Social challenges of “4-Leaf” eating — real, but not a deal-breaker

In the western world where over 90% of the people are eating at least some meat and dairy every single meal, it’s not surprising that you will experience some social challenges along the way. Just knowing that they’re out there and thinking about how to handle them in advance can be a big help.

J. Morris Hicks enjoying the healthy "4-Leaf" lifestyle...on and off the water

The most important thing is your total commitment to taking charge of your health — knowing that your actions will have an incredible positive impact on our environment, our energy resources, and our ability to feed the world’s hungry. And as a bonus, we can end the horrendous suffering of over 60 billion animals per year that we kill to feed the wealthiest 20% of the world’s population. With all of that in mind, this is how I wrapped up the Introduction to our book:

My primary objective in writing this book was to outline in simple everyday terms the extent of the problems we face along with an explanation of how this all happened— and what each of us can do to make things better.  Fortunately, despite the incredible complexity of our current dilemma, the solution is refreshingly simple.  All we have to do is educate ourselves, start making better choices in what we eat, and then share all that we have learned with everyone that we care about.  I am convinced that there has never been anything more important in the history of the world.

The main point here is that our way of life is simply unsustainable and will be recorded in history as a mere 100-year era of cheap energy that fueled some extraordinarily wasteful behavior on the part of humans who could afford it. We know that it must change; the question is “Will we begin making responsible changes ourselves our will we wait until some combination of the cost of energy and Mother Nature forces the change?” The sooner we start making the changes, the less traumatic they will be.

As for the social challenges, once you have established your own resolve to stay the course, how do you deal with the many challenges that you will face? First, you need to be ready to answer the protein question — early and often. Specifically, “If you don’t eat meat, eggs, dairy or fish, where do your get your protein?

The reason you will hear this question so often is only reasonable; after all, 95% of the all Americans truly believe that we actually “need” to eat animal protein to be healthy. Animal protein in ubiquitous and will continue to be for a long time — until our “system” changes. In the meantime, we can all make better food choices for ourselves base on overwhelming evidence covered extensively throughout this site, in The China Study and many other fine books.

But as we deal with the un-informed majority, we must be careful, courteous and understanding as we decide how we wish to answer the protein question. On our Protein page, I have provided the various answers that I often use. A word of caution; whether it’s answering the “protein” question or anything else, my first rule is “No Proselytizing” even to your spouse or significant other.

An unsupportive spouse…the single biggest challenge to eating 4-Leaf

All other challenges shrink to insignificance compared to this one. The other challenges will come from friends, neighbors, co-workers, room-mates, etc. In my own case, I simply started eating 4-Leaf in 2002 and didn’t say much about it unless someone asked me. Then, after seven years of living in Stonington, word gradually spread about my diet-style and people became interested in learning more about it. In March of 2011, I was invited to make a presentation to the local men’s breakfast group. Here is my documentation of that experience.

Friends…the fine line between caring and proselytizing

As for challenges, here's how I handle breakfast while blogging my way to New York City on Amtrak -- a simple matter of "4-Leaf" to go -- strawberries, pear, orange and bananas.

As Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in this world.” That’s my motto. I have found that when you’re really committed to something important — things like social challenges are no big deal — except for your spouse.

If she is not on board, you’ve got to do all you can to gradually help her understand how strongly you feel about what you’re doing and why. If your motive is simply to lose weight, she will have a pretty good idea that your new way of eating will probably be temporary.

Just today, I added a “Social Challenges” category to the drop-down list in the right column — and I will be adding more posts to that category soon. I also urge you to read the posts listed on our 4-Leaf page; particularly the one about eating out.

4-Leaf eating, Part 5 — Outside the home

If you like what you see here, you may wish to join our periodic mailing list. Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4-Leaf page. From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – 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

PS: Occasionally an unauthorized ad may appear beneath a blog post. It is controlled by WordPress (a totally free hosting service). I do not approve or personally benefit whatsoever from any ad that might ever appear on this site. I apologize and urge you to please disregard. 

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. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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1 Response to Social challenges of “4-Leaf” eating — real, but not a deal-breaker

  1. Brian Hurley says:

    Thank you for your post today.

    This week, for the first time in my life, I had two different individuals tell me that I looked great and SHOULD NOT lose anymore weight. I am asked more and more about what I am doing to lose weight. Like you, I have become accustomed to answering questions including the protein question. Most say they do not know how I do it, but I explain to them I made the conscious decision to improve my health and a benefit I found was weight loss. I am amazed at how interested people are to hear about eating 80% whole plant, but are quick to clarify they could never do it. I just saw my cousin and he asked me, “What? Do you only eat crackers? Oh wait, you probably do not eat white flour? I couldn’t do it but you look great. You will always a big kid growning up.”

    The other question I get is what is my goal weight. I explain to them I do not have a goal weight, I am letting my body determine it for me. Ironically, if you had asked me at the beginning of my lifestyle change to 4 Leaf, I would have said I would love to get to 182 to 184 lbs. Well, I achieved that in March and today I can tell you that I just reached 170 lbs.

    At this stage, the weight is not important and my true focus is what I started out to reach: VIBRANT HEALTH. Thank you again Jason Hicks for introducing me to 4 Leaf, educating me along this journey and most importantly, being a valued friend!! Jim, thank you for your continued support, words of encouragement and creating this site and blog to continue the education process.

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