Twenty-five years ago, Reverend Albert Baldeo, a strong supporter of our Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP), egged me on.
“Hans, you better talk to the manager of that Overwaitea grocery store,” Baldeo said.
“It’s now the fourth week of your CHIP program. Reach out to him. After all, this is a community health program which undoubtedly will also impact the food outlets.”
I had mixed emotions. I knew that our intensive 35-hour educational health initiative with more than 1,000 people enrolled in the four-week program, would not increase the sales of steaks, chicken, cheese and sausages of Overwaitea.
After all, for health improvement our dietary program component encourages people to increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables, and of whole grains and legumes and to diminish the amount of animal products and processed foods.
When I finally found the courage to meet with him, I was totally surprised.
He did not treat me as a “detractor” but as an “enhancer of his bottom” line.
“Dr. Diehl,” he said, “we never had so many people coming to our store looking for fresh fruit. We had a hard time keeping the supplies of fruits and vegetables on hand.
“Those raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and bananas are just flying off the shelves, and the sale of spinach, lettuce and tomatoes has never been so high. I want to thank you for having helped us with these sales this month.”
I was perplexed.
“What about the sales of processed foods and those meats?” I inquired.
“Well, it’s true, they have not been our sales leaders this month,” replied the store manager.
“But, you see, what helps our bottom line more than anything is to keep the spoiling of food to a minimum.
“If we can increase the turn-over of those kinds of foods, and especially those berries and bananas as well as some of these vegetables, then we do well.
“Our bottom line is greatly affected by how long those kinds of foods stay on our shelves. May we encourage you to keep the CHIP program in town?”
With that kind of a support coupled with the encouragement of Brenda Davis, a prominent dietitian in Kelowna, and the solid health improvements reported by the program graduates, I offered to do two more CHIP programs attracting another 2,500 people over the next 12 months before taking the program to Ottawa and around the world.
It was not very long before it became obvious that I could no longer single-handedly meet the demand for the program coming in from different countries.
Since then, the program has been used in clinical, corporate and community settings via a state-of-the-art 19-video set of 45-minute lectures featuring several experts augmented by certified local facilitators who make the program fun and do-able.
More than 65,000 graduates with clinical results published in more than 30 mostly peer-reviewed medical journals feel differently about their health today because of the CHIP program.
The graduates have lost weight, their levels of blood pressures, cholesterol and triglycerides have come down and that many times accompanied by a reduction in or withdrawal from medication by their personal physicians and those with depression had documented significant improvements.
According to Brenda Davis, “CHIP has become the premier lifestyle intervention program targeting the reversal of chronic diseases, such as overweight, diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure and coronary heart disease.”
And for Larry Shipowick, who has facilitated the CHIP program in the Kelowna area for more than eight years, he says, “It has been a great joy for me as a retired dentist to facilitate a health improvement program that empowers people to implement the better choices that we all know we should have been making a long time ago to prevent and to even reverse these modern killer diseases—a simpler diet, daily exercise, adequate sleep, no smoking, social support system, and doing it with joy in a group setting.
“Fortunately, it is not too late for most folks, since many of these conditions can be arrested and even reversed.”
And with a track record of 25 years of success in Kelowna, perhaps CHIP may have contributed in some way to making our city have the lowest obesity rate in Canada.
After all, that’s part of what CHIP teaches—showing people how to “eat more and weigh less” by making the smart choices and in the process saving money. And all of that starts with the right attitude and in your grocery store.