It’s 5 p.m. The kids are hungry, again, and you are scrounging around the fridge and cabinets, trying to figure out what to feed them for dinner. One of them would eat only bread and potatoes, if you let him. The other turns her nose up at anything green. How can you possibly feed them meals that they might actually enjoy eating, that also truly nourish at the same time?
Corey Dunn is a homeschooling mama of four who is helping a growing community feed their real kids, real food. She offers numerous ideas for nutrient-dense meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She talks about how she manages the pickiest eater in her family and how she reduces stress at the dinner table. She gets specific about brands she likes and strategies she uses to feed her family well on a budget.
Last but not least, she reminds us that many foods can be “upgraded” to become more nourishing, and even more delicious.
Check out Corey’s blog: fornutrientssake.com
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Listen to the podcast here:
Real Kids, Real Food
Within the below transcript the bolded text is Hilda
The kids are hungry again and you’re scrounging around the fridge and cabinets, trying to figure out what to feed them. One of them will eat only bread and potatoes if you let him. The other turns her nose up at anything green. How can you possibly feed them meals that they might enjoy eating that also truly nourish at the same time? This is episode 324 and our guest is Corey Dunn. She is a homeschooling mom of four who can completely relate to this scenario. She came to the nutrient-dense food life to heal her daughter’s eczema.
Now, years later, she is helping a growing community feed their real kids real food. We talk specifically about what a nutrient-dense breakfast, lunch, and dinner looks like at Corey’s house and what it used to look like. She gets specific about what foods she serves, including snacks, popcorn, hotdogs and brands that she recommends. She even talks about how to manage those of her children who have a more discriminatory palette. She also covers how to reduce stress at the dinner table. Finally, she reminds us that for every fast or fake food there is out there, there is also a simple swap or upgrade that can be made to make it more nourishing and more delicious.
Before we get into it, I want to invite you to our conference on November the 5th through the 7th, 2021 in Allen, Texas, just outside of Dallas. The Wise Traditions Conference theme is staying healthy in a toxic world. I feel like we need this more than ever. We’ve got an all-star lineup of speakers, including Del Bigtree, Bobby Kennedy, Dr. Gerald Pollack and many more, including Sally Fallon Morrell. I’ll be there, too. Waste no time and go to WiseTraditions.org to find out more and register now. I hope to see you there.
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Speaking of catches, I want you to catch our brochure sampler pack. It’s only $3. It gives you one of each of our brochures. We use these to inform and educate the public about health. Butter is Better is one of the brochures. We’ve got Protect Yourself Against Cancer with Food, Nutrition for Mental Health, Sugar Alert, Soy Alert and more. Go to WestonAPrice.org/order. It’s only $3 and you will get a nutrient-dense pack of information that you’re going to love.
Welcome to the show, Corey.
Thank you so much, Hilda.
I heard that you have a son that hardly likes to eat anything. Is that true?
He’s fairly decisive in his pallet. He wants to eat what he wants to eat and if I’m not serving that then he’s not thrilled about the meal.
How long did you say it took him to warm up to sweet potatoes, for example?
The first time that he ate sweet potatoes or was comfortable enough to try them was about a year.
Do you think it’s a texture thing?
No. I usually make sweet potatoes either baked or French fries. They’re the same as regular potatoes in the way that they are presented. He just didn’t want to try them because they were orange or something. I don’t know.
Other than serving orange sweet potatoes, I feel like your family eats healthily but it’s not weird. Let’s break down that myth. Some people think to eat healthily it’s got to be weird or bland.
That’s one of the things that is so weird about the healthy community. There’s no reason to do that. We have so many options for food and we can eat all of them. That’s one of the reasons I love the Wise Traditions way of eating because there are many options. You’re not limited and you can make anything.
I see what you’re saying. It’s not like we’re like, “Avoid dairy, avoid this or avoid that.” We’re like, “Everything’s on the table.”
Everything’s available. All you have to do is learn how to use those things and make them in a way that’s the most nourishing that you can do.
Let’s take it meal by meal, Corey. Let’s start with breakfast. What did you use to put on the table?
When my son was in preschool, he wasn’t super thrilled about leaving the house every morning.
Is this the same son you were talking about?
I only have one son and he’s my picky one. I don’t like to call him picky but he’s the one that doesn’t particularly like everything.
What used to happen?
To get him motivated to go to preschool, I would buy these instant oatmeal packets and not just the brown sugar or whatever. I bought the ones that had the hatching dinosaur eggs. You would pour the hot water into the bowl and watch the candy dissolve away. Inside those little candy eggs were little colorful dinosaurs. I can’t believe I fed that to my kid but I did. He saw them in this store and he’s like, “Mom, do you remember when you used to buy that for me?” I was like, “I was hoping you wouldn’t remember that.”
He remembered. Looking back fondly or was he like, “No?”
He was but he maybe does not remember what it tastes like. It’s the novelty of melting dinosaur eggs. We’ve been doing this Wise Traditions thing for so long at this point. I don’t think he would even like it would be my bet.
Talk to us about what you put on the table now instead of those oatmeal packs with a melting dinosaur egg.
We do oatmeal regularly and that’s one of his favorite things. We do soaked oatmeal. I’ll prep it the night before with whey or kefir. In the morning, we’ll cook it up and it goes quick. The kids will put honey on it and butter, usually some cinnamon or some Sucanat, something like that. They do like it sweet, not like candy sweet but sweeter. They have usually fruit with that or some eggs. Sometimes I’ll put egg yolks into the oatmeal and that makes it almost more custard-like then it adds the egg yolks to the meal. It makes it more filling and nutritious for them.
I know you’re saying that you soak the oats because that’s what we recommend. It’s one of the Wise Traditions principles that all seeds, nuts, beans, grains and legumes were soaked or properly prepared by traditional people to get rid of the anti-nutrients. Is that complicated though? The idea can be intimidating to people.
It’s not complicated. Oatmeal especially is not complicated. You put your oats in a pot or in a bowl with an acidic medium, with some warm water, stir it up, put a lid on it or towel to cover it so the bugs don’t get in. Let it sit on the counter overnight and then in the morning you cook it.
I remember Sally saying, “All it takes is time, moisture, and a little bit of acidity to get rid of those anti-nutrients,” which make it difficult to digest. It’s funny because most of us eat oatmeal or we’ll have an oatmeal cookie or whatever. When we have grains, we don’t think twice about it but traditional cultures knew what to do so that they could get the bioavailability of the nutrients and also neutralize the anti-nutrients.
There’s another way. If you’re pressed on time and you got to get breakfast or if you want to make oatmeal cookies, there are brands out there that sell sprouted oats rolled oats that you can buy. They sell them at Costco, most grocery stores. One Degree is the brand that sells sprouted oats. I keep those on hand for cookies and things.
I can’t believe they sell it at Costco.
You can get a big bag of it.
It doesn’t have to be complicated if you want to start to nourish your family a little bit differently. Let’s go to lunch. What is your lunch look like for the kids?
Lunches are usually very simple. It’s summer so we’re doing a lot more raw veggies, raw cheese and deli meat. We can get good deli meats around here that are not preserved with weird things. I have no problem serving deli meat to my kids every day. We’ll sometimes do a soaked and dehydrated crispy nut or sometimes a hotdog. I try and keep it super simple because we homeschool and I don’t have a lot of time to get food together. In the winter, I usually have a pot of soup that we work through the whole week.
Let’s go back to the hotdog because that might’ve shocked some people. Isn’t that junk food?
It can be. As long as you can find one that has good ingredients and from a farm that you can trust or you know is doing it right. We sometimes buy Teton Waters Ranch hotdogs. They’re Polish sausages so they’re not hotdogs. The farm that we get our raw milk from sells hotdogs. Our local co-op sells hotdogs and other things that are good for that.
Hotdogs are such kid-friendly food. This is nice. If your kids have friends over, it’s not like you’re going to feed them some weird goop they’ve never seen before or like, “Try this liver pate,” which isn’t that weird either. Hotdogs are more all-American.
That’s important if you’re going to do this kind of thing, you got to be able to do it in a way that is sustainable for your family.
What about ketchup and mustard? Do you upgrade those too?
Yes. You can get unsweetened ketchup from Primal Kitchen. You can get fermented mustard. Some companies sell fermented mustards. There are all sorts of options for condiments. My kids will eat sauerkraut so we’ll do that too. We eat a lot of pickles, too.
When you say pickles, you don’t mean just cucumbers that have been in some vinegar. You mean cucumbers that have been fermented.
We’ll do a lacto-fermented pickled cucumber. There are other vegetables that are good with that. There’s something called dilly beans that are green beans that are fermented with garlic and dill. Those are delicious.
Where do you find those?
There’s a company that does them locally that I like to support. Anytime I can support a local company, I’d like to do that. Bubby’s does good pickles and sauerkraut that you can find in almost all grocery stores that I’ve been to around the country. As long as you’re finding pickles and sauerkraut and things that are in the refrigerated section and that haven’t been pressure canned. If you look at the back and read the ingredients, if you’re finding ones that are made with salt rather than vinegar, those are going to be your lacto-fermented vegetables. Those are going to be the ones that you want to get.
The ones made with salt not with vinegar. Thank you for that distinction. I was also thinking how wonderfully satisfying this all sounds. I couldn’t help but think about also the buns. Since we’re talking about the condiments on the hotdog, talk to me about the bun. What bun do you use, if any?
Sometimes we don’t do buns. We had hotdogs and didn’t have buns. I made an order for buns so we could have a cookout. I ordered hotdog buns and hamburger buns from Organic Bread of Heaven. It’s an online store and they have all sorts of sourdough products. They have pasta, bread and bagels. You can get good sourdough from them. They ship it to your house.
I’ve heard of them.
They even sell tortillas.
They do sell tortillas, which is awesome.
Let’s go to dinner.
Before we did this, I went on and did some Googling to find what was the most popular recipes from 2020. From the New York Times, they were caramelized shallot pasta, crispy sour cream and onion chicken, baked feta and pasta, ginger-lime chicken and then roasted cauliflower with pancetta olives and parmesan. That all sounds delicious. Out of those five, I’ve made the baked feta pasta because it was this TikTok thing that everybody was making. I was like, “I love feta so let’s do that.” It’s not difficult to make in a nourishing way because the basics of it are tomatoes, garlic, feta, olive oil, herbs and pasta.
The way that I did it was instead of using olive oil, I used ghee because I didn’t want to heat olive oil because olive oil is one of those ones that if you cook it too high, it can go rancid. Instead of olive oil, we’re using ghee. I used organic feta that’s nice. Out of the other ingredients, the only other one that’s a little sketchy is pasta. I have a daughter who is gluten-sensitive. She can eat sourdough but she can’t eat unfermented wheat, because of that, we’ve done a lot of gluten-free. Gluten-free is also not the best option, in my opinion, because you’re still adding ingredients that are not fantastic or you’re not soaking or fermenting or sprouting your grains. There’s a company called Jovial that makes fantastic products and they make an einkorn pasta that is soaked. The grains are soaked before they’re made into pasta. The other one is the Organic Bread of Heaven does make a sourdough pasta that you can order or you can make your own but it’s a lot of work to make pasta.
You’re saying that we can take a dish and make small upgrades or what you sometimes call a simple swipe and turn something that could be not that great for you because of the quality of the ingredients into something that’s quite nourishing. I have to be honest with you, when you start talking about einkorn pasta and things like ordering from Bread of Heaven, no offense to them, but all these things sound maybe expensive and you’ve got four kids. How do you manage it budget-wise?
It can be expensive. You can either pay with your money or your time. I enjoy it but I do put a lot of time into it by making our own bread and our own pasta. The thing is that it can take a lot of time but if you’re smart about it and you find your groove, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. I’ll do things like batch cook. If I’m making refried beans for a taco night then I will make five times the amount of refried beans that we need for one meal and then I’ll freeze it all. There’s this great product called Souper Cubes. They are little silicone trays that you can freeze actual cup measurements of. You can freeze a half cup or a full cup of something and then you pop them out of the silicone and put it in a bag in the freezer. I can have a bag full of refried beans and then anytime we’re having tacos, I just pull out my refried beans. It’s as simple as opening a can.
I like this idea because I studied to be a health coach with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Joshua Rosenthal was always like, “Cook once, eat twice or more.” I used to do the bare minimum. Every night at 5:30, when my kids asked me what was for dinner, I was always like, “What am I going to do?” If only I’d made it a little bit more, it could have been sufficient for several meals. What about this though? You were talking about your one son who has a discerning palette. Are there meals that you put in front of them? What do you do when they turn up their noses and they’re like, “Mom, we don’t like this at all?.”
I try not to have my feelings hurt. We adopted a philosophy very early on with our kids that mom makes one meal and do either eat or you don’t. We follow Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibilities, which is that parents or caregivers decide what, when and where food is served. The children are responsible for deciding if and how much they eat. As much as it’s not fun as a parent to relinquish that control, it’s the only thing that works, at least in our house. I’m not going to let my kids starve. There’s always going to be something on the table that I know that I’m 100% sure that they like. Even if that’s only raw milk or sourdough and butter. I made a soup and it was a good soup. We had soup, cheese, bread and butter. We had milk and kombucha as drink options. My son had sourdough, butter and kombucha and that was it. I was like, “If that’s your choice, that’s your choice.”
What’s nice about this division of responsibilities is it doesn’t force the kid to do something. It doesn’t make mealtime a battleground.
As soon as you have stress at mealtimes, your food is not going to digest well because you’re stressed on a purely physiological level. Nobody wants to come to a table where it’s stressful to eat or somebody saying, “Eat those carrots. Make sure you take a bite of your broccoli.” I don’t want to be there having that conversation with my children or have somebody say that to me. There’s a respect that goes along with feeding your kids or anybody.
There’s the idea also and I want to know what you think about this, that our palettes enjoy what they’ve grown accustomed to enjoying. I picture kids in Alaska, for example, eating a lot of seafood and they don’t turn their noses up at it because that’s what they ate growing up. Is there any way in which you do try to introduce things like organ meats, which we all know are super nutrient-dense? How often do you serve them before you hope and pray that they’ll accept them?
We get organ meats already ground up in ground beef. I don’t do it with every meal because I don’t want to eat organ meats with every single meal. Usually about once a week we’ll have a meal that has hidden organ meats in it. I make pate that’s delicious but nobody else in my family likes it, which is fine. I do want them all to have that nourishment. I’m not above hiding it. I hide the organs. There’s a company that’s come out called Pluck. This is a seriously amazing product. It’s a seasoning blend that has organ meats in it. You can sprinkle it over whatever you’re having and you get a few organ meats in there. You’re not overwhelming your body with them. Your palette can’t discern it because there’s an umami taste to it, which is that sense that gives you the savory flavor profile.
I’ve had some of that stuff, it’s good. We put it on popcorn. It goes with anything. It’s like another seasoning. It’s great. I have a couple more questions to ask you before we wrap up. What about snacks?
I had twenty kids over. They’re all running around my backyard. It’s not unusual that my house is the go-to house on the block. I made popcorn for everybody and the popcorn that I buy is sprouted popcorn. It’s already sprouted from Thrive Market. I cook it up in my wok with some coconut oil and then after it’s cooked, I put on some good sea salt. Either the Gracie salt or the Redmond Real Salt. I put on gobs of melted butter and then I put it in a big bowl. I put it out on my patio and I say, “Go at it.” Everybody loves it. Who doesn’t like popcorn? A lot of times, I’ll do some cut-up organic apples, some oranges, stuff like that or cheese. Basic food that’s in a kid-friendly form. All the kids eat it. I feel like that’s winning.
What would you say to the mom who’s like, “I’m learning to cook and feed my family this Wise Traditions way, what’s one of the first things that we should take out of our cupboard, push away or one of the first things to include?”
Get rid of all of the vegetable oils and things like that are not doing your body any favors, dump them and then replace them with butter, ghee, tallow, lard, any of those things that are nourishing to your body. That’s a simple one to do. Butter tastes better anyway.
It does. I had no idea what I was missing until I started tasting it. I was like, “This is so good.” As we know, over time, the science backs up the traditional wisdom that’s been around which comes from a cow that’s so simple that raw milk can turn into something amazing like butter. We don’t need a million chemicals dumped in to be more heart-healthy. Corey, were you always into nourishing food? You seem like a pro. I’ve seen some of your sourdough bread-making videos. I’m like, “This girl is on fire.”
Thank you. I’ve always liked to cook. That’s true. I used to shut the door to my mom’s kitchen in the afternoon and I would put on an audiobook at that point, cook and then mess up the kitchen totally. My dad would be like, “You got to do the dishes.” I didn’t but I do the dishes now. I started diving into nourishing foods when my second daughter was about a year old because she developed terrible eczema all over her body. It was a complete mystery. Her pediatrician said, “Here’s this steroid and/or this or that.” I put the steroid on her one time and she screamed and ran away from me.
I was like, “I’m not doing that.” I said to my doctor, “Could it be food-related? My mom had mentioned that eczema could be food-related.” She was like, “There’s no evidence that eczema is food-related.” I was like, “I’m going to try. What’s it going to hurt to take my kid off gluten for a little while and see.” Her body, which I’m not even kidding, looked like dinosaur scales. It was all over her whole body. We took her off gluten, within a week it was completely cleared up and she had beautiful baby-perfect skin. That was my moment of holy cow. If this is what we can do in a week with food, what is it doing to our bodies all the time? That was my eye-opening experience. I’ve pretty much been down that rabbit hole ever since.
How are your kids doing in general, Corey?
In general, they are healthy kids. My kids don’t get colds that often or strep throat or ear infections. Every once in a while, they’ll get something like a stomach bug or something but it’s not anywhere close to what a lot of their peers are going through.
They sound super well-nourished and I’m grateful that we’ve had this conversation. I hope it encourages a lot of the moms and dads out there who may be reading but I want to wrap up with the question I often pose at the end. If the reader could do one thing to improve their health, what would you recommend that they do?
You should find your favorite meal and try and make that meal in the most nourishing way possible. Sit down and enjoy it with people that you love, by yourself but enjoy it.
I love that advice. I’m going to do that. Corey, thank you so much for your time.
Thank you, Hilda.
Our guest was Corey Dunn. Visit her blog, ForNutrientsSake.com. You can also find her on Instagram by the same name @ForNutrientsSake. For a review from Apple Podcasts, Patricia says, “The Weston A. Price Foundation changed my life. I want to say thank you for being such a healing influence on the world. During my first pregnancy, I suffered from a rare liver condition called cholestasis. The doctors all told me it would only get worse if I had more children. My mother-in-law loaned me her copy of Nourishing Traditions and that was the start of a complete transformation in my diet and lifestyle. We even got rid of our microwave in favor of a toaster oven and we have never missed it. Why heat food in a way that destroys the nutrients within? I now have five beautiful and robustly healthy children who love cod liver oil, sauerkraut, kombucha and the fresh milk from our little cow.
Cholestasis returned for each pregnancy as predicted but each one has been healthier and full of energy. No nausea, no cravings and as for my latest pregnancy, no signs of itching cholestasis until I was seven months along. Even when it appeared, it was the barest hint of an itch that quickly disappeared with treatment. Compared to the burning misery of my first pregnancy, which started at about five months, that’s a vast improvement. Thank you so much for providing such a valuable source of wellness. I frequently share these podcasts with my family and I’ll often listen to particularly poignant or relevant ones several times. You’ve truly challenged me to think critically about health and the health of my children and have truly changed my life for the better. I greatly encourage people to become a member to help support the Weston A. Price Foundation and leave a review to support this wonderful podcast. It is through our support that we can help lead others to health and wellness.”
Patricia, this means so much. You have no idea. There are times when we work so hard and we wonder if we’re making a difference so thank you. If you’d like to become a member, go to WestonAPrice.org and click on the Why Join or Become A Member Now button. We would love to have your support. It’s only $30 a year for podcast listeners using the podcast code POD. You only pay $30 a year to be a member and it will support this important work of education, research and activism. If you’d like to leave your own review on Apple Podcasts, that would be welcome as well. Thank you so much for reading. Stay well, my friend. Hasta pronto.
About Corey Dunn
Corey Dunn is a former professional costume designer, turned real foodie and homeschooling mama to four.
She came to the nutrient-dense food life to heal her daughter’s eczema.
Eight years later, she has a growing following that she educates to feed their families well.
Her food philosophy is that food should taste good, nourish the body, and encourage community.
- Corey Dunn
- One Degree
- Teton Waters Ranch
- Primal Kitchen
- Primal Kitchen
- Organic Bread of Heaven
- Souper Cubes
- Nourishing Traditions
- @ForNutrientsSake – Instagram
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