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Long Distance Caregiving

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A Long Distance Caregiver's Solution to Mealtime

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What would you do if your elderly parents, who live 1,000 miles away, suddenly became invalids? (What would you do if they lived around the corner?)

This was the question Gretchen Cryer had to answer for herself. It all started 9 years ago, when Gretchen Cryer's father suffered a stroke, and shortly thereafter her mother fractured her back. Cryer, most known for writing the book and lyrics and starring in "I'm Getting my Act Together and Taking It On The Road", lived in New York and traveled to Indiana to see her parents as often as she could. Her brother, who is a doctor, traveled from Oregon to be their primary caregiver. "My brother, a tireless, loving caregiver, was nevertheless an uninspired cook," Cryer says. She found that her parents became depressed for lack of appetizing food.

She was especially concerned when she realized they were losing weight, and, apparently, their interest in food. "One day," recalls Cryer, "I was sitting in my studio, and I saw a UPS truck pull up. I began to wonder if it would be possible to send meals overnight to my parents." Thus inspired, Cryer headed for her kitchen and started cooking up a storm: pot roast, baked ham, apple pie. When she was done, she had fixed 25 pounds of food, which she shipped to her parents on dry ice, insulated with old newspapers.

Cryer's homebound parents thrived on the meals that arrived every two weeks. Indeed, the hearty comfort food "became an event in their lives." It was a long-distance way of breaking bread with their daughter. Cryer remembers: "My parents were excited, overjoyed, and best of all, Mom felt a little more in control of her life. She could totter out to the refrigerator, look in the freezer, decide which home-cooked meal they wanted, and slip it into the oven. One night Mom called and said, "Gretchen, you should go into business!"

That's the story of Food From Home. Now Cryer has a flourishing mail-order frozen-food company that sends delicious meals to folks all across the country. "These are not TV dinners," she declares. Food From Home's meals are generous portions of soups, entrees, side dishes and desserts all cooked from scratch, using only the finest ingredients. Thanks to a revolutionary "Sous Vide" food preparation process, there are no additives or preservatives. This process uses state of the art equipment which not only pre-cooks meals to exact temperatures but also sucks out 98% of the product's oxygen. Then, they are flash frozen which maintains a high standard of freshness that can have a freezer life up to 6 months. Food From Home's kitchen is located in upstate New York and exceeds all USDA requirements.

The meals, shipped frozen in dry ice, can be directly transferred to home freezers and used as needed by heating it either in a regular oven or a microwave. All of the foods strive to be low in sodium and low in fat, and the Healthy Good Life line is nearly salt free with 30 percent or less of its calories derived from fat. Most importantly, the sauces are enriched in 75 colloidal minerals which many health professionals recognize as important in maintaining the upkeep of our immune system. These unique minerals also aid in the detoxifying ability of the body. In the future, the company might offer kosher, vegetarian and diabetic meals.

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