Jeff Dinkelman - Crete Carrier Corporation
It’s no secret that many professional drivers from coast to coast struggle with health issues. High blood pressure, excess weight and smoking-related illness have often been attributed to an over-the-road lifestyle with limited options for nutritious meals and adequate exercise.
Top trucking companies are moving to address this critical issue, and a growing number are sponsors of the Healthy Trucking Initiative, a nationwide program developed by the publishers of Over the Road and Pro Trucker magazines to help today’s professional drivers get healthy and lead longer lives. One key component of the Healthy Trucking Initiative is the installation of self-service blood pressure (BP) kiosks in major travel plazas and motor carrier terminals.
One of the first trucking companies to sponsor the Healthy Trucking Initiative and actively promote driver well-being has been Lincoln, NE-based Crete Carrier Corporation. Crete has placed BP kiosks in five of its terminal locations, they have installed workout rooms in several terminals and their driver newsletter routinely offers advice on health-related topics.
Jeff Dinkelman is a Crete driver who has learned how to successfully maintain a diet and exercise regimen while out on the road. “I was involved in sports as a kid, and I guess that my current lifestyle is a continuation of that interest in physical activity,” says Jeff.
A big step for Jeff came in 1993, when he made the decision to become a vegetarian. The young man was working at a summer camp at the time, and a friend there asked him to try giving up poultry and red meat for one week. Jeff did just that, and he says that he felt better almost immediately.
His food intake was fine-tuned again in 1996 when he gave up animal-derived products of all kinds—including dairy–and moved to a vegan diet. “It didn’t take long for me to lose a taste for milk, eggs and cheese,” says Jeff, “and I also eliminated refined sugar, sugar substitutes and hydrogenated oils from my meals.
“I know that it must seem like an impossible challenge to alter your diet so dramatically, but your tastes and cravings can change over time,” says Jeff. “I’ve had setbacks along the way, believe me. The important thing is that I didn’t beat myself up about them and just focused my attention on the next goal.”
In addition to watching what he eats, Jeff also makes a point to exercise regularly. “I drive steady miles for Crete each week on my dedicated North Platte (NE) route, but I like to take a half an hour every chance I get to run, skip rope or work out at the gym,” he explains. “When I get into a good rhythm, I can do this three or four times a week.”
Jeff understands that these lifestyle changes can seem a little overwhelming at first, but he asks fellow drivers to consider avoiding dairy and refined sugar products for one week as a small test. “I’ll bet that you’ll feel better at the end of seven days,” he says, “and then you are on your way.”
The staff of Over the Road and Pro Trucker magazines would like to wish Jeff continued success with Crete Carrier Corporation. If you’d like to learn more about Crete and their sponsorship of the Healthy Trucking Initiative, give one of their recruiters a call at (800) 998-2221, visit their Web site at cretecarrier.com or see their ad on page 31 of this issue.