Organic, Natural New England
Living and Travel
by Eric H., lifelong New England resident
to our Healthy New England Living section at VisitingNewEngland.com. As
journalist and one interested in buying the best nutrient dense foods and supplements from New England, I am here to share with you what has worked for me. I am not a doctor, but one merely communicating to you some of my healthy success stories, as well as those close to me who have experienced the same.
Let's start out by applauding the medical community. I know that sounds strange coming from someone who feels that we must stress the preventative instead of relying on medicines, but there's no other place in the world you'd want to be when it comes to emergency care. Drop an anvil on your foot and you won't want to be trying the latest herb to remedy the painful situation. You want to go to an emergency room!
Aside from emergency room visits, you are in charge when it comes to your health. There's a growing amount of evidence that a whole foods diet and overall healthy lifestyle can play a tremendous role in achieving health. Of course, there are no guarantees in life, but you want to give yourself the best chance for healthy living -- unless you consider living life to the fullest as a vehicle to abuse your body.
Living healthy has gone more mainstream. Gone are the days of emaciated, angry health food store owners telling you why cardboard-tasting food will save your life. In New England, the chance for travelers to locate healthy food and resources is plentiful -- no more highway stops for junk food are necessary. From the corporate big supermarkets to the local neighborhood food store, you're sure to find nutrient dense foods within miles of your residence or travel destination. Many primary care physicians are employing more of an integrative health approach, using the best of both worlds -- modern medicine and well-researched elements of alternative health.
Unlike other health writers and businesses, we are not here to preach or make you feel terrible about eating bad foods. We merely want to tell you about some positive products and resources out there that we love. This is not a forum to put anyone else down just because they have a different belief system when it comes to health. We do not have any vested interest in any health food company or practitioner so please be assured that you are getting a pure, fair and balanced perspective.
I have experienced great results and some mighty tasty healthy food (it doesn't have to taste like cardboard) in the past several years. Enjoy reading some of these personal stories and anecdotes as well as resources (like "green hotels"). Please feel free to communicate your healthy success story via e-mail. Here are some New England places that contribute to healthy living and travel:
Green Hotels for Your New England Travel
I remember my going to my first green hotel back in the 1970s. A green hotel back then had an entirely different meaning, usually having to do with mold growth. Today, green hotels can be defined much more positively, fortunately, as lodging that contributes to the integrity of our environment. This can mean basics like conserving energy, water and waste and using non-toxic cleaning agents. It can also mean serving organic foods, offering spa treatments or other wellness programs. Each green hotel varies in its services - here are a few in New England that offer, in one way or another, environmentally-friendly green lodging:
Organic and Natural Dining
Fresh City may not be all organic, but they are an ambitious, innovative chain that uses fresh meats, breads, produce and more to create fast food in convenient locations like at several locations on the Mass Turnpike and right off the highway (like Newton, Mass., right off busy Route 128, also known as Route 95). Fresh salads, soups, wraps, stir frys, Asian noodles and smoothies highlight an excellent, universally appealing menu. It's certainly not Debra's Natural Gourmet, but it's also a far cry from McDonald's -- a good thing for those on the go and committed to health.
An organic, raw foods restaurant in Beverly, MA -- The Organic Garden Cafe in Beverly, MA, features unique and innovative organic gourmet vegan wheat-free, gluten-free raw food and trans fat free recipes along with brown rice, wraps, both hot and raw soup recipes and more healthy items. Check out its Web Site for more information or eat there at 294 Cabot St., Beverly, MA 01915. Tel. 978/922-0004
In search of a pie with wholesome ingredients -- Imagine a pie without monosodium glutamate, trans fats, hydrogenated oils (trans fats) and other offending, unhealthy chemicals. It's not an easy treat to find, unfortunately. One savior, however, is the Ever So Humble Pie Company located in a former factory building in quaint East Walpole, MA. Here, preservative-free pies are sourced from local New England farms employing responsible farming methods, resulting in some truly tasty pies made from scratch. Using slower production and unbleached, unbromated flour and natural corn starch, owner Andrea DiReda Taber has created a healthy pie, including wonderful flavors like New England Apple, Wild Blueberry, Cherry, Jumble Berry (tart Cape Cod cranberries, sweet strawberries, wild blueberries and zesty oranges) Mince, Orange Pineapple, Peach, Strawberry Rhubarb and "Squmpkin" (field harvested sugar pumpkins and winter squash cooked with low-fat milk and spices into a creamy custard). Pie lovers finally have a healthy option! Ever So Humble Pies are also available at local farms -- check out the Ever So Humble Pie Company Web Site for locations. Ever So Humble Pie Company, 153 Washington St., East Walpole, MA 02081. Tel. (508) 660-9731. Retail Hours: Mon. - Fri., 9-3 and Sat. 9-1
A wonderful naturopathic doctor in Waltham, MA -- Dr. Gary Kracoff, a naturopathic doctor (and also pharmacist) at Johnson Drug in Waltham, MA, helped us with a serious health issue. My wife suffered from acute asthmatic bronchitis for years, sometimes leaving her sick for months. After an in-depth consultation with my wife, Kracoff recommended fish oil to reduce inflammation and probiotics to increase immune strength and better digestive function (some say up to 70 percent of your immune system resides in your gut). It's been over a year now and this regiment has been nothing short of a miracle. She has not been ill more than a few days, the severity of brief illness has been minimal, and her former myriad medications have been reduced to one. It's really been a miracle, and we thank Dr. Kracoff for helping. It's amazing to think that just buying a few supplements could make a difference, but they have. Johnson Drug, 577 Main St, Waltham, MA. Tel. (781) 893-3870
A great primary care physician in Wellesley, MA -- Like many of you, I had a tough time finding a Primary Care Physician who combined knowledge, punctuality, sensitivity, excellent listening skills, and a good grasp on alternative medicine. We actually had such a doctor four years ago, but she left the profession to help reform it from a business perspective. Fortunately, I finally found a great successor in Dr. David Wenzel at the Marino Health Center in Wellesley. He is simply a tremendous doctor, having a super disposition and the ability to make one feel at ease. He's extremely knowledgable from the traditional and alternative perspectives, and enjoys a good laugh. I'm very confident in his abilities, thrilled that I can be given advice from more than one health perspective, and can feel at ease without the fear of being interrupted or rushed through an appointment. Dr. David Wenzel, Marino Health Center, 372 Washington St., Wellesley, MA Tel: (781) 235-5200
Supplement from Brattleboro, VT nutritional company undergoing studies in role against prostate cancer -- New Chapter, a whole foods supplement company in Brattleboro, VT, has an herbal supplement called Zyflamend that is being studied at the University in New York, as a potential chemopreventative against prostate cancer. Read Zyflamend articles at New Chapter Web Site
Community health food stores worth traveling to:
Debra's Natural Gourmet , (98 Commonwealth Ave., West Concord, MA. Tel. (978) 371-7573), leads the local neighborhood health store pack, remaining true to the way a health food store should be run without being preachy, and elitist. You won't find any suspect ingredients in any of the foods offered here, including natural and organically-raised food (including an excellent variety of raw foods) and the delicious "Sister Starks Granola," an unbeatable line of granola products concocted by owner and all-around great person Debra Stark. The store also has an extensive selection and supplements and beauty products, including top of the line Aubrey Organics, New Chapter, Garden of Life, Natural Factors and Nordic Naturals. Debra's Natural Gourmet also brings in the best lecturers who speak about ways to stay healthy. Recently remodeled and expanded, Debra's Natural Gourmet is great place to be healthy when living or traveling in New England.
The Natural Market in Groton, MA, used to be a U.S. Post Office in a previous life, but now they deliver a great variety of whole, organic foods (including sandwiches and raw foods), supplements, and health and beauty items. There's some great local, although limited amounts of produce. Much like Debra's Natural Gourmet, most of the staff here is committed to what they sell -- they truly believe in their philosophy of selling healthy merchandise. It's a friendly place where no one is in a rush -- much needed in a fast-paced world.
Health-oriented chain food stores for your health travels:
Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe's are high quality national chains with stores located throughout New England. Whole Foods has the biggest and best variety of wonderful organic meats, fish, produce, dairy products and just about anything else that you would find in a conventional supermarket -- only this time, for the most part, with the healthiest ingredients. It is a model of how a big company can stay true to its roots, thus benefiting the health demands of a nation in need of real food. Trader Joe's doesn't have the extensive array of healthy foods of Whole Foods and Wild Harvest, but has enough to make the trip worthwhile --especially with its commitment to promising good value to the consumer.
supermarkets with healthy
Hannaford Market , an attractive supermarket chain based in Portland, Maine, and located throughout New England, offers the best prices and stocks their food better than most New England supermarkets. They also have a "healthy section" with foods from well-known health food companies like Muir Glen, Amy's, Cascadian Farms, Woodstock Farms, Annie's and Earthbound Farms. They also offer what Stop and Shop sometimes is lacking: high quality fish from wild sources and a better variety of raw foods. We recommend their sockeye salmon fillet and wild caught haddock as a few examples of how to buy from a conventional supermarket fish section without raising your mercury levels.
Local Farms with healthy foods:
Belkin Lookout Farm, Natick, MA Belkin Family Lookout Farm is recognized as the oldest working farm in the country, dating back to the late 1600s. Located in beautiful, rural South Natick, Belkin Family Lookout Farm offers many organic or natural fruits amd vegetables grown on the premises. It's a major apple picking destination in the fall. Despite its proximity to highly-populated areas, being at the farm feels like being in the middle of rural New Hampshire with its rolling, expansive fields and endless rural beauty.Throw in the mix a farmer's market, petting zoo animals, train rides, pony rides, a bee observatory, birthday parties, guided tours, a terrific small market with their wonderful produce, and, suddenly the whole experience becomes the apple of one's eyes. 89 Pleasant Street, South Natick Phone: (508) 653-0653
Verrill Farm ( 11 Wheeler Road , Concord, Mass., Tel. 978-369-4494) , bursting with farm fresh produce and offering a pleasing, rural experience. Verrill Farm offers the following home grown produce:
January and February from its root cellar : Carrots * Beets - Red, Gold, Striped * Potatoes
March: * Fresh Spring dug Parsnips
April: * Greenhouse Spinach * Greenhouse Chard
May: * Asparagus * Lettuce * Rhubarb
June: * Strawberries * Peas * Radishes * Spinach * Turnips * Bunching Onions * Chard
July: * Beans * Beets * Carrots * Corn * Cucumber * Eggplant * New Potatoes * Summer Squash * Tomatoes
August: * Peppers * Celery * Leeks * Herbs
September, October, November, December: * Winter Squash * Potatoes * Pumpkins
Buying local...supplements? Often, we think of buying local as going to the local farm stand for some fresh fruits and vegetables. It turns out, however, that New England, in my opinion, has three of the best nutritional supplement companies to support good health. Megafood, of Derry, NH, offers a brilliantly conceived line of whole food supplements by incorporating natural vitamins and minerals into a nutritional yeast (considered, by some, a super food) to maximize absorption and utilization. It's sort of like vitamins and minerals from the ground assimilating into a plant food --transforming the inorganic to the organic. Nutritional yeast, for example, offers a good amount of B vitamins and immune enhancing beta glucans. Some of our favorite products include the One Daily multi, the Cardio Strength formula (with an amazing variety of heart-healthy vitamins, minerals, superfoods and herbs), Wild Blueberry and the Men Over 40 multi. We've had tremendous results with Megafood. It's more expensive than regular supplements, but seems to work much better for us, given you're not just getting isolated vitamins and minerals, but myriad phytonutrients. After all, isolated vitamins do not appear anywhere in nature! It's always a symphony of compounds working together. Bottom line: we get far less (and severe) colds when on a whole food supplement. The previously mentioned New Chapter, of Brattleboro, VT, makes vitamins and minerals similar to Megafood, except they use fermented soy and culture with probiotics (the good bacteria). New Chapter also makes perhaps the best herbal formulations on the market, pure from picking the herbs from the fields, the production process (no solvents used) to the final product. Our favorite products: Prostate 5LX, Lyco Pom (lycopene and pomegranate), the whole food COQ10 formula and Berry Green (an all organic fruits and vegetables drink). Pioneer Nutritionals, of Shelburne Falls, MA, uses primarily isolated vitamins and minerals in its formulas, but seem to have a knack for using the best forms in the correct proportions. It's a good value and ensures you of receiving all the vitamins and minerals you'll need without having to buy too many bottles. It's 1+ multi formula covers most of your needs -- take one or two tablets a day (with an iron free option) depending upon your lifestyle. There's even some green foods in this formula for additional nutritional benefits.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products mentioned in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always consult a health practitioner before taking a supplement.
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