Attending this class three nights per week on top of all my other responsibilities was a challenge, but because I learned so much it was worth it.

One thing that really stood out to me was the fact that the same principles and statistics were repeated over and over—showing that the same factors reduce risks for all lifestyle diseases: stay active, eat plants, make water your beverage of choice, sleep well, avoid processed foods, don’t smoke or consume alcohol.

Here are some of what I considered to be the best features and tips from this CHIP class:

  1. The samples served the first evening included four different kinds of non-dairy milk. That was really nice because I didn’t have to buy full-size containers of any of them to find out which I liked.
  2. The volunteer staff also handed out little baggies of nutritional yeast flakes to take home. I love that stuff—not only because it’s high in B vitamins but because it has a nutty, cheesy flavor that enhances anything savory, including popcorn.
  3. One of the most important dietary improvements a person can make is to eat oats every day.
  4. If it comes in a crinkly bag, you probably shouldn’t buy it.
  5. Why we eat (besides hunger): out of habit, to celebrate, for control, for comfort, as a reaction to emotions such as loneliness, boredom, depression, anger. Know your emotional eating triggers and be prepared to counter them.
  6. Eating only 100 extra calories per day makes you gain 10 pounds a year, on average.
  7. The hormone Leptin controls feelings of satiety.
  8. From Dr. DuWayne Carlson: You expend 10-16% more calories daily just by being vegan.

More from the “CHIPing It” series