Not everything has thrived during the pandemic but the Viva Fresh Clean Eating Challenge participants have proven that they can still deliver positive results with a more than 160 lb cumulative weight loss over six months.
Presented by the Texas International Produce Association (TIPA), on May 20, the Viva Fresh Clean Eating Challenge Reveal kicked off with 145 registered attendees tuning into the live event to hear from Dr. Ian Smith to see the results of participants Tommy Wilkins of Grow Farms Texas, Ed Bertaud of IFCO, Michelle Cortez of Mr. Lucky and Jed Murray of Tenaza Organics.
Tommy Wilkins of Grown Farms Texas.
During the 60 minute event, best-selling author and TV host Dr. Ian Smith chatted with each participant to highlight their goals and challenges. The participants also shared their before and after pictures, along with their health stats that included weight loss, inches lost, positive changes in medical risk factors and reductions in medications.
Participant highlight successes included:
- Tommy Wilkins – 28 lbs. lost; reductions in cholesterol and blood pressure meds
- Ed Bertaud – 44 lbs. lost, increased energy and improved sleep
- Michelle Cortez – 53 lbs. lost, blood sugar stable and off diabetic medications
- Jed Murray – 36 lbs. and 12 inches lost; decreases in cholesterol and blood pressure
Ed Bertaud of IFCO.
Kim Flores, VP of Marketing & Business Development at Pro Citrus Network remarked, “So many of us, myself included, can identify with the struggles of managing our health as life and stress take center stage, but I was impressed by these participants’ personal and honest stories about hard work and the obstacles they overcame to achieve impressive results.”
Event moderator Craig Slate of SunFed remarked, “I made the change to more plant based eating several years ago so I know firsthand about the power that fruits and vegetables have to change lives and these participants just reinforced that.” Slate continued, “The online event polls provided a powerful snapshot of where our industry members are falling short in consumption with over 35% of individuals reporting less than 1-3 servings of fruits and vegetables per day and barely 10% of those polled are consuming more than 5+ servings of fruits and vegetables per day. If these are the results in our own industry, we have a long way to go to improve our consumption and challenge our own behaviors before we can expect consumers to change.”
Other poll results highlighted unhealthy weight and lack of energy as popular reasons that industry members felt were motivators for a lifestyle change. A copy of the poll results can be downloaded here.
Michelle Cortez of Mr Lucky/Empacadora G.A.B.
And for industry members who are inspired by their peers’ success, there will be an opportunity for everyone to get involved and start “walking the talk” with a new challenge in the works. Although the details have not been finalized, those interested in learning more or even following the journey of new participants can visit the website to sign up for more information. The new challenge is expected to kick off in the fall of 2020 and include a variety of participation opportunities, such as being mentored by the current participants who will continue their own journeys with fresh goals.
Dante Galeazzi, CEO of TIPA, closed by saying, “Our Viva Fresh committee established a clear goal in terms of highlighting the health benefits of fruits and vegetables from day one, and this challenge put those ideas into action. I can’t wait for Viva Fresh 2021 in Dallas next March, and to see a room full of industry members who have committed to changing their health and lives with this challenge.”
Jed Murray of Tenaza Organics.