Next “Vital Sign” in Medicine?

Could what we eat be more important to our health than not smoking?

Survey Image jpg How HealthyThe U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that poor diet is as harmful to health as is smoking. Yet, while smoking status is routinely assessed at every patient visit, evaluation of dietary health is neglected because a quick tool to assess its status has been lacking. Until now.

The simple 4Leaf Survey can be completed by patients in two minutes or less. Then, the 4Leaf score that is generated serves as a dietary vital sign, assessing the healthfulness of each patient’s diet. What does that mean?

Simply that, as the 4Leaf score goes up, the patient gets better. A family physician in Arkansas, Dr. Jim Sheppard, has used the survey in his practice since 2016 and made this prediction early in 2019:

I am convinced that within ten years, some indicator of nutritional excellence will be an official vital sign in mainstream healthcare around the world. It will either be the 4Leaf Survey score or it will be something similar…a simple, quick and easy tool that helps motivate patients to pay attention to the absolute best action they can take to promote their own health–Add more whole plants to their diet.

When patients choose more whole plants in their diet, their 4Leaf Survey scores go up and their health improves in a myriad of areas: Blood pressure, total cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, erectile dysfunction and/or many others. At a certain point, there is really no reason for the patient to be regularly visiting the doctor.

Without a doubt, the future of medicine will include a great deal of focus on what we put on our forks. In fact, it has already begun all over the world, with almost 1200 (in just the USA) now appearing on’s database at Many doctors both in the USA and abroad are now using our 4Leaf Survey, which is available in a total of eight languages: English, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese.

It’s truly gratifying to see many primary care, mainstream physicians, who are fed up with “disease management,” now embracing a whole new way of practicing medicine. They are now harnessing the power of food to reverse disease and promote health.

They are giving their patients our 4Leaf Survey and using the results as a motivational tool to help their patients begin adding more whole plants to their diet.

These doctors are top notch physicians with degrees from the best schools like Yale, Columbia, NYU and Cornell, and they’re practicing medicine at places like Bellevue Hospital in New York and Kaiser Permanente in California. Many of them have already started using our 4Leaf Survey score as the new vital sign of healthful eating that trumps everything else when it comes to promoting health.

“When diet and exercise are not enough…” How many times have you heard this phrase during TV commercials advertising a never-ending stream of drugs?

“When diet and exercise aren’t enough, ask your doctor if our new drug is right for you.”

The problem is that, up until now, medical doctors rarely told patients anything at all about the most important word in that phrase: DIET! (let alone what constitutes a healthy one). Like almost everyone else in the developed world, our medical professionals have never been taught what constitutes an optimal diet or how crucial it is to human health. But that sad fact is about to change.

Physicians now have a powerful tool. It all starts with the 4Leaf Survey. While waiting to see the doctor, the patient takes the one page survey. That’s when the average patient first realizes that he/she is eating nowhere near an optimal diet, with most scoring below the 1Leaf level.

Does your doctor know how to reverse heart disease?

Food is about to become a huge part of healthcare.

Reviewing with the provider. The patient then reviews the survey with the medical provider. They are given handouts to explain the various leaf levels and suggestions as to how to improve their score* and, more importantly, their health.

In addition, they are sent home with a daily version of the survey and a tracking form to use to monitor their progress. (All of these forms can be found under the “4Leaf Toolkit” tab at

Engaging the patient in the process. This is the secret behind the use of the 4Leaf Survey. It is a simple tool that gets the patients actively engaged in the process of taking charge of their health. With the survey, they can easily see where they are losing points and can quickly begin replacing some of their “negative” points with “plus” points that accompany the whole, plant-based foods.

More calories from whole plants; less from everything else. How simple is that?

More calories from whole plants; less from everything else. How simple is that?

Next comes meal planning. The key is replacing animal-based and highly processed foods with whole plants. With the handy tools found on, the patient begins by working on transforming all of their “routine” meals to the 4Leaf level.

4Leaf eating works fast. Whenever someone at the 1Leaf level or lower begins to eat at the 3Leaf or 4Leaf level, he/she can expect to see rapid improvements, including weight loss, more energy and a sharp reduction in the requirement for prescription drugs–a fact that prompted us to include this statement in our book:

CAUTION. Eating the 4Leaf way may quickly decrease your need for medications. You should tell your physician what you’re doing. If he/she is not familiar with, or skeptical of, this eating-style, please direct him or her to and

AZ jpg Book AdHighly efficient. For the healthcare professional who is more interested in promoting health than in managing disease, there is no more efficient process to evaluate diet and promote improvement than 4Leaf for Life. Simple + effective + low cost + fast = very high value.

By prescribing the 4Leaf Survey, the many helpful tools on this website and our 2015 book, “4Leaf Guide to Vibrant Health,” physicians can facilitate huge improvements in the health of their patients with very little expense (or time) expended by the patient or the physician.

Like we said earlier, If your doctor is not familiar with, or skeptical of, this eating-style, please direct him or her to and

Interested in becoming a licensed 4Leaf practitioner? Contact J. Morris Hicks at

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