4Leaf — a simple, flexible and powerful path to vibrant health


The latest in the wonderful world of 4Leaf Eating 

This morning, I received a note from Vicki who had featured 4leafprogram.com in her annual Christmas letter. And last week, I received an email from Reggie who had read our book from cover to cover and wasn’t sure how to get started. Then, last night, my son and I met with Dr. Hurley, who is launching a company-wide 4Leaf Challenge in his place of business — with 16 people. During that meeting, we were served a delicious 4Leaf dinner by Lisa and son Andrew.

Earlier yesterday, I met with a member of the Harvard faculty who asked me if I was vegan as we sat down for lunch at The Elephant Walk near Fenway Park in Boston. I replied that while I don’t use the “v” word to describe my way of eating, that my diet-style would definitely be considered vegan by most people. I then quickly explained 4Leaf — a powerful diet-style that focuses on what we ARE eating as compared to vegan, that focuses mainly on what we’re NOT eating. He “got it” immediately.

All of this got me thinking that it was time for me to clarify a few things about 4Leaf. First let’s take a look at the note from Reggie:

Dear Mr. Hicks,

I have taken some time to read your book “Healthy Eating, Healthy World” and my interest is/was born out of curiosity.  The curiosity started with one documentary on food & by the 4th documentary I went out & found your book – read it from cover to cover & I don’t read books unless I have to or really, really want to.

So, I’ve read the book, I know I’m merely curious and I’m very conscious that I don’t have a clue on how to proceed beyond being curious…I’ve seen enough to get me curious but have not learned enough to turn the curiosity into a developed steadfast transition from unhealthy eating to healthy eating.  Do any of the 6 books you recommend address that concern? How do I learn how to carry on after the curiosity stage. Do you have any feed back for me? Cordially, Reggie

Leveraging the simple, yet powerful concept of maximizing the percent of your calories from whole plant foods -- still in nature's package

My immediate response. “Hi Reggie, You didn’t mention whether or not you had visited our website, where we’ve spent a lot of time addressing many of the issues that you cite. Particularly in the 4Leaf section. You can go directly there at 4leafprogram.com Beyond that, I do have feedback for you and would enjoy chatting with you. Do you have any time tomorrow a.m.? Saturday? How about around 10 a.m. Eastern. Let me know. Look forward to chatting with you.”

Since he received my note, Reggie has gone to the 4Leaf section of our website and says that he has found the answers to many of his questions. He was surprised by my quick response to his message and now knows that he can contact me directly if needed.

4Leaf Update. Long before our book came out, we knew that our readers would be looking for recipes, meal plans and other helpful information as they shifted into the 4Leaf lifestyle. Although we provided a list of great books with recipes in Chapter 10, we knew that people would want to learn more about how to make a 4Leaf diet-style work for them. For example, we know that many of the great vegetarian and vegan cookbooks offer lots of recipes that, while 100% plant-based, fall way short of our 4Leaf goal. We knew that our readers would need help.

  • We launched our 4Leaf Page in March 2011.
  • On 6-25-11, we introduced our brand new 4Leaf logo.
  • To make it easy to find, we chose the easy-to-remember 4leafprogram.com url, now pointing directly to our 4Leaf page on the website.
  • On 11-30-11, we launched Recipes from Lisa’s Kitchen page; containing mostly 4Leaf recipes.
  • Does every recipe have to be 4Leaf? This is the question that Lisa, Jason and I pondered last night. The short answer is no. Here’s why.

What about some 3Leaf recipes from time to time? Last night, Lisa, Jason and I delved into that question. The essence of our discussion was all about flexibility. As Dr. Campbell says, we’re trying to describe the ultimate goal for healthy eating — fully realizing that every individual must decide for themselves how close to that goal they want to be and how quickly they wish to move in that direction.

Yes, Virginia, there is a 3Leaf and it's pretty darn healthy.

So, our answer is that YES, there will be some perfectly healthy 3Leaf recipes in our future — and maybe an occasional 2Leaf. But we can assure you that you’ll never find ANY animal products in any of the recipes featured on our site. We must remember that even the 2Leaf level of eating starts at 40% of your calories from whole plants — still in nature’s package. That’s a whopping FIVE times as many whole plant calories as the average American is consuming today.

Daily 4Leaf Goal. For Lisa, Jason and me; our daily goal remains: to consistently eat at the 4Leaf level — over 80% of our calories from whole plants. But we know that in the real world, some of our meals will occasionally be only 2Leaf or 3Leaf. Still, most of those meals will be far healthier than many vegans or vegetarians of the world have ever seen. For, as we said in the book, one could eat nothing but Diet Coke and potato chips and call himself a vegan, and he certainly wouldn’t be eating a very healthy diet.

Our daily goal is always 4Leaf, but in the interest of flexibility, we acknowledge that there is room for a 3Leaf meal from time to time.

Finally, as I wrap up this blog, just steps from Lisa’s Famous Kitchen, she just shared a note from a reader that I will share with you now, from one Lisa to another:

Hi Lisa. I follow your father-in-law’s blog (which I absolutely love!) and have finally had the opportunity to make the 4-Leaf Kale Soup recipe.  It was superb!  I made some modifications to what I had on-hand, adding a jalapeno, carrot, celery, and mushrooms.  I also only had black beans available.  Served it over quinoa and topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Loved it!

I’m new to this lifestyle (since September of this year) and having so much fun in the kitchen.  I’m 40 years old and changing to this lifestyle has been the best decision of my life.  I feel it and see it every single day.

Thanks for sharing your kitchen with us.  I’m looking forward to seeing more of your recipes and trying them all! Sincerely, Lisa C. from Columbus, OH

Merry Christmas

If you like what you see here, you may wish to join our periodic mailing list. And if you like what 4-Leaf eating is doing for you and your family, you might enjoy visiting our new “4-Leaf Gear” store. From Lisa’s Famous Kitchen in Holden, MA – Be well and have a great day.

If you’d like to order our book on Amazon,  visit our BookStore now.

—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com

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About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. Leveraging his expertise in making complex things simple, he is now seeking corporate clients who are interested in slashing their cost of health care. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Foundation, where he also sits on the board of directors.
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One Response to 4Leaf — a simple, flexible and powerful path to vibrant health

  1. Jane Timmons says:

    J. Morris, I want to share this with you. This morning my husband came up from his office and said,” So, do you think we can do J. Morris’s 4 Leaf thing?” I said yes we can, since we’re vegan-ish for a year and a half now, anyway. And THEN I knew he’d really been paying attention to your blog that I sometimes forward to him — when he said, “Just because we’re vegan-ish doesn’t mean we’re 4 Leafers.” So off we go on a new year and a finer-tuned way of eating. (Wait til I remind him he needs to back off on his oil consumption!) Thanks.
    Jane, a teacher

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