For a while, there was talk that the Daniel Fast might turn around the chronic obesity problem among young American Christians. A 2011, Northwestern University study found that people who regularly engaged in religious activities were 50 per cent more likely to become obese by middle age as young adults with no religious involvement.
At that time, a Californian pastor made the news by putting his swollen congregation on the Daniel Fast – collectively they lost 118,000 kilograms.
In its contemporary incarnation, the Daniel Fast has been around for more than 10 years. But it dates back a couple of thousand years to the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament.
Daniel was a Jewish noble who curried favour with the Babylonians and their royal court. Concerned that he might be polluted by the king’s indulgent lifestyle – meat and wine – and also wary of submitting to the king’s power, he decided to give himself a dietary and spiritual make-over.
Initially, he decided to eat vegetable and drink water for 10 days – but later whinged a little about going the extra mile.
“I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.”
So that’s where the 21 days comes from. He emerged from the fast, so the story goes, noticeably healthier and stronger than the king and his cohorts.
This was the same Daniel who was later thrown in the lion’s den by jealous courtiers. The lions, according to legend, growled a bit but otherwise chose not to eat him. A miracle? Perhaps.
It could just as easily be they were turned off by their quarry’s plain diet.