If you’ve eaten at the you may have noticed a menu option entitled, “The Hicks Special,” described as “today’s vegetarian offering.” The SHYC named the dish after Stonington resident Jim Hicks, who recently wrote a book about his diet and how it affects his health and the environment.
“No one eats the way I do,” Hicks said.
Maybe not yet, but Hicks hopes after his book Healthy Eating Healthy World is published in October more people may consider eating the way he does.
Healthy Eating Healthy World is a look at our health, our food, the world, and how diets based on plants could make those three things sustainable and healthier.
One of former President Bill Clinton’s 1993 consulting physicians, Dr. Dean Ornish, describes the book: "in a nutshell, this book is all about this book is all about the single most powerful move that we humans can make to promote 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 animals in factory farms all over the world.”
Hicks said his book is bite-sized pieces on how what we eat affects our health and the world. There are chapters focused on health, the environment, the dependence of fossil fuels to feed the world and also world hunger.
About eight years ago Hicks began studying plant-based diets for health reasons and through it he became an environmentalist.
“I’m trying to be a responsible citizen of the environment,” Hicks said, adding that the current food system in his opinion is totally unsustainable.
Hicks has been blogging about his research and his lifestyle change at hpjmph.com and also on .
During his research Hicks was surprised to learn that while 3 percent of the general public describe themselves as vegetarians, 18 percent of college-age students do.
“What is driving college kids—it’s animals, health and environment,” Hicks said. “Younger people get it a whole lot quicker.”
But Hicks has hopes for the older generations, saying that in Stonington people are gradually accepting the way he eats and willing to give “The Hicks Special,” a try.
“A good chef can make anything taste good,” said Hicks who in addition to his special at the SHYC will walk into , tell the waiters to let the chef know he is there and then wait for his plant-based dish to arrive.
In the book, Hicks describes a plant-based diet as a four-leaf clover where each leaf represents a different percentage and a step towards a greater plant based-diet.
Hicks said the average American eats less than 10 percent plants as it is now and he wanted to the book and the four-leaf program he described in it to be positive, simple, and helpful without intimidating people to switch right away to fully based-plant diet.