I’m a vegetarian….well I used to be before this interview… Prior to embarking on this journey called ChicpeaJC, I swore off all meat, at some point my diet was even vegan! I stopped eating meat for health reasons, I just did not like the way it made me feel.
Ronald and Virginia, owners and taste makers of Bone-In, reached out to me a few weeks ago just to let me know they loved what I was doing. After chatting with them, I had this gut feeling that I needed to know their story. But I had an issue, how was I going to interview them and not eat their food? Then I learned about their practices, and how they pride themselves on using only quality/organic meat products, so I went with it. I decided Ron and Virginia would be the ones to take me out of my one year of meat abstinence. #Sexytime
How did Bone-In start? (Ron) I’ve always done a lot of volunteer work. My past venture was raising money for non-profits through e-commerce sales. One of the non-profits we work with, More Than Me (founder lives in JC), works in Liberia building schools for young sexually vulnerable girls. In order to go there and help finish building our first school, I had to get inoculated. My body acted adversely to the vaccinations and I got extremely ill. Doctors couldn’t even diagnose me.
Wow, that’s scary. (R) So I got sick, and had basically a 103.5 fever for 30 days straight. Every week there was a new situation involving joint pains, the inability to move, skin rashes, excruciating headaches, just to name a few. They kept telling me it’s an adverse reaction to the vaccinations, but each time I went to the ER, worse than the time before, they couldn’t specify what was wrong. Finally, I was admitted to the Jersey City Medical Center after my primary physician noticed a heart murmur. I was hospitalized at Jersey City Medical for 10 days, and had lost about 15 lbs of muscle mass. I couldn’t walk. I mean you can ask Virginia, the possibility I wasn’t going to make it was huge. They finally diagnosed me with Stills disease along with Acute Pericarditis.
(V) It was so scary.
(Ron) I was diagnosed with Stills because of the successful treatment provided. Doctors started giving me very high dosages of Prednisone. In 3 days I was then released from the hospital on a very high daily dosage, got my appetite back, and was energetic. I felt so alive… It was like my second chance at life.
V: It was like ***snaps finger**** that and he was good again, it was crazy.
The unfortunate part is I’m still on Prednisone, and every time I try to wean off of it, I get a flare up. So after the 4th flare up, when I was down to about 15 milligrams, I said to myself that I have to figure out a more natural approach to this.
Prior to this point I was more vegetarian, and was watching my diet. I was drinking lots of juices. I would occasionally eat meat or chicken. At the time the documentary Forks Over Knifes had gotten to me so it was like, just forget it, I can’t eat this…
So are you going to try to convince me not be vegetarian? I don’t think being vegetarian is bad, it’s just not for me. I need more fats and proteins.
(EATS the stew, “it tastes like a warm hug”)
(R) So that is made from scratch homemade chicken stock. The broth is made from free-range chicken feet, so they’re very high is silicone which is essential for bone strength and flexibility. I make everything with bone broths… Reason being is that the biggest side effects of my medication, Prednisone, is diabetes and osteoporosis, which is the depletion of vitamins and minerals from your bones. In order to combat this, I have to replenish them.
It tastes so clean and healthy… I love it. You won’t feel lethargic after.
So back to bone in, how did you get here? I went to visit a holistic doctor, after all the juicing and what not. I was told that what was happening was that I had all this inflammation in my body and I needed to get rid of it, so that the drugs I’m taking will focus solely on the inflammation around my heart. So, I was informed to change my diet. Within the first month of being all natural, organic, no preservatives, no gluten, grass fed and pasture raised meats… during this riding my body of all things you’re not naturally supposed to intake, my overall health improved. I didn’t consume any preservatives, refined sugar, no dairy, no nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, no eggs, as these things are high in alkaloids, which are more responsive negatively to people who suffer from auto immune disorders.
After the 30 days I started incorporating eggs and other more natural foods back into my diet. It was suggested by the holistic doctor to add these things separately, wait three days to see how my body responds, and then try something else. I reacted fine to everything except sugars, certain preservatives, and refined oils. My vision was improving on this diet, my skin, and my energy. I’ve never had energy like this before in my life.
So then you found all this out, changed the way you were eating and then what.. I’m going to open up a business? Haha So basically because of my disorder, I talked to social security to request financial help, and they denied me. I’m a hands on guy. I need to be active. I’ll lose my mind without doing stuff like the occasional manual labor or even putting together events.
Social Security denied me because according to my doctor I could perform customer service work. During this change, I had been reading up on this diet and more about nutrition and why it is so essential. It is the only diet that I have read up on that had logic behind it and could tell you WHY it’s good for you. I’m reading a book right now by Dr. Weston Price that is the study of nutrition of primitive cultures, and how being isolated from modern western habits proved to be much healthier for them. Their bone structures were so much stronger, their teeth, dental arches. And it was because they weren’t eating preservatives and processed crap like flour or sugars.
So I said to myself, how could I share this with people?? The best way I thought, was through food.
So you do all the cooking? Yes.
And were you always this into cooking? Yeah – I worked in the restaurant industry for 10+ years and I’ve always been on my own. My parents are deceased so I’ve been on my own since 16 years old. I just had no choice but to take care of myself. With that being said, anything you need done, I can do it.
V: I cut vegetables!!
So at that point, I was working with a whole group of people in JC and they loved the idea of a simple three-course menu. So Vir and I started cooking appetizers, entrees, and desserts, which all follow an all-natural, whole food, organic diet. Currently we reach out to about 65 people and we are doing about 20-25 orders per week. That’s without marketing and just word of mouth.
We’re currently working with St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in the Heights in order to use their shared commercial kitchen and help expand to reach volume.
How does it work, you guys deliver to private residences? We send out a text message at the beginning of each week for a three-course dinner menu. People then reply when they want it. We offer delivery times between 12-2 and 5-9, Mondaythru Friday. Similar to a subscription model, they specify how many portions they want and at what time on a specific day.
Where do you guys get your meat? We get it from a farm in Indiana. We are currently trying to source more local but it’s very difficult with mass distribution. The farm in Indiana is huge and we buy about 50 lbs of meat every two weeks, all grass-fed, all pasture-raised. I’ve had numerous conversations with this farm and they specified that they’re not just grass-fed, they’re grass finished. So, generally farms will have grass-fed animals and towards the last few months before they get slaughtered they’ll feed them grains to fatten them up. This is not ethical practice.
Like a paleo diet, no carbohydrates? No carbs, no preservatives, no refined sugars, or oils.
Any grains..? No grains, no beans…
Why? I’m a chicpea! Phytates… they all contain what’s called Phytic Acid, which in common in most agricultural produce, but since we’ve over cultivated and lacked in proper preparation, now in their defense from over cultivation, similar to gluten, they create these chemicals in abundance in order to disrupt our digestive tract. We are creating and consuming them so fast, to feed not only us but also livestock, and it’s beginning to hurt our health.
But we haven’t completely eliminated these things from our diet because of people’s ability to evolve, so we do indulge every so often
Do you eat ice cream? We do about once a month probably, and you know what, it’s that much better when we have it that one time.
(V) We only go to Milk Sugar Love because we know where everything comes from.
What are your favorite hang out spots in Jersey City? Or where do you guys like to eat? Madame Claude, Marco & Pepe, Razza… my friend Dan is the owner at Razza, we love it there. We love Thirty Acres too, their brunch is really good!
How did you two meet? My mother died of cancer when I was 13, and then my father turned to alcohol. After my father lost his life to alcoholism, when I was about 25, I just decided to sell everything I had and pick up to travel. I traveled South America for about 9 months.
V: We have a mutual friend who basically connected us through Facebook. He visited me in Argentina and we traveled a bit together with some friends and family. Then I invited him to stay with my family in Rosario. We stayed there for a week and then he left for a hostel because my parents kicked him out. We were just friends at this time. So then he left, went and traveled around Argentina more, and then left for Australia and New Zealand. His next flight was to Asia and he said do you want to meet me and I was like I have no money and no passport. He’s like, then I’ll just come back to Argentina.
We lived there together for 3 months there, and then I left for to Peru for a month and then finally came back to the states where I started working with a friend.
V: So then, after I met him, I finished college – I’m a dental hygienist – I decided to venture. My sister was living in the states so I said fuck it, I’ll go visit her and see him on a 3-month visa. I was there, then had a 9-month stint in Barcelona, where he visited me, and then went back to the US with another 3-month visa. I wasn’t going to overstay my visa, so 3 days before the 3 months ended we just looked at each other and we’re like… lets get married.
And in 3 days, we planned our wedding, and got married right here in Hamilton Park.
Yumm. Can I have another bowl?