Simple concept–flexible execution–powerful results
The 4Leaf concept originated in 2009, the logo was designed in 2010, it appeared in my blog in early 2011 and is featured in Chapter 10 of our book. So how did it begin?
When I first began studying all about the optimal diet for humans back in 2002, I discovered a great deal more confusion than clarity. From Atkins and Dukan on one end of the spectrum to Campbell, Esselstyn and the other plant-based medical doctors on the other end. I noticed that most “diet books” featured the name of the creator as the name of the diet—implying that his/her diet was the only “right way to eat.”
Even among my plant-based heroes, there was quite a bit of disagreement. And as we know, disagreement among the experts breeds more confusion for the public. So, I wanted to create something simple, positive, and flexible—yet powerful. And I wanted it to be built on the foundation of the common ground principles shared by ALL of the plant-based experts. I discovered that common ground in November of 2009 over breakfast at Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s home.
As we discussed, a truly healthy diet is all about what you ARE eating — not what you’re avoiding. And while we don’t recommend the consumption of any animal products, 4Leaf for Life is not necessarily vegetarian or vegan. After all, you could eat nothing but potato chips and Diet Coke and call yourself a vegetarian — but that would definitely not be a healthy diet.
As for that common ground, I suddenly realized that all of the plant-based medical doctors agreed with this simple statement by Dr. 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.
But how do you measure it? At first, I used the old fashioned way—I counted my calories for a few days and tweaked my meals until I was consistently eating at the 4Leaf level. But most people are not going to count calories; nor did I want “calorie counting” to be associated with the 4Leaf for Life way of eating. Counting calories is associated with “weight-loss diets” and we wanted 4Leaf to be known as a healthy way of thinking about food for the rest of your life.
So for two years, I thought about how we could easily estimate the 4Leaf level of an individual—quickly, easily, and accurately. Then after several attempts, I settled on what we now know as The 4Leaf Survey, which is also available in a daily reporting version. The 4Leaf Survey was launched on this website earlier this year and has now been taken almost 4,000 times in over 100 countries.
The Algorithm (the points earned for each selection) on the current one-page printed version is visible while the individual is taking the survey. In other words, you can see what points you’re going to gain or lose while you’re taking the survey.
But in the future, the survey will be administered via an APP on a computer or a smartphone—and the points for each answer will not be revealed. Instead, after answering the 12 multiple choice questions, a report will be emailed immediately with a full set of helpful tips for improving your score. In the meantime, you can easily see where you gained or lost points and what you can do to improve the score.
Flexibility is key in the mainstream. As we begin taking our 4Leaf for Life concept to corporate America in our consulting work, we’re finding that our clients really appreciate its flexibility. We realized early-on that we wouldn’t get to first base with most clients if we were talking about trying to sell their workforce on becoming vegetarians or vegans.
Most people don’t like anything that implies “all or nothing” and it seems that the V words carry a certain stigma that most people simply don’t like. But everyone seems to love the simplicity and flexibility of 4Leaf for Life (now a registered trademark)
For your convenience, I have provided below a list of forms, blogs and other information regarding 4Leaf for Life:
- 4Leaf Survey Instructions. Take the 4Leaf Survey
- The latest one-page survey (12-10-12) The 4Leaf Survey one-page PDF
- The daily reporting version of the 4Leaf Survey
- The 4Leaf Chart for your refrigerator (one page PDF)
- One page Why and How. 4Leaf Top Ten Lists — the “Why” and the “How”
- Improving your score. Using 4Leaf Survey results to improve your health
- Stand-alone 4Leaf website. www.4leafprogram.com
- Original March 2011 4Leaf blog. “4Leaf” eating…positive, simple, flexible and POWERFUL!
- How I became interested in learning about the optimal diet for humans. From Polo to Plant Food — My Story
The 4Leaf logo was designed by Thomas Mitchell of Lindberg Marketing & Media. We received the official registration certificate earlier this month.
Happy New Year!
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 email@example.com
International. We’re now reaching people in over 100 countries. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter or get daily blog notices by “following” us in the top of the right-hand column. For occasional updates, join our periodic mailing list.
To order more of my favorite books—visit our online BookStore now
Got a question? Let me hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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