Readers call for HELP in establishing a “4-Leaf” habit

People occasionally ask me, “How can we possibly get over 80% of our calories from whole plants when everywhere we go (restaurants, parties, grocery stores), over 90% of the calories are derived from meat, dairy or highly refined carbohydrates?”  I recently heard from a reader with this request:

As soon as you get a chance I would love to see a one week layout of meals to eat for a 7-day week and also use a corresponding (typical western diet meal) alongside the 4-leaf meal and list the levels of protein etc that each meal has for 4-leaf and western diet. Regards, Dan (Westerly, Rhode Island)

My response. Dan; first of all, thank you for your continued interest and enthusiasm regarding our mission of helping people take charge of their health. Secondly, I would love to be able to comply with your request, but I am simply not equipped to do so at this point. However, I will share with you all that I can and refer you to other sources for things that are missing — specifically recipes.

As for your question about protein – no one EVER needs to worry about getting enough protein. If you’re eating a variety of whole plants – you will get just the right amount without even thinking about it. Still worried about protein; visit our Protein Page.

My favorite meal of the day -- at 10 or 11 AM after I become very hungry. See link below for instructions.

My own weekly routine. Unless I am traveling, I usually prepare 14 of my 21 meals at home — breakfast and lunch. Those two meals don’t change very much and they deliver over one half of my calories for the week — at a solid 4-Leaf level with well over 80% of the calories from whole plants and around 9% from fat (compared to 40% for the average American). You have probably seen those two meals already, but here they are again for your convenience:

Sailors Daily Oatmeal – This meal takes minutes to prepare and is one of my favorite meals of the day. The oatmeal is always the same (with cold soy or almond milk and water), but the abundant pile of fruit on top changes with the seasons. Today, I had blackberries, strawberries, apple, and banana on top — with cinnamon. After eating a bowl of fresh seasonal fruit at 8 AM, I usually have my super oatmeal course when I next get real hungry — for me, that is usually about 10 or 11 AM. Then, when I start getting hungry again (about 3 PM), I always look forward to my: 

Sailors Super Lunch Recipe created by J. Morris Hicks

Sailors Super Lunch — As you can see at the link, part of this meal (beans and rice) is prepared in advance on a weekly basis. The other part (like the fruit on my oatmeal) changes with the seasons — including such colorful items as carrots, spinach, broccoli, eggplant, olives, avocado, squash, kale, mushrooms, tomato, beets, and on and on.

With the exception of the hummus on my pita and the whole grain pita itself, this meal is 100 % whole plants — in nature’s package. And with the seasoning of your choice, this meal is absolutely delicious — the hungrier you are, the more delicious it is.

This routine works very nicely for me. But you’re not me; everyone is different and must come up with a routine that works for them. With my breakfast and lunch meals, I consume over half my calories at home and absolutely love these meals. I no more get tired of these two meals than I do my Dewars that I have before dinner each night (part of the 20% of my calories that are not whole plants).

Be honest; don’t you frequently order the same thing at your favorite restaurant? Don’t you have a routine breakfast? That’s all you need to do here: figure out what you like and establish your new healthy routine — choosing 4-Leaf meals every chance you get. Do this for 30 consecutive days and you will have established a health-promoting, planet-loving 4-Leaf habit that will have your body thanking you for the rest of your life.

As for dining out or attending social events, just visit this link on our 4-Leaf page: 4-Leaf eating, Part 5 — Outside the home

J. Morris Hicks, trying my best to help you and your family take charge of your health

Not enough variety? Now, you might say that my routine doesn’t have enough variety and is not going to work for you. Again, everyone is different; but if you’re really hungry, your “go to” breakfast and lunch is probably going to taste pretty good every time.

As for variety, I always think of the Tarahumara Indians in Mexico, they subsist on a diet consisting of nothing but beans, corn and squash. Of course, they probably cook it a hundred different ways and might even have a little tequila from time to time. Those guys can run 100 miles, have almost no chronic disease and live a very long time.

Ideas to help you establish your own healthy routine. Since I am a single guy and not that much of a gourmet chef, you may very well need help from other sources for your recipes and meal planning. I recommend that you go to Amazon and scroll the books by: Caldwell Esselstyn, Rip Esselstyn, Joel Fuhrman, John McDougall, Dean Ornish, Howard Lyman, Neal Barnard, Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. Most of them are endorsing my book and eat about the same way that I do. And none of them EVER try to keep up with the amount of protein that they eat.

There are some great 4-Leaf meals out there. Find them — tweak them to suit you taste and make them a part of your routine. Unlike the Tarahumara who have few choices, we Americans can find every food known to man — 365 days a year.

Also, check out our Meals 101 tab for some ideas that will help you convert lots of tasty online recipes to 4-Leaf meals. And maybe before too long, Jason and Lisa Hicks will be ready to publish their 4-Leaf Companion – with lots of healthy recipes, lifestyle and meal planning guides.

Thanks again, Dan for your input and support. 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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