Vegan Doctor Launches Farm-Based Practice in NJ
A vegan doctor in New Jersey is shaking the medical world up, prescribing a plant based diet instead of pills for treating chronic diseases.
Internist Ronald Weiss has been treating patients in Hudson County for 25 years but recently he’s sold his practice and cashed in all his assets to buy a farm in which he grows his patients’ medicine.
“Human health is directly related to the health of the environment, the production of food and how it is grown,” said Weiss who has an undergraduate degree in botany at Rutgers College of Arts in Science. “I see this farm as an opportunity for me to take everything I’ve done all my life, all the biology and chemistry of plants I have studied, and link them to the human biological system.”
The 348-acre, 18th-century farm in Long Valley has 39 percent of its acreage reserved for agriculture. Two farmers maintain it along with with the 90 families that reap its benefits by paying a membership fee and volunteering picking potatoes and weeds.
While Weiss knows that the medical field hasn’t exactly been the most accepting of the idea that a plant based diet can cure chronic diseases, he is convinced that his methods work. To the non-believers, he references 90-year-old Angelina Rotella of West New York, a patient who came to him with congestive heart failure wheeled in by her daughter.
“I asked her, ‘Do you want me to call 911 and admit you to Palisades General? Or will you let me feed you sweet potatoes and kale?’ Amazingly enough, with the help of her daughter, she chose this,” Weiss said. “She doesn’t have diabetes anymore and chronic heart failure. She is cooking, sewing and walking around town. I’m not saying it’s easy, but she seized the opportunity and she is transformed.”
Her daughter, who diligently cooked the grains, steamed greens, fruit and water diet for her mother, called her transformation “more than a miracle.”
The farm also has a German stone barn that will be renovated so Weiss’ assistant, Asha Gala of Califon, can host cooking demonstrations and other programs. For the ones who can’t make it to the farm, though, the doctor will go to them and education on the benefits of a plant based diet is the first step in the process.
“I am not saying if you fall down and break your ankle, I can fix it by putting a salve of mugwort on it. You need someone to fix your fracture,” Weiss said. “I am talking about treating and preventing chronic disease — the heart attacks, the strokes, the cardiovascular disease, the cancers … the illnesses that are taking our economy and our nation down.Plant-based whole foods are the most powerful disease-modifying tools available to practitioners — more powerful than any drugs or surgeries.”
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