Cardinal Of Minnesota

  • By Kayley Gamm
  • 21 Dec, 2016

Rochester Clinic's first Corporate CHIP program.

 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.

News / Blogs

By Jengyu Lai 03 Jul, 2017

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 !

By Jengyu Lai 28 Jun, 2017
Knee pain is hindering your daily enjoyment. It hurts to sit; it hurts to stand. And exercise is out of the question. You have tried injections and knee braces but nothing is working. What do you do? Now is the time to call Rochester Clinic.

You will receive a thorough assessment from one of our physicians. Our goal is to stop the pain, find the root cause, treat the cause, and maintain a pain free state. Rochester Clinic and your healthcare team will look at your diet, physical activity, medications, and health conditions including injury, disease, and weight. We take a conservative approach to healthcare before suggesting surgical interventions. We have an on-site clinical laboratory, Digital x-ray, and biomechanics laboratory for the best assessments and diagnostics.

Simple changes in lifestyle choices may alleviate much of your pain. You will learn exercises to strengthen weak muscles, increase flexibility, and safe options for weight management to reduce pressure on your joints. Interesting fact: The foods you eat can help or hinder joint inflammations.

The structure of your foot and knee may also be a cause for your pain. High arches, flat feet, pronation or supination of the foot will affect the pressure and development of the knee. Something as simple as the right footwear or custom orthotics would provide pain relief.

We have the tools to help you be on your way to living a healthy, active, and pain free day!

For more information on Rochester Clinic, the services and programs we offer, please give us a call at  507-218-3095, visit our website at , or e-mail to

We are happy to answer your questions and get you on your way to a healthy life!

By Jengyu Lai 13 Jun, 2017
Amy Blackstad, a recent graduate of one of our CHIP (Complete Health Improvement Plan) groups, is a true testament to the power of lifestyle medicine. Her health improvement in the nine months since she started adopting the CHIP principles has showed to be far more effective than the years of traditional medical consultations she had grown accustomed to.

We recently caught up with Amy to hear her inspiring story, and to share with you some of her tips and takeaways. Take a peek:

Rochester Clinic : What made you decide to sign up for the CHIP program?
Amy : I was curious to see if this could do anything for me medically and physically.

Rochester Clinic : How has adopting the principles of the CHIP program transformed your life?
Amy : Before starting CHIP, I was on 50-60 units of insulin a day and on oral medications to try and control my numbers. In total, I was on nine different medications trying to combat my various ailments. I was constantly fighting migraines and dealing with high cholesterol along with pain and overall ill-feelings daily. Kidney damage became evident years ago.
Now, since graduating from CHIP, I am down to one medication, daily insulin use is not needed, and I can’t remember when I last had a migraine -- and I use to get them every weekend without fail. My endocrinologist, who use to just shake his head at me and prescribe more medication, was very pleased at my last appointment and felt he didn’t need to see me anymore. He said he was comfortable with letting me just see my nurse practitioner to monitor my diabetes. I feel good; I now feel like I’m living, not just existing.
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