Anytime, Anyplace—Even on Labor Day Weekend–I recently received this note from a reader in the Philippines. I responded by including a re-cap of my fine dining on the road this past weekend. First the note from Leo:
Today I’m one year eating plant based with minimal use of oils and fats. I live in the Philippines and I can tell you that I am suffering. There is hardly any place outside our home where I can eat a good vegan meal. Many of my friends argue always about my exaggerated request for healthy food.
The reasons for my choice are basically the wish for long term health. After reading many books including yours about plant based diet, I decided to give it a try. After one year on a strict diet I have no complaints about my health, I lost some weight and the numbers are good, but I feel that the quality of life and the pleasure of eating out and socializing with friends has suffered and I miss that. So I am contemplating adding back some non vegan dishes which I enjoyed before I started.
Why do I write to you? I am not sure, but I guess I am feeling somewhat guilty that despite reading your daily blog, which reminds me often why I am following this diet, I decide to go a slightly different way.
Thank you for the daily inspiration, I have a lot of respect for your perseverance! Regards, Leo
Thanks for sharing your story. So you can’t get fresh veggies in the restaurants of Manila? Isn’t the native Filipino food similar to Chinese? Aren’t there a lot of veggie dishes on most Asian menus?
As you may know, I am not a strict vegan. I don’t like the label. But I am a 4Leaf eater and bet that I eat a much healthier diet than over 90% of the so-called vegans.
As for wiggle room, this past Saturday night at a gala dinner dance in New Jersey, I had a small portion of lobster with my dinner. As I always say, I never plan to have any animal products and I never buy them, but occasionally I may choose to have a few bites. Everyone must chart their own course, and I have found that most people are not crazy about the “all or nothing” rule for any diet-style.
Healthy lunch in a pub. Earlier that day at a burger-type dockside grille, I ordered a big bowl of edamame, a side order of sautéed spinach and a bake potato with no butter or sour cream. Washed it down with a bottle of Budweiser. Delicious, enjoyable, filling and inexpensive.
The next day at Dishes to Go in Grand Central Station, NYC, for lunch I had three small dishes: quinoa salad, kale salad with edamame, and roasted cauliflower. Outstanding. Here’s a photo of this meal that cost a grand total of $8.85 (including tax):
The Bottom Line. Our 4Leaf Program is all about maximizing the percentage of whole plant calories in your diet. While there is no scientific proof as to what percentage level will reverse heart disease or prevent cancer, I believe that a solid 3Leaf diet-style (over 60% of calories from whole plants) is far healthier than the typical vegan diet of fake meat, fake cheese, chips, sodas and lots of oil, sugar and a plethora of highly-refined carbohydrates. Two words. Whole plants. And keep on having fun.
Best of luck to you Leo and thanks again for sharing. Be well, Jim Hicks
Here are a few other 4Leaf focused blogs that may be of help.
- Eating a near optimal “4-Leaf” diet…in a toxic world
- Unsupportive spouse…single biggest challenge to “4-Leaf”
- Celebration! not deprivation…the complete joy of eating
- “Vibrant health” via the simplicity of 4Leaf
- Keeping it simple with 4Leaf
This is what I plant to be doing on this holiday in New England.
Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com
- The movie that’s changing the lives of millions: Forks Over Knives DVD
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The “big picture” about food (our book)
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- Dr. McDougall’s new book, The Starch Solution, with lots of great recipes.
Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Diagnostic Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.
—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation