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Certified Nutritionist Continues Family’s Good Health Quest

Langlois’ Vital Nutrition Center, in Wauwatosa, is a pioneer in Milwaukee’s natural health movement. Health visionaries Les and Bertha Langlois, who founded the store in 1946 as Langlois’ Health Food Marts, were followers of nutritionist Paul Bragg (of the Bragg live foods line).

The couple began by selling natural remedies such as liver tablets, dehydrated beet tablets, alfalfa pills, herbal teas, sugar-free foods, salt-free foods, many varieties of honey, sprouted bread and gluten-free products at their store. Today, Les and Bertha’s grandson Jeffrey Langlois, a certified nutritionist, traditional doctor of naturopathy and certified nutritional consultant, continues their mission of offering healthy products to the community, as well as nutrition consultations and health education.

Growing up, Langlois occasionally helped his grandparents at the store. Despite the exposure to the health food industry, he experienced hereditary medical problems and often had colds and other illnesses. He failed to get answers from doctors, and his poor health continued into adulthood.

Jeffrey attended The University of Wisconsin-Madison, earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration. While pursuing a master’s degree in business, his grandmother died. “Grandma was the heart of the business,” Langlois reflects. With his persistent health issues, along with knowing that relatives were going to sell the family business, he returned to Milwaukee in 1983 and purchased the store from his grandfather and his aunt.

For the first 15 years, Langlois diligently researched vitamins, supplements and healthy foods, and tried most of them. “I experimented on myself,” he says, laughing. “I tried every diet and all different vitamins, and I finally got better. I decided to go back to school.” In May 2000 he became a certified nutritional consultant, and in 2002, a certified nutritionist.

Still thirsty for knowledge, Langlois earned more wellness certifications over the years and became a traditional doctor of naturopathy in 2010, which he notes is different than a naturopathic physician that can diagnose, draw blood and do minor surgery. “Doctor means teacher,” he says. “What I am is a teacher of health. I teach how to build health. We don’t treat any diseases, but we teach health so the body can fix itself.”

Langlois now offers nutritional consulting as part of the retail business. Along with Certified Nutritional Consultant Drew Detzner, who joined Langlois’ Vital Nutrition Center in 2005, they Langlois Vital Nutrition Centeroffer people a chance to improve their health through diet and individualized nutritional programs addressed to each person’s needs.

In his 32 years in the business, Langlois has seen many changes, particularly fad supplements and vitamins, as well as slick marketing that can confuse people. “Just because you label something as an energy pill doesn’t mean it’s going to give you energy,” he notes. “There are a lot of people looking for magic bullets, and there are a lot of great supplements, but the bottom line is that everybody is unique. To self-diagnose and blindly start taking supplements is wasting money. One needs to know his or her own biochemical individuality.” Langlois’ Vital Nutrition Center helps people make better choices pertaining to their own individual health improvement goals.

“We carry things that we’d take ourselves; products that have a therapeutic or health enhancing effect,” Langlois says. “We do a lot of research about the products we carry.” In the store, customers will find unusual supplements, healthy snacks, pure skin care products and books, with attentive service from the staff. Langlois provides nutrition education through an informative blog on the website and he and Detzner give monthly talks covering different health topics.

Langlois is inspired when he hears people tell him in person or in written testimonials that they have more energy, sleep better and notice improved mood due to his guidance. “Good health has a wide range of impact, because it not only effects the person, but also people in their immediate family. If someone is sleeping better and has more energy, they’re going to have better relationships.”

The Langlois’ Vital Nutrition Center retail store is located at 8843 W. North Ave., in Wauwatosa; office at 8841 W. North Ave. For more information, call 414-453-8289 (retail) or 414-453-4070 (office) or visit VitalNutritionCenter.com.

Sheila Julson is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine.

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