As part of an initiative to promote healthy eating and a wellness program portal, Nova Medical Group opened the Garden of Eatin’ Café April 28 in their Ashburn location.
The café, which is open to the public, offers a menu of fresh, seasonal, local ingredients with dishes that are gluten free, most are dairy and nut free. There are salads, sandwiches, wraps and bowls designed by Chef Kiet Ly, who personally has lost 250 pounds over the past few years.
“I recently learned how to change the way I cook and taste food,” Ly said. “First I reduced the amount of fat, then sodium, and did it slowly using less and less over time,” he added.
The café menu items are made with fresh herbs, garlic and bold spices to add flavor without adding fat or sodium content. Recipes have been reviewed and approved by Nova Medical Group’s registered dietitians and naturopathic doctors.
“I have a much happier life now that I don’t feel like I’m on a diet. It is a healthier lifestyle,” Ly said. “Hopefully, people will appreciate the food, and hopefully I can make an impact in other peoples’ lives,” he said.
Ly said he will be introducing a new menu in the next couple of weeks, which will focus on summer ingredients. “The new menu is great, very fresh and light,” he said. “It is based around seasonal and local ingredients, and what the farmers are selling.”
In addition to the Garden of Eatin’ Café, Nova Medical offers an online wellness portal for businesses, which is set up to encourage healthy living for employees. Participants can set up a profile on the site to monitor their diet, workouts, health screening tests and more.
Nova Medical will work with businesses to create a custom wellness program for employees, including fitness classes, in-house chair massages, smoking cessation techniques.
“Businesses are seeing how healthy employees save money,” said Nova Medical’s Wellness Manager Mary Zmuda.
Dr. Grace Keenan, CEO and founder of Nova Medical & Urgent Care Center, said one goal of the new café is to provide the community with easy access to healthy food.
“As a doctor, I strive to help others optimize their wellness and feel complete,” says Dr. Keenan. “I do not believe that doctors are here just to treat disease. Wellness clearly involves much more than the absence of disease.”
Keenan pointed out that as a nation, 75 percent of healthcare costs are attributed to chronic disease, and chronic disease is sedentary to our lifestyle choices.
“Four modifiable health risk behaviors – lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption – are responsible for much of the illness, suffering and early death related to chronic diseases,” Keenan said.
“By changing these four aspects of how we live, we can drastically reduce both the incidence of disease and our healthcare costs. I hope that the Garden of Eatin’ café will help us take one step closer to embracing proper nutrition.”
The café has already been busy providing catering services to local businesses.
“As an employer, I am tired of hosting off-site meetings and asking for healthy options and being presented with M&M filled trail mix. My employees deserve better; their health is important to me,” Keenan said.
“For my fellow Loudoun County employers, if this is a concern of yours as well, the café will have the ability to cater corporate events, meetings and other functions. It can provide your staff with healthy, energy-boosting foods that will help you to foster a healthier, more productive workforce and ultimately create a culture of wellness within your organization.”
Located in the Nova Medical Group Ashburn building, 21785 Filigree Court, the café will be open Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. http://www.novagardenofeatin.com