Baby steps or rapid move to optimal diet?

The 4Leaf brain-trust is unanimous on this one.

As you probably know, we didn’t create our 4Leaf Program in a vacuum. It as based on the common ground knowledge and advice of Dr. T. Colin Campbell and the five pioneering medical doctors featured in Chapter 1 of our book: Caldwell Esselstyn, Dean Ornish, John McDougall, Joel Fuhrman and Neal Barnard. Regarding the optimal diet, all of them agree with this statement by the author of The China Study:

Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of “The China Study”

“The closer we get to eating a whole foods, plant-based diet, the better off we will be. “—-T. Colin Campbell, PhD

We like to look at that statement as something like the North star or the guiding light for the optimal diet. Each individual will then decide how close they wish to get to that optimal way of eating.

Topic of the day—how fast? Okay, you have decided that you want to achieve vibrant health. Should you start out by adding a few fruits and vegetables to your diet and gradually working your way up the 4Leaf scale? Or should you jump in the deep in of the pool and start swimming with all you’ve got? Should you take baby-steps or should you go all the way from the beginning? From Chapter 9 of our book, consider the following statements from our experts:

Baby Steps — a great way to learn how to walk; not such a great way to make huge changes in the way you eat

Dr. John McDougallIf you are sincere about making the change, do so with 100% of your effort. Many people feel that it would be easier for them to slide into this diet plan gradually. Unfortunately, we seldom manage to discard old ways and old established tastes unless 100% of our effort is devoted to the change and unless, from the beginning, we make a clear break from our old behavior. A smoker who cuts down to four cigarettes a day only goes through slow torture and rarely quits completely.

Dr. Dean OrnishIn our research, we learned that it is often easier for people to make comprehensive changes in diet and lifestyle than to make only moderate ones. At first, this may seem like a paradox, but it makes sense when you understand why. If you make only moderate changes in lifestyle—then you have the worst of both worlds. You feel deprived and hungry because you are not eating everything you want and are used to, but you’re not making changes big enough to feel that much better or to significantly affect your weight or how you feel, your cholesterol, blood pressure, or heart disease.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell: Following this diet requires a radical shift in your thinking about food. It’s more work to just do it halfway. If you plan for animal-based products, you’ll eat them—and you’ll almost certainly eat more than you should . . . You’ll feel deprived. Instead of viewing your new food habit as being able to eat all the plant-based food you want, you’ll be seeing it in terms of having to limit yourself, which is not conducive to staying on the diet long-term.

In addition to the above, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn sums up his advice on this subject in just two words: “Moderation Kills.” While we have seen exceptions, our observations are that the greater your commitment to the 4Leaf diet style in the beginning, the greater the likelihood that your healthier eating habits will be permanent—and the greater the likelihood that you will achieve and maintain the lifelong benefits of vibrant health.

Why not start by taking our five-minute 4Leaf Survey?

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Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen. Got a question? Let me hear from you at

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

One of the highlights of my trip to Atlanta was visiting with the Rainer family at their lovely home in Buckhead — with my daughter Diana.

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

My final blog from the great state of Georgia – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at

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J. Morris Hicks — Member of the Board of Directors — Click image to visit the foundation website.

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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3 Responses to Baby steps or rapid move to optimal diet?

  1. “A DIET FOR ALL REASONS!” — by Dr. Michael Klaper

    Look – the 20-year old video, 54 minutes long, is on-line, for your viewing education!

    Dr. Klaper is now at True North Health Clinic in Santa Rosa CA.

    A Diet For All Reasons – Michael Klaper MD

    Uploaded on Aug 16, 2010 / 3718 views / 7585 impressions / 3 comments

  2. This is so simple — eat the plant-based diet that you are designed for!

    This is, as Dr. Klaper presented in his 1992 VHS video —

    “A Diet For All Reasons!”

    These are the experts in the trenches helping people get well, for 30+ years!!!!

    By the way, doing a supervised water-only fast really accelerates your switching to the plant-strong program.

  3. I agree: commitment to plant foods has to be total. Moderation doesn’t work; what is moderate today may be excess tomorrow. And just how do you define moderation? Is eating 1/2 of a cow moderate?

    To all people: It’s your life, eat what you want, you will get what you deserve.

    The knowledge is there . . . eat plant foods!

    Sal Liggieri

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