Monday—March 19, 2012. That was the day that my first article was published on The Food Channel at http://www.foodchannel.com. I have included that article below for your convenience, but first I wanted to describe more about how these articles will differ from the 412 that I have already posted on this site.
Addressing the “Mainstream.” As a regular guest correspondent for The Food Channel, I will be writing a weekly column—a great opportunity to reach “mainstream” people everywhere. By mainstream, I am talking about the 90 percent of Americans who have placed no dietary restrictions on themselves. As long as it tastes good, they will eat almost anything—all the while thinking that they are eating a fairly healthy diet.
Sadly, our overall “system” of government, food industry, medicine, pharmaceuticals, and media has kept the public in the dark and forever confused when it comes to what we should be eating. Consumers hear conflicting information everyday, so ultimately just decide to continue eating whatever tastes good to them or whatever their kids are asking for every evening for dinner.
But the owners and editorial staff of The Food Channel know that there are emerging trends in food that are important for their readers to understand. And with 400,000 visitors everyday, they have provided me with a huge opportunity to share our life-saving message with thousands of people everywhere who may be hearing this message for the first time.
With that in mind, you’ll understand why my “voice” may appear a little different on The Food Channel as I introduce this new audience to the awesome power of plant-based nutrition.
If you have friends or family that you’d like to “gently” introduce to plant-based eating, you may want to refer them to foodchannel.com and look for me on the News & Opinion page. The editors provided this introduction to my first piece:
At The Food Channel, we receive many requests for more information about healthy eating. We’ve invited this author to provide his perspective.
Healthier than Vegan!
by J. Morris Hicks
Every week we hear of another celebrity that has decided to adopt a vegan diet-style: Bill Clinton, Venus Williams, and Brad Pitt—to name a few. They typically make the switch for moral, environmental or health reasons. But is their vegan diet really healthier? That’s hard to say because we really don’t know what they ARE eating—as the definition of vegan only implies what they are avoiding.
Ask any vegan what they eat and they’ll likely begin with a list of what they don’t eat—meat, dairy, eggs, fish, etc. But unless we know what they ARE eating, we won’t have a clue how healthy their new dietary regimen truly is. For all we know, they may be pigging out on edible food-like substances: french fries, corn chips, sugary sweets, white pasta, bread dipped in olive oil, and Diet Coke; not “real food” as Michael Pollan (In Defense of Food) would say.
My observation is that many vegans eat a very unhealthy diet compared to the optimal diet for humans. For that definition, I refer to the wisdom of Dr. T. Colin Campbell of Cornell (The China Study): “The closer we get to a diet of whole, plant-based foods, the better off we will be.” Like our ancestors in the wild and the strongest animals in the world, our optimal diet simply means deriving 100% of our calories from whole, un-refined plants—still in Nature’s package.
So, how is the typical American doing on Dr. Campbell’s scale? Not so great. On average, we derive far less than 10 percent of our calories from whole plants. The vegetarians and vegans among us are probably consuming more, but I would bet that even their number is less than 20 percent? And that’s why many vegetarians get fat.
So what is much healthier than vegan? In our book, Healthy Eating, Healthy World, we describe it as the 4Leaf Program—leveraging the simple, yet powerful concept of maximizing the percent of your calories from whole plants. We shoot for 80% or more—and it’s not necessarily vegan or vegetarian. As Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of Eat to Live, says, “Following a strict vegetarian diet is not as important as eating a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables.”
Want to take charge of your own health? You can learn how to do just that by following the simple 4Leaf Program guidelines. Be well with vibrant health, J. Morris Hicks
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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 email@example.com.
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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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