• amyk

Chicken Nuggets & Mac & Cheese

Updated: Aug 28, 2019

There are about 5 standard foods our son says are his favorites. Now sometimes these will waiver slightly but overall these have been consistent when you ask him what he likes:

  1. Chicken Nuggets

  2. Mac & Cheese

  3. Chinese Noodles

  4. Cheese Pizza

  5. Meatballs and Spaghetti

This seems like most kids especially when it comes to those first two things on his list. He asks for so many chicken nuggets that I’ve nicknamed him Chicken Nugget or Nugget for short. I realize they are tasty and easy to eat but overall nothing on the average child’s list of favorite foods could be defined as a a stellar healthy diet.

Oh sure he will eat veggies and fruits and in fact, he loves cucumbers and apples. However, when it comes to opportunities where he has a choice he can make about what to eat he will usually go for something on that list. I look at this list and my thought instantly goes to needing an antacid.

Pink Slime Meat

I am a parent who doesn’t want my child to adopt my bad eating habits or thinking his life needs to be one diet followed by the next. I want him to enjoy food and eating. I want him to be open and interested in trying all kinds of foods, cuisines and flavors. There are after all some incredible things in our world to eat and not many of them contain the words nugget or mac!

The tragedy of wanting this beautiful experience for my son is that I know how broken our food system is and what is defined as healthy or even tasteful, good or interesting is completely unaligned with the word incredible. In the US, where the government agency who is supposed to be looking out for the health and safety of our food system allows a pink slime substance to be added to our meats and actually be called meat well you know we’re all in trouble. Sadly, almost everything we eat on an average diet will contain preservatives, chemicals, fillers and just plain junk and it is perfectly legal and considered “safe” and consumable. And yes we sure do consume it every day even when we are trying to eat healthy or think buying “organic” is preventing that exposure.

https://returntonow.net/2019/02/18/usda-reclassifies-pink-slime-as-ground-beef/?fbclid=IwAR3qi_eVlrEhaqtjS0iMEx2VjndtmwHZcu4q6OkhMEn1d9glWGuAHihu79k

When I saw this post about the pink slime substance being called meat it was the day we had just picked up burgers for dinner and I really couldn’t help but question if that tasty burger’s beef patty was really this crap in disguise. I had a hard time eating that night considering this possibility and praying to God that it wasn’t as I watched my family dig in.

Food Budgets

So what do we do?

Our school lunch programs are pure travesties containing some of the worst foods your child will ever eat. Going to the grocery store is a land mine field of choices all containing ingredients that are actually bad for us. In many cases, we are actually driven to these poor options because of budgets most families have to live within and have to be practical about their food choices. Let’s be real for a second, school lunches cost about $2.25 for your child or are free based on your income. If you have the option to feed your child for free and you are trying to stretch the family’s food budget then it becomes a default choice that you will go for the free school lunch. I get it and it’s the same choice I would make.

To stretch our family food budget, I will do things like make breakfast foods for dinner or do soups and sandwiches at least once a week to save on our grocery bill. The point is we all have multiple considerations when it comes to food and money which means eliminating exposure to all the bad things in the food system isn’t realistic for the majority of us. At some point we all have had to buy Ramen Noodles and if you haven’t out of need done that, then you are very, very fortunate in life. I actually paid for a pile of Ramen Noodles the lady in back of me was buying one night in the grocery store for her family. She was a military mom, still in her uniform from work at the base and you could see the exhaustion on her face. Military families don’t make much at all and yes I realize Ramen Noodles are far from healthy, that mom knew it too, but we all do what have to sometimes. She found me in the parking lot loading my groceries and hugged me harder than I have ever been hugged in my life with tears on her dusty cheeks.

What’s the Answer?

What then is the magic way to stretch the family food budget and provide reduced risk from the bad things in our food? Is there one? Is it even remotely possible?

Every family is different and I don’t claim to be an expert on what is right for each of you. I know what has worked in my family even as I continue to find new ways to stretch that budget and balance the options. Here’s what I know:

Digestive Support

Regardless of your diet or food budget it is 100% worth investing in good dietary supplements. We cannot avoid the stuff in our food system so having tools to counteract that and protect us is critical. Our digestive condition is the foundation for health every where else in our body. It starts there regardless of what you eat.

My family takes the doTERRA Life Long Vitality and Children’s supplements every day. I also take the doTERRA PB Assist+ which is a pre and pro biotic and the doTERRA TerraZyme every day! The PB Assist+ is double capsulated to ensure the enzymes reach not only my stomach but intestines for support healthy functions. The TerraZyme supplement breaks down our food to ensure the good stuff that can be found goes throughout our body and the bad gets an escort out.

Redevelop Your Taste Buds

Over time with the amount of preservatives and chemicals in our foods our ability to taste food has deteriorated. Most of the time we find we are just eating to eat rather then noticing the taste, flavor, spice or even texture. Our taste buds are still there but need to be woken!

Start easily and economically by replacing your spice cabinet items with pure essential oils. These are super cheap to use in cooking and baking while providing a full burst of flavor that is so fresh and delightful.

In my cabinet I have Lemon, Rosemary, Thyme, Basil, Cilantro, Black Pepper, Oregano, Marjoram, and more! These little essential oil bottles last forever and each time I use them in a dish they provide wonderful flavor that I can actually taste. For example, I use 3 drops Oregano essential oil in my spaghetti sauce that I make using a packet of the spaghetti spices, can of tomato paste, olive oil and water. Simple, economical and tasty.

I only use doTERRA essential oils because they can be ingested and are 100% pure. The cost of these three oils are pennies per drop.

Frozen Aisle

I purchase a lot of frozen fruits and veggies. While I love fresh fruits and veggies I was finding most of them would end up in the trash because they weren’t eaten in time. When I shop now I won’t buy fresh unless I know for sure it’s something we’re going to eat reasonably soon, even if it looks beautiful and is on sale. We have to be realistic on if we’re really going to eat it even though it looks good in the store.

The beauty of frozen fruits and veggies is you can still get high quality items and they are usually less expensive than the fresh versions, especially if it is out of season for an item. Additionally, most frozen fruits can be easily thawed and used as needed and frozen veggies are a quick zap in the microwave to cook. No washing required most of the time.

Real Farmer’s Markets

Farmer’s Markets are very popular and as a result most have become boutique level in offerings and prices. With a little research however you can still find real farmer’s markets and food co-ops for fresh veggies and fruits.

In my area there is an elderly man who sells honey on the side of the major road outside our neighborhood. A few miles from us is an Alpaca Farm where they have a small store that sells local farm eggs. There is also a meat market nearby that sells organic, grass fed meats without the overpriced options. I love this little meat market because they also have a monthly box option filled with varieties of meats to use for a family at a reasonable price.

You-Pick-Farms are another way we love to get fresh items. Some are expanding to offer other farm-to-table products like eggs, honey, veggies. For us we love to do strawberries in the spring to get a bunch of them at one time. We get our fill of fresh strawberries and I’ll freeze some of them for later.

Interested in more?

We can enjoy our food, even with living on a limited budget. We can reclaim our health amidst this terrible broken food system in which we are forced to live.

If you have questions about the items I mention in this post, would like more information or would like to talk about your specific situation to see where living natural could help, please reach out. I’m happy to help you find the right answers for your family.

amyk@dragonspitapothecary.com

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