I’m trying a different type of CHIP.

My wife and I have started the Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP).

It’s a plant-based eating style. No meat, no dairy, no processed food, just food that comes from plants.

I’m learning as I go, but I’m going for it.

The biggest challenges are learning to cook, learning ingredients I’m not used to using, and learning to shop and read ingredients in a different way.

We have been through two classes, and it has been eye-opening.

Since heart disease has a long history in my family, I am excited to learn eating healthier can actually reduce the plaque in your arteries that causes heart disease.

That alone has me ready to dive in head first.

My father died of a heart attack at 61, and all three of his brothers also died of heart attacks, so I obviously need to take steps to try to avoid the same fate.

I am ahead of the game in that I do exercise regularly, however, without eating healthy, exercise can only take you so far.

I first started looking into eating only plant-based food about a year ago when my doctor gave me a book, “Knives over Forks,” which explains the whys and hows to change your eating habits.

I dipped my toe in the water and tried to adopt it, but all I really did was learn how to make multi-grain pancakes.

I don’t know why, but this time it’s different. I am really going to give this a try.

Maybe, as the years pile up, I become more aware of my mortality and what I can do to try and ensure a long, healthy life.

The last several years, as our tiny family continues to grow, we have taken family vacations that have been some of the best times of my life, and I sure don’t want that to end anytime soon.

The plant-based lifestyle (they don’t call it a diet), is basically being a vegan.

However, even the doctors who lead the classes admit they eat honey and occasionally meat and dairy.

I am not going to say I will never eat meat and dairy products again, but I am going to shop smarter and cook better to become healthier.

So far, I have not eaten meat in more than a week and do not miss it.

Despite living my entire life in the Midwest, where meat and potatoes are staples, I have never been one who loved to eat meat. Give me a pepperoni pizza, and I’m happy. In fact, that is what I will miss the most.

I do love cheese and could eat it every day, so that will be tricky.

Currently, cooking means looking for simple recipes with ingredients I have heard of and can pull together quickly.

That can be a daunting task and is why I didn’t dive in the first time my doctor recommended plant-based foods.

It’s different now. I’m more determined and excited to see how healthy I can be. It’s going to be an education, and one I hope lasts a long time.


Patrick Murphy, editor-publisher of the Humphrey Democrat and Newman Grove Reporter in Nebraska, is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.