• We See You, Not the Disease!


    If you are looking for a physician that sees you rather than your disease, stop by Rochester Clinic and meet Dr. Harman, family practice physician and Dr. Jengyu Lai, doctor of podiatry medicine. Together, these two physicians have over 50 years of experience helping patients live healthier, longer lives. 

Join us for our Food For Thought event!

Wednesday, October 11th, 6-7:00 pm
The Place at Boys and Girls Club
1026 East Center St., Rochester, MN
RSVP via our Facebook event page!
Have you heard of our sister organization, the Lotus Health Foundation? We encourage you to take a moment and watch the video to understand what the LHF is all about!

Interested in what others are saying? We have more testimonial clips here.

Curious to know more about the Lotus Health Foundation? Click the logo below to visit the site.

Like what you see? Join our team!
We are looking to hire a medical assistant and dietitian! For more information,
please contact Mei at Careers@RochesterClinic.com

Welcome Pipe Trades Members!

Rochester Clinic is effectively serving as Pipe Trades Services MN's Rochester site! We offer the same services including a few extra, while using the same billing system that makes PTSMN so unique. For more information on our list of services for PTSMN members, click here. Interested in what Pipe Trades is all about? Click here.
Our next Community of Wellness event is coming March 9th to 17th of 2018.
For additional info on what Community of Wellness is all about, click here.

News / Blogs

By Kayley Gamm 28 Dec, 2016

 With the CHIP program, our participants are able to do some really fun things. One of the favorite activities of the participants is the grocery store tours. Throughout the program we were able to tour at both HyVee on 37th St and Costco.

 Taking a tour of the place you shop is a great way to get to know new products and gain confidence to branch out and try different foods. A lot of times when we go grocery shopping, myself included, we get into a habit and pick up the same things every time. Even when we are trying to make a conscious effort to be healthier, by the time we set foot in the grocery store, we have so many other things on our minds, the last thing we want to do is take our time and look for new things.

            When I go grocery shopping, there are a few things that I do to help me make the best choices:

  1. I always am prepared with a list and make sure I am not hungry when I shop. This eliminates the urge to impulse buy something that not may be the best choice.
  2. When I have a little more time, I move around the store in the opposite direction. Most stores are set up in a way that when you walk in, you immediately are in the produce section and then the bread section, then the meat section and so on and so forth. When I walk in the opposite direction, I am not only piling my fresh produce at the top of my cart, but it throws me off my routine, making me think more about what I am putting in my cart.
  3. I am sure everyone has heard this, but it is tried and true: shop the perimeter of the grocery store for the bulk of your items- heading into the aisles only for things like whole grains, beans and no-added-salt cans of tomatoes, soup, etc.

            Kelly Melhorn, the dietitian at Hy-Vee on 37th St, gave us a wonderful tour. If you shop at Hy-Vee, I would highly recommend taking a tour of your store with their dietitian. The tours are free and very informative. I try to take tours every so often, just to get an idea of what foods are out there. Kelly brought us through the produce section and taught us about the large selection of squash that is available. We also spent some time in the bakery and I was pleased to learn about the whole grain bread that they have to offer. Kelly will put a purple Dietitian’s Choice sticker on the 100% whole wheat bread, so that it is easy to spot.

We spent some time in the aisles where she pointed out some of the best choices for canned beans and vegetables, low sodium sauces and some healthier choices for those who are on the run. We finished up in the health section. In this section it is still important to read labels and think about what you pick up. Some of those items use words like gluten free and organic, but are not always the healthiest.

            At Costco our guide led us through the expansive produce section, pointing out that the majority of all their items are organic. The cool thing about Costco is that they are working on getting locally sourced and made foods to the store, so some of the produce that you see is actually grown in Minnesota.

            She also took us through the dry food aisles and the frozen vegetable section, pointing out some of the healthiest choices. Some of the favorites that popped out to me were the dry quinoa and brown rice blend, the peanut butter powder and the raw nuts.

            I would highly recommend taking a time to look at your grocery store, whether it is by a guided tour or alone. Getting to know what is usually in each aisle will be able to help you plan your meals and your grocery list better, and in general, make grocery shopping a more pleasurable experience.

By Kayley Gamm 23 Dec, 2016

 When we think of the components of a weight loss program, we most think of diet and exercise right? And those two things are very important. Changing your diet and increasing physical activity can help you have more energy, can improve your skin, can help you lose weight and can improve your health. But there is another factor to consider, a factor that is equally as important, that is stress management.

            When you become stressed, your brain shifts into a reward seeking state, so when you become stressed, you will crave whatever your brain perceives as a reward and are convinced that is the only way that you will feel better. A lot of time, these rewards are in the form of sweets or some other more harmful behavior.

            Some of the common signs and symptoms of stress include headache, muscle tension, chest pain, stomach upset and sleeplessness. Stress can also impact your mood, causing irritability, anger, frustration or sadness. It’s important to know when you are stressed and how it manifests itself in your body. For me, I feel stress in the form of stomach cramps and shoulder and neck tension. I know when I start feeling those symptoms, it is time for me to take a step back from any situation and practice some stress relieving strategies.

            Some of my favorite stress relieving strategies include reading a book, taking a bath, going for a walk and listening to music. I also help prevent stress by keeping a notebook by my bed at night, when I have a thought that threatens to keep me awake, I will write it down so it is out of my head and onto paper. I can sleep soundly and deal with it in the morning.

            Some other stress relieving strategies include:

    -      Diaphragmatic breathing- breathing in and out without moving your chest, breathing in from your diaphragm

    -      Meditation

    -      Investing time in a creative hobby

    -      Exercising

    -      Spending time with family and friends (unless they are the ones causing your stress)


            There are some foods that can actually help with stress relief as well. Here are some foods to snack on when you are feeling stressed:

    1.    Nuts- stress decreases your B vitamins, so eating a handful of nuts can replenish those vitamins, giving you a boost of positive        energy.

    2.  Red peppers- red peppers have twice the amount of vitamin C than an orange. Vitamin C will help boost your immune response and        aid in coping with stress.

    3.  Spinach- spinach is high in magnesium which helps regulate cortisol and blood pressure.

    4.  Oatmeal- helps with the release of serotonin, which aids in de-stressing.

    5.  Dark Chocolate- helps with lowering cortisol and the fight or flight hormones.

    6.  Drink Tea- those who drink tea tend to de-stress faster than those who don’t.


            So, at the first sign of stress, sit back, relax, drink a cup of tea and have a piece of dark chocolate!

By Kayley Gamm 21 Dec, 2016

 This past Monday was the graduation ceremony for Rochester Clinic’s first corporate CHIP program through Cardinal of Minnesota. This group has been through a lot together and has made such a wonderful impact on the entire culture of Cardinal, an organization with over 40 group homes all over Southern Minnesota. I met them all my first day on the job at Rochester Clinic and the thought that struck me was, “these guys like to have fun.” This thought has stuck with me throughout their entire journey, but another thought has joined that- “these guys are inspiring.”

                Fun and inspiring, the two words that best describe this group of people. Not only have these people changed their lifestyles and that of their families, but they have influenced those around them in the workplace. They have been pioneers for wellness and change within Cardinal, wellness and change that has seeped into the framework of the organization. Even the employees who did not participate in CHIP are eating better, losing weight, making changes for their clients and are exercising more. It all started when they decided to start a walking group, shortly after CHIP began. Now, every day at 1pm, you can see a group walking around Wellner Drive, laughing and chatting.

                I spoke with Jack Priggen, the President and CEO of Cardinal and who was also a participant in this CHIP group, about what it takes to change the culture of a business or a company. He explained to me that every organization has a culture and it is up to senior leadership to understand that it is possible to create and foster changes in the workplace culture. This change needs to be intentional and deliberate. And while the senior leaders need to be on board, the entire workplace needs to be on the same page. This was evident when speaking with the CHIP group the week prior to graduation. We were all going around the room, talking about the benefits of the program and the changes everyone had made. One participant said, “we used to always hear the term Cardinal Wellness, but now it’s not just a term, it is the way we are living every day.”  

                Besides the walking program and eating better lunches, one participant has been educating the residents at her home about eating more healthful breakfasts, and now they are all eating oatmeal in the morning. Jack has also made the executive decision not to offer soda as a beverage for his staff or residents. These may not seem like big changes, but they make a major impact on the health of everyone involved.

                While talking with him, Jack continuously mentioned that one needs to first say it, then believe it and, finally, do it. This is exactly what has happened at Cardinal. It all started with talking about Cardinal Wellness, then, with the initiation of CHIP, everyone started believing in Cardinal Wellness, and now, in the wake of graduation, they are all living it. They have embraced Cardinal Wellness and have changed the organizational culture to reflect that.

                As the CHIP program winds down for the Cardinal group, the journey is not over yet. Jack is set on making the Cardinal Corporation a Blue Zone, one in which wellness, health and happiness is the main focus. By bringing all employees together, promoting positivity and leadership, Cardinal is well on its way to becoming a Minnesota Blue Zone.

By Kayley Gamm 15 Dec, 2016

Nutrition and Cancer Prevention


Many of you reading this know someone who has been affected by cancer. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, there have been an estimated 1,685,210 new cases of cancer diagnosed in 2016. So what can we do? We can do a lot actually. We can reduce our risk for cancer greatly by simply eating a little bit better.

                The nutrition guidelines for preventing cancer are similar to those for preventing diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

                Here are some general guidelines that you can follow to help reduce your risk for cancer:


1.       Maintain a healthy weight.

Being overweight is 1 in 5 cancer-related deaths. Cancers that are associated with obesity include breast, colorectal, esophageal, thyroid, liver, ovarian, prostate, kidney and gallbladder.

If you are overweight, losing weight can reduce risk of cancer by as much as 20%. This is likely due to a drop in inflammatory factors that are stored in the fat.


2.       Limit calorie-dense foods.

Reduction of intake of foods with added sugars and fats that are solid at room temperature (butter, coconut oil, lard, etc.) can help reduce risk for cancer as well. Eating foods such as sugar-sweetened beverages, processed snacks and desserts can quickly add calories, increasing weight gain and causing nutrient deficiency.


3.       Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

Eating enough (about 7) servings of fruits and vegetables, including beans, is linked to a lower risk of lung, oral, esophageal, stomach and colon cancer. Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants which are cancer and free-radical fighting agents.

Create a goal to fill at least half of your plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal. Or go meatless for at least one meal per week. Also, eating more whole grains will increase your fiber, keeping your gut healthy and you full longer.


4.       Limit intake of animal foods.

There are some studies that are able to link eating large amounts of red meat, especially processed meats, with colon cancer.

Think of animal foods as a side dish, focusing on lean cuts from local sources.


5.       Limit Alcohol

All types of alcohol may increase your risk for many cancers, including mouth, live, breast, colon, and esophagus. If consuming alcohol, limit to one drink per day for women and no more than 2 drinks for men.

6.       Eat less salt.

In those cultures that eat a lot of salt preserved meats and salt pickled foods, the risk for stomach, nasopharyngeal and throat cancers is higher. Salt can increase blood pressure and can increase the risk for heart disease.

Start limiting salt by getting rid of the salt shaker off the table and limiting the amount of processed foods eaten. Look at the nutrition facts label for 300mg of sodium or less for a meal item and 150mg or less for a snack item.


7.       Exercise regularly.

Exercising, or moving regularly can aid in keeping your heart healthy and your bones strong. Exercise also releases hormones that make you feel happy and energetic. Studies have consistently found that increasing physical activity can reduce the risk for some cancers by 30-40%.


So, in summary, exercising, eating more fruits and vegetables and limiting alcohol, meat and processed foods can greatly decrease your risk for most types of cancer.

Here is a recipe to help you get started!

Antioxidant Salad


·        1 head romaine lettuce

·        1 red bell pepper, chopped

·        1 avocado, chopped

·        1 cup alfalfa sprouts

·        1 cup blueberries

·        ½ cup walnuts, roasted

·        3, 2, 1 Dressing (see recipe below)



1.      Combine all vegetables together in a large bowl.

2.      Drizzle 3, 2, 1 dressing over top.

Serves: 2-3


3, 2, 1 Dressing


·        3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

·        2 Tbsp. mustard of choice

·        1 Tbsp. maple syrup



1.      Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.

By Kayley Gamm 12 Dec, 2016

As the fall 2016 CHIP programs come to an end, I would like to take a look at the benefits of the program and touch on some of the thoughts the graduating class had about their experience. But first, a little background into the program. The Complete Health Improvement Program, or CHIP, was implemented at Rochester Clinic in January 2015. This program has been used globally for over 25 years and is a 12 week lifestyle change program that encompasses diet, exercise, stress and emotional health.

CHIP promotes a plant based, whole foods approach, but operates on a spectrum, so the program is able to work for everyone.

We currently have 21 participants on both community and corporate levels that will be graduating this month. So far, our participants have experienced dramatic changes:

·        A1c drop from 9.6 to 6.0 in three months plus a decrease in medications

·        Total weight loss of over 150lb

·        Every participant with a drop in cholesterol, blood glucose and triglycerides

·        More motivation to exercise- getting between 5000-12000 steps per day

·        Happier and more energy

Here are some of the things our current group had to say:

“Participate in this program! It was worth every effort and cost.”

“These are things your mom can’t teach you, things you can’t learn in school, but are some of the most important things we need to know to live a quality life.”

“This is a complete health improvement program. Your whole family will benefit and you automatically will implement things you learned such as shopping for the right food and how to cook and bake without processed ingredients.”

“This program teaches complete lifestyle options of choice and responsibility in diet, exercise, preventative medicine, relationships and meaning of life.”

“Mei, Kayley and Dr. Lei created a truly safe, educational, authentic, life changing experience that has moved me (quickly) in the best direction toward health!”

“I joined with the intent to simply be supportive of my wife. Little did I know that it would be such a gratifying journey together. Also, little did I know how much I needed the program myself. Shortly after deciding to participate, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes with an A1c of 9.6. Yesterday I had my follow up exam and in 90 days, my A1c dropped to 6.0 and I will likely be taken off my meds (once I show that I will continue on with what I have learned through CHIP).”

“We have a choice and responsibility to flourish, why leave this to chance? Seek first to understand.”


Our next CHIP class will be starting on Tuesday, January 24th at 6pm. If you would like more information on how to join CHIP and how it will benefit you, call Rochester Clinic at 507-218-3095 or email us at health@rochesterclinic.com .

Contact us to add years to your life and life to your years today!

By Jengyu Lai 05 Dec, 2016


The weather is getting cold! Rochester Clinic will again collect socks for the Women's Shelter. Last year, with your help we donated more than 500 pairs of socks, along with clothes, toys, and toiletries.
Please drop off the socks at Rochester Clinic located at 3070 Wellner Drive Northeast.

Collection will end on December 20, 2016

Socks will be donated to the Women's Shelter on December 21, 2016.

Here are some frequently asked questions we receive.

  • Do we accept men's socks?
    Yes. The women may arrive with children. So socks for boys, girls, and young children are needed.
  • Do we accept items other than socks?
    Yes. We do collect new items for the Women's Shelter.
  • What types of socks are recommended?
    We recommend socks that contain blends of natural and synthetic fibers, not 100% cotton.
  • For more ideas about donation items, please check on the following websites.    www.womens-shelter.org or www.RochesterClinic.com

Thanks for your support!

By Jengyu Lai 08 Nov, 2016
This past Sunday, the CHIP Club had its monthly potluck. We were lucky to have Cardinal of Minnesota provide us with a space to visit, learn and eat. Club Chip is a group that meets monthly. It is comprised of past and present CHIP participants as well as friends of CHIP- members of the community that are interested in living and learning about the whole foods, plant based lifestyle.
Sunday’s potluck was Halloween themed; people were encouraged to dress up and bring their spookiest version of a CHIP approved recipe. We started by introducing ourselves as well as the dishes we brought. Then we sat down together to eat all the delicious foods, chatting and discussing our successes with the program.
One of the past participants brought along her mother, who, with the help of her daughter has been implementing some of the CHIP components into her life. She shared her very moving story. She talked about years and years of battling a food addiction. An addiction that she acknowledged was killing her. She got emotional while talking about how aware she was that she was hurting herself. She reported following the CHIP program for about 3 months and seeing such dramatic changes. Her addiction to harmful foods is gone! She can move better, at times even without the help of her walker. She is more positive; she is excited about trying new recipes and, as an added bonus, has even lost weight.
She was excited to share her story with everyone and to tell everyone that it is possible. It is possible to become healthier when all hope was lost. It is possible to regain strength and lose weight.

This CHIP program is a journey, not only a journey to eating better and being healthier physically, but also a journey to self-acceptance and positivity.

 Come join us at our next Club Chip- November 20, at Cardinal of MN, 3008 Wellner Dr NE, Rochester, at 12:30pm!

By Jengyu Lai 28 Oct, 2016
Last night, we had a really fun class with the Community CHIP program. Chef Eric, from Hy-Vee Barlow, gave us a lesson on cooking with different types of vinegar. We tried many different varieties of vinegars: red wine, white wine, balsamic, etc. Today I will share some of the recipes he showed us.
The first dish Chef Eric prepared was a grilled romaine and pineapple salad with a raspberry balsamic reduction.

For the reduction:
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
2 tsp maple syrup
½ cup raspberries

For the salad:
1 head of hearts of romaine, halved
Pineapple, cut into 4 inch slices
Handful of walnuts (optional)

1. In a small skillet on high heat, add the white balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. Cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute and then add the raspberries. Cook until mixture has been reduced by ½.
2. In the meantime, spray the romaine on all sides with a light coat of cooking spray, place on heated grill or skillet along with the pineapple pieces.
3. Grill for about 5-7 minutes, or until slightly wilted with nice grill marks.
4. Cut pineapple into 1 inch pieces. Place romaine on plate, top with the grilled pineapple. Drizzle the raspberry balsamic reduction over the top and sprinkle with walnuts.

The next recipe Chef Eric shared with us was a salad of marinated Portobello mushrooms and a white wine vinegar and apple reduction.

1 Portobello mushroom, sliced into ½ inch slices
½ summer squash, sliced lengthwise
¼ red onion, sliced into rings
Garlic, salt and pepper- to taste
Various cut up vegetables- red pepper, asparagus, tomato, etc.

Marinate the Portobello mushroom in balsamic vinegar for about 2 hours
Marinate the zucchini and red onion in red wine vinegar and garlic for about 1 hour

Place vegetables on grill or in a skillet and sprinkle with pepper, salt and garlic as desired. Cook for about 7-10 min or until tender to the bite.

For the white wine reduction:
Heat ¼ cup white wine vinegar and the zest of ½ an orange in a small skillet over high heat for about 1 minute. Add a few slices of apple, 2 tsp of maple syrup and a pinch of cayenne or ancho chili powder. Sauté and let the apples caramelize for about 3-5 min.

To serve, place vegetables on a bed of mixed greens and top with the apple and vinegar reduction.

 We also learned how to make fruit based salad dressing; these dressings are basically a smoothie for your salad and a great way to freshen up greens.

Strawberry Pineapple Dressing:
1 cup pineapple
2 cups strawberries
4 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/8 cup water
2 tsp maple syrup (if needed, based on desired sweetness)

Blend all ingredients in blender to desired consistency.

Creamy Fruit Dressing
Make Strawberry Pineapple dressing as seen above. Add ½ cup unsweetened almond milk and a handful of blueberries. Blend in blender for a creamier dressing.

Pineapple Mint Dressing:
1 cup pineapple
1 tbsp fresh mint
Juice of ½ lime
2-4 tsp white balsamic vinegar

Blend all ingredients in blender to desired consistency.

All dressings can be made with fresh or frozen fruits and kept in the fridge for up to 5 days. Try mixing it up and trying new fruit combinations, anything goes with these recipes!

Finally, Chef Eric made a quick balsamic reduction to pour over grilled veggies:

½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp maple syrup
Fresh herbs to taste- rosemary, mint, basil, etc.

Heat a small skillet over high heat. Add the balsamic, syrup and herbs and cook until liquid has been reduced by half.

Drizzle over vegetables, pastas, fruit, etc.
This reduction can be kept in a squirt bottle in the fridge for up to 3 days.

By Jengyu Lai 21 Oct, 2016
If you take a walk down the street, shop at the grocery store or go to a movie, look around you. Every 3rd person that you see is at risk for diabetes or already has diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, kidney disease and heart disease in America. It’s expensive too; according to the Joslin Diabetes Center, the cost of diabetes is $174 million annually.
One of the most common myths about diabetes is that a diet high in carbohydrates is the cause of diabetes. There may be more to the story. A study found that those who had a 40g increase in fat per day were 6 times more likely to develop diabetes at some point. This study points to fat as the major player in diabetes. The fat can alter the cell membrane, increasing insulin resistance.
The biggest and, arguably, the easiest change you can make to your lifestyle to prevent diabetes is to change your diet. The plant based, whole foods diet has been proven to help prevent diabetes and to help those with diabetes decrease their medications. Some have even gotten off medications completely after making this lifestyle change.
By limiting the amount of fat you consume and increasing your fruits and vegetables, you can reduce your risk for diabetes. Try eating at least one meatless meal each week, with the main portion of your dish consisting of whole grains, beans and legumes.
This week at CHIP, I served a pineapple and beet salad created by the Registered Dietitian from www.nutritionstripped.com . This salad is beneficial for those with diabetes and those who would like to prevent diabetes. The cinnamon in the dish can help decrease insulin resistance, the beets are a great antioxidant and the pineapple has a digestive enzyme to aid in keeping your gut healthy. If you are hesitant to try beets, this recipe is a good way to ease into them. Find the recipe here: http://nutritionstripped.com/beetroot-pineapple-salad-mint/ .

By Jengyu Lai 21 Oct, 2016
Friday, October 14, was the 6th class for the Corporate CHIP program at Cardinal. This group is really working well together and supporting each other, it’s really inspiring and exciting to see them all work so closely together. They have a group text going around with which they motivate each other; for example, if they are having a tough day or see a food that may be tempting them. At the beginning of the class, a couple members of the group shared their stories and gave me permission to share them with you.
Amy is a diabetic who is on insulin. She talked about waking up before CHIP with extremely high blood sugars and experiencing both dramatic highs and lows throughout the day. She reported having headaches, dizziness and shakiness during these times. Now, in the third week of the CHIP program, she has decreased her insulin by 2 units and is having more normalized blood glucose in the mornings. This is a huge success for her; she is able to have better control of her blood glucose levels with the help of her new whole foods, plant based lifestyle.
Gina is a mother of two young children. She started the CHIP program and has been incorporating some of those ideas with her kids. She has decided to use this program to educate her children and husband on healthy eating. Now, her kids are pointing out healthy foods and look forward to having their fruit smoothies each morning. Recently, they were running late and she was unable to give her youngest his smoothie and he was upset about it all day. Gina is proof that CHIP is not only a personal lifestyle change, but something that can affect the whole family.
For more information on how you can be part of the CHIP program, call us here at Rochester Clinic, 507-218-3095.
The topic for the day was fiber. Fiber is a very important component in a person’s diet. My clients are always coming in, looking for a “secret” cure to their weight problems, some kind of miracle they can do to shed weight quickly. My response is always “eat more fiber.” Fiber affects all areas of the body; digestion, blood glucose, cholesterol, weight…. the list goes on and on.
There are two different types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is found in foods such as oatmeal, nuts, beans and apples. Soluble fiber attaches to cholesterol particles and carries them out of the body resulting in lowered cholesterol and reduced risk of heart disease. Soluble fiber is not easily absorbed, so it prevents spikes in blood glucose, allowing for more control for those with diabetes. Other benefits of soluble fiber include weight loss and promoting healthy bowel movements.
Insoluble fiber is found in seeds, skins of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and rice. It has two major benefits; weight loss and healthy GI system. Insoluble fiber will help keep you full throughout the day. It will also help keep bowel movements regular, preventing constipation.
The average American gets about 15g of fiber per day; this is less than half of the recommended daily intake. Men and women should be getting between 25-40g of fiber per day. When increasing fiber, increase slowly, about 5g every couple of days and make sure to drink a lot of water, at least 8 cups per day.
Here are 4 easy ways to add more fiber to your diet:
• Add beans or nuts to soups and salads
• Switch to whole grain bread
• Snack on foods such as apples, carrots and broccoli throughout the day
• Eat a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast

By Jengyu Lai 19 Oct, 2016
Thursday evening, the 13th of October, was Class 10 for the Community CHIP program.

It was a special class because we had multiple guests come to speak with the group. We also spent some time talking about the role of calcium in our body.
The first guest that came to speak with us was Chef Tyler from Rochester Country Club. He has been cooking there for quite some time and has an interest in preparing vegan and vegetarian foods. He brought some really amazing foods for us all to try. Quinoa meatballs with vegetable noodles and a red sauce, butternut squash soup and crostini with an onion butter and tomato jam. He really showed us that plant based foods can be delicious and flavorful!

The second guest we had was Tim McPhee from Abell & Willing Fitness, LLC. He spoke to us about using kettlebells as a means for improving strength and balance, both mentally and physically. He walked us through his process, explaining how he moves his clients through, starting with no weight and gradually increasing. He was very knowledgeable and had me thinking that I need to try out kettle bells!
The topic of conversation for the evening was calcium. Calcium is found in dairy products such as cow’s milk, cheese and yogurt, but those aren’t the only sources. In fact, many people who have lactose intolerance are still able to get the calcium they need by eating plant based sources of calcium. Research shows that those who consume a completely plant-based diet are at no greater risk of bone fracture that those who consume dairy products. Some plant based foods that are good sources of calcium include fortified soy and almond milk, tofu, cannellini beans, spinach and almonds. The amount of calcium that is needed changes as we age, with our highest need being between the ages of 10-18 when our bones are still building strength and growing. For most adults, male and female, the recommended daily intake is 1000mg.
As we age, it is not so much about building our bones up, as much as it is about preserving their strength and preventing breakdown. Factors such as smoking, drinking soda and having a high intake of sodium can lead to decreased bone health. One thing you can do to maintain your bone strength is to do resistance exercises such as hand weights or push-ups at least twice weekly. You don’t need to use heavy weights, cans of food or filled water bottles can work just as easily!

Start building strong bones this week by incorporating some strengthening exercises into your exercise routine!

By Jengyu Lai 19 Oct, 2016
Last night, during class 5 of the Cardinal CHIP program, we discussed the benefits of the whole food, plant based diet and what it meant to eat more and weigh less. We had a fun night last night, eating spaghetti squash and a quinoa southwestern chili. Spaghetti squash is a very versatile fall and winter vegetable. See below for tips on how to prepare spaghetti squash.

Whole Foods Market named plant-based everything a top 10 trend for 2016. Vegetables and grains are becoming the star of dishes rather than something that is being pushed aside or hidden in sauces and gravies. People are starting to celebrate the flavors and colors of foods that are grown and showcasing them in amazing dishes.
We here at Rochester Clinic have been working on bringing a whole food, plant based lifestyle to the community for over two years now, so today I am going to tell you the basics of this lifestyle.
The main key to following a whole food, plant based diet is to dramatically limit the amount of processed foods you eat, focusing instead on eating foods that are grown. This includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat bread, bean and lentils, nuts and seeds and root vegetables such as parsnips and potatoes. Make these foods the stars of your meal and eat as much as you want.
Limit foods such as meat, eggs, dairy and fats and oils. These foods are processed, higher in unhealthy fats and take longer for your body to breakdown.
If you want to learn more about starting a whole food, plant based lifestyle, contact us here at the Rochester Clinic by calling 507-218-3095 for more information.

The last couple nights we have been having our CHIPPERS try spaghetti squash. Spaghetti squash gets its name from the noodle like strands that are created by scraping the insides with a fork. Spaghetti squash is high in B vitamins, folate and potassium. It also has both omega-3 and omega-6, which are important as your body is not able to make them. It is bright yellow and oblong shaped.

To prepare a spaghetti squash, cut it lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and place cut side down on a baking tray.
Fill the tray with about ½ inch of water and bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-40 minutes, depending on the size of the squash.
When the squash is done cooking, you should be able to scrape the squash horizontally with a fork, creating long spaghetti like strands.
Top the squash with your favorite red sauce or toss it with vegetables for a delicious main dish.

We also roasted the squash seeds for a delicious, crunchy snack. To do this, clean the seeds up and boil them in slightly salted water for about 10 minutes. This gives the seeds an extra crunch when baking them. Coat a baking sheet lightly with cooking spray, toss the seeds with any flavoring you like, I used paprika, garlic powder, a pinch of salt and pepper, and spread evenly on the baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes, stir, then bake for an additional 10-12 minutes or until seeds are browned and crunchy.

Share with me your favorite way to prepare spaghetti squash!

By Jengyu Lai 17 Oct, 2016
This past Tuesday was class 9 for the Community CHIP program. We started off with a meal of spaghetti squash with a vegetable ragu sauce and a green salad with apple cider vinaigrette. We were also lucky enough to try a lentil roast (see recipe below) and papaya and lime salad brought in by one of the participants.

 The topic for the evening was sodium. Sodium is found in every food, both naturally occurring and added. The salt that is added to foods accounts for over 77% of the sodium that we consume each day. Salt is added to foods for many reasons, two of the major ones being flavor and preservation, allowing those processed foods to sit on our shelves longer.
Sodium is regulated by our kidneys and is essential for fluid balance, sending nerve signals and muscle function, but we really only need a small amount for that to happen- roughly 500mg. The average American is eating 6 times that, about 3000mg, per day. So how much sodium do we really need? The American Heart Association recommends aiming for about 1500mg of sodium per day; this is a little over ½ tsp of salt.
Too much salt can have a dramatic impact on your health. When we eat too much salt or processed food, the sodium will pull water into the blood vessels. That extra water that is stored raises blood pressure, increasing the work of your heart. This can not only cause a strain on our heart, but on arteries, kidneys and the brain, potentially leading to a stroke or heart disease.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the one of the major known risk factors for heart disease, which is the number one leading cause of death worldwide. Hypertension has no visible symptoms, so it is important to check your blood pressure regularly, especially if you have personal or family history of heart disease or hypertension.

To keep your salt intake down, take a look at the nutrition facts label while shopping, looking for 300mg sodium or less per serving for a meal item and 150mg sodium or less per serving for a snack item. You can also cut back on the processed foods, opting for more whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds (with no salt added, of course).
Keep a record of how much salt you are taking in today. If you are taking in more than 1500mg, determine a small change you can make in your diet decrease the amount of sodium or salt you are eating.

Here is the recipe for the lentil roast that was brought in for the CHIP class, it was delicious!

Lentil Roast

2 cups brown lentils, cooked
¾ cup ground pecans
1 ¾ cup soy milk
1 cup onions, finely chopped
1 Tbsp soy sauce
½ tsp sage
½ tsp garlic powder (or 1-2 cloves, minced)
1 ½ cup crushed cornflakes

Mix all ingredients together well.
Pour into a lightly sprayed casserole dish.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

By Jengyu Lai 11 Oct, 2016
This past Friday, my first day as Registered Dietitian for Rochester Clinic, I was thrown right in and had such a great day! I had done a bit of research on the CHIP program and had attended some of the evening classes with the community CHIP program, but today was my first day meeting and working with the corporate CHIPPERS at Cardinal. The topic for the day was the Optimal Lifestyle.

 Today, over half of the calories we eat are empty calories. This means that we are getting very little nutrition- vitamins and minerals- from the foods that we eat. Most of the foods we see at the grocery store come in boxes and packages and are made for convenience, not nutrition. These foods can lead to a fast lifestyle of inactivity and undernutrition. Some of these foods, when consumed in excess, can also lead to a multitude of problems. Some of these problems include heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, acid reflux, and high cholesterol. A lot of these problems can be lessened, or, I dare say, reversed, if we are all able to eat more plant based, whole foods.

 Eat plant based, whole foods. That is the backbone of the dietary portion of the Optimal Lifestyle. As a dietitian I think counting calories is quite tiring and time consuming. We can get wrapped up in the numbers and math and not enjoy our journey or our food. That is why the Optimal Lifestyle is so appealing; no counting is involved. You are actually encouraged to eat all that you want, until you are full. Foods that are grown (plant based, whole foods) are high in fiber, antioxidants, water and low in fat, cholesterol and sodium. All these things will lead to fullness, reduction of blood pressure and cholesterol, more energy, better skin…..the list goes on and on.

 I am a firm believer that you pick how you want to feel and I encourage my patients to determine that for themselves. I am not here to tell you what to do and to eat a specific way. I will help you reach the goals that you choose.

The second part of the Optimal Lifestyle is exercise. When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, both diet and exercise are key. One really can’t happen without the other. Exercise doesn’t need to be training for a marathon or lifting hundreds of pounds in weights. Exercise is what your body can handle while increasing your heart rate for a period of time. The American Heart Association guideline for exercise is 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day. This doesn’t all need to happen at once. Three, 10 minute segments, are just fine. Throughout my day, I will get up every half hour or so and get some water, go for a short walk down the hall or stretch, just to stay moving.

I am a firm believer that you pick how you want to feel and I encourage my patients to determine that for themselves. I am not here to tell you what to do and to eat a specific way. I will help you reach the goals that you choose.
I challenge all of you to keep up the good work and set a new, small goal to get yourself on the path to a healthier lifestyle. My personal health goal for the week is to get back into yoga by doing it twice a week.

Share your goals with me and have a great week!

By Elden Lai 28 Jul, 2016

Dennis is a business man who does investments with many companies and as his business grew more successful, his health issues grew as well. He started to become more international and traveled the world, trying and consuming more new foods. Furthermore, he frequently stayed at hotels that provided continental breakfasts. Before he knew it, his weight had reached 318 pounds. Dennis never thought of himself as terribly heavy because he had grown accustomed to his own image and simply thought that’s how he was. He eventually developed hypertension and high cholesterol. Moreover, he became pre-diabetic. All this meant he had many pills to swallow every day.

Realizing his health was deteriorating from the inside out, Dennis tried diets of all kinds from local dieting companies to exotic supplements. “I’ve tried it all," he exclaimed, “but none of them worked." Finally, Dennis spotted an advertisement in his local newspaper for the CHIP program by Rochester Clinic. His wife also noticed the ad and continuously reminded Dennis until he resolved to attend for sure.

Dennis was understandably skeptical of the CHIP program. Tired and worn out from empty promises by all the companies and diets he had tried, he initially believed this new program would not be any different. 

Fortunately, Dennis found that he had proved himself wrong. The program proved to be insightful and informative, careful to address why certain things were detrimental or beneficial to one’s health. If there were any questions raised that neither of the facilitators, Mei Liu and Dr. Jeng Lai, could answer, Mei was quick to relay the questions to the CHIP headquarters so she could get back to the participants promptly via email with an answer with which she felt confident telling. Within six weeks, Dennis saw numbers all around dropping—cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. In fact, Dennis’ peers were questioning his new habits and lifestyle as they noticed his weight slowly shedding.

Ever since his CHIP class graduated, Dennis went full-force in applying the knowledge he gained. During a follow up at the Mayo Clinic, his doctor stopped in his tracks and asked, “What happened to you?” after seeing a much slimmer Dennis. Furthermore, his doctor was speechless at Dennis’ new blood work results. All his numbers were normal and thus, his medications were ceased. He was quite relieved he was completely off his medications, or, as he called them, his “crutches”. Dennis’ pre-diabetic blood sugar level sat at 94mg before CHIP, just shy of the 100-125mg pre-diabetic range. His number now sits much lower than before in a comfortable, normal range.

“Everyone else in my family is diabetic, but I’m not," beamed Dennis.

“You must have been adopted, then!” joked Dr. Lai, sending the room into laughter.

Naturally, Dennis’ physician inquired what changes were made and Dennis merely said, “Oh, I just exercised more, stopped eating red meat…”, but the physician insisted once more, “But really, Dennis, what did you do?” After receiving a more thorough explanation, Dennis physician praised him for being “a diamond in the rough” because patients enter the clinic saying “Fix me up, doctor," believing pills alone will make everything go away. What they don’t know is that the pills are only temporary fixes, curtains to make it seem like the problems are nonexistent when they really aren’t.

Dennis also had his eyes checked and his optometrist broke news that Dennis needed a prescription change, but not because his eyes worsened. Dennis’ eyes actually improved.

He had also gotten more into preparing foods using healthier options like baking, using alternative ingredients, and utilizing whole foods rather than premade goods. His taste buds have also changed, being described as “more sensitive," especially to salt. The salty foods he once enjoyed are now quite impossible to eat for him. Dennis explains, “I now eat to live, not live to eat."

From the beginning of February to mid-July, Dennis lost 68 pounds and is still losing. He revealed that he did not join the CHIP program for his weight, but for his high cholesterol, hypertension, and diabetes. He does not care about how much he loses or his end weight because the body will get rid of however much it needs to remove. Weight loss is merely a side effect, but cannot go unnoticed.

When Dennis walked through the doors that night to share his CHIP adventure, I could not recognize him. He was much slimmer and had an unrecognizable glow to his face. I was about to say, “I’m sorry, but this is for CHIP”, before finally recognizing Dennis. Dennis was always very enthusiastic and energetic during his time as a CHIP participant, but he looked much happier as his health improved. His doctor at Mayo even told him that he looked “less worried”—and Dennis really was less worried. He was less worried about his health for tomorrow, for the next week, for the future. When his grandchildren asked him if he would still be around when they’re in high school, Dennis exclaimed, “Of course! I’ll even still be there when you’re in college!”

Dennis did explain that there will be rough patches while fully transitioning to the CHIP lifestyle, which is completely normal. Body weight will also plateau as the body will take a break before continuing to lose more weight.

It’s not hard to see that the CHIP program has made Dennis healthier and happier than ever. He is relieved that unlike diets, he does not have to worry about what will happen to his body when he’s off CHIP because CHIP is a lifelong lifestyle change. “CHIP has given me the ticket to do all the fun things I want to do with my family”, proclaimed Dennis, grinning from ear to ear, “I’m living proof that the CHIP program works!”

By Elden Lai 20 Jul, 2016
During the past several years, much has been written about a preparation called platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and its potential effectiveness in the treatment of injuries.   Rochester Clinic provides PRP and ultrasound guided injections!  

PRP can be carefully injected into the injured area. For example, in Achilles tendonitis, a condition commonly seen in runners and tennis players, the heel cord can become swollen, inflamed, and painful. A mixture of PRP and local anesthetic can be injected directly into this inflamed tissue.

PRP is produced from your own blood and can help the root cause and not just the symptoms.  
By Elden Lai 14 Jun, 2016
In winter, snow and icy create slippery surfaces causing falls. However, falls do not happen only in winter. It is the fifth leading cause of death in older adults. Lower extremity strength is particularly important. When we walk, about 50% of the time we have one foot on the ground so the other leg can swing and move the body forward. Weak muscles or painful joints would cause the body to swing and fall. Our body uses different mechanisms to ensure balance in case we trip. The first mechanism is for the ankles to hold up the body. There are several easy tests to assess the lower body strength in association with the fall risks, such as timed up and go, single leg stance and chair rise. Have a healthy high protein breakfast to maintain muscle strength.
By Rochester Clinic 26 May, 2016

Bones are not just lifeless matter attached to living tissues. It’s as much living as the tissues themselves. And just like the tissues, it’s constantly changing too. The old bone cells are broken down and replaced with new ones in a three-part process called bone remodeling that involves resorption (digestion of old bone cells), reversal (new cells are birthed) and formation (new cells turn into fully formed bones).

This process, just like any other biological processes in the body, requires hormones and growth factors. Some of the names include parathyroid hormone (PTH), calcitriol, insulin-like growth factors (IGFs), prostaglandins, tumor growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP), and plain old cytokines. For this discussion we need to remember only one thing: a large cytokines and growth factors are involved in bone remodeling process.

Which means we accelerate the bone remodeling process by supplying these cytokines and growth factors as suggested by studies like these studies from PubMD (US National Library of Medicine).

Platelet-rich plasma: Growth factor enhancement for bone grafts.
Clinical effectiveness of autologous platelet-rich plasma


Why Platelet-Rich Plasma?

Autologous Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP), being completely “whole and natural” can more closely simulate a highly efficient in-vivo situation that anything else out there that are made up of artificial recombinant proteins. In PRP, we are taking advantage of the biological benefits of growth factors whose functions we know as well as those we do not know of yet. From the 15+ factors we know are in PRP including platelet derived growth factor (PDRF), transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), platelet factor 4 (PF4), interleukin 1 (IL-1), platelet-derived angiogenesis factor (PDAF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), epidermal growth factor (EGF), platelet-derived endothelial growth factor (PDEGF), epithelial cell growth factor (ECGF), insulin-like growth factor (IGF), osteocalcin (Oc), osteonectin (On), fibrinogen (Fg), vitronectin (Vn), fibronectin (Fn) and thrombospontin-1 (TSP-1)… we’re actually supplying a “holistic” set of nutrients for healing that cannot be mimicked by those obtained artificially.

Organic Fertilizers For The Body

Platelet-Rich Plasma is like organic fertilizers for our body. The PRP difference is like adding chemical fertilizers versus organic fertilizers on plants. Chemical fertilizers are rich in essential nutrients that   we know   are needed for crops. On the other hand, organic fertilizers supply nutrients not only to the plants but also to the soil, improving the soil structure and tilth, water holding capacity, reduces erosion as well as promote slow and consistent release of nutrients to the plants itself.

Clearly, organic fertilizers are better, aren’t they?

Bonus: Strong Antimicrobial Properties

It seems that the Platelet-Rich Plasma’s healing function has synergistic function to anti-microbial properties. A   new study confirms   that using Platelet-Rich Plasma in surgeries may have the potential to prevent infection and to reduce the need for costly post-operative treatments.

That’s a nice bonus for the organic fertilizer of our bodies. Perhaps, there are more. So why wouldn’t anyone not take advantage of them?

The scope of Platelet-Rich Plasma is growing as the scientific community continues to unearth its inherent properties. PRP is an unignorable, and unavoidable component of healing.

© Rochester Clinic & DrPRP



By Rochester Clinic 08 Apr, 2016

Imagine you’re strolling the aisles in a video store trying to find a good movie for the weekend. You finally settle on one with an interesting title. However, after watching the movie, your reaction is, “Huh? That’s not what I expected.”

It’s a similar situation when people are searching for healthy eating guidelines. Many people choose a vegetarian or vegan diet thinking it is healthy because there are no animal products. The individual may be puzzled by increased blood sugar, blood pressure and/or cholesterol levels. Vegetarians and vegans focus on eliminating animal products, but may not be focused on foods that are detrimental to their health, like refined flour, refined sugar, salt, and oil. For example, a piece of chocolate cake or a donut fits the vegetarian or vegan diet, but contains loads of empty calories. Refined sugars, flours, salt and oil can cause a spike in blood sugar and increase cholesterol levels.

By Rochester Clinic 06 Apr, 2016

Did You Know   is a weekly post brought to you by the physicians at the   Rochester Clinic . This week,   Dr. Jengyu Lai   discusses the importance of receiving the proper custom orthotics.

Did You Know?

What does “custom” mean?

If you walk into the health section at Wal-Mart, you may notice a Dr. Scholl’s machine dispensing “custom” orthotics or inserts. What is “custom?” What does it mean to receive “custom” orthotics?

Last month a group of podiatrists in Chicago filed a class action law suit against Dr. Scholl’s for false advertising. First of all, an orthotic device should be prescribed and dispensed by a licensed provider. A measuring machine providing over-the-counter inserts at the supermarket is not a licensed provider. Secondly, a customized device is produced from scratch based on a patient’s foot, not something off the shelf. Adding pads or wedges to an insert purchased off the shelf isn’t qualified as a customized orthotic device either.

True custom foot orthoses are prescribed by qualified physicians based on the patient’s anatomical and functional characteristics of their feet and ankles. The devices are milled according to the feet and modified based on each prescription. It is not uncommon to have two different devices for the patient since the feet are not identical.

For more information about the class action law suit filed against Dr. Scholl’s, click on the link lawsuit against Dr. Scholl’s .

For a consultation with podiatrist   Dr. Jengyu Lai   contact the   Rochester Clinic   at 507-218-3095.

Categories:   Podiatry


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By Rochester Clinic 01 Apr, 2016
Manli Jiang, MD, PhD recently joined our practice. Dr. Jiang has extensive experience in knee and shoulder intra-articular injections. Dr. Jiang believes that improving osteoarthritis requires multiple levels of support, medical and podiatric interventions, and possibly appropriate lifestyle modifications. This approach makes Dr. Jiang a perfect addition, especially as we continue to advocate lifestyle medicine.


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