Are You Eating Enough ‘Real Food’?

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You might think your fridge and pantry are stocked with healthy items, but are you eating enough “real food.” We asked Dana Joy Altman, founder of the blog Real Food Rehab, to explain how eating real food changed her life and to dispense some advice on how to eat better.

Q: Why did you start Real Food Rehab?

A: I started Real Food Rehab with a desire to help people make a pleasurable transition from processed foods back to real foods and do it in a way that didn’t feel oppressive. I wanted to approach it without judgment and without “shoulds.” I also had a strong desire to write in my own voice. I had been doing PR and writing branding copy for years – essentially furthering other people’s creative projects, when what I really wanted to do was further my own. It was liberating to finally be able to do that. Over time, I also decided it was important for me to write about my own process in discovering how to be the most authentic version of myself that I could be, so I incorporate lots of ideas on how to live a richer and more fulfilling life.

Q: What do you mean when you say “real food”?

A: To me, real food is authentic – close to its original state, fresh and chemical-free. Also, when it comes to animals, that they are raised humanely in accordance to their true nature.

Q: Why do people need to start eating more real food?

A: I don’t believe in trying to tell people what to do. I also don’t believe we ever find answers when we look outside ourselves. What I hope to do is inspire people to access what is intuitively right for them, because deep inside, they know. I also believe when you get clear on what you value, it’s easier to make better choices. I was under a lot of stress last year and it really took its toll on my health. It made me realize that I value my health more than anything. I want to look great, feel great and have the energy to create the life of my dreams. Who doesn’t want that? That said, I don’t want to put corn syrup and chemicals into my body. So, I buy the most beautiful food I can afford and cook for myself and the people I love as often as I can. It has made a big difference in my life.

Q: If you could change one thing about how most people eat, what would it be?

A: Stock your fridge and pantry with fresh, healthy and chemical-free foods. The food you buy should inspire, excite and energize you, not bore, repel or deplete you. If you have to question the integrity of anything you’re bringing home or its effects on your well-being, then perhaps that’s something to think about and change.

Q: What are your top tips for eating better?

A: Here’s what I found has worked for me:

1. Take back control of your health by listening to your body. There’s no doctor or pill that can do for you what you have the power to do for yourself.
2. Buy the best quality food you can afford and remember that quality always trumps quantity.
3. Break out of a diet rut by exchanging a visit to the big box store with a trip to your local farmers’ market. Find one that sells not only fruits and vegetables, but also sells local meats and poultry and artisan baked goods. Make a morning of it – I promise it will be a more pleasurable (and healthy) experience.
4. Learn to cook. That doesn’t necessarily mean making elaborate meals for yourself every night – start small. Even learning how to season and grill a chicken breast or a steak and make a great salad will improve the quality of your life.

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