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Friday, 14 October 2016 10:57
Local Farm’s Wellness Initiative
SCHUYLERVILLE — The news can’t be good. You are sitting in your doctor’s office, not in an exam room. He is looking at you earnestly from behind his desk. You can feel yourself sinking into the soft chair. There’s a clock ticking somewhere – it’s loud in your ears, making it hard for you to hear the word cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, there will be more than 1.6 million new cancer cases in 2016, and while scientists are working steadily on finding a cure, doctors and wellness practitioners are working steadily on helping patients change years of fast-paced habits into healthy lifestyles. For Gordon Sacks, founder of 9 Miles East Farm in Schuylerville, the question of why people should eat a healthy, plant-based diet has already been answered. He knows study after study shows that fresh produce, proteins and spices that contain key nutrients can boost immune systems, promote healing, reduce cancer risk and provide significant health benefits – nutrition especially important for cancer patients, diabetics, people who are recovering from surgery, and anyone suffering from auto-immune diseases. People, ill or well, know they have to eat better. For Sacks, the real question is how. “People are busy,” said Sacks. “They want to eat healthy; they want farm fresh produce. Nobody knew what quinoa was five years ago, nobody ate kale. People know what they need, now, but it takes time, and who has the time? Let’s make it easy for people to eat healthy.” Washing, chopping, peeling, storing, cooking from scratch – in this fast-paced society where Americans are working longer hours and taking fewer vacations, it’s no wonder they are struggling to eat healthy. That’s why Sacks and his team decided to do the work for them. He began his farm-fresh food delivery service not long after he bought the land in 2004, and it has grown dramatically. He has a team of farm hands, chefs, and nutritionists who do everything from planting and harvesting crops, to washing and cooking up tasty meals and delivering them throughout the Capital Region and as far away as Boston, Massachusetts. He even offers local pizza delivery from the farm. The farm delivers to 105 workplaces weekly, and provides home deliveries as well. The weekly coolers offer something different every week, offering hormone and antibiotic free chicken, gluten free, and vegan options as well. Deliveries can include such dishes as a savory pork-shoulder stew with basmati rice, a fresh Athens salad with quinoa, a rustic marinara sauce ready to add your own pasta, local homemade applesauce and nutrient-rich smoothies. Recently, Sacks hired breast-cancer survivor Nancy Holzman, former owner of healthy eatery Good Morning Café, to help him promote and grow a new concept for home delivery – wellness coolers, specifically for cancer patients, diabetics, and others focusing on recovery. With the help of Holzman and nutritional counselor Barb Biagioli, a consultant employed at 9 Miles East Farm; top local restaurants; as well as the rest of his team, Sacks is launching the “Way to Wellness Coolers” at the end of October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. “Leading researchers all have a common belief that diet plays a big role in boosting your immunity and reducing the risk of cancer and diabetes,” said Holzman. “The wellness coolers support you in your commitment to change the way you eat because it’s done for you. It’s convenient, fresh and affordable. I’ve been researching recipes of food as medicine for the past year. Gordon’s mission is my mission, providing non-processed healthy food for people who seek it but are too busy to cook it.” The Way to Wellness Coolers will contain recipes and ingredients that contain nutrient-dense, easily digestible product rich I protein; vitamins A, K, and C; antioxidants; lycopene; fiber; carotenoids; magnesium and folate. The soups, meals, sauces and sides offer variety and flavor, and easily added to a regular routine as it is delivered once a week to your doorstep. Sacks said that this is especially important for cancer patients because not only do they have less time to cook, given doctors’ appointments and everything else, but they also often don’t have the energy to cook. “Healthy food has to meet people where they are,” he said. “It has to be convenient, accessible. It’s been very gratifying to see all of our efforts being so well received by the public. We’ve doubled consistently year after year.” Recognizing that there is a great need for nutrition-rich prepared meals for people who need it most, 9 Miles East Farm is dedicating resources to help address specific health concerns, such as cancer, with the new wellness coolers. For more information, visit www.9MilesEast.com.