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.
Healthcare costs in the U.S. are on the rise. It is estimated that 70-80% of healthcare costs are due to chronic disease, and the main reason for a trip to the doctor.
Exactly what is chronic disease and what can you do about it? Chronic diseases are conditions that cannot be prevented or cured by vaccinations or medications, nor do they go away on their own.
Common chronic diseases:
● Elevated cholesterol
● Type 2 diabetes
● Coronary heart disease
● High blood pressure
However, living significantly longer and increasing quality of life is a reality, even for those with these chronic diseases. Modifications in lifestyle will lessen and potentially eliminate chronic conditions, and therefore increase quality of life and reduce medical expenses. You have the power to take charge of your health. This is lifestyle medicine.
Lifestyle modifications include:
● Plant-based, whole food diet and nutrition
● Physical activity
● Stress reduction
● Family/social support network
For more information on Rochester Clinic, the services and programs we offer, please give us a call at
We are happy to answer your questions and get you on your way to a healthy life!
Whether you’ve fully adopted a plant-based diet or are simply dipping your toes in the water, there’s no doubt that wholesome food is at the center of one’s wellbeing.
Here we’ve rounded up five of our favorite cookbooks that are chock full of nourishing recipes and nutrition tips that are sure to assist in your healthy eating goals:
1. Forks Over Knives – The Cookbook
If you watched the Forks Over Knives documentary (read more about it here , along with the rest of our top documentary picks), you know what FOK is all about – the concept that degenerative diseases afflicting so much of the U.S. today can be controlled and even reversed by rejecting animal-based and processed foods. This cookbook features 300+ plant-based recipes which place fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes in the lime light.
2. The China Study Cookbook: Over 120 Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes
This cookbook came to fruition thanks to The China Study; a book touting one of the most comprehensive nutrition studies ever conducted which reveals that a plant-based diet leads to optimal health and can halt or even reverse many diseases. The China Study Cookbook shares 120+ plant-based, nutrient-dense recipes that promote optimal health.
3. The PlantPure Nation Cookbook: The Official Companion Cookbook to the Breakthrough Film
PlantPure Nation, yet another noteworthy documentary created by the same producers as Forks Over Knives, provides this trusty companion cookbook boasting 150+ plant-centric recipes. It’s also filled with tips, tricks, and grocery lists for people interested in a whole food, plant-based diet.
4. Plant-Powered Families: Over 100 Kid-Tested, Whole-Foods Vegan Recipes
Inspire healthful, plant-based eating among the whole family with this must-have cookbook from Dreena Burton. From delicious school lunches to appetizing on-the-go snacks, this book supplies more than 100 kid-tested and approved recipes and serves as an excellent reference for parents raising young ones on a whole food, vegan diet.
5. Crazy Sexy Kitchen
Don’t let the risqué title of this one deter you. Author and cancer survivor Kris Carr attributes her triumph over cancer to her lifestyle changes, most especially her diet. After embracing a diet made up of whole, plant-based foods, she soon discovered the transformative power of nutrition and felt better than she ever had. This cookbook offers 150+ recipes that includes everything from fresh-pressed juices to delectable desserts.
Also recommended: Oh She Glows, Minimalist Baker, But I Could Never Go Vegan
What are some of your favorite cookbooks? Share on our Facebook page !