Tag Archives: nutrition

Wrap Up: What’s In Your Pantry?

Hi Everyone,

We had a great event on Monday night in the Casino Ballroom. Five extremely knowledgeable women spoke about nutrition with very different approaches. Nutrition is one of my passions and one of the reasons is because nutrition is not one size fits all. This panel proved that; we had registered dietitians, nutritionists, health coaches, vegans, and meat eaters for example. Here is the best wrap up I could give for those not there, the information was too good not to share with all of you.



The first speaker was Debra Dobies, RD. She has an extensive background in the field of nutrition and very valuable information to share.

She spoke about how to grocery shop to eat healthy. She recommends 3 things when grocery shopping.
1. Bring a list and stick to it
2. Don’t go food shopping hungry
3. Shop the perimeter of the store

The healthiest foods are found not in the center aisles, but around the outside of the store. If you think about the set up of a grocery store, think about what you find in those middle aisles, not really anything your body needs. (and no your body does not NEED oreos or cheetos)

She also spoke about the importance of knowing what is on your food when you buy it concerning produce. The grocery store has no seasons, you can buy kiwi and strawberries year round which was unheard of years ago. When we import a lot of produce from other countries, it is important to realize that those countries have their own regulations when it comes to pesticides. For example, Chili still allows pesticides to be used that we banned in the USA. Debra recommends buying local when possible, buying organic for the produce on the dirty dozen list(posted below), and buy frozen because you know you are getting more nutrients then something that has been picked and traveled thousands of miles.

Kim Belanger spoke next about her work in teaching people how to eat, particularly when it comes to portion sizes. She had great hand outs that sum up her talk that I will post below. She had examples of portion sizes for the different kinds of foods we eat. You would truly be shocked to realize how small the appropriate portion size is. She also mentioned eating the least processed foods- you can tell this by checking the ingredients list. When a food is highly processed it will have a ton of ingredients, as well as many foods you can not pronounce. Stick with ingredient lists of no more than 5 foods and only words that you can pronounce. She stressed the importance of bringing awareness to what we are eating.

Sarah Lockenmeyer spoke next about being a vegan, but she likes to calls herself one who eats a plant based diet. Sarah has been eating this way since the age of 16 and appropriately wore a shirt that said, “Eat Kale, Not Cow.” Eating a plant based diet is something Sarah is clearly passionate about. She spoke about how cancer can not grow in an alkaline environment which is the PH your body’s blood will have eating mostly plants vs. more animal products. Sarah also has a great philosophy for those new to being a vegan– crowd new foods in, while crowding old foods out. It is important to realize that your body is an amazing machine that forms to what you feed it. If you feed it dirt, your body will figure out a way to make it work. When you eat animal products, your insides are actually different than when you eat a plant based diet. You body can not make this transition over night, so one must gradually change to this eating lifestyle.

Kathryne Ellis spoke next and I must be honest and say that Kathryne’s view on food closely matched my own. Kathrynne’s talk was really about asking YOURSELF what is best for YOUR body? Don’t worry about eating for a trend or what someone else eats. If you aren’t feeling well try reflecting on your diet. If you feel great, pay attention to what you are eating and keep going. If you are tired, suffer from digestive issues, or headaches frequently, don’t underestimate the importance of your diet and making food work the best it can for your body. Kathryne will be joining GCU again in the spring time, Jan. 31st at 5:30 to give a talk on weight loss and healthy eating.

Last, Sachiko Komagata spoke about nutrition in her life. Being born in Japan, Sachiko grew up eating a traditional Japanese diet. When she came to America, she noticed how sweet the food was here compared to her home land of Japan. She also noticed how other people who come from other countries healthy, then become sick after they live here for a while. She realized there had to be something about what she was doing in Japan so she is lucky to have care packages sent of different foods native to Japan like seaweed and shiitake mushrooms. She recommends looking in Asian Markets for the foods she brought in as samples. Sachiko’s talk brought up an interesting idea that I am currently learning more about for my research project, which is the idea that we should eat foods that are similar to those of our ancestors. The theory is we all have digestive enzymes to digest foods from where we are from easier than others.

Below are the hand outs given out by Kim and Debra. They are not the best quality since some of the information was cut off in the scanner. If you are interested in getting one of the hand outs, I would recommend reaching out to Sachiko Komagata who can then put you in touch with the appropriate person.

If you have any questions or are interested in speaking with any of the presenters, please leave your comments below and we can do our best to make that happen.

Guest Blogger: Alesha Lazan

Hi Everyone!

I met Alesha over the summer and we immediately began to speak about our love of health and nutrition with each other. After quickly speaking with her, I learned about her struggles with a problem that many people do not know anything about. I asked her to write a blog post about her struggles because I know there are other people like Alesha who could feel better, but did not know what was wrong to correct it. She had seen doctors but never got a diagnosis as to what was wrong with her. If it was up to the doctors she would still be feeling awful. Luckily for Alesha, she was able to get a diagnosis that fixed all of her eating issues. She now is working on making a name for herself in the nutrition world and hopes to help children everywhere to eat healthy. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me or comment on this blog to reach out to Alesha.




My name is Alesha Lazan. I found out I was gluten intolerant in March 2011. It changed my life! Ever since I could remember I have been struggling with exhaustion and stomach pains. My parents took me to different doctors who could not find anything wrong with me. All they would tell me was it was anxiety related. In March, I started working for a nutritionist who took me on as a client. He put me on a program, which consisted of eliminating all allergenic foods for two weeks such as gluten, dairy, and soy. After two weeks you start introducing foods back into your diet. As soon as I introduced gluten back into my diet it was all over! I felt miserable like I have for many years. Within two weeks I found out I had intolerance to gluten. I have been pain free for 6 months now with more energy I could have ever imagined!


Gluten intolerance and celiac disease are two different things. Gluten intolerance can be defined as an allergy to gluten and non-autoimmune condition in which the consumption of gluten can lead to symptoms such as stomach pains, constipation, diarrhea, etc- Celiac disease is an autoimmune illness of the small intestine. It affects the digestive system when food-containing gluten is ingested.


Gluten means anything that has rye, barley, wheat, oats- there is also a huge hidden ingredients list you can find on the celiac website. So what I had to cut out of my diet was pretty extreme. Bread, pastas, cake, cookies, pizza, anything breaded and the list goes on. Fortunately, there are A LOT of gluten free options. I still eat all of those things, but the gluten free version, which is surprisingly very tasty! As I am writing this blog, I am actually munching on gluten free pretzels! You can find gluten free food and snacks at Shop Rite, Whole Foods, and Trader Joes- pretty much anywhere now days! Even pizza places are making gluten free pizza!!

I understand the struggle to stay completely gluten free when everything in the world contains gluten! I want to help educate people and give them the tools they need to become successful in living a gluten free lifestyle.

Please don’t hesitate to respond! I would love to hear from other people with stories like my own!


Alesha Lazan graduated in May 2010 with a BS in Health Sciences from Monmouth University. I am currently enrolled in a health coaching certification program as well as going for my Masters in Human Nutrition. I have a passion to work and educate children about health and nutrition as well as the gluten intolerant community.

The Food Mood Connection

Hi Everyone! 
We have a great events to look forward about nutrition for the beginning of November. 
Here is info on the first of three which takes place on November 7th. 
It is called The Food Mood Connection. 

Your daily food choices influence how you deal with stress and pain, experience fatigue,regulate your mood and stamina, and think. Your heredity (genes) determines your height, weight, and neurotransmitters the nerve chemicals that regulate brain and body processes. What you eat and drink dictates the activity of several neurotransmitters. Overconsuming or severely restricting specific foods or nutrients can trigger neurotransmitter imbalances that contribute to mood swings, thinking problems, food cravings, irritability, fatigue, and depression. 

Join us to review what nutrients and foods will help improve your mood.

Presenter: Debra Dobies, RD, LDN, MA, '06
Location: Little Theatre
Date: November 7, 2011 (Monday)
Time: 5:30–7:00 PM
Free and open to public
For more information contact the Department of Holistic Health at 732.987.2663


Debra A. Dobies, RD, MA, LDN (Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist)

Debra has over 30 years experience as a Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist. Debra attended Rutgers College where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Human Nutrition & Foods followed by a Clinical Dietetic Internship at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit Michigan. She also attended GCU and earned her M.A. in Holistic Health. Her work experience includes serving as dietitian, health educator, director of a hospital food and nutrition department, and she was the clinical advisor for an outpatient weight management program. Debra maintains a private practice and conducts classes, speeches, and programs for healthcare, corporate, and community groups. She has appeared on several television shows, radio broadcasts and has been featured in newspapers. One of Debra’s favorite quotes is “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.” (~ G. K. Chesterton)