Letters to the editor

I am writing this in response to many questions and comments coming to me about the end of CHIP.  I have worked at Adventist Health in Tillamook for 27 years and it has been such a privilege to meet and interact with people of this community.  However, retirement looms on the horizon leaving me with mixed feelings of gladness and sadness.

 One of the most exciting health programs I have worked with is the Lifestyle Medicine Program CHIP- Complete Health Improvement Program. Fifteen years ago the first program began with 60 participants and since 2005 over 550 people from Tillamook County have taken CHIP.  What an honor it has been to meet and become friends with so many.  I will facilitate one more program- my 30th CHIP program- from Feb 3 – March 12, 2020.  If you haven’t yet taken it, let me tell you about it.

CHIP is a lifestyle medicine intervention program that provides education in an environment for making changes to lower cholesterol, decrease blood pressure, improve diabetes, begin to lose weight and overall improve the effects of chronic disease. With supper every night, food demonstrations, blood screenings (pre and post program) and topics on chronic disease we learn how the food we eat and activity we choose is the best medicine for our aches, pains and ills.

 Over the years the founder of CHIP, Dr. Hans Diehl visited Tillamook twice and shared with us the principles he established with his first program in 1988.  It’s been exciting for me to watch the challenges and successes as participants begin to put into practice the things they are learning.  Through all 29 programs the average weight loss has been 5 lb/ person or more, while enjoying plenty to eat, no deprivation.  Blood pressures have improved, cholesterol dropped 15 – 20 %, blood sugars stabilized and overall sense of wellbeing improved. Participants also share they have less inflammation and pain from arthritis, elimination of heartburn, improved GI issues, end of constipation, sleeping better and increased mood, just to name a few.

I am especially grateful for Janice Wolk, Registered Dietician who plans and prepares the 18 meals and 2 breakfasts, demonstrates the recipes, and answers nutrition questions.  Although retired herself, Janice continues to voIunteer over 200 hours with each program.  Over 25 alumni volunteers help at various times using their cooking skills in preparing a complete meal for each meeting.   You see, CHIP doesn’t run by itself and for all the many who have helped, I am so thankful!  Volunteers make CHIP a success!

CHIP is also a HUGE success because of the support of the hospital- Adventist Health.  Eric Swanson, CEO, understands that Lifestyle Medicine has long lasting solutions for our chronic disease epidemic.  Active discussions are occurring on updating and continuing Lifestyle Medicine centered programs. Your input on what the CHIP program has done for you is especially appreciated.  Please let it be known.

Lastly, our monthly free club CHIP for CHIP alumni or CHIPPERS will continue through May.  On Mon, Jan 20, at 6:30 pm we are hosting LIVE a presentation by Dr. John McDougall via Skype.  He will speak to us directly and answer questions. This presentation is at the lower level of the Adventist Church. There is never any charge and all community members are welcome.

I hope you will seriously consider taking CHIP in February.  I invite you to attend an information and registration session Jan 21 or Jan 23 from 6:30-7:30pm at the lower level of the Adventist Church, 2610 First St.  The program will begin Feb 3 – March 12, 2020. I welcome calls for more information at 503-815-2270. Again, thank you to all who have attended and supported CHIP.

Ginny Gabel

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