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New East Hills café focuses on food as medicine

Root Farmacy Café is proving health food can be delicious
Posted at 4:42 PM, Dec 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 18:41:04-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — It’s a new business in an old favorite spot. Root Farmacy Café has moved into the space where Marie Catribs used to be in the East Hills neighborhood.

The founder said their focus on ‘food as medicine,’ is important now more than ever.

The team is made up entirely of doctors and registered dieticians who have been helping clients for years through Root Functional Medicine to focus on using food as a path to help.

Founder, Erica Armstrong said, “We were prescribing food plans to our clients and found that many people needed support in actually cooking and prepping the meals.”

So, they created a business model surrounding a meal subscription service and grab-and-go items for the general public.

Armstrong said, “We remove seven of the most common sensitivities in all of those meals. Our meals are also balanced with protein, fat, and fiber, so that blood sugar is balanced.

Jenn Fillenworth, Root Farmacy’s Executive Chef and Registered Dietician said they like to sneak vegetables and extra nutrients into their meals, just like mom’s do with their kids.

“Right now our fall, turkey meatloaf is such a huge seller,” Fillenworth said, “We basically cook down a bunch of fall vegetables and combine that with our ground turkey.”

Armstrong said that now more than ever, people are focusing on their health during the pandemic.

“The vast majority of your immune system is actually right in your gut, 70% of it, and so if we want to lower inflammation overall, a great place to start is with food and your gut,” she said.

Clients have reported feeling a huge difference in how they feel.

Armstrong said, “People feel more energy, they actually feel less achy, less joint pain, their digestion feels improved, sometimes they even tell us they sleep better because their blood sugar is balanced.”

The café also offers smoothies, coffees, teas, supplements and other drinks and snacks.

When it comes to their meals though, Fillenworth said they’re really trying to stretch the boundaries of how ‘health food’ is perceived.

“We have some kind of Midwest classics with the turkey meatloaf, but we are also doing a chicken curry, and also a Moroccan carrot dish, so you’re getting a lot of different global flavors.”

The staff said they’re hoping to prove that good and tasty things can come from unexpected places.

Fillenworth said, “Healthy food doesn’t have to sacrifice flavor. You can put a lot of care into it, you can do a lot of different culinary techniques to make it taste really really good.”

To see Root Farmacy’s menu and order meals, head to the Root Farmacy website.

Meal subscription pickup is Monday and Tuesdays, from 4-6pm.

Grab-and-go customers can stop in Wednesday – Friday, from 7am – 3pm, and Saturday from 8am-2pm.