SUMMIT, NJ - Staying fit and living a healthy lifestyle are two often-made New Year's resolutions, but also two that most people find difficult to do. Fortunately, there's a new store in downtown Summit that can help people not only keep those resolutions, but make the changes a regular part of your life.
Summit resident and Certified Holistic Health Counselor Jen Meister opened Vita Organic Foods on Dec. 1. Meister has a master's degree in education from New York University, and taught disabled children and adults for several years.
“My purpose has always been to help people change their lives,” Meister said.
Born in New York City, she eventually relocated to New Jersey where she was a yoga instructor for a decade and taught the bar method, which is strength and lengthening exercises done with a bar. Although both of these classes deal with the exterior part of the body, her clients would often ask her how she stayed so fit and what she ate.
Meister decided to become more involved in helping them and she obtained her American Associates degree in Drugless Practitioners from the Integrated School of Nutrition in New York City and began counseling in holistic nutrition. Many of the people who took her classes also signed up for counseling.
She has great local support as well. Adele Flores, who owns Pizza Vita in Summit and is a pastry chef, told Meister she'd like to help out. Meister said she had a vision to create cacao snacks. Raw cacao, which is loaded with antioxidants, is considered one of the healthiest whole foods on the planet, and Flores hand crafted a batch of the raw, organic chocolate and took it back to Meister. One taste and they knew they had a winner.
Vita Raw Organic Chocolates are now a popular part of the variety of snack foods Vita Organic offers. All of the products they carry are from small companies like them and cannot be found at most places.
They have been producing the chocolate for nine months and mostly been distributing it to online businesses, but they are hoping to begin selling it to stores soon. Meister and her husband are even traveling to the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards to provide it in gift bags for the celebrities.
While they have only been open a month, Meister said she feels right at home with her work because she is really continuing what she has been doing her whole life. She said the support she's received from the Summit community has been great
“The best part is that I’m able to fulfill my purpose and fulfill my passion,” she said.