Moving the world in the direction of more whole foods, plant-based eating
My good friend Susan Benigas, who lives in Missouri, recently went with her husband, Jon, to see the famous “food” writer/speaker Michael Pollan at a St. Louis Speakers Series. She shared with me some of his comments; most with which she agreed. But not all.
When I first read over those comments, I realized that, just like me, Michael Pollan is out there urging everyone to eat more whole plants. It’s not important whether or not we agree with everything he says, the bottom line is that he’s out there helping to move the world in the right direction.
Common Ground vs. Argument. For those of you who’re familiar with the pioneering “veggie docs” out there, you probably know that Dr. Esselstyn doesn’t always agree with Dr. Ornish and Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t always agree with Dr. McDougall. But all four of them have helped thousands, if not millions, of people take charge of their health by adding more whole, plant-based foods to their diets. And all four of them share much more “common ground” than they do differences. So let’s forget the differences and dwell only on the common ground, on which we designed our simple, positive, flexible and powerful 4Leaf Program.
Leveraging the simple concept of maximizing the percent of your calories that are derived from whole, plant-based foods.
In embracing that simple philosophy, I have recognized that our world benefits far more if one billion people move just halfway to the 4Leaf level than if 100 million people went all the way. In a previous blog, I actually did the math for that example and concluded that the one billion that went halfway contributed over four times as much global benefit as the one million who adopted almost perfect, near optimal diets. A tiny few eating a perfect diet? — or truly changing the world?
So I am happy when I hear a prominent individual like Michael Pollan saying that we all should be eating more whole plants. And my good friend Alexandra Stoddard continues to remind me of the importance of embracing the great benefit of the “common ground” that I share with influential people such as Mr. Pollan. For the record, he appears 4 or 5 times in our list of 306 footnotes in our book. From his speech in St. Louis, here are some of those common ground statements that I like:
- Eat real food, mainly plants!
- Current animal protein consumption patterns are unsustainable.
- The vast majority of what grocery stores carry today is consumable food-like substances, not real food.
- If something has more than five ingredients or has ingredients that a third grader cannot pronounce, then you shouldn’t eat it.
- If there are health claims on the package, don’t buy it! The items in the produce section with no packaging and no health claims are the most healthful—-these and whole grains.
- Until we address the fact that Americans are eating themselves into chronic disease, we will never be able to address our broken healthcare system—–the current model is unsustainable.
Regarding this list, I really liked the fact that he used the word “unsustainable” twice; and his description of typical grocery “foods” is one of my favorites:
“consumable food-like substances, not real food”
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—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com
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