A West Milford institution is evolving

| 04 Jan 2018 | 01:46

By Ginny Privitar
John and Sally Malatras have been taking care of the nutritional needs of West Milford residents for close to 21 years and will be sorely missed now that they have decided to retire.
Their business, Harvest Moon Health & Nutrition, has offered the highest quality nutritional supplements and vitamins to their customers, as well as expert advice for optimum health.
When he was just 11 years old, John Malatras became interested in weight lifting and herbal medicine and developed a passion for helping others achieve nutritional health. In addition to a having a business degree, he has a diploma in herbal medicine and has increased his knowledge with additional courses and studies with many mentors.
His wife, Sally, has deep roots in the community and her family owned and operated Apple Acres since the 1800s. Both were committed to offering the highest quality nutritional products and will continue to do so for the next few months. The exact timing of their departure has yet to be determined.
John Malatras said they were very selective about the products they offered and used only the best quality products, with independent lab assays to back them up. "I need to have a relationship with the companies I do business with," he said. The store carries both Gaia Herbs and New Chapter vitamins. "I know both herbalists personally and am happy with their work," he added.
In future, Malatras said, he'll stay involved in the holistic field in a different capacity and hopes to provide herbal and nutritional consulting after enjoying retirement for a while.
"There are all sorts of possibilities we can entertain," he said.
The store offers gluten-free, all organic, non-GMO supplements. There are not a lot of brands but the best of the brands, the owners say. They carry vitamins, herbs, fish oil supplements, all kinds of foods, including fermented foods, which are critically important to human health, Malatras added.
Many supermarket vitamins and supplements are made and sold in "high-potency" dosages that the body cannot utilize and that may, in fact, be detrimental, he said. Malatras recalled an experiment in which some cancer patients were given high doses of beta-carotene in hope that it would inhibit cancer progression. In fact, it had the opposite effect, he said.
There's more to nutrition that just absorption, Malatras said. Equally important is the body's ability to utilize it. Many calcium supplements are made from limestone in the form of calcium carbonate and may actually be detrimental. "It's like picking up blackboard chalk and chewing on it," Malatras said. "They don't do anything for skeletal health. There are no studies that show they attenuate osteoporosis, in fact, they may contribute to osteoarthritis and kidney stones." Plant-based supplements like those derived from bio-available sea vegetables are better, he said.
Many supplements are made from chemically isolated, rather than food-derived nutrients, and thus are not well-utilized by the body, he said.
The best way to get nutrients is from whole food supplements which are superior to chemically isolated supplements.
Fermented nutrients are another option. They start with organic food with a high concentration of nutrition. The process begins with isolating a vitamin which is cultured with probiotics and transforms a chemically isolated nutrient into a whole food nutrient. "This converts a synthetic into a living food nutrient," Malatras said, and added that a number of companies are now doing that. He advised folks to look for "fermented media" or "cultured whole food vitamin product" on the label.
"There comes a time when you can't put in the time anymore. Retail is a very demanding occupation," John Malatras said.
Leaving will be hard for the couple. "We made so many friends; met so many wonderful people. It's just been a beautiful experience all the way," John Malatras said. "It's been the best years of my life. We started the store from scratch for all the right reasons. We wanted to be together, doing what we loved to do and helping people the best we could in the community."
Stop in and wish them well.
Harvest Moon Health & Nutrition
22 Marshall Hill Road.
West Milford, N.J.
(973) 728-6300
New Hours: - Monday through Friday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Closed Sundays
Facebook: Harvest Moon Health & Nutrition