Massachusetts 4Leaf Challenge — Update on Day 7

Quote of the week: “Thank you! You have touched 4 people in a household in a small town in Massachusetts.” 

It's time to take charge of your health with 4Leaf. This is the world's first 4Leaf wall clock and it's hanging in Dr. Brian Hurley's office in Gardner, MA.

One week ago, Dr. Brian Hurley and 18 of his teammates at the Gardner Animal Care Center launched a seven-week 4Leaf Challenge. My son Jason, his wife Lisa and I attended the evening dinner event at the clinic and met the entire team. After a very healthy 4Leaf dinner (by Lisa Hicks) Dr. Hurley started the program.

He started out by telling them how he began his own 4Leaf journey during Thanksgiving of 2010. He recalled how Jason had stressed vibrant health over weight-loss from the beginning, but admitted that it was really the weight-loss that he was seeking.

Saying goodbye to gout and kidney stones. But after a few months of daily reinforcement of the vibrant health goal from his 4Leaf coach, he began to understand. Last Tuesday night he told the group about how he effortlessly blew past his original target weight of 185 and continued to lose another 24 pounds to the svelte 161 pounds that he is today. But that’s not the real story; let me tell you about what he posted last week under the recent blog dealing with gout.

Our 4Leaf Presentation included presentations, testimonials, visuals and Q & A.After a routine physical in March of 2011, his doctor told him that his uric acid was high at 8.9. As Brian recalls….

He explained the risk of gout and thought this may have been the cause of my reoccurring kidney stones (once every 2 to 3 years). He felt it was important to drive the uric acid levels down and prescribed allopurinol once daily. He also wanted me to add Vitamin B-12 to my daily regimen. I was told to go have my blood checked again in September of 2011.

So Brian started taking the drug but forgot to get his prescription re-filled. Then, just last month, after one year on 4Leaf, he went back to doctor for blood work after being off the allopurinol for several months….here’s the rare happy ending to this common story of gout and kidney stones. Brian writes…

After visiting the doctor, he called me a few days later to inform me that my blood work looked great and the allopurinol was doing it’s job. My uric acid had decreased from 8.9 to 5.1 (Lab preference range 5.0 to 8.0). I did not have the heart to tell him I had stopped the allopurinol back in September. I asked him if I could stop the allopurinol and his response was, “Well, it is a low dose, you take it once a day, and you are tolerating it so I would continue taking it.”

NOT. Sadly, as with so many diseases, our medical community readily prescribes drugs that we are expected to take for the rest of our life. But, as with heart disease and type 2 diabetes, apparently gout and kidney stones are totally reversible. It’s not about “managing” our diseases as the ubiquitous commercials imply, it’s about getting rid of them.

The moral of this story is “Just Say No to Gout.”

Back to the 4Leaf Challenge. Since our January 3 loss, one member of the group posted a very enthusiastic comment under my blog entitled Widespread 4Leaf Transition. It’s going to take some time.

Eating 4-Leaf and loving it. Only 4.5 days in, and my body is going through the adjustments to this new diet physically. Let’s just say it is cleansing itself. Mentally I can’t believe how much food I am eating. I am eating more now than when on my previous Westerner diet, and I feel better, and though I haven’t gotten on the scale, I know I am either maintaining my current weight or have lost some.

On the Westerner diet, I was already eating oatmeal every morning, but the packaged weight control oatmeal, I’ve now switched to making it myself from scratch. And I was eating salads for lunch every day. Then I would have to skip dinner or have cereal or salad again in order to maintain my current weight. Now I am eating constantly and full all the time and starting my way toward my body finding it’s ideal weight and it is very exciting.

My children 11, and 17, are so excited with all the fruits I brought home last night from the grocery store and joined in eating the 4-Leaf oatmeal with me this morning.

Thank you for doing this program at the GACC. You have touched 4 people in a household in a small town in Massachusetts. I’m not sure the level the other 3 will follow in the long run in the 4-Leaf program, but I’m in “whole hog” or should I say “whole bean”. Going to give this a good go and I’m suspecting my habits will rub off on them. Going “whole-bean”, Gayle.

We have asked each person to provide before and after total cholesterol numbers. This is the First Check kit that we used to measure ours. (Jason calls me Bud and, as you can see, his TC is lower than mine, 120 to 160)

You can read Gayle’s complete post at the blog post referenced above. Stay tuned for more reports on this exciting 4Leaf Challenge. Different members of the team are bringing enough 4Leaf food for everyone each day of the work week and they’re all having lunch together.

The more challenging part of this adventure are the meals consumed at home in the evenings and on the weekend. But with enough support from their co-workers and their boss at work, we are confident that this team is going to be very successful.

Measuring results. In an effort to reinforce our emphasis on vibrant health vs. weight-loss, we are recording three sets of confidential improvement numbers:

  1. Before and after blood pressure numbers
  2. Before and after total cholesterol numbers
  3. Before and after BMI

From the above, we will be able to compute the percent improvement in each category for the entire group. Then we’ll average the three together for the composite health improvement percentage for the group. And it is that number that we will compare to future groups. And there will be many.

Stay Tuned for Further Updates.

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.

Want to receive some occasional special news from us? 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

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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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4 Responses to Massachusetts 4Leaf Challenge — Update on Day 7

  1. Denise Welsh says:

    Hooray for the GACC team!!! Thank you Gayle for posting. Sounds like things are progress well at work and home. Best Wishes 🙂 Go “whole bean”!!!

    Regards, Denise

  2. Thank you Jim, I’m so honored you quoted me. 🙂

    I just shared your blog on my personal facebook page. I’ve got 225 friends which I know is low compared to today’s standards, but I only friend people I feel close with and don’t mind them knowing my personal business.

    This is what I wrote on my wall that is attached to the shared post…….

    “Lost 3 lbs in 1.5 weeks. But that is not why I’m doing this challenge. Well, that is part of why I’m doing this challenge. The main reason I’m doing this challenge is to not have to think about calories EVER! And to be able to do that by eating as much food as I want (when I want) and to learn how to eat healthy food that tastes good and how to make it taste good with spices and natural things, rather than smothering in dressings or sauces. I want to live a long time and I want to set a good example for my kids.”

    I’ll let you know if any of my facebook friends ask me about it.

    I’m honestly not sure if I would have been able to do it on my own. And I think I’m in the right mindset for it now for the following reasons:

    1.) I like feeling full and not having to count calories.

    2.) I like trying new foods I’ve never had before and discovering new spices that used to be a mystery to me and are now part of my regular eating habits.

    2.) The GACC group meeting you had at the office, we were allowed to bring a family member and I brought my husband. He saw how excited I was and he was thrilled that I would now be making his breakfast and lunch for him every day and more dinners at home and he has been exercising and working to get healthier, so he joined in.

    3.) My kids didn’t even know we were doing the challenge, but they noticed we were eating healthy at every meal and it tasted good, so they asked about it. Then my son shared with me that his friend’s family is all doing the same thing, like us, together as a family doing a diet, lifestyle change. And he thought it was cool so now he and she, as 16 and 17 year olds, are having conversations about it as part of their every day routine.

    4.) I’m getting a new recipe every work day in the office as each person of the 18 in the work challenge, brings in the recipe and the cooked meal for everyone doing the challenge to eat. You get to try these recipes before you buy the ingredients to make them. So far, I like every one and I’ve got 2 weeks worth of recipes. And it is really like 4 weeks worth of recipes because everything you make is more than just one family dinner’s worth portion.

    5.) Everyone around me at work is talking about the program and about their successess and if they have “cheated”, and everyone is helping each other with advice of how they are staying the course.

    6.) Because of the group effort, it really feels like a lifestyle change, because nobody is looking at anybody else in the office with those, “I hate you because you are dieting and losing weight and I’m not interested so don’t talk to me.”, hairy eyeballs. Everyone is excited for each other.

    Thank you Jim and Jason for offering to do this for our team. I know you have gone out on a limb and we are your pilot program. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

    Still in “whole bean”,

    Gayle 🙂

  3. Leo Tacke says:

    Dear Jim,
    After 3 months on a plant based diet, my uric acid went from 5.8 to 9.4. but all other numbers were at the 4-leaf level :-).
    My doctor could not explain this, but after some research I found out that e.g. spinach, beans, lentils, oats are all medium to high in purine content but especially Nutritional Yeast, which I used generously on my food, seemed to be a potential culprit. I have adjusted my intake of these foods and added more low purine foods such as salad, nuts and fruits. For readers with the same problem a useful table you can find here
    Best regards,
    Leo Tacke from Cebu, the Philippines

    PS When you have this problem alcohol, beer, wine are on the “avoid list” also.

  4. My two posts today at :
    There are at least 39 important diseases people catch directly from animals. There are at least 48 important diseases people get from the bite of bugs that bit an infected animal. And there are at least 42 important diseases that people get by ingesting or handling food or water contaminated with animal feces.
    ….. Etc.

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