Al Roker on Reversing Heart Disease; in search of clarity

While eating my essential Sailors Daily Oatmeal yesterday, I watched weatherman Al Roker on the Today Show interviewing Dr. Roshini Raj, a contributing medical editor of Health Magazine. He led off by saying:

“According to the American Heart Association, 80% of heart disease is preventable.”

Al Roker, before and after his bariatric surgery

Well, it’s not going to happen by following the lame advice that was handed out on this program. While there was some good advice about more exercise, fruits, veggies, & grains along with not smoking; once again confusion beat clarity by a score of about 49 to 7. (Go Pats)

They organized the discussion by age group; providing tailored advice for people in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Of course, it was all pretty much the same advice for each group—except the older groups were encouraged to see their doctor more often, watch those risk factors and take a lot more tests.

What about food? When Al asked her the direct question about how can we make sure we’re eating healthy enough to prevent heart disease, the very first word out of her mouth was FISH. “Think fish, lean cuts of meat, and chicken without the skin.”

Widely regarded as a health food -- even though its fat, cholesterol and pollutants render it just as unhealthy as eating bacon.

She then sandwiched an emphasis on fruits and vegetables between her opening with all of the healthy “protein” and the importance of dairy and getting all of that essential calcium.

So, how much heart disease do you think was prevented during this Today Show segment? My guess is zero. Here’s why:

  1. The whole thing was confusing with different sets of instructions for each age group.
  2. The dietary advice was extremely weak, with two out of three of her recommendations missing the mark—and recommending the very foods (meat and dairy) that cause heart disease in the first place.
  3. Most of the discussion was focused on seeing your doctor, managing those risk factors, and having a host of tests done every few years.

All of these “system” generated shows are the same. They all imply that if you don’t have any risk factors that you can simply eat what you want as long as you see your doctor periodically to make sure you haven’t developed any risk factors since the last visit. Just think how many lives could be saved if this program had consisted of nothing but Dr. Raj writing this simple message on the blackboard forty times:

Dr. Roshini Raj---Health Magazine

1. Along with regular exercise, focus every day on maximizing the percentage (at least 50% or more) of your calories from whole, plant-based foods, still in nature’s package. 

2. Along with regular exercise, focus every day on maximizing the percentage (at least 50% or more) of your calories from whole, plant-based foods, still in nature’s package. 

40. Along with regular exercise, focus every day on maximizing the percentage (at least 50% or more) of your calories from whole, plant-based foods, still in nature’s package. 

 Clarity and Repetition; that’s all we need to change the world!

My son Jason, with his oldest son, Collin---at Wachusett Mountain, MA, on January 29, 2012.

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.

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

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 slopes of Okemo Mountain in Vermont – 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 Al Roker on Reversing Heart Disease; in search of clarity

  1. Kudos to J. Morris Hicks! His book remains an excellent summary of basics.
    So many wonderful resources are only a few keystrokes away for everyone!
    The concepts so well presented in the author’s writings need much repeating.

    I agree 100% with comments on “. . .in search of clarity” and related comments.
    One must start somewhere. How to deal with those innocent of China Study?
    It’s SAD seeing pop culture “healthy” recommendations recycled so often.
    It’s probably a waste of time to talk with those knowing so little about diet.

  2. Jim,

    The more you get into the mindset of the typical American, the more aware you become how difficult it is to get change to happen.

    I wonder what Al Roker is eating since his surgery? I would bet it’s not plant foods.

    Eat more broccoli

    Sal Liggieri

  3. Bill K. says:


    Unfortunetly, you are right on the mark. (this is one case when being right is wrong!)

    I have to say that you appear to have much more patients with the TV than I do. Between the weak advice on the news and the litany of drug commercials my blood pressure goes up just from that alone – no salt required.


  4. Pingback: Al Roker on Reversing Heart Disease; in search of clarity | J. Morris … - Coronary Heart Disease

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