Sal asks, “What progress, if any, have you made?”

Sal Liggieri is a good friend who’s followed my work for years.

A candid shot of Sal Liggieri, as he ponders the extensive and exceptionally healthy menu at the Candle Cafe

A candid shot of Sal Liggieri, as he ponders the extensive and exceptionally healthy menu at the Candle Cafe

Now in his late eighties, he’s been commenting on my blogs longer than anyone and we have had several lively discussions over lunch in New York. A 25-year vegan himself, he has repeatedly told me that he’s never been able to influence a single individual to make a permanent change in their diet.

Convinced that the human race only has a few more decades to survive, he’s always asking why I am going to the trouble of doing what I do. Yesterday, he posted a comment on my blog—-inspiring me to reply. He wrote:

Hey Jim, how about updating us on what changes you see and what progress, if any, you have made?

From my part of the world, I see more fat and obese people, supermarkets are still bustling, restaurants are still feeding SAD . . . and the people are still lapping it up.

Change, how sweet the sound, but don’t worry America – your time will come – and then you will pay the piper. — Sal Liggieri

My reply. Hi Sal, Always good to hear from you—my good friend who’s probably read more of my blogs than anyone. So what progress have I made, you ask? Without meaning to toot my own horn, here’s my latest Top Ten List:

1. top 10 list 2010-resized-600.jpgSince launching this blog in 2011, I have heard directly from hundreds of people, many of them crediting me for saving their lives. Would you agree that saving just one life would justify the ten thousand hours I have devoted to my work since 2002?

2. Two of my most-viewed blogs are about health coaching: the first about the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and the other about the difficulty of making a living as a health coach. Each has been viewed thousands of times and has probably led many to choose Dr. Campbell’s eCornell course in plant-based nutrition over the IIN two-year health coaching program. What impact will that have? That’s what I call “unknowable” data at this point—but it could only be good, as almost half of the students are MDs or other medical practitioners, earning CME credits.

3. My two visits with James Cameron last year influenced him to launch a global awareness campaign promoting plant-based eating for health AND environmental reasons. My influence may also be seen in a few powerful SUSTAINABILITY messages within the three upcoming Avatar sequels—all of which will be seen by hundreds of millions of people. He also gave out 234 copies of our book to his closest friends and family last December. Who knows what positive impact that may have had?

Dr. Kerry Graff

Dr. Kerry Graff

4. One medical doctor in Canandaigua, NY (Finger Lakes) has printed hundreds of copies of my 4Leaf Survey and has given out over fifty copies of my book. Dr. Kerry Graff says that her use of the content on my website has been a “huge freaking success” with her patients.

5. I got a call yesterday from a medical doctor in Canada who’d found my material and wants to use my 4Leaf content in his transition from “sick-care” to true healthcare in his practice.

6. The eCornell plant-based online course is now using my 4Leaf Survey for ALL of the thousands of people who take that course every year. You can find it at

7. Just got an email this morning from someone who wants to advertise on my site. That tells me that my traffic is still growing. It will also enable me to continue making a living in a field of work that doesn’t pay very well.

8. Speaking of earning a living, I currently have four speaking gigs on my schedule during the next two months—the most ever. From a medical practice in New York, to a 22,000-student college in Colorado, to 220 middle-school students in Connecticut—-and finally, to a 10-day immersion retreat (220 people) in the Dominican Republic.

Focused on maximizing the percent of our calories from whole, plant-based foods.

Focused on maximizing the percent of our calories from whole, plant-based foods.

9. I have been instrumental in the launch of The Plantrician Project (, which is hosting the second annual international plant-based healthcare conference (for medical practitioners) in San Diego this week. Much of the content on their site originated in my blogs. This week, their conference is drawing over 400 people from 14 countries.

10. I recently met with THE leading First Amendment attorney in the country regarding an issue that could make a huge difference in the widespread distribution of the real truth about nutrition in this country—and abroad.

What progress, if any? Without my relentless blogging, writing, speaking and activism—none of the above would have happened.

  • Has it been worth my time? ABSOLUTELY!!
  • Has progress been slower that I would have liked? YES!
  • Do I get depressed from time to time? YES
  • Do I plan to stop what I am doing? NEVER!

    My six grandchildren. Peyton, Colin, Andrew, Cooper, Violet and Evvy

    My six grandchildren. clockwise from Peyton on left: Evvy, Viotet, Andrew, Cooper and Collin

Will my efforts and the efforts of many others be enough to save our civilization? That remains to be seen—and we won’t be around to find out.

But my six grandchildren (and their children) will be. And, regardless what happens, they will all know that their GranBuddy gave it his best shot.

Let’s have lunch in New York soon. Your friend, Jim

PS: What changes do I see? Not nearly enough, but more and more people are talking about the importance of food choices—and we’ll eventually reach a critical mass. Remember, the percent of the population needed to start a revolution is a lot closer to 10% than it is to 50%.

The following five books and one DVD can be purchased on Amazon for a grand total of less than $60—and will enable you to understand the overwhelming challenges we face—along with the single most-powerful solution of all.

Six-Pack from Hicks—for health, hope & harmony on planet Earth

  1. Healthy Eating, Healthy WorldThe “big picture” about food (our book)
  2. A life changer for millions, including James Cameron. Forks Over Knives DVD 
  3. An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell; the primary book that influenced Bill Clinton to adopt a whole food, plant-based diet.
  4. What have we done to our planet? Full Planet, Empty Plates by Lester Brown
  5. A horrifying wake-up call for leaders. TEN BILLION by Dr. Stephen Emmott
  6. Food choices are the primary cause of our environmental problems, yet our world leaders, scientists & experts are Comfortably Unawareby Richard Oppenlander.

Why should we be eating mostly plants? The “big picture” in 4 minutes.

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Survey. It takes 2 or 3 minutes and you can score it yourself. eCornell is now using our survey in their plant-based nutrition course. Check it out on your smartphone at Send feedback to

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.

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

To order more of my favorite books—visit our online BookStore now For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, visit our 4Leaf page and also enjoy some great recipes from Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member since 2012; click banner for more info:

Nutrition Certificate

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.
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13 Responses to Sal asks, “What progress, if any, have you made?”

  1. Arthur Brooke says:

    Went online to my local library to see if they had a copy of your book. No. So I took them one, and asked if they would consider shelving it. The librarian checked some screens, discovered that neighboring Vancouver had 8 copies, accepted it, and promised to get some more.
    Keep up the great work, never lose hope! ab

  2. Linda Dale says:

    And Jim, thank you for all you continue to do! I continue to recommend your book. Have you seen Cowspiracy yet?

  3. Nivien Saleh says:

    Hi Jim, going over your blog post made me smile – I was one of the thousands of people who read your post on the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I found it very helpful, and it guided me to the rest of your blog and your book. Don’t let the moments of temporary depression get the better of you – what you do is important, and the successes you list above are impressive!

  4. CJ says:

    Truly inspirational work and writing, Jim. As always, thank you for all you do!

  5. Sal Liggieri says:


    Let me tell you about two pathetic stories from my family:

    1. Bobby – age 65.

    He is morbidly obese, with diabetes that is out of control. Three years ago he had quadruple bypass surgery but made no change in his lifestyle. I kept warning him to change his food but his cheeseburgers kept smiling at him. About six months ago his body became overwhelmed with an infection (sepsis). He was put in a medically induced coma to fight the infection for 37 days. He was then brought out of the coma and apparently cured from the infection. In the interim he lost a lot of weight while in the coma, but to no avail as he has gained it all back plus since released from the hospital.

    Has he seen the light – yes he has. He now eats 1/2 gallon of ice cream with jelly beans at a time and raves that it’s his favorite desert. Last week he had to go back into the hospital. It appears his favorite desert has affected his heart. He needed open heart surgery again, this time to replace two heart valves that were not working. His heart developed an arrhythmia after the valve replacements necessitating a pacemaker to be installed. He is still in the hospital.

    He does not know the meaning of change. He believes that pharmaceutical drugs will keep him alive and well. The piper is calling out to him . . . he will get what he deserves . . . early death.

    2. John – age 76

    This story is equally as tragic. Three years ago he and his wife, both obese, attended the McDougall ten day program with me and my wife at Santa Rosa, California. After ten days of lectures and ten days of plant based foods, the first thing he requested to eat on the flight back was a cheeseburger with french fries. That’s the way to go Dr McDougall, another successful WFPB convert.

    It is now three years later and he still hasn’t eaten a vegetable. Broccoli to him is a foreign language, he only eats American. Well now the piper has called him in. His American style body has made him pay the price. He is incontinent, he has advanced dementia, he can’t walk, he can’t talk – not exactly a robust example of bustling health.

    Yes Dr McDougall, you are so right . . . you are what you eat.

    • Linda Dale says:

      I’m sorry to hear about your family members, Sal. How frustrating and disappointing for you. I keep gently providing information to my family and did convince a vegetarian sister to go vegan. However, I have had quite a bit more success with people to whom I’m not related. In just the last year, I have “converted” three people and right now I’m working with my contractor who is beyond excited about changing his diet and is the last person I ever thought would do so. One of my old high school friends, who was a Type 2 diabetic on insulin and metformin, and who also had heart disease, has lost 75 pounds in 6 months as a result of my daily mentoring. He is off all his diabetes medication and three of his four heart medications. HIs blood pressure is normal now, even though he still has another 40 lbs. to lose. A female friend has lost 45 pounds and is off all her medications and has never felt this good as an adult. I plant seeds whenever I feel it’s remotely appropriate. And, I wear a “Vegan” or “Cruelty-Free” necklace at all times, which prompts many people to ask questions. Keep trying. You never know when you’ll influence someone, possibly a stranger.

  6. Robert Thatcher says:

    Jim – your blog has been a great support to me. I’m constantly forwarding your message to friends and grateful for it when I think I’m going crazy eating differently than everyone around me. Interestingly, Oceanographer Sylvia Earle mentioned James Cameron’s plant-based influence (and by extension your influence) in an August Weekend Edition about the new Netflix documentary “Mission Blue” and her efforts to save the oceans. Sylvia gets the connection. Here’s an excerpt from near the end of the interview.

    Bob Edwards: “Do you eat fish?”

    Sylvia Earle: “No, I don’t eat fish anymore. I used to before I know what I know. It’s not hard to change once you understand. One of the most important things we can do is to eat lower on the food chain – and mostly plants. Anybody who really looks into this will tell you. James Cameron, one of my heroes, makes no bones about it. He made the shift to a plant-based diet because he said it’s one way that makes him a healthier person and helps make a healthier planet.”

  7. To more-quickly help persons go to WFPB nutrition — point them here!

    Video: Practical Nutritional Medicine – “Paleo-Guys/Gals” – Listen, learn – avoid future diseases

    “Practical Nutritional Medicine: Putting Hippocrates’ Advice to Work to Treat Today’s Diseases” is an 84-minute video of Dr. Michael Klaper’s presentation at Dr. McDougall’s Advanced Study Weekend in Santa Rosa, California on September 8, 2013.”

  8. maule5662h says:

    I will post a link to this blog on my Facebook site.

    Sal & Jim – I, too, have successfully guided many persons to the most healthful WFPB NUTRITION!

    One good example: Pointed a friend to TrueNorth Health Center to quickly and best get healthier. He went – I decided to go with him for a tune-up!! Great results for both of us! Just 7 days last week – Check out

  9. Joanne Irwin says:

    Jim, the positive difference you are making is astounding. The beautiful Scripture writing, “There is a time for every purpose under heaven” reminds us that when we follow our bliss and ‘do’ our calling, we must also trust in the right time for fruition. We never know when and how the seeds will germinate. The blooming is already happening! see it on so many fronts. In Naples, FL the CEO of Naples Community Healthcare is attempting to have Naples designated as a ‘Blue Zone’. Finally, the hospital is on board with plant based nutrition. On Cape Cod, my home, I have met with the Chief Operating Officer of our large Health Care system, the Director of Cancer Services, and the Social worker in charge of our Cancer Center’s survivorship program, and finally, after knocking on their door for years, they are submitting a grant to fund my Food for Life Program.
    Though I’d love to have every living being embrace a whole foods, plant based lifestyle, we must keep our eyes on the positive changes, and trust that this paradigm shift chugs along and picks up speed!
    Jim, the list of accomplishments you enumerated is impressive. I would add, too, the friends you’ve made along the way. I count that as one of the blessings of my work for PCRM – meeting so many courageous, beautiful people who are open and eager to take back their health for their personal sake and that of our planet.
    Much success with all your speaking engagements. Keep sprinkling that plant based dust as you traverse the planet!

  10. Mimi McGee says:

    Yay Jim!! Keep up the great work! I surely see more people interested in trying to make positive plant forward choices in their diets and now have several doctors referring patients to me, especially after the KP announcement in May 2013. As for the environmental aspect, well, I have a speaking engagement coming up this fall for an Eco Kecture series in Coastal GA. When I first moved to GA, there was hardly anyone even thinking about the environment never mind how our food choices might impact it! We are making a change!!

  11. Are you going to be at the People’s Climate March on Sunday in NYC? There are 15 buses coming from Vermont and MANY of the folks are VEGANS… there will be a large vegan contingency present to make sure folks know that EATING ANIMALS is the #1 contributor to global depletion and climate change.

    *Beth Perera* *Certified in Plant-Based Nutrition* * * *(802) 342-2946*

    Like my Facebook page

    ******************************************************** *Healthy Home: Cleaning without Chemicals:*

    On Wed, Sep 17, 2014 at 5:49 AM, J. Morris Hicks, writer. speaker.

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