Provider preaches food as medicine at New Jersey farm practice

farm-931987_1920Ethos Primary Care is not your average doctor's office. Dr. Ron Weiss set up shop on 342 acres of farmland stretching below Schooley’s Mountain in Long Valley, New Jersey. Here, he grows produce free of synthetic chemicals for patients who follow his prescription of food-is-medicine.

“Food is so powerful in its abilities to heal, but also in its abilities to cause disease, and it just turns out that’s the basis of most people’s problems," said Weiss in a recent interview with New Jersey Monthly.

Weiss is an integrative medicine doctor whose focus is the reversal and prevention of illness, using unrefined whole plant foods.  His background includes conventional medicine and alternative medicine, and he holds bachelor’s degrees in botany and music from Rutgers University and a medical degree from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.  While he can prescribe pharmaceuticals or surgery if necessary, he focuses on getting his patients off prescription drugs and helps them avoid surgery, if possible. Weiss says that in all but the most extreme circumstances, your body has the ability to get well on its own.

If you get a cut, your body can heal it within a matter of days.  That’s how the body functions when it is in balance.  Our bodies, however, have been thrown off-kilter, from the bombardment of environmental toxins and unhealthy lifestyle habits of the modern age, says Weiss. The first and most critical step to healing from chronic illness is eliminating those toxins and practicing healthy lifestyle habits.  When you take these steps, you give your body the opportunity to heal, without invasive medical interventions that can throw off your body further and send you spiraling downward.

Ethos Primary Care focuses on helping patients prevent or reverse chronic illnesses like hypertension, diabetes, and asthma by using a combination of “living medicines"—nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables grown without synthetic chemicals—mixed with a mindful approach toward health.

Weiss began to recognize the importance of food when his father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Doctors gave his father less than three months to live. As a new doctor, Weiss would not accept that nothing could be done, and turned to his local library, where he scoured books on nutrition and its ability to heal, something his medical education did not cover. He put his father on a whole-foods, plant-based diet, and senior Weiss ended up living well for 18 months.

His father's transformation prompted Weiss to look at food as the foundation of health when treating his patients. Though he practices conventionally for 26 years, in 2011, he decided to sell his practice in West New York and move to the post-World War II farmhand house. He opened Ethos Primary Care in 2014.

Ethos offers primary care medicine that takes into consideration a patient's entire life and guides them on making healthy choices across the board.  Transforming lifestyle habits can be challenging, which is why the center offers  healthy living classes and lifestyle immersion programs that not only teach patients how to get well, but support them through every step of the process.

Patients typically start with a preliminary exam with Weiss, where he develops a customized "healing action plan". From there, patients receive ongoing support and exams with Weiss. They can also take part in structured programs, such as a 30-day detox, a year-long lifestyle transformation, and a farm stand program. A team of holistic health coaches help guide patients through the programs with ongoing support by phone or email, on a weekly or daily basis, depending on the patient's needs.

Patients, ranging from those still in the womb to those in their 90s, come from all over the country to see Weiss. For many, a visit to Ethos Primary Care is a last-change effort to address their chronic illnesses. Since launching Ethos Primary Care, Weiss claims to have successfully treated a whole host of patients. Patients see their acne clear up, their weight slide off, their reliance on medication evaporate, and their “incurable” diseases cured, he says.

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