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Clean Eating Challenge Reveals Big Success For Participants

Viva Fresh Clean Eating Challenge

The Viva Fresh Clean Eating Challenge ended with participants delivering a more than 160-pound 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.

During the 60-minute event, best-selling author and TV host 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 pounds lost; reductions in cholesterol and blood pressure meds;
  • Ed Bertaud—44 pounds lost, increased energy and improved sleep;
  • Michelle Cortez—53 pounds lost, blood sugar stable and off diabetic medications; and
  • Jed Murray‑36 pounds and 12 inches lost; decreases in cholesterol and blood pressure.

“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,” said Kim Flores, VP of marketing and business development at Pro Citrus Network. “These participants and TIPA should be congratulated for creating this challenge and finding a genuine and effective way to show us all we can do a better job of putting our words into action by practicing what we preach.”

Throughout the Viva Fresh Clean Eating Challenge, attendees were able to submit questions for the participants and Smith, as well as engage in online polling that asked about fruit and vegetable consumption, challenges to eating healthy and reasons to make health changes. 

“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,” said event moderator Craig Slate of SunFed. “The online event polls provided a powerful snapshot of where our industry members are falling short in consumption, with over 35 percent of individuals reporting less than one to three servings of fruits and vegetables per day and barely 10 percent of those polled are consuming more than five-plus 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.

Challenge participant Bertaud shared these remarks, which were echoed by  the other participants, “This challenge was life changing for me, and I did not know how good I could feel…I don’t want to change what I’m doing, I want to keep going. I haven’t felt this good in decades.”

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 vivacleaneating.com to sign up for more information. The new Viva Fresh Clean Eating 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. 

“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,” said Dante Galeazzi, CEO of TIPA. “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.”

For industry members who missed the live event, they can visit the TIPA Facebook page and watch a replay of the live-streamed event.

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