And it may very well be the world’s first survey of its kind.
Twelve questions—2 or 3 minutes. A quick and easy way to estimate how healthy you are eating…without counting calories or computing percentages. (latest revision 3-26-12)
What are we measuring? The 4Leaf Program is based on the simple premise put forth by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, “The closer we get to eating a whole foods, plant-based diet, the better off we will be.” We know that the closest that we could possibly get would be 100% of our calories from those healthiest of foods.
So, for our 4Leaf Program, we set the top bar at 80%—meaning that if you consume 80% or more of your calories from whole plants, you’ll be eating at the 4Leaf level. From 60 to 79%, the score is 3Leaf and so forth. So where do most people score? How healthy is the typical Western diet?
Our standard American diet is not very healthy. Most people in the USA and other Western countries are consuming the very un-healthy “typical Western diet,” with meat, dairy, eggs and refined carbs at every meal. As you might guess, this harmful diet does not score well on our 4Leaf scale.
We see six overall levels of eating—with the majority of the people not yet eating at the higher end of the scale—beginning with the 2Leaf level. With more information, we find that most people will voluntarily make improvements in their diet. Here’s our estimate of how the population of the USA is currently eating:
- 4Leaf level—1% of the population (80 to 100% from whole plants)
- 3Leaf level—2% of the population (60 to 79% from whole plants)
- 2Leaf level—3% of the population (40 to 59% from whole plants)
- 1Leaf level—4% of the population (20 to 39% from whole plants)
- Better than Most—25% of the population (10 to 19% from whole plants)
- Unhealthy Diet—65% of the population (less than 10% from whole plants)
What about vegetarian? Is that 4Leaf? Not necessarily. Some vegans and vegetarians consume a very small percentage of their calories from whole plants. Although they’re not eating animal flesh, they’re getting most of their calories from refined carbohydrates (white pasta, bread, etc.), olive oil, cheese, salty snacks, soda—and none of those are health-promoting foods.
The key to vibrant health is consuming lots of the healthiest foods…whole plants.
Our survey measures what you ARE eating. It was designed to assess the approximate percentage of your calories that are derived from whole plants. The higher that percentage, the greater your chances of achieving vibrant health—while providing your body with the maximum amount of protection from chronic disease.
for a printer friendly one-page form, complete with scoring instructions. It takes less than five minutes.
Then send me your score, comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org Let me know how accurate you think it was in assessing your approximate 4Leaf level. Here are links to two more printer-friendly PDF one-pagers that might be helpful as you move up the 4Leaf scale:
Tips for improving your score. In a recent blog, I commented that the 12 survey questions provide valuable tips for moving up the 4Leaf scale. Take a look: Using 4Leaf Survey results to improve your diet & health
The Bottom Line. We know that everyone may not care about reaching the 4Leaf level of eating. But, for those who do, we think that this incredibly simple tool will help. Check out this feedback from a reader on 3-27-12, just two months after reading our book:
Mr. Hicks, It is with pleasure that I fill out the surveys again. We are now solid 3Leaf-ers and very proud! My husband, at first, was just a hostage to my cooking, but he has come around. He now orders only veggies even when we go out to dinner. I am totally committed.
We do still add milk to our coffee. It amounts to approx 4 TBS/day of 1%. We have switched to Almond Milk instead of dairy with meals. Our blood tests came back yesterday….my total cholesterol dropped 51 points from 202 to 151. Dave’s dropped from 182 to 159.
Since we read your book, our goal has been to eat better for ourselves and our planet. I think we are achieving this….even though I see spots that can certainly be improved upon. One is milk with coffee.
Thanks for the improved survey, it makes much more sense to me and enables me to see the “holes” that I need to fill. Best, Darcy
More help needed? For additional 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 after you take the survey 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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