Ed Bertaud of IFCO Details Viva Fresh Clean Eating Challenge Journey
MISSION, TX - When Ed Bertaud, IFCO’s Director of Retail Sales, began this year’s Clean Eating Challenge, sponsored by the Texas International Produce Association (TIPA), he looked at the experience as a pledge to the industry. Little did he know that it would entirely change his perspective on food and his commitment to fresh produce.
“I’m 46 and I feel better than I did in my 30s,” Ed shared with me as we dialed into where this journey began. “I wanted to prove my commitment to the industry and to my profession, and since then it’s become so much more.”
At the beginning of the challenge, Ed’s main motivator was essentially not to fail and to be a good example both for the industry and for Viva Fresh.
“I knew I needed to do this and I knew the accountability associated with everybody knowing about this challenge would keep me on the straight and narrow. I started where I didn’t want to fail, and I didn’t want to be the guy that didn’t make any gains or didn’t get any better,” he stated.
But something that Craig Slate, SunFed’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said to Ed in passing sparked an immediate and lasting change.
“‘I know one day it’s going to be the end for me, but how I choose that end to be I can affect now.’ And that really stood out to me. Am I going to be actually living my life all the way to end?” Ed reflected.
As most journeys go, perspective is essential. With this perspective shift, Ed took to the self-discipline necessary to successfully carry out Dr. Ian Smith’s clean eating plan like a fish to water.
“I didn’t expect to have the way I think about food change so much,” Ed shared, noting that one of the key changes in his food mindset was to look at food as a source of fuel. “When I really thought about food as a way to fuel my body, my life, and my lifestyle, it changed everything. I know it sounds corny, but I dare say it changed my life.”
When he began this challenge, Ed was on the borderline for needing medication for blood sugar and cholesterol, among other things. Since then, he’s dropped 31 pounds—an amazing feat that speaks to his commitment to the fresh industry and to making himself feel better than he has in years.
When I asked Ed if there were any secret tips/produce hacks that helped him stay on track, he didn’t disappoint.
“I’ve never eaten so much cauliflower,” he said with a laugh. “I’ve never had a problem with eating fruits and veggies, but this challenge has really opened my eyes to kale, Swiss chard, and eggplant. I’ve also continued to eat staples like apples, bananas, and berries, alongside mangos, avocados, and grapes. Also, switching out mineral water for soda has been a life saver."
As we get closer to the end of the Clean Eating Challenge and the start date of Viva Fresh, Ed noted why this show in particular is so valuable for the industry as a whole.
“The excitement around the show is palpable. Part of this energy created is due in part to standing relationships, but this show is all about generating new business and finding new connections and opportunities. Highlighting a region that’s very important to the entire country from a supply perspective is very exciting,” Ed explained. “Viva Fresh adds value in business and personal relationships.”
Here’s to folks truly living that produce dream. As we cover what’s up-and-coming for Viva Fresh, keep reading AndNowUKnow.