Q: What is "real food"?

A: Famous slow food movement advocate and Chez Panisse restaurateur Alice Waters defines it this way:
"Real food is grown by people who take care of the land, and who refrain from using herbicides and pesticides. Real food is food that's grown for taste, and it's grown in a way that pays people a good wage for their work rather than being grown at somebody else's expense."
Q: How can I start planning a healthy diet for me and my family?

A: A simple exercise in personal dietary assessment can help get you started in the right direction. Keep a diet diary for 1 week or so. You will want to do one for your kids as well as yourself. Keep track of everything you eat and drink at breakfast, lunch, dinner and any snacks, as well as the time you consume them. When that 11pm bowl of Rocky Road is in black and white, it is easier to recognize your weaknesses and target your biggest cravings and bad habits for remodeling. If you have specific health concerns, keep a symptom log alongside the diet diary. You will begin to connect the dots and see the impact what you put in your body has on your health. Then you can begin to take simple, small steps towards a positive relationship with food.
Q: What are the most important steps to a healthy diet?

A: Education is the most important piece of the puzzle. You must not rely on others, no matter how well-equipped or trained, to tell you what is best for you. It is important to your overall success that you have a solid understanding of the process you are going through. Having a general knowledge of how the body works, what it requires for optimal functioning and how to interpret your body’s communications will undoubtedly improve your chances for success. Attend classes, talk with a variety of health care professionals, study the multitude of publications at health food stores and libraries on holistic nutrition and do your own internet research. Self-encouragement is also key on your path to vitality. Be gentle to yourself. Have patience and allow yourself time to adjust to the changes you are making before you decide how well they are working. You are your own best cheerleader, so keep up the morale.