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!”
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
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