This question comes up often. My answer; everyone is different and must choose the “entertainment” policy that is right for them. All I can do is speak for myself and tell you how I handle the food issue when I am entertaining.
First of all, I am a single man with a very small house and a tiny kitchen; hence, not many dinner parties at my place. But I do have several cocktail parties each year and I serve an ample amount of tasty and filling food at each of them. And while everything I serve may not be at the 4-Leaf level — it is all most definitely 100% plant-based. But I never talk about it — I just prepare the food, put it out, people eat it and I have never had a single complaint.
So what should you do? My advice is to follow your own convictions and your overall philosophy on entertaining. In my case, after studying this topic since 2002, I have some pretty strong convictions about the way we humans should be eating and some strong convictions about the damage caused by the toxic western diet consisting of meat and dairy three meals a day.
In my case, at least 90% of my local friends are still eating the typical western diet and all of them know about my own preferences. When I am in their homes, I never expect anything special, I simply choose the plant-based options and try to be as inconspicuous as possible. When they are in my home, they seem to be following the same protocol — they just eat the food that I provide and the absence of meat and dairy has never even been mentioned.
I find that as long as the bar is well-supplied that everyone’s happy; it doesn’t really matter what I serve them to eat. Case in point; when I first moved into my home in 2005, I held an impromptu house warming party and invited some 75 people to join me for “Champagne and Popcorn.” It turned out to be an absolute blast and, six years later, people are still talking about that party.
All of this cocktail party stuff is probably not helping you much with the planning of your next sit-down dinner for your 14 closest friends. So, I will tell you how Dr. and Mrs. Caldwell Esselstyn would handle a big party for a host of their meat-eating friends. They would prepare the most delicious plant-based meal and hors d’oeuvres possible and would never even mention what was in it.
When they spoke at our Stonington Harbor Yacht Club last August, they planned the meal that we served to over 100 people — a huge salad along with the “Raise the Roof Lasagna” from their son Rip’s Engine 2 Diet book. While it was not a 4-Leaf meal according to our definition, it was 100% plant-based and not a single person complained. The point here: the food just has to be good — it doesn’t have to have any animal-based products in it to make people happy.
Recently, I have used the word “poison” to describe animal-based foods in some of my blogs. I know…the word sounds extreme so why have I used it? Because those products meet the definition provided by Mr. Webster:
Poison is “a substance that can cause injury or death to a living organism.” And there is a mountain of scientific evidence suggesting that our toxic western diet most certainly causes “injury or death” to millions of humans every single year.
If we’re going to worry about the “possibility” that cell phones cause cancer, we need to come to grips with what science now knows for sure — that the casein in cow’s milk is a powerful carcinogen — and is therefore technically, a poison.
Here’s the way I see it. Once you know something to be true, you simply cannot ignore that newly acquired knowledge in your future endeavors. For the first 58 years of my life, I didn’t know anything about how damaging our toxic western diet really was. I had no idea that it promoted cancer and heart disease. I also had no idea that all drugs were toxic.
Now that I know these things, I can’t even imagine the idea of feeding these kinds of things to my family — or to my friends. They may not know these things yet — but I do, and I have to live with myself. From Chapter 11 in my book:
Simply knowing something doesn’t change anything or make anything better. An ancient Persian proverb states, “It is nothing for one to know something unless another knows you know it.”
Let me close today by making one thing perfectly clear. While I may get carried away from time to time, I absolutely do my best to never be guilty of proselytizing. All of my friends know of my passions and I am confident that if they are interested in hearing my opinion on something that they will ask for it.
Yesterday, I served on Race Committee with a good friend who has been reading my blog and is also in the process of improving her diet. Although I spent over three hours with her yesterday, including dinner at the bar at the Water Street Cafe, the topic of food and health never came up.
But when I ordered my “special” meal from Kelly the bartender, my friend Anne simply said, “I’ll have what he’s having” — reminding me of an earlier post:
Special thanks to my good friends Mary and Erica, who provided me with the inspiration for today’s post. I will leave you with this thought:
People often say that humans have always eaten animals,as if this is some justification for continuing the practice. According to this logic, we should not try to prevent people from murdering other people, since this has also been done since the earliest of time” —Issac Singer
Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com
- The movie that’s changing the lives of millions: Forks Over Knives DVD
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The “big picture” about food (our book)
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- Dr. McDougall’s new book, The Starch Solution, with lots of great recipes.
Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Diagnostic Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to email@example.com
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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.
—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation