Betty Albert grew up in her father’s restaurant kitchen and she’s a foodie.
Her interest in food — fresh, natural whole food — led her to become a naturopathic doctor and now she wants to share her knowledge about nutrition with the people who could benefit from it the most — children.
“The biggest causes of disease are stress, nutritional deficiencies and the environment,” said Albert.
This isn’t the first time Albert has reinvented herself.
For 22 years she worked for the telephone company, eventually becoming a management skills instructor.
In 1980 she turned a passion for photography into a career as a portrait photographer — another 20 year career.
Throughout changes in her career choices, interest in food and in the proper diet was a constant in Albert’s life, especially after a dermatologist cured her of a skin disorder by taking her off dairy products when she was 20.
Seeing the connection between the food she ate and her skin launched a lifelong interest in how food could affect health.
In 2000, Albert reinvented herself again when she realized that she could turn her lifelong passion for natural food and complementary medicine into a career as a naturopathic doctor.
Naturopaths do not diagnose or prescribe drugs or treat a client instead, they guide clients into healing themselves through a variety of modalities and to prevent illness through wellness.
With her passion for food, the modality that Albert focuses on for wellness is nutrition.
“I’m a health food nut,” Albert said in the Placerville Natural Foods Co-op in Placerville.
It’s the first place Albert brings new clients of her naturopathic practice.
“This is ground zero — I want them to be familiar with fresh food, natural foods, basic supplements and probiotics.”
Probiotics, she goes on to say, keep the digestive and immune systems in balance.
“If they are out of balance, that’s the time to look for health issues to start. Sugar is one of the culprits of creating an imbalance because it’s very acidic and addictive, so yogurt isn’t always the best way to get the probiotics you need,” she said.
Neither Albert at 74, nor her husband who is 78, take any medication and Albert has the youthful appearance and energy level of a person about 20 years younger. She’s in the middle of a new reinvention by coming back to the things she loves — teaching, writing and nutrition.
“I want to show children that fresh food can be delicious,” said Albert. “I love to write and teach and when I’m excited about something, I want to share it.”
She’s excited about the new opportunities she is creating to work in El Dorado County schools with children and with the Cooking With Kids Foundation.
When she first arrived in El Dorado County from Danville, 10 years ago, Albert discovered that her naturopathic clients didn’t seem to want to cook.
“People wanted a magic pill, so I decided to become a caterer and make the kind of food that people didn’t have time to make,” she said.
Health Nut Products was born and Albert’s gluten-free and dairy free foods could be ordered or found at the Farmer’s Market and Winterhill Olive Oil.
Catering is not far-reaching enough and Albert wants to start at ground zero with children to educate them about how they can be responsible for their own health and wellness.
“I want to bring nutrition to a level where it can be used, starting with children, so they will have tasty, healthy alternatives to choose,” said Albert. ”People also need to know why herbs and nutrition work, not just that they do.”
Albert admits that health is a hard sell if you aren’t sick.
“It took 17 years for gluten-free information to come to the public’s eye and look at it now. Children’s health is critical, especially with regard to obesity. They’ve learned not to eat vegetables. I want to show them that fresh food can be delicious and can make them feel good. I want to show them that it’s something they can make for themselves,” she said.
Her plan is to work with teachers and offer cooking classes and demonstrations at schools and the Placerville Natural Foods Co-op.
“I want to forward children’s knowledge about nutrition and its effects and build interest in good nutrition,” Albert said.
Her Website and blog offer information and recipes as well links to a variety of health oriented Websites.
Albert also plans to coach and cook with interested families and she’s in the middle of writing a cookbook that includes kid-friendly dishes. Her recent affiliation with the Cooking With Kids Foundation is designed to help bring the non-profit’s goals of improving the lives and health of children while having fun, into El Dorado County.
For information about naturopathy or to contact Albert about nutrition classes or demonstrations, visit the Website at healthnutbetty.com or call 530-626-7022.