Zesto was founded by plant based nutritionist and physical therapist, educator and gardener Tammy Metz, and plant based, gluten free chef Robin Van Riper.
For Tammy, a lifelong struggle with chronic illness led her on a quest for better health. Along her journey she found Anthony William, Medical Medium and started to follow his “food as medicine” guidance. Within two days, Tammy knew she found her answer to better health. Now a cancer survivor, Tammy continues to follow Medical Medium guidance diligently as she continues to recover from chronic illness and the side effects of cancer treatment.
Robin has been eating and cooking clean food since she was a child. Influenced by her parents love of gardening and cooking, Robin credits clean food with keeping her and her family healthier. When a loved one was diagnosed with gluten sensitivities and Robin couldn’t find gluten free, grain free products that tasted good, she created her own. Robin’s home kitchen baking parlayed into nationally popular EHSTO artisanal gluten free and grain free products that can be purchased at Zesto and at the Westport Farmers Market, Sport Hill Farm in Easton and Pure Love Bakery in Avon.
Turning lemons into lemonade
Tammy and Robin met while Tammy was healing from a cancer diagnosis and looking for someone to cook good, healing food for her. A few months later the idea for Zesto was born, making Robin’s dream to have a place to cook great tasting, gluten free healthy food and Tammy’s dream to feed people food that heals, come true.
I’ve been a licensed physical therapist for over 30 years, specializing in neurology and trauma injuries, and have worked in one of the best hospitals in the country. This has helped me to gain a deeper understanding of how to help the body heal, and essential eating well is to good health.
I struggled with chronic fatigue for 25 years, after graduating with a Master's degree in Physical Therapy from Columbia University. In 2018, a friend recommended that I read one of Anthony Williams Medical Medium books. Four days later, I finished his first book, started drinking celery juice and never looked back.
To help me understand even more about food as medicine, I got my Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell at the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. I’ve also worked with Amber Vizzacarro of Heal with Amber, taken Dr. Kimberly Spair Reclaimers of Health "Empowered Women" course, and Muneeza Ahmed’s “Rise Up” program. I have also done trauma and emotional work with Dr. Cathleen King and Primal Trustand teach part of the Primal Trust curriculum.
While going through a cancer diagnosis and treatment, I dreamt of a place that offered healing food. I’ve always been connected to the fact I help people heal through my hands, now I use my hands at Zesto to help heal people in a different way.
And here I am, a co-owner of the first Medical Medium inspired cafe in the world spreading better health and love through food.
Robin Van Riper
My mother was way ahead of her time. When my brother struggled with what was then referred to as hyperactivity, somehow she knew not to give him the medications recommended by our well-meaning pediatrician. Instead, our family embarked upon a health food journey, which in the 1970’s included many items which now we’d never consider healthy, but for the time was revolutionary. This foundational belief that what you eat matters and has a direct impact on your health and wellbeing has permeated my life. In my late teens I became a vegetarian. What I quickly realized was that if I wanted healthy delicious food, I would have to make it myself. I’ve been cooking ever since.
As an Environmental Studies Major at Boston University, the complicated impacts our food choices have on the environment were unveiled. The more I learned about how our food systems were destroying the soil and water needed to grow the food, the more committed I became to eating an organic, plant based diet.
I went on to teach high school science for 10 years and was known as the crazy teacher who let you eat during class, but only fruits and vegetables!
Two kids and many life changes later, I met my partner who suffered terribly from rheumatoid arthritis. His physician recommended a grain-free diet to reduce the inflammation that contributed to his pain. At the time there were a good number of gluten free pastas and bread substitutes available, but almost all of them not only contained other grains such as rice and corn, but were loaded with processed sugars and unhealthy fats. EHSTO, an artisanal gluten and grain free bakery was born.
It was not long until Muneeza Ahmed found me selling EHSTO products at a farmers market and asked if I could make them for her without yeast or vinegar. Eventually we began producing a whole line of Medical Medium compliant baked goods and the rest is the story of Zesto.