Hi there! I’m Rachael, a registered dietitian who really, really, really loves food. My motto? If it looks good, eat it. That’s right, I eat everything with no food rules. Well, except for papaya. I strongly dislike papaya.
Overall, I have developed a healthy and peaceful relationship with food.
But that wasn’t always the case. My parents instilled a love of food in me at a young age – they were foodies before foodie was even in our vocabulary. They exposed me to lots of new flavors and cuisines. With the exception of a month-long stretch when I only ate foods starting with the letter “P,” I was a very normal eater.
Despite this, I fell victim to diet culture in my teenage years, thanks to a combination of anxiety, perfectionism, and low body image. As a nutrition student, and then a dietitian, the pressure to eat “perfectly” only grew more intense. While I looked like a normal, healthy eater on the outside, I was constantly wrapped up in shame over what I should or shouldn’t eat. Looking back, I feel lucky that it never spiraled into a more serious eating disorder. I really think it was my love of food that saved me.
Thankfully, with my background in psychology, I quickly realized as I became a dietitian that rules, guidelines, and education weren’t the answer. The key to real health and wellness was dropping the obsession with hitting a number on a scale, nurturing a healthy relationship with food, and making food choices from a place of nourishment, not deprivation. I learned everything I could about intuitive eating, eating psychology, and body acceptance. That’s when I began to integrate these non-diet approaches into both my practice and my personal life. Somewhere along the way, I made peace with food.
In 2014, I launched my private practice as a place to focus on true holistic wellness - a mind-body approach to living that incorporates nutrition, self care, and body acceptance. Through compassion and acceptance, I want help others redefine health and discover their own path to wellness.
Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE, CLT is a Columbia, SC-based nutrition therapist and nationally-recognized food and nutrition expert. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Human Nutrition and a Bachelors of Art in Psychology from Clemson University. After completing her dietetics internship at Emory University, she worked as a clinical dietitian and, later, as the outpatient dietitian for a large medical center where she provided individual nutrition counseling and led multidisciplinary disease management programs. In 2014, Rachael opened her private practice, where she specializes in intuitive eating, disordered eating, and digestive disorders. She also runs the popular food and wellness blog Avocado A Day Nutrition, recently relaunched as The Joy of Eating. As a trusted voice in the dietetics field, she collaborates with like-minded brands for recipe development and nutrition communications. She is active in her field, currently serving as the president-elect for her local dietetics association and as the newsletter editor for the Nutrition Entrepreneurs dietetic practice group.