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Debra's Natural Gourmet Offers a Healthy Approach to Health Foods and Products

Debra's Natural Gourmet photo, Concord, Mass.

Article and photo by Eric H.

There is life in New England beyond nitrates, food coloring, artificial flavors, monosodium glutamate, hydrogenated oils and other life-robbing chemicals designed to preserve foods rather than us.

A growing number of small New England businesses have made the healthy choice to go "organic" favoring wholesome, fresh ingredients the way nature intended. Unlike the past when health food tasted like cardboard and was sold by angry, bearded, emaciated men who disliked you for having a nice front lawn, today's health food business owners are, for the most part, pleasant, smart, and healthy-looking. One stellar example of this paradigm shift into a more palatable approach to selling health food is Debra's Natural Gourmet, in the appealing New England small village-like setting of West Concord, Mass. It is our choice for the best health food store in Massachusetts.

A model of how a local business should be run, Debra's Natural Gourmet is the creation of the very pleasant and extremely passionate and knowledgeable health food advocate, Debra Stark. Debra's Natural Gourmet started in 1989 and offers a carefully selected line of bulk-packaged and fresh natural and organic foods (including take-out meals and thoughtful, customer-oriented catering), supplements, health and beauty items and Debra's masterful delicious line of Sister Starks Granola (she has also published two cookbooks). Debra's Natural Gourmet packs a lot of merchandise into its recently expanded store; there's not one low-quality item in the shop.

Debra's Natural Gourmet has a light and airy feel, enhanced by a casually friendly staff that favors customer interaction over a big business, high turnover employee scenario. The staff knows many of the customers by name; management respects their clientele by refusing to carry popular "so-called" health food that really isn't that healthy. Therefore, they remain true to the unofficial "health food doctrine," as you will not see any products with hydrogenated oils refined sugar, MSG or other offending chemicals.

Debra's Natural Gourmet offers great food to go for those who want to know that all the good ingredients and none of the bad go into their bodies. Debra's also shows great community outreach by bringing in many local, national, and international health experts to lecture and interact with customers. They also offer organic fruits and vegetables! 

Additionally, Debra's has a newsletter, written by Debra's son Adam. The newsletter is chock full of well-researched news on supplements and how to potentiate health through lifestyle modification. Adam is present in the store and is very helpful offering advice on supplements.

Debra's is the perfect place to support local business, grab a delicious lunch or dinner, locate unusual exotic teas, or sample Debra's granola which puts to shame virtually every other granola on the market. It is the essence of community-oriented business, well in touch with the products they carry, the customers new and old, and their own staff as they all seem to get along very well. It is a happy business and one that happens to be darn good.

Debra's Natural Gourmet, 98 Commonwealth Ave., West Concord. Tel. (978) 371-7573.



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