Last week, I received a note from an author who is writing a book about vegetarianism. He sent me the following note with an impressive list of questions. Wanting to help in spreading the word about eating more plants, I gladly agreed to participate in his project and thought it worthy of sharing with you:
Dear Mr. Hicks, I saw your recent blog on VegSource re: “Dollars and ‘Sense’ of Plant-Based Eating” and enjoyed it. I’m currently co-writing a book on vegetarianism that will be published by Sunrise River Press next fall and am wondering if you might like to be interviewed for it. My partner is doing the research and I’m doing the interviews. Basically, we want to learn about your vegetarian experience, what advice you’d give to people thinking about a vegetarian lifestyle, health benefits, etc. Here are the questions, I look forward to discussing your responses by phone next week. Regards, Charles
1) What type of vegetarian are you and how long have you been one? I don’t really consider myself a vegetarian although my diet is almost totally vegan. I prefer to call myself a 4-Leafer, one who maximizes the percent of his daily calories from whole plant-based foods. Check out the 4-Leaf page on our site. The 4-Leaf level begins at 80% of your calories from whole, plant-based foods, still in nature’s package. Vegan and vegetarian imply what you DON’T eat, while what’s most important is what you ARE eating. I have maintained my current 4-Leaf diet-style for over 8 years.
2) Why did you decide to become a vegetarian? About nine years ago, I became interested in the optimal diet for humans. After a few weeks of study, there was no doubt in my mind that what Nature intended for us to eat was whole, plant-based foods. It was like a “blinding flash of the obvious” particularly after learning about the environmental impact and the impact on world hunger, fossil fuel conservation and the totally unnecessary suffering of 60 billion animals so that we may dine on their flesh.
3) Have you found health benefits as a result of your food lifestyle? Absolutely. More energy, better sleep, sharper thinking, zero constipation, NO medications, effortless weight management, fewer doctor visits, lower costs of health care, get sick less often, better sex…the list is endless. Oh, and it costs far less money in the long run.
4) How does one “unleash the power” of plant-based nutrition? The power of plant-based nutrition goes far beyond our own health as humans. While we make the change to benefit our own health; the entire planet — and all of her creatures — enjoy staggering benefits as well. There are four separate chapters in our book devoted to these “bonus” benefits for the planet.
5) What do you consider the “Big Picture” is for the planet and vegetarianism? The “big picture” is that we humans of the Western world have strayed far away from what Nature intended for us to eat. Most of us are now eating a totally unsustainable diet of meat, dairy and/or eggs three meals a day. Why is this diet not sustainable? Not enough land, not enough energy and not enough water. Either we’ll make the change voluntarily or leave Mother Nature no other choice but to do it herself. And that is not going to be pretty.
6) Can you distill down what the “4-Leaf Program” entails? The 4-Leaf Program leverages the simple concept of maximizing the percent of our calories from whole, plant-based foods. It’s simple, positive, flexible, powerful and builds on the great advice that we all heard from our mothers — you should eat more fruits and vegetables.
7) How many books have you written and what’s your favorite? Healthy Eating – Healthy World is my first and only book. And there is no other book planned at the moment except for a possible 4-Leaf companion book with lots of tips, guidelines, meal plans and 4-Leaf recipes. We’ve begun that process at 4leafprogram.com.
I truly feel that our first book has the ability to change the world in a big way — and therefore, deserves my undivided attention for the next few years — getting it in the hands of as many people as possible.
8) What is the most common misconception people have about vegetarians? By far, the most common misconception is the ubiquitous feeling that we truly “need” to eat animal protein to be healthy. Once we dispel this “protein myth,” the best and brightest minds in the world will be able to consider the awesome power of plant-based nutrition to change the world in so many ways.
9) I liked your points about meat-eating and vegetarian costs. What would you say to a meat-eater contemplating going veggie. Read our book, design yourself a few routine breakfasts, lunches and dinners at the 4-Leaf level. Make a commitment to eating 100% 4-Leaf for at least six weeks — and then never look back. Your body, your children and all future generations of your family will be forever grateful for your wisdom and courage. And you will save a lot of money in the long run — while doing your part to save the planet.
10) Can people still eat small quantities of meat, a la the “flexitarian” route? Or would you discourage this? As you know, there is 20% of “wiggle room” in our approach. We don’t encourage ANY animal foods whatsoever, but if you’re eating 4-Leaf every single day; a little cheese or fish occasionally in a friend’s home isn’t that big a deal. We’ve found that “all or nothing” simply doesn’t fly for most people.
11) Is there any particular question you get asked the most frequently from beginning vegetarians? Where do you get your protein?
12) Anything at all you’d like to add? Simply that I am very serious about our mission and sincerely believe that there has never been anything more important in the history of the world. The movie HOME (2009), reported that the human race has inflicted more damage on the fragile harmony of nature in just the last fifty years — than ALL previous generations of humans combined for the past 200,000 years. I am totally convinced that our single most powerful step toward reversing that deadly trend is an aggressive and urgent shift in the direction of a whole foods, plant-based diet — the natural diet for our species.
NAME: J. Morris (Jim) Hicks
OCCUPATION: My new career is that of writer, blogger, speaker and activist — promoting the benefits of plant-based nutrition. Earlier, I was a management consultant, an executive vice president of Polo Ralph Lauren and a C-Level executive search consultant.
AGE: I am 66 years old, born February 21, 1945 in Memphis, TN during the Battle of Iwo Jima in the Pacific.
CITY/STATE: Reside in Stonington, CT
CERTIFICATES/CREDENTIALS: Certificate in Plant-based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Foundation AND Cornell University. 2009, BS in Industrial Engineering from Auburn University, Auburn, AL, 1968, MBA from the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 1971
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.
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 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 HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com
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