‘Bene Plates’ Comes to the Aid of Cancer Patients, Offering Nutritious Meals
Healthy Sustenance for Those Who Need It Most
BON APPÉTIT. Chris Faddis feels blessed to serve cancer patients healthy, tasty food. Courtesy of Chis Faddis
Catholic author and entrepreneur Chris Faddis is trying to improve the quality of life for cancer patients and the terminally ill.
In 2011, When Faddis’ first wife, Angela, 31, was dying from inoperable colon cancer, they discovered that malnutrition was one of the biggest hurdles to achieving a good quality of life and to keeping her alive as long as possible.
Researching malnutrition in cancer patients, they discovered that 85% of cancer patients suffer from it, and 40% of them die from causes related to it.
That’s why Faddis started his meal-delivery company, Bene Plates.
Sharon Day, a registered dietician and chief of nutrition for the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, which has partnered with Bene Plates, said, “We know that a malnourished patient has more treatment side effects. We also know that adequate nutrition can keep a patient in treatment.”
In 2012, while Angela Faddis was being treated at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Arizona, the couple enjoyed the healthy, gourmet-style meals the hospital provided. When Faddis noticed one of the patients leaving with a bag full of takeout containers, he was told by the hospital’s chef that patients were taking home food because they couldn’t cook this way for themselves.
That’s when Bene (which means “well” in Latin) Plates first came to him. Unfortunately, Angela died before she could see what she called his “his best idea yet” come to fruition.
Bene Plates’ (BenePlates.com) goal is to provide good-tasting food that is nutrient-dense and toxin-free to help patients in any stage of illness live well. Patients can have seven Bene Plate meals delivered to their doors for $77 (and an additional shipping charge), with a patient or the patient’s nutritionist choosing the optimal meal plan. Faddis’ company also provides nutrition counseling over the phone with a licensed nutritionist.
As Faddis told the Register, “So many patients — especially in active treatment — are normally out of commission when they have their treatment twice a month. We want to be available for those times: to get them through those chemo weeks.”
For example, some patients are unable to eat because they experience difficulty with taste. “Maybe there’s a metallic taste that the patients cannot overcome, which makes them want to throw up every time they eat,” Faddis explained. “It can be as simple as a drop of maple syrup mixed into the food to take away the metallic taste. It might be lemon that they add to the food. There’s a lot of things we can do to help patients overcome issues of taste. That’s part of why our program includes a nutritionist, because it’s not enough for us just to send a box of food every week.”
Breast-cancer patient Cheri McCloskey, 56, from Arizona, received her meals from Bene Plates when she needed them most. She had spent six days not being able to keep food down because of chemotherapy. “When I opened the box, it smelled so good, and it tasted good,” she explained. “I was surprised because I was expecting something like a TV dinner. What was nice was that I felt satisfied after eating the meals he sent.”
Since a cancer patient’s nutritional needs can change drastically and quickly, Faddis offers a flexible menu. “When patients are in that stage where they are unable to eat, we can get them food that gives them enough nutrition to keep them stable, such as nutrient-dense broth, like bone broth, smoothies and cold-pressed juices.”
But sharing a meal with one’s family is so much more than fulfilling hunger or receiving adequate nutrition. It’s also a time of bonding.
Father Leo Patalinghug, host of Savoring Our Faith on EWTN, is part of Bene Plates’ culinary team; he offers practical observations, pastoral perspective and spiritual support to the company.
As he told the Register, “The terminally ill are quickly approaching heaven. It is a sacred time. Yet they are still fully alive, so the time they spend is precious. That includes time spent with the families, as well as meals to help them to remember that every day in life is a gift.
“For that reason, Bene Plates is giving back the dignity to people who are terminally ill, and we want to help them to prepare for the feast that they will receive in heaven through God’s mercy.”
Faddis said Bene Plates also hopes to have meals available for the ill who are poor: “We are working with Father Leo’s The Table Foundation to create the Angela Faddis Fund, which will help fund our meals for people who cannot afford them.”
Lori Chaplin writes from Idaho.