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Viva Fresh Clean Eating Challenge recap and call for participants

This year, 11 participants completed the third annual Viva Fresh Clean Eating Challenge, which culminated at the Viva Fresh Expo last month. Since 2020, the challenge has captured the attention of the produce industry as participants challenge themselves every year to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their daily routines. As a welcome bonus, participants have lost more than 1,000 pounds in the three years of the challenge and have enjoyed even more positive side effects.

clean eating logoIn September of 2021, the Texas International Produce Association once again asked would-be participants, “Do you have what it takes?” to be a part of the challenge. So what does it take? It takes perseverance, commitment, a willingness to be raw and open with where you are and where you want to be in your health journey. The challenge is not a diet or a weightloss competition — it is the start of a a new way of life with a focus on personal wellness by asking participants to adopt a healthier lifestyle that includes eating fruits and vegetables and moving more. It is simply a catalyst for people to make meaningful, long-term changes.

“What TIPA offers through the challenge is the opportunity to regain control," said Jen Velasquez, Clean Eating Challenge Committee Chair and director of marketing at FullTilt Marketing. "This isn’t necessarily about weight loss, though it can be. This is about taking control over what we put into our bodies, control over our health and control over making healthy decisions, such as eating more fruits and vegetables. This is ultimately what our industry is asking the world to do, so who better to set an example than us?”

Jen Velasquez
Jen Velasquez

In 2022, participants:

  • Were more active — one participant reported over 2.23 million steps — equaling over 1,005 miles!
  • Incorporated many more servings of fruits and vegetables (the main pillar of the challenge)
  • In certain cases decreased their blood pressure numbers by over 20 points
  • Came back into healthy cholesterol ranges
  • Improved their sleep
  • Lost over 360 pounds and hundreds of inches

And now, the Texas International Produce Association proudly invites industry members to apply for this year’s challenge which will kick off in September and will culminate at the 2023 Viva Fresh Expo in Dallas on April 1.

Spots are limited and chosen participants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a member of the produce industry
  • Be able to express what is driving them to compete in the challenge
  • Be willing to share progress online up to the reveal at the Viva Fresh Keynote in March 2023
  • Show willingness to commit to the six-month challenge
  • Commit to engaging with their mentors and peer groups on a weekly basis for the duration of the program

Those interested in joining the challenge can apply here by Aug. 15. All chosen participants will receive mentorship and nutrition coaching. Upon meeting the given criteria throughout the challenge, they will also be eligible to win a grand prize to be announced at a later date. This year, the prize was a Tonal smart home gym sponsored by Catania Worldwide and awarded at the Viva Fresh Expo through a random drawing.

“I lost 20 pounds during the challenge but I gained so much more — confidence, friendship, better quality sleep and ultimately the passion to keep making healthy changes and support others trying to do the same,” said Beth Keeton, founder and CEO of Elephant House PR, participant and this year’s drawing winner. “Winning the Tonal home gym was a surprise blessing that I’m excited to use as I continue my health journey. I’m so grateful to Catania for sponsoring the giveaway, along with all other sponsors that invested in our health.”

“As a former personal trainer with a lifelong love for fitness and health, I couldn’t be prouder for our company to align ourselves with the Clean Eating Challenge,” said Matt Catania, vice president of sales at Catania Worldwide. “I came back to the family business five years ago and love that thanks to TIPA and the Clean Eating Challenge, our company can be a small part of making a difference for our industry friends that are looking to improve their own lives.”

The Clean Eating Challenge is a Viva Fresh Expo sponsorship opportunity. Those interested in becoming sponsors can contact Hector Garza for more information.

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