Learning from the “dairies to berries” project in Finland…


…about how “real” dietary guidelines can work in the USA

Cow’s milk & other dairy products promote disease. So let’s have less dairy farms.

Last week, Dr. Michael Greger posted a video (see below) that inspired this blog. He started out by asking why we even care what the official U.S. dietary guidelines are? The answer was that they actually can work—if they are based on the truth about nutrition.

He then illustrated his point by telling a well-researched story about what happened in Finland once they got serious about reducing the causes of heart disease for the general public. One such effort was called the “Berry Project,” and was designed to help farmers convert from dairy farming to berry farming. From dairies to berries, if you will.

Berries promote health…so the Fins converted “dairies to berries.”

The project produced incredibly remarkable results—reducing cardiac death by 80% and other death causes by 45%—throughout the entire country. Dr. Greger explains all of this in the 2-minute video shown here.

His point at the end was that the USA has now become the world leader in heart disease—due in part to our nation’s failure to adopt real, health-promoting dietary guidelines. Just think what would happen if we followed Finland’s lead and told all our citizens how to promote health with their food choices.

Dr. Michael Greger — on Nutritionfacts.org

What about businesses? If our government won’t publish those real guidelines, then maybe the CEOs of America can tackle our crippling healthcare problem with a different approach. The CEOs of all large businesses have a powerful financial incentive for their employees to be healthy—and that incentive keeps getting more powerful.

An integral part of helping employees become healthy is for the business leaders to invest in health-promoting dietary education for everyone who works for them. By publishing real dietary guidelines within the business, the employees will be able to hear this “controversial” information from someone they trust—their senior management team that has an incentive for them to be healthy.

Election day and my consecutive daily blog #640—with numerals from our most pivotal swing state, OHIO.

The Bottom Line. More reasons for success in businesses. In addition to publishing the real dietary guidelines, I can think of five more reasons why the plant-based food component of “corporate wellness” has great chances for success:

  1. Education. Paid for by the company and delivered on company time.
  2. Leadership. Senior executives who are strongly emphasizing the crucial importance of a healthy diet when it comes to promoting health.
  3. Peer Support. All interested employees can be assigned to small teams for 3 to 5 people and will provide help, support and follow up for each other. They will be accountable to individuals in their workplace—other than their bosses.
  4. Incentives. The senior leaders are always in a position to make it attractive to adopt a healthier diet. These incentives can be financial and/or they can offer recognition or special privileges for people who get healthy.
  5. GREEN. Almost all companies have a green initiative these days—and want to be considered GREEN by the public. By publicizing the fact that eating whole plants is by far the single most powerful step that we all can take to preserve our environment and conserve our finite limited natural resources—the company can be a true leader in this important arena.

Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com

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 jmorrishicks@me.com

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

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 jmorrishicks@me.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

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.
This entry was posted in Corporate Wellness, Food Policy. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Learning from the “dairies to berries” project in Finland…

  1. Leo S. says:

    Recently articles were written about how difficult it is for dairy farms in the U.S. to continue without going out of business. Maybe they should also consider changing to berry farming or growing other foods that are more healthful.

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