Episode 176 | Educating Our Kids About Real Food | Liz Haselmayer of Homegrown Education

The task of educating our children about real food has never been more important than it is now, but it can feel like swimming upstream in a culture saturated with highly processed and denatured foods.  Thankfully, we have access to more information and resources than ever before to educate ourselves and our children on this foundational topic.  

My conversation with Liz of Homegrown Education dove into the nutritional philosophies of our homes as well as practical ways to incorporate more real food into our children’s diets.  Whether you have prioritized real food from your child’s first meal or you are just now beginning to make food swaps in your home, this episode will encourage you to keep making strides in this worthwhile journey.

In this episode, we cover:

  • Why it is important to teach our kids about real food and nutrition
  • How your home and cultural environment impacts your relationship with food
  • What “real food” actually means
  • Practical strategies for picky kids
  • Helping our kids get enough protein in their diets
  • What if a child doesn’t like the meal you’ve made?
  • A balanced approach to food outside of your home
  • Achieving healing through food
  • Making real food a reality in your home when you are on a tight budget
  • Shifting our mindset around the nutritional vs. monetary value of food

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About Liz

Liz Haselmayer is the founder and creator of Homegrown Education, a real food education company hoping the change the way the next generation views food and farming. Liz has written several real food nutrition workbooks for children, two nourishing meal plans, and even a regenerative farm-based coloring book. Her and her husband, Joey, host The Homegrown Podcast where they continue their mission of helping people find true nourishment through simple, traditional foods.


Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride

GAPS episode on The Homegrown Podcast

Sacred Cow by Diana Rodgers

Homegrown Education Resources: Children’s Nutrition Curriculum: Level One, Early Elementary Intro to Real Food, GROW Coloring Book, What’s for dinner? 6 weeks of nourishing nightly meals, What’s for breakfast? A nourishing morning meal guide


Liz Haselmayer of Homegrown Education | Website | Podcast | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest

Lisa Bass of Farmhouse on Boone | Blog | YouTube | Instagram | TikTok | Facebook | Pinterest

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Lisa Bass Welcome back to the Simple Farmhouse Life podcast. Today I’m having on Liz from Homegrown Education. She and her husband are also the hosts of The Homegrown Podcast where they love to educate people on homegrown food. Not just homegrown food, but also sourcing high quality food, why it’s important, how to do it, and then also on a budget. Well, at least, that’s something that we’re going to go into on the interview, because a lot of times I think that’s the thing is people think, “Okay, this is going to be really expensive.” She has some really practical tips that I haven’t really heard before on that topic. We’re going into why it’s important to talk about it with kids after growing up in the 80s, 90s, early 2000s, diet culture, all of that kind of stuff. So join me as I chat with Liz of Homegrown Education. 

Lisa Bass My name is Lisa, mother of seven and creator of the blog and YouTube channel Farmhouse on Boone. Join me as I share with you my love for creating a handmade home, from-scratch cooking, and a little mom and entrepreneur life along the way. 

Lisa Bass All right, Liz, thank you so much for joining me. Let’s first start with introductions. We’re going to talk about teaching kids about real food, the importance of real food education, just the food system, all that good stuff that you talk about. So tell us about you, your books, your podcast, your family, whatever you want to share. 

Liz Haselmayer Sure. Yeah, I’d love to. Yeah. So I started this little thing called Homegrown about two years ago now, which is crazy to think about like it’s been two years already. But basically we are a homeschooling family. We have three daughters, and when our oldest was in the second grade, I was just looking for some fun activities, worksheets, something to do with her that talked about food in the way that matched our family’s food values. You know, my husband’s a hunter and he grew up gardening and farming, and I was just getting into the real food space and figuring out things about raw dairy and all of these things. And there was nothing on the market for that. And so I thought, “Well, that’s interesting. Maybe I’ll just create some worksheets for her.” And after two years of writing, that spiraled into an entire workbook. And then from there, we realized that a lot of parents were learning alongside their kids some of these principles. And so we really have just kind of made it our mission to help families embrace real food in a sustainable manner that doesn’t overwhelm them, where they can have whole nourishing meals that don’t break their bank, but also they can learn some of those critical skills that you do such a wonderful job of teaching as well— sourdough, fermentation, all these things. And we just kind of do it from the lens of our family. We live in the suburbs, we don’t have any land yet, and we’ve found ways to make it work. So that’s kind of us in a nutshell. 

Lisa Bass Yeah, and that’s always really encouraging because most people don’t live on a farm. And even though I “live on a farm”, I don’t produce even close to all my own food. So there’s definitely a need to understand the system and how to source things or why it’s important. And then also when you first get into it can be really overwhelming. So breaking that down so that people can just get started is very important. So why were you so concerned about teaching your child about real food, or why is that so important to you? 

Liz Haselmayer Hmm. It’s so funny because I’m like, this should be an entire subject in the school system. And sometimes people are like, “Why do you care about teaching your kids about nutrition?” And for me, it’s because I grew up having zero understanding about my food. I grew up in the 90s and early 2000s and hyper-processed convenience foods were now accessible and affordable to all. And I just grew up on all the things, right? Instant rice, hot pockets, pizza rolls, the occasional home cooked dinner. But I formed a very negative relationship with food as a teen and battled with a bad eating disorder and all kinds of things. And a lot of that stems from just not understanding that 1) I was worthy of nourishment, and 2) how I would even get nourishment. I did all the fads, right? I did the fat-free and the dairy-free and the grain-free and paleo. And I hopped around for almost a decade, really malnourished. And so when we finally were in a place where we felt like we understood for the first time how to feed our kids and ourselves, we were like, this is an important topic. And not just that, but we wanted our kids to learn how to cook and be self-sufficient. And so my husband went to culinary school, so he’s got that background. And it was always just kind of ingrained in our family from day one of our marriage and the creation of that that we wanted our kids to understand their food and be able to have the skills that they need to make simple things. I mean, my oldest daughter was making her own scrambled eggs at age six and seven, just crazy stuff that kids now just wouldn’t have any concept for. And so, we started so small. But for me, I grew up really paying the consequence for not having that broader context. And as I dove into it, I realized, wow, there’s a whole world here of agriculture and farming and food producers and artisans and chefs and a generational lineage that I can now open myself up to and learn from. And that’s the part that really got me excited. And so I thought our kids should be involved in that too. And so much of your family tradition, I feel like, is rooted in your food. And so it’s a good way to establish some family legacy. And in general, it’s just a wonderful vehicle for celebration. And for me, I’m like, you can learn so many things through the lens of real food. I mean, you can do counting and you can do… You can learn your alphabet, right? It’s just another lens of teaching them life skills. And for me, that’s a really important life skill. 

Lisa Bass Yeah, I like what you said about the relationship with food because I think the first thing we think is obviously just our health. And if we get these certain things into our bodies, then we’re going to be healthier, we’re going to be able to live longer and better, the whole… You know. But I totally agree with what you were saying about growing up in the 90s and 2000s about… I don’t know if it… Was it because we didn’t really know much about food that this happened? Because everybody seemed very obsessed with you either eat what you want or you’re fat and there’s really not like an in-between. And I feel that, especially for me now in my entire adult life, that’s not the case at all. I do eat what I want and it’s good and it’s nourishing. And I’m also… It’s not like I’m like super thin, but I’m also not ever concerned about my weight. And that is huge. I think that we forget that piece so often. 

Liz Haselmayer Mhm. Yeah. It’s funny, I’ve interviewed a lot of people on our show and I always kind of ask what was their real food journey. Almost every single woman I’ve talked to who grew up in that similar timeframe has a very similar story, and I eventually just kind of put two and two together and realized, okay, the 90s… I was born in ’91, okay, so I’ll show my age a little bit. But the 80s and 80s, now super convenient food is widespread, hyper accessible and affordable. I grew up in a very middle class home. And then you combine that with the early 2000s pop culture trend of this hyper thin is beauty. Like every magazine article, they were just anorexic thin. Unfortunately, that was the trend, right? And then we moved from that to embracing curves. And so it was like the pairing of those two perfect storms that created this really strange food culture. And so on one hand, I was really trying to be that tiny, thin picture of beauty that I saw on the magazine. And then on the other hand, I was listening to maybe what the diet culture at the time was telling me, which was that fat makes you fat and that you should completely try to rid yourself of as much dietary fat as possible, low cal this, Activia yogurt for gut health, which I was like, okay. All the things, Lean Cuisines. And so I’m now positioning myself to be incredibly nutrient void and starved a little bit. Plus then you add in any sort of disordered eating behavior, which definitely leaves you malnourished. And so you’re always walking around hungry. And it was just… It wasn’t until I realized that I didn’t have to fear the most natural traditional foods. Those foods were actually the thing that were satiating me. And so I didn’t feel the urge to overindulge because now I was having whole raw milk for the first time and I was having true fermented grain. And it wasn’t making me feel bad and I was cooking with butter again instead of this spray-on oil. So I just think there’s some element about that time frame where it was like the mixed media of diet culture and then dietary trendiness and it’s just unfortunate, but we all survived it. And so I’m thankful that I walked through that experience so that I can make sure my kids never have to. 

Lisa Bass Yeah, you’re right. It’s such a key that whenever you nourish yourself properly, you don’t really think about… Back on those days… Because I’ve been on like, you know, before I knew about this kind of stuff, probably in my late teens. I was born in ’85, so I was in the same, you know, a little older than you, but in the same era of that entire culture. I’ve been on a diet. I’ve had times where I have to be hungry in order to have the body I want. And that is just so far from my brain now, because for the last 15 years, I’ve eaten nourishing foods and it’s just not even something I think about. It’s no longer a part of my life to worry about having to be a little bit hungry in order to have my body look a certain way, which is probably a combination of a lot of factors. But I think the number one factor is just that my body feels nourished. So with that, how do you define real food? You’ve mentioned raw milk and grains and butter. What are some other places to get started? 

Liz Haselmayer Yeah, so real food to me is 1) I’m not eliminating whole food groups. For a long time, it was like, well, grains are the enemy or dairy is the enemy. So not eliminating whole food groups.

Lisa Bass Yes, I hate that. 

Liz Haselmayer Right. And so I’m more so looking at what is naturally occurring. This is a big one. There’s a lot of food in the grocery store that is not naturally occurring. What is nutrient dense? And this can mean anything from… Like if you look at a steak versus a bowl full of salad—right?—which one is packed with more nutrients per bite? Right? The steak is going to be. Not saying I’m anti-salad. I eat salads almost every day. But I’m looking for some density to my food. What is going to be not denatured? This is the one where I had to really check the dairy I had been consuming for my entire livelihood. Because you look at the process of pasteurization and homogenization, it absolutely denatures milk on all kinds of levels, from the enzymes to the proteins, just all of it is completely changed and altered. So what was not denatured? And then what’s not refined? So a good example of refined foods would be like hyper-processed white flour—right?—where everything has been taken out except for the starchiest bits which make it really good and easy to bake with. Or even 2% milk. When we’re taking out some of the fat from the milk, that’s refining of food. You’re taking away a portion of it. And it’s totally fine if you have a cow and you milk your cow, and then you skim the cream off the top to make butter and then you drink the skimmed milk. That’s where that term comes from. But if you’re just buying skim milk at the store and you’re not also consuming butter, you’re only eating half the food. And milk is really beautifully designed to be consumed as a whole so you’re getting both the fats and the proteins. And it’s really a nourishing whole food. So from that lens, I just move on to, okay, well, what would I have had access to had I not had this big box grocery store? Well, that would be the things that I can grow in my region for the time of year I’m in. Like I said before, we’re hunters, so we eat a lot of wild game, but we also have access to good beef ranchers around and decent pork and pretty good chicken. And so I make sure that they get plenty of animal proteins. And even there, I’m not just consuming the muscle meat. I’m really trying to utilize the entire animal because, again, shopping at the store for a bunch of pre-butchered boneless skinless chicken breasts wrapped in cellophane is not necessarily… It’s definitely not the biggest bang for your buck. It’s actually more expensive, but it’s also now how we would have consumed animals prior to someone else always butchering it for us. So anything that I can kind of take into my home and do myself… I can break down a chicken myself. I mean, we break down whole deer ourselves. But same thing with sourdough. It’s like, okay, instead of buying store bought bread, can I make this at home with a natural leaven using wild yeast? That was a brand new concept for me. What do you mean I don’t mean this package of instant yeast? So it’s really just forgetting a lot of the foods that were created by the Industrial Revolution and this rise of our food industry. And just going back to… I have this little quote that’s like, “Eat like it’s 1859,” like before mass pasteurization, before vegetable oils came on the market, before we started demonizing animal fats. Just eat like that. And so that’s kind of the lens through which I see our nourishment. 

Lisa Bass Yeah, I like that. It really makes it simple. I think, at first, the biggest issue, like you mentioned, is people might miss or think that they’re going to miss some of the items that they’re just used to buying. Not necessarily that they need them, they’re just used to it. So learning some basic skills, like making your own bread or baking a chicken or learning how to cook different cuts that are more economical, because with every animal, there are more economical cuts. So you don’t have to just buy, like you said, boneless skinless chicken breasts. Getting the whole chicken, learning how to use every part, make the broth. It really is simple. Like when I look at my typical grocery run, it’s all such basic ingredients just over and over again, you know? 

Liz Haselmayer Yeah, we’re buying the same thing pretty much every week. And that simplicity is super helpful, too, especially when you’re trying to stay on a budget and you’re like, I know the general cost of these items and I can pair my… I can make a lot of things with a couple really universal ingredients. 

Lisa Bass Yeah, I know. It almost sounds like I said it’s boring because I buy all the same things. I do buy all the same ingredients, but there are so many. I mean, just all the things that you buy in the store, pre-processed and prepackaged you can make at home with very basic ingredients, way less ingredients because you don’t have to add all the things that are going to make them shelf stable. So yeah, it’s actually very simple. 

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Lisa Bass Okay, so I had some audience questions. We’ve been putting up a question box over on Instagram just to get audience feedback before we do an episode. And the biggest question by far—which I’m sure you get all the time, especially because you have meal plans and you have coloring books and a lot of resources towards kids—is how do you handle picky eaters? So how do you get them to try new foods and all of that? 

Liz Haselmayer Yeah, that’s a great question. Actually, Joey and I were talking about that this morning about picky eating. So we have one child in particular who I would say is our most challenging to nourish, to put it kindly. I would consider her potentially a picky eater, although I don’t want to throw that label on her. But for us, we’ve just kind of approached it through 1) starting a conversation with her so that she understands what she’s eating. So one way we do that really practically is we kind of do like an overall of the macronutrients. “Hey, Ruth, you wanted to eat those crackers, but that’s mostly going to be a carbohydrate. You need something protein rich or some kind of fat to go with that.” And so she starts kind of hearing these terms and starts to understand, okay, well, fruit is a carb and butter is a fat and I can eat olives or I can have avocado or I could have something else or I could have protein from an animal. Maybe it’s a slice of meat or a thing of pepperonis or something. And so we just started there. And we’re like, “Okay, let’s give you some language so that when we’re asking you, ‘Hey, we don’t want you to eat those crackers right now. We want you need something different.'” She can say, “Okay, they want me to eat protein,” and then she can run through a list in her head of the protein options we have in the house. And oftentimes… This is weird, but with breakfast, if I’m making eggs and bacon and my oldest will eat it and my youngest will eat it, but Ruthie will not—she’s my middle—she’ll literally say, “Can I just have like a handful of pepperonis instead? Or can you cook me up some sausage instead?” And I’ll say, “Yeah, that’s a great protein option.” And then she can go on with whatever carb she wanted. I’m using carbs as the example because most of the time, with us, she’s just really drawn to carbohydrates. And I think that’s because they’re just hyper palatable foods. Your body kind of craves them the more you eat them. If you’re starting your day off with them, with a really carb heavy breakfast, then you might tend to see that same throughline carry through your day. So for us, we try to be really mindful of that and encourage her to broaden out with the rest of her macronutrients. The other thing, though, like we had to go through a transition of sort of saying goodbye to the traditional kids’ snack foods, so goldfish and animal crackers and granola bars and pretzels and chips and all of these items that we used to buy on such a regular basis, which are, again, highly palatable. Of course, adults have a hard time resisting them. How can we expect our kids to especially when there’s cartoons of My Little Pony or whatever on the box and they’re drawn to it? So we had to, as a house, intentionally stock our home and say certain things are coming in and certain things are not. And we have one day a week where we do a special treat with them. I actually create a treat basket for our Sabbath on Saturdays. And so we might throw in like an organic brand of Chex Mix or something, you know, one of those things. But it’s like once a week. It’s not every day. So I would say that picky eating, for parents who are struggling with that, I would ask them first, “What highly palatable foods are in your house right now that your kids have access to that they’re wanting to eat? Are they always reaching for that white bread? Are they always reaching for the crackers like Ruthie was? Are they always reaching for something?” The other piece of that is it will take some time for them to transition and it’ll take some time for the parent, too. I think you have to realize it’s hard for everyone to adjust a little bit of your eating habits. And we weren’t designed to eat tons of highly processed foods, but unfortunately the food marketing as a whole is just really honed in on kids. And so everything from cereal to the gummies to even colored yogurt is right up their alley. And so a lot of it is just being the gatekeeper of your home and then talking through them with grace and kindness and telling them, “Hey, this is why we want to feed your body this way. This is why we want you to eat some fat or some protein along with your carb.” And so we just keep it simple like that. 

Lisa Bass Yeah. So what are some more of your favorite protein sources that you do keep on hand so that if you’re having a challenge, say, at breakfast time and the child doesn’t want what you’re making, what are some more sources that you reach for? 

Liz Haselmayer Yeah, a good go-to… Like Ruthie will almost always eat oatmeal. And so one way I add in protein to that is I either stir in an egg white like when it’s 3/4 of the way cooking and so it becomes creamy, it doesn’t become scrambled, but she’s getting protein through that egg white. Or I’ll throw in a scoop of collagen peptides for some protein in a typically carb heavy meal. You see what I’m saying? Or, I mean, we’ll do cheese, cheese sticks, yogurt. We’ll get a higher protein yogurt from the store. And then our easiest thing is we call them morning milkshakes. And it’s basically just raw milk, ice, some kind of fruit, maple syrup maybe to sweeten it, and then a couple scoops of collagen peptides. The raw milk has protein in it by itself, but we add a little extra boost, and then we’ll even throw in a couple of raw egg yolks just to get that extra vitamin punch and we’ll blend that up and the girls drink that. And so even though they’ll say “I don’t like eggs,” they don’t necessarily know there’s raw egg yolk in there. So that’s a great protein rich breakfast for them that’s honestly really easy to make. 

Lisa Bass Yeah. Yeah. And kids love that. We call that… In the afternoon, we do what we call chocolate milk time. We go back and forth. It’s something that we’ll do for six months straight and then forget about it for three months. But in the afternoon when it’s like 3ish and dinner is three hours away and lunch was three hours away or whatever, we will do raw milk, frozen bananas, cocoa powder and make like a chocolate milk. I like the idea of adding in the collagen peptides too. Do you have a certain brand or are they all… I haven’t looked into that much. I currently get a Thrive Market collagen peptide, but I didn’t know if there’s a brand I should know about. 

Liz Haselmayer I’m getting Thrive Market collagen peptides right now, but I recently found some… I believe it’s hydrolyzed. There’s a term there that I was like, okay, that’s what I should be looking for. I don’t believe Thrive is like the best option, but for us in our budget, it was working. 

Lisa Bass Yeah, yeah. 

Liz Haselmayer It’s probably something we’ll upgrade in the near future. But for right now, it’s working for us. 

Lisa Bass Okay. Yeah, that’s where I’ve been getting mine too. And I’ve definitely heard different brands and different reasons and it’s one of those things I haven’t looked into a whole lot. And so we just have been getting them vanilla. There’s a vanilla bag and a chocolate bag, and when we’re doing the chocolate milk, we’ll throw in a scoop of that sometimes. And then cocoa powder too. And then sometimes I do it in my coffee with the yolks and all that. So it’s more protein. 

Liz Haselmayer Yeah, that’s good. And then if Joey and I are just having it, like, say we just worked out or something and we have some leftover coffee from the morning, we’ll throw in the coffee in this shake and it’s like a frappuccino situation. It’s really good. 

Lisa Bass Oh, yeah. Oh, that is good. Now, what about meal times other than… You mentioned breakfast, but lunch and dinner, it’s usually less casual. It’s not like, “Just come and get what you want,” you know, it’s more of like, “We have this thing.” So with your more picky daughter, what in that case… Say you made a from-scratch chicken pot pie with whole grain sourdough biscuits and she doesn’t like it or whatever example you might have. What would you do in that case? 

Liz Haselmayer Yeah, it breaks your heart a little bit when you go through all this effort and then some of your kids don’t like it. So I feel for parents who are dealing with that. Chicken pot pie is actually something she loves so I’m grateful for that. 

Lisa Bass Okay. That’s always a winner in my house, too. 

Liz Haselmayer It’s always a winner. Yeah. For us, I’m trying to make a mental catalog of the types of… For me, protein is just a big emphasis because if you don’t pay attention, it’s just one of those things that you have to kind of work at it to get enough. 

Lisa Bass Yeah, you don’t really get it unless you actually focus on it. 

Liz Haselmayer Right. Totally. So for her, I’m like, okay, what kinds of proteins would she like? And we’ve kind of identified that she likes really tender meat that is really juicy, maybe comes with a type of sauce. So last night I sauteed and then pressure cooked two pork shoulders and it was really tender meat with like a… It was just really the braising liquid of the pork’s own fat and then some onions. And we served that over some white rice and she scarfed it. And so there might be times where I made a burger and she wouldn’t touch it. But something about that texture of it’s really juicy for her, it’s easy to pull apart, there’s not intimidating gristle or fat she has to cut off. That works for her. So part of it is just knowing your kids and understanding what they’re going to eat and keeping in mind you’re dealing with like six months to a year maybe of a child going through a phase where they’re hyper picky. I would say— 

Lisa Bass That’s true. Yeah. 

Liz Haselmayer It changes, right? So my middle is six going on seven. And to me, that’s hyper picky. And my youngest is two and started eating liver and egg yolks from six months old and so she eats anything. And my oldest is 12 and pretty much grew out of any sort of picky phase. And so it’s just helpful to know this isn’t your—

Lisa Bass They do grow out of it. They all grow out of it.

Liz Haselmayer Right. And you know because you have older kids. So it’s helpful for you to to be able to say like, listen, it’s like sleeping, right? Like, guys, it will get better. You will sleep again. 

Lisa Bass Yeah. Right, right. Yeah, for me, I feel like it’s more of the age three that’s really picky but it can vary from family to family, and some people never deal with picky and some people deal with it a lot more. There’s definitely that part of me that wants to be like, if you just don’t cave, they will eat. They’re not going to starve, which is true. They will eat if there’s not other options. But it also is a lot easier to make something that everybody in the family isn’t going to fuss at. And so it’s just not a problem, you know, to make a mental list of not necessarily like, oh, they only like this particular dish, but they like tender meat. So there’s a lot of dishes, a lot of meats that you could prepare in that way that would just not create an issue. So, I mean, it’s wise, I think, to know that, okay, we’re not necessarily spoiling you or catering to you. We’re just making this something that the whole family can enjoy. 

Liz Haselmayer Mm hmm. Yeah, it’s like honoring their preference, but within the greater goal of, hey, this whole family needs to eat and I’m definitely not making you a peanut butter and jelly sandwich just because you refuse to eat your food. 

Lisa Bass And that’s what I guess I mean, is I’m thinking of that situation, like, don’t do that. You know, there’s things that are within… Even the pickiest kid will eat something that would fall within a very healthy protein-rich, from-scratch dish whether or not it’s… It doesn’t have to be they’ll only eat this certain brand of chicken nugget or PBJ when there’s all of this good food available. 

Liz Haselmayer Yeah. And if you feel backed into a corner because your kid will only eat a dinosaur chicken nugget or something along those lines, that’s where I’m saying, first of all, if you have younger kids, don’t even go down that road. Just say no in the beginning. 

Lisa Bass If you can avoid that from the beginning. 

Liz Haselmayer Yeah. If you can avoid it from the beginning, avoid it. If you’re like us where you transitioned to real food after you already had like a six-year-old, she had to suffer through all of a sudden mom and dad don’t buy the same things anymore. And “Where are my Doritos, Mom? And my Lucky Charms?” And so I feel for those parents as well. But it’s just one of those things where if you can get them involved, if you can change up your variety… I hear sometimes, “My kid just won’t need any protein, like they just don’t like meat.” And I’m like, “Okay, well, meat is such a broad category.” There’s seafood, there’s shellfish, there’s red meat, there’s poultry. And then within that, there are all different types of cuts. There’s fattier meats, there’s more tender meats. There’s even like you can have a cured meat of some kind, and that can be a good alternative for your kids. It’s just like it’s too broad of a category for us to accept our kids saying, “I don’t like meat.” Find something else. Don’t serve them dry chicken breast. Find something that is more palatable to them where they are within reason, and work on it, and don’t expect them to take it the first time, but maybe the third time or the fifth time. And stick with it because I think how they’re being nourished right now will set them up for nourishment in their future.

Lisa Bass Yeah. Definitely. What are your suggestions… You mentioned cured meat a couple of times. I think you said pepperoni earlier. Do you have any sources for that that you would recommend?

Liz Haselmayer Yeah. I feel like Applegate makes a pretty good organic cured pepperoni. They also have other brands of lunch meat. For me, I used to be scared of the curing process and felt like, oh, these are hyper processed meats and high sodium. And then I read a really great article on the Weston A. Price Foundation about that. It’s literally an 18-minute read. It’s like a short book, but they address that topic of concern. But then I also realized that we have been curing and preserving meats through various means for, again, a long time. And so I don’t need to be so scared about maybe the faulty dietary studies that are pointing to hyper-processed red meat as the cause of disease when maybe they’re not sourcing it in the same way I would or there’s other elements of their diet. Maybe it’s actually the Doritos in their diet or the extruded grains or some other portion of that. And so I had to kind of unlearn my fear around cured meats and read a couple of articles on it. And then I realized my kids really love it. So we do a combination. We make homemade smoked summer sausage. Smoking is a type of curing, right? So we do that with venison and my kids love that. And then we will buy pepperonis, usually like an organic uncured. They tend to be uncured even though they still contain like a celery salt or something, but some kind of pepperoni. And I’m not looking for specifically uncured, it’s just sometimes those go hand in hand. And then other types of dried out sausages or, yeah, kind of like charcuterie meats that we would put on our cheese board. My kids love those. Olli is another good brand. They’re pretty simple ingredients, traditionally fermented. So there’s a couple. They are pricey because you’re talking about a processed meat product. 

Lisa Bass Yeah, they are. But, yeah, to have just on occasion for moments like that, they’re— I like that brand, too. I will say that they are super expensive, but I think it’s just because you’re paying for… I mean, you know, it’s not like the company’s jacking up the price. It’s just literally a more expensive process to create that quality. 

Liz Haselmayer Totally. 

Lisa Bass And then, like you mentioned, cheese. Cheese is always a winner for us. Get like a big block from Azure Standard. Raw cheddar. Kids almost always love cheese. Just slice that off. My pickiest kids love cheese and that’s such a good protein source and it’s definitely less expensive than meats. But we also do, like I almost always have a little bit of salami on hand to put on pizzas, like sourdough pizzas with cheese. Or we like to do charcuterie every once in a while, too, because it’s just… Kids love it. It’s really easy. 

Liz Haselmayer Totally. 

Lisa Bass Okay, so what about when you are, inevitably, out and about and you have something that you really are trying to avoid with your kids, but family and friends or maybe just a random stranger offers your kids something that would not be at all within your standards. What’s your take on that? 

Liz Haselmayer Mm. For me, I have set up our lifestyle to where I’m able to, again, be a gatekeeper or at least positively influence the foods we’re eating like 80% of the time. And the extra 20% is my kid is at her weekly enrichment program, and she brings money with her, and she didn’t have water, so she bought a Gatorade. Well, you know what happened after she bought that Gatorade? She told me at the end of the day, “That was the worst thing I’ve ever had.” She hated it. Right? So that’s an instance where she was out of the house, made a decision on her own, and truthfully, she could taste the artificial flavor. And she was like, “Yeah, it was kind of like I needed hydration, but I wouldn’t make that decision again.” Other instances where my kids are super into it would be like it’s Valentine’s Day and they’re going to their grandpa’s house or they’re out and about. And one time at the checkout line at Kroger and they were like, “Hey, we have these jumbo Twix bars for free. Would you like one?” Right in front of my kids, asking me this, and I was like, “Well, you just asked me right in front of my kids.” 

Lisa Bass So obviously. 

Liz Haselmayer “So sure, I guess give it to them.” I don’t ever want them to be fearful of the foods they’re eating, and I want them to have, again, the language behind it so that I can say, “Hey, this is definitely a treat food. It is out of our ordinary. Enjoy it. Take as many bites as you want. What are the textures like? Is it delicious? Is it too sweet? Is it the best thing you’ve ever had? Great.” I’m not going to make a huge fuss over it or panic or try to detox them right away because A) there’s so much other stuff that I’m not in control of. I mean, they could be bombarded with far more health inhibiting influences other than that Twix bar, you know, stuff in their water, an EMF tower or anything, artificial fragrance out in the common public, right? So it’s not like the goal of parenthood is to just control every aspect we can. It’s just letting them enjoy it honestly, because what I don’t want to do is make them A) so restricted that they are then drawn to those foods and then they reach for them any chance they get, or B) scared to ever eat them and then they develop almost like an orthorexia or a fear of eating a “unhealthy” food. That’s not the goal either. So I just keep it light and fun. And sometimes I roll my eyes and they’re like, “Oh, mom would never eat this anymore. Mom, it’s been a long time since you bought that.” And I’m like, “Yeah, it has. It doesn’t make me feel great.” But I do love a good bowl of organic ice cream or I do love a good homemade chocolate chip cookie. It’s not really the sweet I’m afraid of. I’m not even scared of it, but we just keep it an ongoing conversation. And I let my kids have whatever they’re being offered. And it’s truthfully not something we run into even on a weekly basis, like we’re talking monthly maybe. 

Lisa Bass We run into it a lot more than that, and it used to bother me a ton, and over the years, I just have really relaxed on it because ultimately, the 80/20 principle, to me, is good enough. Also it’s just impossible. I feel like I just wouldn’t be able to go certain places if we worried about it. And for the record, if they were giving out giant Twix bars, we would definitely just get it. I would, too. 

Liz Haselmayer Yeah, totally. 

Lisa Bass Because most of the time, we’re not eating that. And so I know that our bodies can also handle a lot. Like they can’t handle not being nourished for 30 years straight, but they can handle an occasional blow that’s not perfection. 

Liz Haselmayer Yeah, I love that. And I would care less about what you’re eating once a week or once a month and more about your everyday nourishment. So if you can check that box off, yeah, give yourself a little bit of grace. That’s going to save you a lot of anxiety, I believe. 

Lisa Bass Yeah. And I find comfort, too, in it’s more about what you’re getting in, like what things you are getting as opposed to getting some bad things. Like are you also getting enough protein through raw milk? Are you getting high quality meats and vegetables? If you’re getting all of that and also a little bit of something bad, at least you are getting the thing that’s nourishing your body.

Liz Haselmayer Mm hmm. Totally. 

Lisa Bass Okay, so I had a few questions about healing through food. I don’t know if you have any experience from this, cause I’m not sure if I’ve listened to this on your podcast yet or not any episodes on this, but the specific questions I got were, “Can you resolve food allergies?” 

Liz Haselmayer Yeah, it’s funny, I was just on a call this morning with one of our team members who is a holistic nutritionist, and I was like, “This is a touchy subject, but everyone has their own beliefs.” And I’ve seen it happen, so I’m going to go with my personal experience. For me, I believe food is one of the most powerful healing methods we have is through our nourishment. And so we had a wonderful GAPS practitioner on our show who talked about the GAPS diet, the Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet. And for me, of all the healing diets that exist—AIP Paleo and Carnivore and Whole30—all of these healing diets miss the mark because they do exactly what you were just talking about. They just focus on the elimination. They don’t focus on what you should be eating for healing.

Lisa Bass Right. Yeah. 

Liz Haselmayer And so that’s what I love about Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride’s book and her work. She was a neurosurgeon. I mean, she’s an M.D. that wrote this book, and she breaks down the anatomy and physiology of the gut lining and so clearly explains how you can heal your kids’ really severe symptoms in a number of things, mostly psychological, through food. And she also talks about food allergies in there. And I really appreciate the fact that she calls raw milk “living milk”, because raw milk is, to me, a bad terminology because it kind of sounds weird, but she’s like, “It’s living. It’s a living food.”. 

Lisa Bass Right. 

Liz Haselmayer And so I believe she would say, “Yes, you can heal food allergies.” And so again, it comes back to what are you eating to heal yourself? For them, the GAPS protocol is a lot of meat stock, a lot of fermented vegetables when appropriate, introducing fermented dairy when it’s appropriate. And she’ll even tell you there’s a time and place for an elimination of some food groups. There is a time and place to maybe eliminate grains for a child who is severely symptomatic. But that’s short-term. And it’s not the grain that’s the issue. It’s the internal state of your gut lining, frankly, that’s causing the problem. So for me, we have kind of utilized some of those things. I’ve also seen other people heal their kids through food. I think, again, it’s a controversial topic, but I would say there are lots of examples in literature about healing your food allergies through food. And often the foods that we’re thinking of that are most allergenic are the things that we’ve kind of completely denatured, milk being one of those, dairy being one of those. And I remember when I first learned that drinking raw dairy helps facilitate the production of lactase in the gut lining, which is the enzyme that breaks down lactose, which is the sugar in milk, I was like, oh my gosh, it’s like we were created to eat it this way. And unfortunately, after you pasteurize and homogenize milk, that functionality is lost. So we’re drinking highly processed dairy and then we’re feeling bad because those sugars are being broken down in the large intestine instead of the small intestine. So we’re getting gassy and uncomfortable. We blame the dairy, and really it’s the processing of the dairy in most cases. So for me, that’s kind of the lens that I look at it through is, okay, what have we done to these allergenic foods? How we introduced them into the body? And then what’s going on? Are there other symptoms that could point to something broader than I just genetically can’t handle this food? 

Lisa Bass Right. I’ve always been drawn to the GAPS diet for the reason you mentioned. Instead of thinking, okay, for the rest of my life, I have to cut out this particular food, actually healing what’s causing you to not be able to tolerate the food seems like such a better approach. And that’s not something that you see a lot. Usually it’s just, “This is bad. I’ll never eat this again.” You demonize certain food groups, and I think there is a way to… I’m sure, obviously, in very severe cases that’s not the case. But in a lot of cases, which is very common today, we are intolerant to things because of the way that we prepare them, because of the way we process them, like you mentioned with milk and then obviously grains, totally that way. We’ve changed the actual wheat berry from something that it never was intended to, and then making it really fast, not fermenting, not souring, and then of course, we can’t tolerate it. So it does make a lot of sense. 

Liz Haselmayer Totally. 

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Lisa Bass Okay. So I have just a couple more questions before we close. One is “When on a budget, would it be better to switch to organic produce or high quality meat?” And I guess with that, we could just go into a few budget topics, which I’ve heard you talk a lot about on your podcast, and you’ve had a lot of good tips for that. Because I think a lot of people think that obviously just going to have to spend so much more money. I don’t think that’s the case at all. In some ways, I feel like we spend less this way. So yeah, which would you choose? 

Liz Haselmayer Hmm. Okay, so my answer is a little nuanced. I would say if you’re looking at your proteins and you’re looking at chicken, pork, and beef, chicken and pork, the vast majority, like 99% majority of chicken and pork produced in the USA is coming from a CAFO— a centralized animal feeding operation, typically where they’re consuming a corn and soy diet that’s typically made from GMO corn and soy, which is also heavily sprayed with oftentimes glyphosate. There’s all sorts of concerns, right? The animal is not able to eat a biological diet. They’re not out roaming. Frankly, the animal welfare is very poor. And so with chicken and pork, I try to prioritize those as my higher end cuts of meat. I will spend—I was just telling Joey this this morning—I’ll actually spend more on chicken… I will reach for the organic chicken, at least, over an organic grass-fed beef product. And here’s why. All beef spends three quarters of its life on grass and roaming and on the prairie. Right? Or the grasslands. Because cows just don’t lend themselves well to grow up on grain. They’re ruminant animals. They’re not mono gastric like chickens and pigs are. And so they really need to be out and about. And even the ones that end up on a feedlot for the last three to four months… Diana Rodgers is a wonderful resource for this. She has a great book and documentary, but in their book, they break down the nutritional difference between organic grass-fed, grass-finished beef and conventional beef finished in a feedlot, and when it came down to nutritional quality, they were very similar. Now there are other reasons to reach for beautifully raised regenerative beef that’s grass-finished and never sees a feedlot, right? Obviously there’s ethical reasons, there’s environmental reasons, all sorts of things. But if you’re on a budget like we are—we’re absolutely on a food budget—I’m going to reach for a conventional beef when I need to cut my costs, and I’m going to reach for the organic chicken and pork. 

Lisa Bass Okay. 

Liz Haselmayer I’m also going to reach for the most unprocessed version of that. So I’m going to get the whole chicken. I’m not going to get it butchered. I’m not going to have the skin or the bones taken out unless I want like a really specific, hey, I want to grill chicken breasts to put on a salad. I don’t want to have to de-bone it. It’s like a once a month purchase. But most of the time I’m buying it in its whole form as much as possible. And with that, you can then utilize that bird a million different ways. You can eat the muscle meat, then you can make a stock with it. And that beautiful meat stock that GAPS is always talking about, that stuff is right there. And it’s basically a free resource when you already bought the chicken. With vegetables, for me, there’s almost this other world of commercial organic which you’ll find in the grocery store. And so, yes, organic produce is ideal. I would say actually eating seasonally is even more ideal because you’ll notice things that are out of season are way more expensive. Right? Strawberries right now are like $7 a pint. 

Lisa Bass Yeah. I would not. Maybe frozen, but not a pint. 

Liz Haselmayer So that’s what I was going to say. So when you’re actually looking at produce, buying organic or conventional, consider buying frozen, consider buying like pickled in a jar. Consider buying it in some other avenue where potentially it was picked at peak harvest. Potentially it was grown in season and then flash frozen, and then that can sometimes be a cheaper option for you. It also just kind of depends on where you are healthwise. Like if your family is in a healing season and you’re like, “I cannot afford to have pesticide residues on my veggies, and then I have to go for the all organic.” Keep in mind, organic can still have herbicides and pesticides. Organic does not mean herbicide and pesticide free. They are just allowed to use different herbicides and pesticides, typically non-synthetic. But I think there are a few ones that squeak by. So it’s really… For me, I’d rather break it down into beef, chicken, pork and look at it that way to say not all my meat has to be pasture-raised or hyper-regenerative. In a perfect world, it would be. But on a budget, you can’t make that happen. And then when you’re looking at your vegetables and fruits, buy in-season as much as possible. Consider canned or… Canned is hard because of the BPA lining, but consider frozen. And then see if you can cut budgets there because you can make a lot with frozen veggies and bring them back to life in a stir fry or something really simple. 

Lisa Bass Right. Yeah. So I love your tips with being selective about okay, we can’t afford all grass-fed organic local farm-raised chicken, pork, beef. But let’s think about what is the biggest priority. Would you recommend if somebody was on a very tight budget… Like if you were on just extremely tight budget, would you only purchase beef? And that way you’re avoiding having to purchase organic chicken or… I don’t know, I feel like chicken is the more expensive meat when it comes to protein for protein, meal for meal. One whole chicken is going to cost a lot more than a couple packs of even organic ground beef, for example. Or do you feel like you’d be missing something there? 

Liz Haselmayer Yeah, I agree. No, I think chicken is the inferior protein, to be honest. I buy it because I prefer to have variety. 

Lisa Bass It’s good. I like it.

Liz Haselmayer The taste great. Big poultry fan. But you’re right. In terms of protein and vitamin mineral content, all those things, beef wins every day. Or I should say red meat wins every day. Even though we’ve been told red meat is something that is going to clog our arteries, which is insanity. But yeah, I think for a period of time I would consider, if I’m focusing on my budget and I need animal sourced protein, that’s the biggest thing I would say. Do not cut out animal sourced protein. Yeah, reach for the beef. And then also remember you can get dairy or eggs. Eggs are relatively cheap. I know even now they’re expensive, but for their nutrient value, they’re relatively cheap. And so utilize those. You can make a great Spanish tortilla, which is like all eggs, potatoes, and onions, which would be a high protein dinner for literally dollars and feed your family. 

Lisa Bass Mm hmm. Yeah. Eggs are such a cheap, complete protein source. 

Liz Haselmayer Yes. Totally.

Lisa Bass Yeah. Those are such good tips. I like thinking about if this is your only option… It’s either this or we’re going to buy everything completely conventional. It’s really important to think about what you are getting protein, calorie, fat, all of the macronutrients per dollar. And sometimes it’s just a matter of shifting dollars around a bit. Sometimes you think, okay, if I start buying all of the stuff that I’m currently buying organic, I’m going to exceed my grocery budget by tenfold. But really, maybe you just need to not buy a certain food group entirely because it’s an inferior product as far as protein and fat and calories, but yet it costs more. That might just be for whenever—if ever—we could have a larger grocery budget. But right now, this is my bang for my buck. This is where I’m going to get the most of what our family needs to sustain itself. And like you said, eggs, dairy, cheese, red meat are definitely a lot of bang for the buck when it comes to what’s going to fill us up. I think about that with a lot of things. Like sometimes I’ll buy this certain granola that we really like. It’s seed oil free. It’s all quality ingredients. Yes, I can make my own granola. However, it’s just a treat. And it is just a treat. If I needed to cut, that’d be the first thing to go. Because I don’t feel like after we eat it, we’re any fuller than we were before. It’s fun, but it’s not like… If I would have bought two dozen eggs, we would actually be full when we were done with it. So it’s just thinking, okay, what’s actually necessary and has quality for the amount of dollars we’re spending. 

Liz Haselmayer Yeah, I’m always reminding people what if we viewed food for its nutrient value over its monetary value? I promise you would never buy a box of cereal again. It’s funny, like— 

Lisa Bass No, that’s the one. Cereal. 

Liz Haselmayer And for me, like that is a treat. Like, I think I buy cereal three times a year just because I love it. Like I’m such a sucker. And the organic cereals are like $3.50. 

Lisa Bass Oh, yeah. 

Liz Haselmayer They’ve got virtually no nutrient quality. They’re just sweet and crunchy and really delicious. But for me, it’s like, parents, it’s really hard to shift away from those conventional kid-type foods, especially the food you grew up on. I grew up on cereal, I grew up on granola bars, really quick convenience foods, packaged foods. The organic crackers that are like $3, $4 a box, are more expensive to me than a $7 carton of eggs, because those eggs last me way longer, way more satiating. The crackers are like gone in an hour. I mean, it’s insane. 

Lisa Bass Yeah, you’re not any fuller when you’re done unless you put some cheese on it. Then you’re redeeming it. 

Liz Haselmayer Then I’m okay with that. Yeah. Then I’m okay. So it’s really just a mindset shift. And the other thing I always have to mention about food budgets is we have a tendency to—when we’re really tight on cash—we want to squeeze our food budget while we still maybe have four different subscription plans we’re paying for. Maybe we have a nice car that we’re driving, that we’re paying for a car payment. And so for us, we literally in our most pinched penny times, didn’t have any of that. We got rid of every subscription. We drove beater cars for seven years without a car payment. We got an alternative health care plan that was like a health sharing account versus paying medical insurance, which frankly, we didn’t ever use. And so we structured our life in a way that allowed us to have a higher food budget. Still have to pay attention to dollars, but the second we were low on money, I didn’t want to attack our nourishment anymore. I was like, why is this the first thing to go? It should be those three Amazon purchases I spent last month or that ongoing Hulu app subscription that I don’t need. Why is it the thing that feeds and sustains my family every single day is the first to get placed on the chopping block? So I know families are still super tight and might be prioritizing that, but for me I had to wake up to that reality and say, “Okay, a lot of this is just my American convenience and I don’t necessarily have to have these things, but we have to have food. We have to have good food.” 

Lisa Bass Good food. Yeah, and this is new that we’re so uncomfortable spending a large percentage of our income on food. I think in years past—I don’t have any actual stats here—but people spent a large portion of their income on food. They just expected that they had to. And now food can be so cheap that we think that we should only be spending like 10% of our income or something really tiny on food, which really it would make sense that the thing that would nourish us would be something that we’d spent a lot of our money on. 

Liz Haselmayer Yeah, that is the stat. And in the 1900s, we were spending 40% of our household income. And then all the way up until like the 90s, it has… or maybe early 2000s, it’s been like 10% or under and people are spending on their food. 

Lisa Bass Wow. Isn’t that interesting? 

Liz Haselmayer It is. And there are some reasons for it, right? Like housing definitely eats up more of your budget than it did prior. There’s some other elements there. But it’s also about like just because we have access to cheap food, now we have completely expected that.

Lisa Bass Exactly. Yeah. 

Liz Haselmayer We have to break free from that assumption that our food should be as cheap as it can be. 

Lisa Bass Yes. Yes, I agree. That is something that we used to would be really comfortable and familiar with. Like, okay, the thing that’s going to sustain us is going to cost a large portion of our income. And I think that’s no longer the case. All right. Well, so much good information. I have a lot of things that I’m thinking back through. Oh, that was a really good point. Tell the listeners about your podcast or where they can find more information like you just shared with us. 

Liz Haselmayer Sure. Yeah. We’re very active on Instagram over there at @Homegrown_Education, and Joey and I host a weekly podcast we drop every single Wednesday, and it’s just called The Homegrown Podcast, same title. But we love it. We have a bunch of resources that help teach kids about real food. And so those are on our website, HomegrownEducation.org. And really any opportunity we have to kind of share our family’s perspective or things we’re learning or growing into, we’re interested in. We’re going to keep on churning out content. We have a lot of free content. We have a free sourdough guide and a free raw dairy guide, all these things. And then we also have other paid resources like our meal plans, and one of them is titled “What’s for Breakfast?” 

Lisa Bass Yes. Those are good. 

Liz Haselmayer Yeah, which you have. Because I was like— 

Lisa Bass Yes, I meant to bring it out here to show. But yeah, it’s beautiful. 

Liz Haselmayer It’s like, I just got fed up with breakfast being sold so short, like, it’s not a bowl of cereal. That’s not it. We can do so much better. So this is like two full weeks of nourishing meals. There’s also some prep cues in there, and it’s all made from just 16 staple ingredients. Staple as in, like flour, butter, milk, all those things. So no running out to the store to buy chia seeds or like specific one-off ingredients. It’s just whole, real foods. And so that’s kind of how all of our meal plans are built out, that all the resources are kind of centralized to our Instagram, our podcast, and our website. 

Lisa Bass Awesome. Yeah. When I got your breakfast meal plan in the mail, I sat down that night in front of the fire and looked through it because I’m always needing that. Breakfast happens every morning and I feel like I just make the same things over and over again. So I was excited to have somebody else’s perspective. Like, okay, well, what does she make for breakfast? And then it got me going on some things that… A lot of times we’ll have something in our habit and then we’ll completely forget that it exists for a really long time. And then, yeah, having those kind of resources to thumb through really draws you back into, oh yeah, soaked oatmeal. That’s right. That’s good. We haven’t done that in a long time. So that will all be linked down in the show notes for anybody who’s interested. Otherwise you can head over to the Instagram account and check all that out. So thank you so much, Liz, for joining me. 

Liz Haselmayer Thank you. 

Lisa Bass All right. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Simple Farmhouse Life podcast, and I will see you in the next one. 

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