I recorded two of your last five shows and watched both of them this week -- the visit at the Double RL Ranch with Ralph and your finale on May 25. Being a former senior executive working for Mr. Lauren, I particularly enjoyed your RL show. As for the finale, it was great to see you recognize the people who had really made a difference in your life -- and in so doing -- they made a difference in all of our lives. Also, thank you for sharing your personal email address -- a move that inspired this post on my daily blog.
Although not a very frequent viewer of your show for the past twenty-five years, you have nonetheless earned my respect. You have done so by having the courage to follow your own convictions and consistently tell the truth -- even when it meant getting sued by the Texas cattlemen for saying on your show, "I'll never eat another burger."
Like your co-defendant in that trial, Howard Lyman, you have both stood up for your beliefs -- and fearlessly accepted the risks that accompany same. And while you were simply doing what came natural for you -- being honest; that unvarnished integrity has fueled your rise to becoming perhaps the most influential person on this planet for the past quarter-century.
And, just because you're retiring, your ability to influence the world is not going to diminish anytime soon. After all, you are still Oprah -- a person with integrity coupled with an unprecedented ability to influence billions of people around the world.
So now that you are not distracted by the never-ending demands of a daily show, what better time to think about leveraging your powerful influence and focusing on a singular effort that can benefit humankind and our planet home more than any other? What am I talking about? From the Introduction to my about-to-be-released BenBella book, Healthy Eating - Healthy World...
In a nutshell, this book is all about the single most powerful move that we humans can make to promote our own health, reduce obesity, lower the cost of health care, nurture our fragile environment, conserve our energy resources, feed the world’s steadily growing population and greatly reduce the suffering of billions of animals throughout the world. Like a "blinding flash of the obvious," the single most viable solution to all these issues is an aggressive move in the direction of consuming much more whole, plant-based foods—not necessarily becoming vegetarian or vegan.
My primary objective in writing this book was to outline in simple everyday terms the extent of the problems we face along with an explanation of how this all happened— and what each of us can do to make things better. Fortunately, despite the incredible complexity of our current dilemma, the solution is refreshingly simple. All we have to do is educate ourselves, start making better choices in what we eat — then share all that we have learned with everyone that we care about. I am convinced that there has never been anything more important in the history of the world.
Now, I know all about the Vegan Challenge that you featured earlier this year; but I am talking about MUCH more than that. I am talking about THE Oprah Winfrey taking a personal stand and telling people all around the world the complete truth about the impact of our food choices on so many crucial issues -- beginning with our own health.
As you might have told Gene Siskel when he asked his famous question, these are crucial truths that we now "know for sure" -- but have not fully shared with the innocent public.
Unlike Dr. Oz (who owes his current fame and fortune to you), we can all trust you to consistently tell us what you really believe. Just recently, Dr. Oz featured Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and Dr. Neal Barnard on one show -- telling his audience about the scientifically and clinically proven power of whole plant foods to reverse chronic disease. Then, just a few days later, he sounded almost like a huckster as he shamelessly promoted the "Atkins-like" Dukan Diet that has become so popular in France. He left people everywhere wondering, "What does Dr. Oz really believe? What does he feed his own family? We want to trust him; after all, it was Oprah who introduced him to us."
I have been told that your good friend Kathy Freston may have introduced you to The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell. As you may know, it was one of the main books that influenced Bill Clinton to give up meat and dairy and to replace them with whole plants. If you're looking for a place to start your new "world-changing" project, I would recommend that you begin by carefully reading The China Study; then maybe you and Stedman should invite Dr. Campbell, Dr. Esselstyn, John Robbins and their wives over for dinner sometime soon.
Finally, I am pleased to add that Dr. Campbell and his son wrote the foreword to our book and that we have received endorsements from Dr. Esselstyn, Howard Lyman, the former cattle rancher (on your show), John Robbins, Kim Barnouin (co-author of Skinny Bitch), Alexandra Stoddard (author of Living a Beautiful Life), and a Fortune 100 CEO. Click here for a preview of our book, co-authored by my 37 year-old son, Jason (shown here).
Then, beyond our own health, there is the fragile health our precious environment. For a powerful illustration of what is at stake, you and Stedman might want to pop some corn and watch a powerful 2009 movie (HOME) that has been seen by over 500 million people around the world but not by that many Americans it seems. A very well-done movie by PPR and narrated by Glenn Close; one factoid grabbed me early and wouldn't let go:
In just the last fifty years, a mere blink of history, the human race has inflicted more damage on the fragile harmony of our planet than have ALL previous generations of humans for the last 200,000 years.
The movie also predicted that the deadly trend in which we find ourselves must be reversed in the next decade -- or it simply may be too late. Changing the way we eat in the west is probably the single most powerful move that we humans can make -- for many reasons. Without a doubt, jump-starting the process of reversing that deadly trend is a job for only one great leader -- and my vote goes to you -- the one and only Oprah.
Since you provided me with your email, I am going to give you my cell-phone number and will welcome a call from you anytime. 917-399-9700. From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day…
—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at healthyeatinghealthyworld.com