Are You Running Low on Vitamin B12?

When we think of vitamin B12 or other B vitamins, we often think of them as the ‘energy’ vitamins.   It is common for a B12 deficiency to cause fatigue in individuals, however, there are many other symptoms that could signal that your body is not getting enough of this essential vitamin.

First, let’s start with sources of vitamin B12. This water-soluble vitamin is naturally found in foods of animal origin such as meats, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy products. If your diet is rich in these items, you are probably getting enough B12. However, there are reasons why someone could still be deficient even though these foods are present in their daily lives.

People with types of anemia and diseases of the small intestine (such as Celiac or Crohn’s) do not absorb the vitamin well. Vegans, who do not consume any foods of animal origin, may also be at risk for low levels.

Symptoms of a B12 Deficiency

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Pale skin
  • Smooth tongue

These are just some of the symptoms associated with a B12 deficiency. It is a good idea to get an annual physical AND have your doctor run a complete blood test to check for all vitamin levels. If you follow a vegan diet you can take a supplement to ensure your levels don’t run low.

Vegan Sausage and Mushroom Pizza Recipe

Guilt Free Sausage & Mushroom Pizza

vegan-sausage-pizza-recipePizza night is a weekly occurrence in my house. This amazing dairy free and meat free Sausage and Mushroom pizza packs all of the flavor with none of the guilt.

First, get yourself your favorite pizza crust, or you can make your own if you prefer. You’ll also need the following:

 

  • Daiya dairy free shreds in mozzarella flavor (in the organic section of Wegmans or you can find it in Deans Health Food Store or your local health food store)
  • Tomato sauce
  • Mushrooms and spinach

Sautee the mushrooms and spinach with some low sodium veggie broth and garlic. Set aside. To make the meat free crumbled sausage, follow this recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 8oz pack sliced mushrooms
  • 3 TB all purpose flour ( I used quinoa flour because I like the taste of it)
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • pinch of crushed red pepper
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 TB maple syrup

Directions: Place walnuts in food processor and pulse until a fine, crumbly meal forms. Add mushrooms, flour, basil, fennel, pinch of red pepper, salt, pepper and maple syrup. Pulse about 25 times, until mushrooms are finely chopped. Be careful not to over process, it should be crumbly and chunky.

Next, place the mixture in a large sauté pan with some fat free cooking spray, Turn frequently with the spatula, breaking up into smaller pieces as both sides begin to brown. and crisp (about 10-15 minutes)

Now that your sausage is made, prepare the pizza by placing a layer of sauce on the dough, them your veggie mixture, a layer of the dairy free mozzarella shreds and finally the crumbled sausage on top. Cook according to the directions on the pizza dough you are using.

This sausage is made of walnuts and mushrooms- so it’s full of anti-cancer nutrients, healthy omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, plant protein and more. Regular sausage is tainted meat filled with hormones, saturated fat and antibiotics. The choice is clear what we should feed our families!

If you have questions about going dairy free or meat free, please feel free to email me. stacey@naturalnutritionist.net

Stay healthy!

Stacey

How and Why To Give Up Dairy

How And Why to Give Up Dairy 
Eddie and I gave up dairy milk years ago  Truthfully I don’t remember the exact reason why we switched, but it was when I was getting deeper into nutrition and whole foods. The switch was easy for us.  We dropped dairy milk and picked up almond milk instead.  That was the start of it.

Over the years an onslaught of information has come out regarding dairy milk and its harmful effect.  It seems like every day there are more and more medical and scientific studies coming out in favor of giving up dairy.  Below are just a few of the documented effects that researchers believe are caused by dairy.  The full article can be found online.

1. Increased risk of prostate cancer
2. Higher ovarian cancer risk
3. Higher rates of Multiple Sclerosis across populations with high consumption of dairy
4. Dairy protein has been shown to increase IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor-1) levels. Increased levels of IGF-1 has now been implicated in several cancers
5. Higher milk intake linked to acne

Now that you’ve learned some of the reasons why you should give up dairy, the next step is learning how to give up dairy.  Fortunately, it’s pretty simple.  Dairy free is becoming a mainstream movement now that much of the population is aware of dairy’s harmful effects.  With that realization came hundreds of companies producing dairy free items like cheese, mayo, ice cream, yogurt, ‘milk’, etc.

The first step is to ditch dairy milk and find a non dairy milk you like. I use unsweetened almond milk but there is also coconut milk, creamy cashew milk, rice milk, hemp milk, etc.  It may take some getting used to, but trust me the health benefits are well worth it.

Dairy free (vegan) cheese are made by many companies.  My favorite are Daiya and Follow Your Heart.  Dairy free ice cream, yogurt and mayo can be found by companies like So Delicious and Tofutti.

I recommend trying the Daiya vegan ‘cheese’ shreds in mozzarella or cheddar and the So Delicious dairy free coconut yogurt. So Delicious makes great coconut milk ice cream in many flavors.   Most supermarkets have all of these items.  If not, check your local health food store.

If you have questions about going dairy free, please feel free to email me.  stacey@naturalnutritionist.net

Weight Loss Programs From A Holistic Nutritionist

What makes our weight loss programs different here at Ultimate Fit Zone in Monmouth County, is that we don’t focus on your weight.  The focus of all of our nutritional services is health.  The very first thing we do is analyze your health profile through two different simple assessments.  It’s possible to  lose weight and still be unhealthy.  That’s why we want to examine your specific profile, your family medical history, your current state of health.  Through meal planning and sound nutrition, we can make you healthier and happier.  A natural side effect of this process is that you will shed unwanted extra pounds.

Teaching portion control is a critical element for health and weight loss, but it’s not just about calories and points.  We want your calories to come from whole foods that are nutritionally sound.  We want to show you how to choose foods, why certain foods are healthy for you and what benefits they can offer your health.  We also want you to understand the consequences of choosing foods that are unhealthy for you. It’s with education, planning and our unconditional support that these simple changes lead to lifetime habits of healthy eating.

We don’t believe in fad diets or elimination strategies.  Our meal plans include all food groups and delicious recipes for you to enjoy.

We are happy to have a holistic nutritionist on staff with us 24/7 to help you with all of your health and wellness questions.  Our full time Ultimate Fit Zone members are entitled to 1 complimentary consultation with Stacey each month.

Don’t get hung up on your weight. Instead, talk to us about how we can help you become healthier and happier through fitness training and sound nutritional planning.

Summer Weight Loss Challenge Announced

weight-loss-challenge-monmouth-countyThe next weight loss challenge at Ultimate Fit Zone in Monmouth County, NJ will lead right up into the 4th of July weekend of the summer!  We had amazing results from our 2014 weight loss challenge, with our winner shedding more than 12 inches from  head to toe!  We are excited to announce our next weight loss challenge will kick off Monday April 6th and will run for 90 days.

This year’s challenge will add even more added value for participants now that Ultimate Fit Zone boasts their own Holistic Nutritionist, Stacey Albert, on staff that will be available for participants around the clock. Plus each participant can schedule a complimentary consultation with Stacey each month during the challenge to help them stay on track.

weight-loss-challenge-njThe weight loss challenge at Ultimate Fit Zone is NOT an extreme diet with deprivation and starvation.  We stress a healthy, whole foods meal plan that includes lean protein, fruits, veggies, healthy fat and yes, CARBS.  Participants will lose weight the healthy way while learning how to portion and prepare meals that are healthy and balanced.

Our whole foods meal plan steers away from the traditional Western diet full of processed and refined foods, chemicals, additives, artificial flavor, color, etc.  Stacey will also be helping participants enjoy their meals by providing them with simple, easy to follow recipes that produce meals the whole family will enjoy.  Our program has been tested over and over again, and the results are that IT WORKS!  Our clients LOVE what they are eating, they feel great weight-loss-challenge-monmouth-countyand they look great.  And THAT is how weight loss and healthy living should be.

If you would like to work with Stacey and the personal trainers at Ultimate Fit Zone to help you achieve your health and weight loss goals, please fill out the contact form to the right and we will contact you.  You can find complete information about the weight loss challenge by clicking HERE.

 

Ask The Nutritionist

Your boot camp training membership at Ultimate Fit Zone in Monmouth County includes a complimentary consultation with our holistic nutritionist each month.   You can use your consultation to get questions answered regarding weight loss, preventative health strategies, holistic nutrition and more.

Stacey Albert is our resident Holistic Nutritionist on staff for your assistance.  Her focus is on healthy weight loss through a whole foods diet (no starving, or calorie counting) as well as specialty meal plans for conditions like IBS, inflammatory diseases, anti-aging, anti-cancer and more.

Nutrition can be the missing key to your overall health and weight loss plan.  Fad diets may produce temporary results, but learning how to cook and prepare your own healthy meals is the best way to go for long term success.

Stacey’s holistic approach may include proper nutrition, essential oil therapy, meditation, yoga and more.

If you are a full time member and would like to schedule your complimentary consultation with Stacey, please send an email to info@ultimatefitzone.com

Certified Holistic Nutritionist Now On Staff

We are happy to announce that Ultimate Fit Zone Co-Owner, Stacey Albert, has completed her certification to become a Holistic Nutritionist and will now be offering nutrition, weight loss and preventative health services at both of our Monmouth County gyms (boot camp and Ultimate Fitness 24 hour gym).

Stacey has been studying nutrition independently since graduating college in 2000.  Her independent studies led her to research the effects of nutrition on healthy aging.  Her interest gradually transitioned to health and weight loss when she became a certified personal trainer and pilates instructor in 2006.

We are pleased to continue to offer our highly successful weight loss programs as well as specialized diet consulting for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, digestive issues like Crohn’s and Colitis and much more.

Learn more about Stacey’s holistic nutrition services or send her an email to stacey@naturalnutritionist.net.

Eating Greens Helps Fight The Blues

holistic-nutritionist-nj
Winter is a tough time.  We aren’t as active, it’s freezing, many of us tend to gain weight over winter months and it’s just kind of depressing.  Research exists that links winter and lack of sunshine to Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.   Many of us feel sad in the winter.  Although lack of sunshine definitely plays a role, more emerging research suggests that what we eat can also play a role in our mood.

This is not new information.  For a few years now we have been looking at studies that seem to show an increase in fruits and vegetables helps boost a person’s mood and even lessen their risk of developing depression. The scientists at the forefront of these studies believed that those on plant-based diets had better moods, mostly due to the intake of a class of phytonutrients in plants that can cross the blood-brain barrier to support a healthy mood. The review of this study, published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience, suggests that increasing dietary intake of fruits and vegetables “may present a noninvasive natural and inexpensive therapeutic means to support a healthy brain.”

An enzyme called monoamine oxidase appears to be elevated in those who are depressed.  Some drugs that are used to fight depression are are monoamine oxidase inhibitors.  What’s interesting about certain fruits and vegetable is that they appear to inhibit this enzyme—monoamine oxidase—so that it doesn’t do the damage to the brain.

Some of the veggies and fruits that contain these vital phytonutrients are kale, apples, berries, grapes and onions. Green tea contains them as well.

These statements and studies have not been evaluated by the FDA.  But it definitely couldn’t hurt to eat more fruits and veggies, and it just may even help brighten your outlook.  Seems like it’s worth a try, right?

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Move Over Aunt Jemima, Here Comes Honey!

There’s a reason your mother always made you tea with honey whenever you were getting sick with a sore throat.  She may not have known it, and was maybe just following a tradition, but honey is a powerful natural remedy with antibacterial properties that offers numerous health benefits.

Use honey wherever you would use a sweetener….in place of jelly for peanut bhealth-benefits-honeyutter and honey sandwiches, in your tea, in your oatmeal instead of syrup, on pancakes, waffles, fruit, etc. I absolutely love to start my day with whole grain waffles, all natural peanut butter and a drizzle of local honey.  Sorry Aunt Jemima, but your syrup is loaded with junk like high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and flavors.  So move over Auntie, here comes honey.

Five Reasons You Should Eat More Honey

1.  Honey can boost your immune system. Its antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties can also help improve the digestive system and help you stay healthy and fight disease.

2.Honey possesses carcinogen-preventing (anti-cancer) and anti-tumour properties! It can not cure cancer by any means but it can certainly help combat free radicals in your body.

3. Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, honey not only soothes throats but can also kill certain bacteria that causes the infection

4. Honey is a great natural source of carbohydrates which provide strength and energy to our bodies

5. Use in place of sugary sweeteners. The glucose in honey is absorbed by the body quickly to give us energy, while the fructose is absorbed more slowly providing sustained energy and reducing insulin spikes.

Local honey is best!  You can get local honey at farmer’s markets, Wegmans or natural health food stores.

Enjoy!

Profit Seeking ‘Magic’ Weight Loss Solutions

I became interested in nutrition when I was about 21 years old.  I had always been working out, but never really knew much about nutrition beyond eating things that were low fat.  I remember the night when my ‘ah hah’ moment happened. I was in bed watching TV very late at night. Couldn’t sleep. An infomercial came on featuring Dr Perricone and his ‘The Wrinkle Cure’ book. The infomercial was all about how eating the right foods could dramatically affect our skin’s appearance and drastically delay and reduce the signs of aging.  I was hooked! I ordered the book, read it cover to cover and immediately began incorporating these valuable foods into my diet.  From there I was fascinated with the relationship between food and our appearance as well as our overall health.

Fast forward about 15 years later and I continue my studies into holistic nutrition- preventing and healing with foods.  I’m reading fascinating books about our ‘health care’ system (which in the holistic community is referred to as a ‘disease care’ system) and how nutrition is grossly overlooked not only as a means of prevention, but also as a  means of healing.

Think about it- how quick are some doctors to prescribe you a pill if you go in complaining of an ailment? I remember one time in my early 20s I decided to go meat free so I replaced all meat and dairy with soy alternatives.  Not too long after that I had developed large cystic acne on my cheeks and some on my back.  I never had acne before and couldn’t understand what was happening. Of course- I didn’t make the connection between my diet change and the new acne. I went to a dermatologist for help and explained to her that all of a sudden I have these large cysts that are painful.  She could easily see what I was talking about.  It was like having Mount Rushmore on my face.  She never asked me any questions, specifically, ‘has anything in your lifestyle or diet changed recently???’  Nope, she took a look and prescribed me an oral anti-biotic as well as a topical cream and I was on my way home.  Of course, neither prescription worked because I did not have an infection in my body or under my skin.  The massive amounts of soy I was consuming was mimicking estrogen in my body and causing a shift in my hormones, which produced acne.

Lucky for me a friend of mine who noticed the change in my skin was smart enough to ask if I had changed my diet.  Thankfully- the light bulb went on and I eliminated the soy so that my body could balance itself out again.  It took time- but eventually my skin cleared and I threw away the prescriptions that were incorrectly prescribed for me- in my opinion by someone who was more concerned with treating my symptoms than helping uncover the cause. This is the so called ‘magic solution’ effect our health care system has become synonymous with and never has it been more apparent than in the weight loss industry.

I want to share with you a very profound excerpt from a book I am reading by T. Colin Campbell, PhD, a leader in nutrition research for more than 40 years and best selling author.  This excerpt will really bring home the ‘magical solution’ practice of our health care system.  Dr. Campbell writes:

“The wealthy and powerful industries that make up our health system have replaced its original goal–human health–with the pursuit of ever-increasing profits…The medical, pharmaceutical, and supplement industries figured out long ago that a nation of healthy eaters would be disastrous to their profits…The magic solution…easy and foolproof, is much more appareling than a realistic solution that takes time and is complex to get right. From weight loss solutions and financial services, to cleaning supplies and beauty products, the closer the product is to magic, the easier it is to sell and the more appealing it is to buy…Worried about getting a heart attack? All you need to do is take a couple of omega-3 capsules a day.  It just takes a few seconds and it’s easy as, well, popping a pill.  Got diabetes? Hey, here’s an insulin injector pen with a digital timer on the cap so you never have to thin about doses and timing–or improving your diet. Overweight? Drink an appetite suppressant shake, or just get your stomach stapled so you literally can’t overeat or tolerate rich foods anymore. “

Dr Campbell’s point is that magic solutions work by addressing symptoms rather than causes (like the antibiotics and cream for my cystic acne).  Symptoms can easily be suppressed, but causes take more time to figure out and are more complex to deal with.  Causes require involvement and responsibility by the person with the problem.  This is ESPECIALLY true when it comes to weight loss.  Instead of helping people understand nutrition, how to plan and prepare meals, everyone wants to sell you a pill or magic ‘diet’ that will melt away the pounds and be so easy!!!! All you have to do is only eat cabbage for 2 weeks and watch the pounds melt away!!! Are you going to pop pills your whole life or only eat cabbage forever???  Or should you start addressing the issues as to why you are not eating correctly and learn new ways of getting healthy and HAPPY with nutrition?

The truth is that the majority of chronic diseases and ailments plaguing Americans today are preventable and treatable with a whole foods diet rich in plant based foods.  The ONLY way to lose weight and have it be sustainable is with a healthy, whole foods diet.  Our weight loss programs are based on whole foods and healthy eating. Not starvation.  We will NEVER require you to starve in order to lose weight.  Even our 14 day cleanse is based around 5 meals a day from whole, organic sources.

If someone is offering you a ‘magic solution’ to  your problem instead of taking the time to learn more about the root cause- they don’t have your best interest at heart. They have their own wallet at heart.  Health is complex and takes time to understand. Our problems didn’t develop overnight and they won’t be solved overnight either.  If you truly care about your health, take the time to learn more about the root causes of your symptoms instead of just covering up the symptoms with pills, injections or creams.


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