And a call for HELP from those who can make a difference
Addressed to nutritional scientists everywhere, today’s blog contains a letter that I plan to send to hundreds of professors of nutritional science around the United States. The idea to write such a letter evolved while I was composing my last three blogs:
My primary purpose in this letter is to ask our nation’s nutritional scientists for their help. Through no fault of their own, our feeding model in the western world has sprung a few serious leaks. While preparing my thoughts for my letter and considering the desired tone, I took a look at what I said about our overall “system” in Chapter 8 of our book:
This is not a story of conspiracy or of suspected misconduct on the part of any individual, company, institution, or branch of the government. This is a story of confusion that develops when an enormously complicated and interconnected group of organizations in a free market environment has zero financial incentive to promote the highest possible level of health.
My first letter is addressed to Dr. Nancy Rodriguez, Professor in the Department of Nutritional Science at the University of Connecticut. I chose her primarily because of her recent notoriety in the news and also because we reside in the same state.
I first saw Dr. Rodriguez on Larry King Live a few years ago and just last week, saw that she was featured in the Wall Street Journal article about the pros and cons of a vegan diet
In addition to this online version of my letter, I will send a hard copy today via USPS Priority Mail, along with a copy of our book to her office in the UConn Department of Nutritional Sciences in Storrs, CT.
September 25, 2012
Dear Dr. Rodriguez,
As a fellow resident of the great state of Connecticut and one who shares your interest of promoting health around the world, I am writing today to ask you for your help. I am writing to share with you my understanding of a global dilemma that I truly feel is the most important topic in the history of the human race.
I used to say that it was the most important topic in the history of the world, but then I realized that the world has been around for 4 billion years and we humans only 200,000 years. The planet has survived mass extinctions before and will continue to survive—even if we don’t. The question is whether she will be able to provide for the long-term sustainability of the human race.
First as an industrial engineer, and later as a senior business executive for over thirty years, it was always important to consider the “big picture” impact of any system that we might wish to change or improve. The overall topic for this letter is a critical look at the flawed feeding model that we have embraced in the western world.
How is it flawed? For starters, the way we’re currently eating is not working when it comes to our health. Consider that just 22 years ago, the U.S. obesity average was 12%. By 2005, it almost doubled to 23%. Today it stands at about 36% and is now projected by the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation to hit 44% by 2030. Concurrently, our cost of health care has risen sharply from 5.2% of GDP in 1960 to the 18% that we have today and is forecast to hit 31% by 2035.
In addition to our own health, we must also consider the other global consequences of what we choose to eat. The four most crucial issues to consider are world hunger, the shortage of clean water, the conservation of fossil fuels and the impact that raising of livestock has on global warming. From an engineering perspective, there is no way we could have developed a more inefficient, more harmful and more unsustainable way to feed ourselves. To sum it up, Philip Wollen stated in his powerfully moving video from down under recently,
“If everyone ate the way that we do here in the western world, we’d need two planet Earths to feed us all; we only have one, and she is dying.”
Please understand that I am not writing to criticize, but rather as an appeal for a collaborative effort to address some serious world issues while there is still time. Today, I write to request three things—that you read our 2011 book (enclosed), that you agree to meet with me in your office, and that you would consider having me as a guest lecturer in some of your classes at UConn.
I began my study of our global feeding model in 2002 and believe that I have now reached a totally unbiased conclusion of what has transpired—as only an outsider can do. As Dr. T. Colin Campbell stated in the foreword of our book regarding my “big picture” view of the world,
“Too often in a field of study, we rely solely on those people who have established themselves as the inside “experts.” Yet, sometimes the most interesting perspectives are those that come from outside the field. And this is the case here—Jim’s unique perspective has enabled him to tell a story in Healthy Eating, Healthy World that is informative, engaging, and compelling.”
In addition to reading the enclosed book, I encourage you to take a look around my blog-site at hpjmh.com. Since early 2011, I have posted 598 consecutive daily blogs—and all have something to do with my unique “big picture” view. Please call me at your convenience to discuss. You can reach me on my cell phone at 917-399-9700. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Best regards, J. Morris (Jim) Hicks, PO Box 823, Stonington, CT
PS: You should know by now that I have become a strong proponent of a whole foods, plant-based diet. Not because I am a scientist or a physician, but because from a comprehensive “big picture” perspective, it just makes sense.
Our proprietary 4Leaf Program was designed as a simple tool to help people maximize the percentage of their calories from whole plants; not necessarily becoming vegetarian or vegan. I am also on the board of directors of the T. Colin Campbell Foundation. For a preview of our book, click on the second link below.
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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Got a question? Let me hear from you at email@example.com. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.
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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