The Viva Fresh Clean Eating Challenge culminated in great health results for participants and engagement for industry attendees for the big reveal event live-streamed online. ( Photos and graphic courtesy Texas International Produce Association )

Four Viva Fresh Clean Eating Challenge participants lost more than a total of 160 pounds in six months.

Other benefits included stabilized blood sugar, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and improved sleep and energy.

The Texas International Produce Association hosted a live-streamed event on the competition’s results May 20. according to a news release; 145 people registered for the online event.

Author and TV host Dr. Ian Smith chatted with each participant about their goals and challenges.

The participants are Tommy Wilkins of Donna, Texas-based Grow Farms Texas; Ed Bertaud of IFCO, San Antonio; Michelle Cortez of McAllen, Texas-based Mr. Lucky; and Jed Murray of McAllen-based Tenaza Organics.

They showed before-and-after pictures and health stats that included weight loss, positive changes in medical risk factors and reductions in medications. 

Participant successes included:

Wilkins: 28 pounds lost, reductions in cholesterol and blood pressure medications;

Bertaud: 44 pounds lost, increased energy and improved sleep;

Cortez: 53 pounds lost, blood sugar stable and off diabetic medications; and

Murray: 36 pounds and 12 inches lost, decreases in cholesterol and blood pressure.

“I don’t want to change what I’m doing. I want to keep going. I haven’t felt this good in decades,” Bertaud said in the release.

Attendees submitted questions and participated in polls about fruit and vegetable consumption, challenges to eating healthy and reasons to make health changes.

The polls showed where industry members are falling short, with more than 35% reporting fewer than one to three servings of fruits and vegetables per day and barely 10% of those polled consuming more than five 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,” Craig Slate, of Nogales, Ariz.-based Sunfed, who moderated the online event, said in the release.

Attendee Kim Flores, vice president of marketing and business development at Visalia, Calif.-based Pro Citrus Network, said she can relate to the participants’ struggles in managing health amid the day’s work and stress. But it’s an important goal, especially considering the work of the industry.

“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,” Flores said in the release.

Other poll results highlighted unhealthy weight and lack of energy as popular reasons that industry members felt were motivators for a lifestyle change.

To learn more or follow the journey of new participants, visit A new challenge is expected to kick off in the fall and include a variety of participation opportunities, such as being mentored by the current participants who will continue with fresh goals. 

Visit the TIPA Facebook page to watch a replay of the event.

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