Sick of being sick? Tired of sticking your poor finger all day to monitor blood sugar? Weary of worrying those weird pains are either cancer or a heart attack?
Maybe all those pills every day for high blood pressure or high cholesterol or anxiety or obesity or a whole host of other woes have gotten to you.
There is a way out. There is a way to get off the hamster wheel that is the modern American diet. There is a solid, science-based, well-researched, actual plan, already developed and designed for each one of us to take charge of our own health, to own it, to be empowered by the process, and to be the person in charge of a healthy lifestyle change.
It is called CHIP, the Complete Health Improvement Program.
Who can better say what they do – and in fewer words – than their own website? According to the website, CHIP is a scientifically proven lifestyle education program that can help prevent and reduce the risk of obesity, type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. CHIP provides information, motivation and group support over a three-month period to help participants make positive lifestyle changes and empowers them to play a key role in their own health and wellbeing. CHIP offers a licensed facilitator in a group setting to coach participants toward better health, and before and after lifestyle evaluations that include the following lab tests – total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides, glucose, blood pressure and BMI. The twice-weekly meetings include eighteen video sessions that cover the optimal lifestyle topics, healthy recipes and food samples, and dynamic group discussions. Participants learn how to select wholesome foods and learn basic fitness instruction.
Participants also receive a CHIP tool kit containing a workbook, reference text, cookbook, water bottle and pedometer to help support a healthier lifestyle.
The idea is to build a healthy, new lifestyle based on eating a whole foods, plant-based diet, a diet filled with minimally processed or unprocessed grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables, light on the fats and salt, heavy on the herbs and spices. Often, CHIP participants begin the program with the thought that they won’t entirely give up meats and animal products, and then find it is easier to do than they ever imagined. The terrific health results quickly become more important than the cheeseburger!
Eating healthy food is the very heart of the program. When we consume a healthy diet, things begin to fall in balance. We feel better. We sleep better. Our mood improves. We exercise because it makes us feel good. By virtue of the balance and good food, we lose weight, although weight loss is not the focus; it is simply a by-product of the lifestyle. Food that is good for heart problems is also good for diabetes problems and blood pressure issues, obesity, and cancer risk. Simply put, good food is good for almost everything that ails us.
CHIP is not a vegan program; it is a whole foods, plant-based program, a big difference, and one that is catching the attention of many people across the country.
CHIP provides a necessary structure as participants work toward a healthy resolution to chronic health issues. Many CHIP participants, without a great deal of fuss and without feeling deprived, change their long-term behavior in a very positive and healthy direction.
When the behavior changes, the healing begins, and it is a process that we tweak as we go. Past participants have been very pleased to see their cholesterol levels drop a lot, enough, in fact, to get off cholesterol medication altogether. High blood pressure readings often become normal blood pressure readings, again, eliminating the need for medication. Overweight and obesity issues begin to ease, with many participants losing between ten and 25 pounds through the course of the program. As they continue with their new and healthier lifestyle, the good news and weight loss continue until they achieve their healthy goals.
The meetings are low key, low-stress, extremely informative, and fun. Food samples and demonstrations are a great resource as participants learn to use new foods and recipes. Local and online resources are shared. Meetings are held at MAHEC’s very pleasant, modern facility just south of Biltmore Village, up the hill behind the Courtyard Hotel.
Sessions will take place every Tuesday and every Thursday evening from 6 pm to 7:30 pm beginning September 12th and ending on November 14th.