4Leaf Mentality — Subconscious awareness of the optimal

The 4Leaf Mentality -- Subconsciously moving up the 4Leaf scale

Simplicity and a 4Leaf Routine are key.

Now that we’re adding a lot of recipes and conducting 4Leaf Challenges, we’re getting questions about 4Leaf, the philosophy and the reasoning behind the concept. People ask about what is so special about 80% for 4Leaf and whether or not they should ever have a 2Leaf or a 3Leaf meal. These are good questions.

From the very beginning, we wanted to develop a really simple concept that enabled people to understand what a near-optimal diet-style would look like. Remember that the 4Life lifestyle is not about counting calories and percentages; it’s really more of a mentality. Once you know what a 4Leaf meal looks like and feels like, you’ll know what to do; keeping that 4Leaf goal in the back of your mind at all times — and establishing a routine that features a lot of 4Leaf meals.

And there won’t be any 4Leaf police out there checking on whether you scored 59, 79 or 81%. Only you will know what you’re really eating. But even at 59% (2Leaf), you’d be getting ten times more whole plants than the average American. We’re trying to create an awareness; you will decide how high you wish to go up that scale. Yesterday, I drafted this simple phrase to describe that 4Leaf mentality:

Adopting a flexible attitude for promoting health by maximizing whole, plant-based foods in your diet…a much healthier concept than a strict regimen of simply avoiding certain animal products

Everyone can understand what 4Leaf eating means when you tell them the simple concept. Not so much for vegan or vegetarian. As we all know, there are about a zillion definitions for each of them — and many of those definitions, or interpretations, are not health-promoting. Honestly, I don’t know of another dietary program that so clearly illustrates a near-optimal diet — a diet-style that can be defined in two words: Whole Plants.

Granola bar (with yogurt). Check out the numbers on this one -- and that "science project" list of ingredients. I might eat one of these on the hiking trail but would NEVER make it a part of my daily "routine."

Latest example. While typing this blog here at Starbucks this morning, a yacht club friend (a Pfizer scientist) just stopped by my corner with his coffee-to-go and a granola bar. Having begun moving in the 4Leaf direction, he asked me to take a look at the ingredients label on his granola.

While it had a few natural ingredients, it also had about 40 ingredients that weren’t. I joked that it was a good thing he was a scientist so that he could have a chance of understanding what he was eating. The small bar also had 5 grams of sugar and derived over 30% of its calories from fat.

Earlier in the week, I had served Tim my Sailors Daily Oatmeal in my home after he told me the night before that he was looking for a good, “routine” 4Leaf breakfast. So, after hearing my analysis of his granola bar, he decided immediately that he no longer wanted that to be a part of his daily routine. He mentioned that he’s already buying ingredients so that he could take his pre-prepared Sailors Oatmeal to work with him. Tim (28), since reading our book, has already lost 20 pounds in the past few months, and is now approaching his old high school fighting weight.

As for the granola bar, I also reminded Tim that granola was one of the six “not-so-healthy” foods featured in Chapter 10 of our book. Along with yogurt, olive oil, fish, cheese and milk — most people have been conditioned all their lives to believe that all six of these are really good for them. Sad but true. They also believe that they truly need to eat animal protein to be healthy. That “protein myth” is our single biggest obstacle to promoting healthy eating in the Western world. But we have a plan to dispel it; so stay tuned, and check out our Project Harmony.

Authors J. Stanfield Hicks and J. Morris Hicks , working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

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

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.

—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. 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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5 Responses to 4Leaf Mentality — Subconscious awareness of the optimal

  1. Linda says:

    To Mary: Dried fruit usually has added sugar, and often it contains sulfites. I use frozen berries when fresh are not available. At night, right before going to bed, I pour about 2/3 cup of frozen berries into a small bowl, put a plate over it, and place it in the refrigerator. They are thawed by morning. Don’t forget to buy organic berries, if your budget allows.

  2. Jean Myers says:

    I respectfully disagree with the previous post – many, many people are interested in healthier eating where I live in Arizona. The Food for Life cooking classes (100% plant-based) that I have taught for the Cancer Project for the last six years always have waiting lists. People are hungry for nutrition information that is not confusing and healthy meals that taste good. Check out http://www.cancerproject.org for more info.

    Yes, you may see obese people, but some of those folks are losing weight and just have not reached their goals yet. I’m sorry that your poster has become so disillusioned, but I am encouraged that he is still posting here. in my experience positive attitudes create energy for change while negative ones create despair and immobilization. If we view obese people as disgusting, that negative vibe tends to close doors rather than open them to offer assistance for change.

    It is indeed frustrating that social events only offer unhealthy food, but one can take action to get some healthy options. For example at charity events which are usually catered, I call ahead to ask for a healthy, plant-based option, which they have always been willing to provide. People at the table with us will say, “Oh, that looks good – I didn’t know they offered that!” a door opener for further conversation.

    There is lots of work to do to help each other and this planet and not a moment to lose. Thanks for all your creative energy, enthusiasm, and dedication, Jim!

  3. Mary Doster says:

    Love the Sailor’s breakfast, but recently have been having trouble finding fresh berries that don’t mold in a day or so. Can we substitute dried fruit?

    • jmorrishicks says:

      Hi Mary and thanks for your comment. I find that the blueberries last much longer than the strawberries. My son uses lots of frozen blueberries which never mold. Of course, the fresher the better, but dried fruit is a whole plant — without the water. Best, J. Morris Hicks.

  4. Jim,

    The people you talk about all seem to be receptive to the 4-Leaf diet plan. Wonderful. I don’t get the same reaction to the message and I don’t see any hope in my neighborhood, my gym classes, my neighborhood restaurants, my neighborhood supermarkets.

    All I see is obesity, and more obesity. It’s disgusting. Whether Italian, German, Russian, Polish, I’m looking at obese people who will never get the message and don’t even want to talk about it.

    New Years Eve my wife and I went to a dinner and dance at a club, Italian Charities. There were about 150 people in attendance mostly seniors. There were equally mixed ethnic groups-half were Caucasians and half Asian. A portrait of America: Of the Asians, not one was overweight. Of the Caucasians, at least 70% were obese.

    The menu was classic Italian American. A nightmare of food fit for the garbage pail. Of the ten entries, not one, let me scream, not one vegetable was served. And even if there were, it would not have mattered. They would have been loaded with salt, olive oil, and cheese. I don’t know what the skinny Asians ate?

    Oh woe is me!

    Follow the food and you will see there is no hope for America the beautiful. Fat, fat, fat is the national anthem and don’t we sing it beautifully.

    Jim, I wish I had your enthusiasm, your optimism, your belief system about the 4-Leaf plan. As a die hard pessimist, its never going to happen: America is doomed!

    Eat more broccoli!

    Salvatore Liggieri

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