038: Kelly Moeggenborg on the Reality of Real Food

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The Reality of Real Food with Kelly the Kitchen Kop
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038: Kelly Moeggenborg on the Reality of Real Food

Have you ever met a friend online and had an instant connection? And then met in real life and realized that you could chat for hours over some healthy real food coffee?

That is how I feel about today’s podcast guest, Kelly Moeggenborg (the Kitchen Kop), author of the book Real Food For Rookies. Kelly and I knew each other online for a while before we met in person, and I am happy to now call her a real life friend too!

In this episode, Kelly shares over a decade of practical tips and real food wisdom from her own journey and experience with real food.

In This Episode, You’ll Learn

  • About Kelly’s own journey to real food
  • What she learned when helping her kids learn to like real food
  • Some simple switches that instantly increase the nutrition of common foods
  • 10 common ingredients to avoid and 10 to consume more regularly
  • Her number one trick for taking Fermented Cod Liver Oil without gagging
  • Kelly’s favorite “fast foods” that you can make at home using real food ingredients
  • Why she chose the name “Kitchen Kop”

Resources We Mention

Thanks for Listening!

Thank you so much for joining me this week. Please leave any comments or feedback in the comments section below.

If you enjoyed this interview, please share with family and friends via email or using the social media buttons at the bottom of this post.

[toggle title=”Read Transcript”]
Katie: Hi and welcome to the “Wellness Mama Podcast.” I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com. Just a quick thank you to the sponsor for today’s podcast, Vital Proteins Collagen Supplements. Vital Proteins have pasture-raised, grass-fed organic collagen and gelatin products that are made from all natural, high quality sustainably-sourced pasture cows. So, these cows live on a grassland. They’re not constrained, they’re not given hormones or steroids or antibiotics and they eat their natural diet of grass. They have lots of open space and sunshine, and you can really tell in the quality of the gelatin and collagen products that they offer. And if you’re interested in finding about their gelatin, go to wellnessmama.com/go/gelatin. And you can find out all about Vital Proteins there.

Also, some random facts for your day. Did you know that some store-brought ranch dressings contain titanium dioxide? The same ingredient used in sunscreens and paints to make them more white and chalky? And that’s exactly what it’s used for in ranch dressing. Additionally, chocolate was once used as a currency. Maybe we should go back to that. The oldest soup recipe is from 6,000 B.C. and calls for hippopotamus and sparrow meat. And lastly, castoreum is used as a vanilla flavor in some processed, baked goods. And this is actually a secretion from the anal glands of beavers. Pretty disgusting.

So, today’s guest tonight are gonna be talking about real food and how to actually effectively make this transition to real and organic foods. My guest is Kelly, she’s known as the Kitchen Kop online and she had a huge food transformation in 2004, after a long history with processed convenience food, and she became a Weston A. Price chapter leader and researched her way into a traditional real food diet. She has an online class called Real Food for Rookies where she helps people to make that jump more easily. And has recently written a book by the same name, “Real Food for Rookies.” And she lives in Michigan with her husband of 27 years and her four kids, although her oldest is now in college and not living with them. And I can’t wait for you to hear this conversation. Kelly and I are friends in real life and I had a great time chatting with her in this conversation. So without further ado, Kelly welcome, thanks for being here.

Kelly: Thank you so much, Katie. I always love talking to you.

Katie: This is gonna be so fun because we have so much talking in real life and I love that we can just talk about real food and let everyone listen today.

Kelly: I know. That’ll be fun.

Katie: So to start, can you just talk about how you got into real food in the first place, and what your journey was like?

Kelly: Sure. So about 10 years ago, a little over 10 years ago actually, I was pretty much eating just crap foods and I thought things like Hamburger Helper was cooking homemade. And, you know, we went out and ate fast food a lot, and I thought that was normal. I guess, it is kinda normal. And, my weight started to creep up for really the first time in my entire life. I started to think, you know, I better do something about this. So, I looked into the South Beach Diet, and kinda got into that, you know, extensively. And was really into it and excited about it, and seeing good results. But, then I happened to mention to a friend of mine what I was doing and she… because she’s not a bulldozer like I am and super over the top opinionated, she just was real gentle and just said, “You know, there’s probably a lot of good in that diet, but have you ever looked into the Weston Price Foundation?” And I said, “No, I never heard of them.” So, that next morning, it was a Saturday morning, I remember. It’s one of those things where you always know, like, where you were sitting and… I got on the website and I was on there for a couple of solid hours just completely floored by everything I was learning and realizing what I had been doing to my family, by feeding them all that crap and how I wanted to change things. And I really had what I now call like, my food conversion because it was an overnight flip. I just changed everything. And my poor family never knew what hit them. My husband was totally cool with it because he grew up in a farm and was used to real food and, you know, whole foods. But the kids, you know, I tried to switch out. I basically just tried to adapt to what we were doing to healthier versions and add in lots of super foods. And it did not always go well.

Katie: Yeah. I kind of had the same experience. I learned, as my kids were growing up and definitely my older one especially because he was the one that could really he had eaten some of the, like, the baby cereal and the food the doctor recommended. And so, he was the one that was like, really resisting at first. But, I feel like they do come around. Did your kids eventually come around?

Kelly: Well, it was hard because I started when my oldest was well, like, you know, just turning into a teenager. You know, so, he was like, 12 or 13 so that’s a long time for a kid to eat breakfast cereals, and fast food, and all sorts of junk. And then all of a sudden, to have it yanked out from under him, you know. So, it took a little bit for him to come around. And now, he’s on his own and it’s kinda cool because, I don’t think he eats out a whole lot and he doesn’t cook a lot, but what he does cook is pretty much whole foods. And it’s not perfect for sure, he may have breakfast cereal there, who knows. He lives in Florida so, I can’t exactly, you know, check his cupboards, not that I would anyway of course. But, you know, it was a long time for him to come around.

The other kids, because they were younger, it’s been a lot easier. And they still sometimes will complain, you know, because they’ll see their friends having some junk that we don’t necessarily have. But, for the most part, they really don’t complain a whole lot because we have versions of the junk that is so much better than the other stuff. Like last night, we got a bunch of strawberries at the farmer’s market and we made this recipe I have on my site. It’s called “Strawberries in a Cloud” or “Berries in a Cloud” or whatever. And it’s basically just whipped cream with a little bit of sugar, and you know, berries all stirred up in a juice. And it is so good. So, you know, they eat, they still get treats now and then, but they’re just real food versions. So, it’s been a lot easier for our younger kids.

Katie: Yeah. That’s awesome. I’ve seen that recipe. I’m gonna make sure I link to it in the show notes because it looks awesome.

Kelly: Oh, it’s so good. And I have leftovers in the fridge. I can’t wait to have some.

Katie: Nice. So, I’m always, curious, why the name, “Kelly, the Kitchen Kop” Where did that come from?

Kelly: Well, you know, after I’d been eating this way for a few years, you probably had the same experience. I got to the point where, you know, because I couldn’t quit, you can’t quit talking about something that you’re excited about. So, I would talk about all these stuff with my friends, and then eventually people would be asking me questions about all the stuff I was learning. And then someone said to me, “You should start a blog.” And at first I thought that was a really dumb idea, because, you know, that had never crossed my mind but then I thought, “You know, it might be kinda nice to have one place to send people who, because eventually you get the same questions over and over.” And so, people would, you know, ask me the same questions and I could just say, “Well check out this blog post that I wrote about it. And so, I knew I needed to figure out a name and, you know, I just had some friends. I just asked a whole bunch of friends for ideas and someone came up with this and I thought it sounded really stupid, but I had one of my girlfriends said, “Well, it is kinda stupid, but would you rather have something boring that nobody remembers or something that’s kinda dumb that sticks in people’s brains?” So, that’s how I ended up doing. The only thing about my blog name “Kelly, The Kitchen Kop” is that I tell people, “Please don’t abbreviate it with three Ks. Like if you’re gonna abbreviate it just use two Ks.”

Katie: Gotcha. Well so, you mentioned that you originally started your journey into real food because you were wanting to like lose a little bit weight yourself. But, what other changes did you guys see in your family, in your husband and your kids when you made the switch?

Kelly: Well, probably the biggest thing even more than the weight issue because that had already kind of started to resolve because I learned, you know, to just kind of watch my carbs and that kinda thing. Even more than that, was our second to oldest boy. He had really tough behavior issues and of course I had no idea they were related to food. And it’s just one of these things that you wanna help people who you see with their kids that are crazy. You wanna just be able to tell them like, “There’s hope. You can fix this. You don’t need medication.” Because the change in him was dramatic. We had so much trouble with him like, getting to him to go to sleep at night, and helping him to learn. And you know, especially when he was a toddler he would throw these monsters fits, you know. And once I switched the food out and probably a lot of it the artificial colors and flavors and the chemical preservatives, who knows specifically what it was, but the change was dramatic. He became so sweet, and even now as a teenager he’s a really good kid.

Katie: That’s great. So on a practical level, what were some of the switches that you made? What kind of foods did you stop eating and what kind of things that you add in?

Kelly: Well, I pretty much cleared out our pantry and fridge and replaced everything with better versions. Some things I would have to be real careful about how I did it and I talk about this in the book a little bit where like, with syrup, you know. We were eating that really disgusting, like Aunt Jemima kind of stuff where you can’t even, you know, read all the ingredients on their super long, nasty label. And we switched to real maple syrup which has one ingredient, maple syrup. And, but to do that there was quite a taste difference because at the time I didn’t know there were different grades of maple syrup and the only one I got my hands on was the little bit stronger kind of grade. So, there’s quite a taste difference between, you know, the crappy, high fructose corn syrup stuff and the real stuff.

So what I did was I would just kind of slowly add a little bit of the real stuff into the bad stuff and kind of wean them slowly until we were pretty much totally off the bad stuff. And all they had was maple syrup and they didn’t know any different. And I really did the same thing with peanut butter because back then, peanut butter was not like the organic peanut butter is now where it’s all creamy and super easy to use and spread. Back then it was, you know, you could hardly get a knife in it.

So, I had to kind of play around with that a little bit too and I had to be real careful about how I introduced some things, because some things I would try and it’d be a complete bomb and I’d be all depressed and like, “I’m a terrible cook. I can’t make this work.” And I had a lot of food flops. I still have food flops now and then, but I had a lot more back then. But, I pretty much went through my whole pantry and switched everything out and that’s one thing about my new book is I wish I had something like this done because the whole first chapter has a list of, you know, instead of buying this, buy this. And it tells why and it makes it pretty easy to, you know, go through and make better choices.

Katie: Yeah. I love that you mentioned your book because I just got through reading it and it’s very practical. I thought it was so helpful especially for someone who’s just starting out. It really is just like a quick start guide of everything they would need to know. And I feel like a big point that you made that’s so important is that, and especially now with all the new healthier foods and healthier versions that we have, you don’t really have to give anything up. You just get to find better, more tasty, healthier versions of it. And so, I feel like, especially now like that switch doesn’t have to be difficult at all and that’s a lot of what your book is about. So, can you walk us through some of the core changes to real food that you talk about in the book in the course which is in “The Principles of Real Food” that you mentioned?

Kelly: Sure. Well, there’s this one section too that I try to make it real simple and I sorta did like, top 10 list and pictures. And I did the top 10 list of things that we got rid of and then the top 10 list of things that we added. Because there’s so much more to just getting rid of the junk because, you know, you can get rid of, you know, the bad things and even try to replace them with versions that are a little bit better, but that does not always mean that you’re feeding your family nutrient-dense foods, you know. So say you instead of buying, you know crackers that have like a super long ingredient list of stuff you can’t pronounce and instead you switch over to maybe organic crackers. That’s gonna be better because you’re avoiding some, you know, preservatives or trans fats and some of those bad ingredients. But, you’re not necessarily nourishing your family, you know. Instead you could maybe get some sourdough crackers or make your own even better and then you’re gonna have some nutrients in there. And same thing with a lot of other foods, you know, you can’t just get rid of the bad stuff. You sometimes well, one thing that we did was we added in cod liver oil and that was tricky to get the kids into that, but, it can be done. And even myself, it was hard to get myself to be able to take it because I can gag so easily, but, now I have a system and it works great. And I don’t even like, it doesn’t even bother at all really anymore to take it.

And so, there’s just a lot of things that you can switch out in that top 10 list of things to avoid, but then you got to be sure to add in the top 10 list of things that you should add in for nutrition, you know, fermented foods and like so like the cod liver oil and healthy fats and meat that isn’t, you know, from some mystery source. Even though meat is expensive, you know, we just avoid buying mystery meat because it’s just so disgusting to not know where it came from or how it was raised or, you know, what they were fed. And so that’s a biggie for us. Like, you know, if we want to watch budget then we might have a meatless meal more often, you know. But, we definitely have the good meats added in. Let me go through the list. Do you want me to tell you the rest or?

Katie: Yeah. That’d be great.

Kelly: Okay. So I’ll just go through the top 10 list of things to avoid would be soy products, this is number 10. Low fat or fat-free foods. That just actually blows me away that people still buy that stuff. And you know, it’s so hard I don’t know if you’re like this, but when I’m in a grocery store behind someone who’s buying, you know, we don’t buy milk in the store at all obviously. We get raw milk, but, you know, if someone in front of me is buying fat-free milk, I have been known to say something to them about it. And, it just kinda depends if you think they might be open, but it’s, you know, I just don’t get why anyone would still buy that stuff. It’s just sad that they just don’t know. Number eight is, to avoid too much sugar. Number seven is, food with artificial flavors and dyes. Six is, foods with preservatives and pesticides. Number five is GMO or Frankenfoods. Four is mystery meat, like I mentioned. Three is foods with MSG. Two is, high fructose corn syrup, and number one is the bad fats, vegetable oils, trans fats, that kind of thing.

The top 10 list of things to add in, I said were sourdough or properly prepared grains. Now, your family doesn’t eat grains at all right, Katie?

Katie: For the most part, no. We do eat like, white rice occasionally and definitely if we do eat them they’re sprouted or fermented.

Kelly: Yeah. Okay. And then number nine is the least processed most local foods possible. That’s about, it was so fun yesterday to get to the farmer’s market. Things are just starting to be ready here in Michigan and I can enjoy local, awesome, organic foods again at the farmer’s market, it’s so fun. And number eight is, homemade bone broth. Number seven is fermented foods. Number six is like I was just saying pesticide-free produce grown in nutrient-rich soil. Because a lot of times you can find, you know, maybe some organic produce, but it might taste terrible or not really have any nutrients because the soil that it was grown in isn’t healthy.

Number five is cod liver oil. Four is tropical fats or coconut oil. And I will also mentioned olive oil there, a trusted source for olive oil. Because as you know Katie, that you can duped on that. Number three is fat from pastured animals. And two is pastured, unpasteurized eggs and dairy. And number one is, the pastured meats, like I had mentioned before.

Katie: Awesome. Yeah. I love that that list is so, it really covers all of it, and it’s so practical and it’s very just something someone can take in, start making those switches. And you’ve mentioned fermented cod liver oil a couple of times. So, can you explain why that is so beneficial and also share your trick for how you take it without gagging?

Kelly: Oh, sure. Well, cod liver oil is one thing that I think a lot of people don’t get, you know, any of in their diet or not enough. Because probably not enough people eat seafood for those important omega 3 fats. And it also really decreases inflammation in your body, so that’s one thing that especially when I was pregnant. I tried really hard, I mean, I couldn’t in the early months because I was too sick, but, I couldn’t really get much down in the early months. But, as soon as I could, I tried to make sure to take that every day because that is such a healthy immune system builder and a brain builder for babies. So, that was really important to me. But, the way I take it, is pretty simple. I just, it comes with like a little syringe and so, I just fill it up and shoot it to the back of my throat and swallow. And then I always have my coffee and my breakfast, you know, handy. So, I just take a quick sip of my really hot coffee and have a bite to eat. And it’s important to save yourself, that’s not so bad. And it works, it’s all like in your mind, you know. How do you take it, Katie?

Katie: Yeah. So I’ll either do that or if it’s the gel version that’s got the butter oil in it, I’ll keep it in the fridge or even the freezer until it’s kind of solid and just break of a chunk and swallow it if I’m…

Kelly: Oh, I don’t know if I could do that.

Katie: I feel like it’s harder especially when the kids are just starting to take it too because it has a pretty strong taste, but I’ve noticed, my kids that I started when they were babies and it was kind of one their first foods, they don’t have a problem with it at all, really. It’s my older ones who struggle more still with adjusting to the taste of it.

Kelly: Yeah. I remember giving it to our babies and the faces that they would make it was always so cute.

Katie: It is cute. So what do you think are some of the biggest struggles that people face when switching to real food and what are some solutions for them?

Kelly: Well, I actually have a few chapters just all covering the obstacles that can kind of come in your way when you’re trying to make the switch over to real food. And, you know, because it can be tough. I mean it’s not like it’s always a piece of cake for everybody. And, you know, I think I just hope that moms and dads don’t give up because it’s so worth it to help your kids learn these things. Like yesterday my daughter was watching the “Food Network” and one of the chefs on there was using this, I think canola oil or something. And she said, “Mom, she’s not using very good food on there.” And I loved it that she got it, you know. And then for future generations hopefully, you know, our kids are gonna raise their kids in healthier ways. And you know, it’s sad that, you know, families like yours and mine are gonna be in the minority. Just like, you know, what you talk about in your food conversion story, how you were really moved to change because you found out about how the life expectancy had just gone down so terribly for future generations.

So anyway, so I think the obstacles are so worth it to get over them and stick with it. So, I gave people some, you know, tips on how to do it. I think, I have five or six real food obstacles in here. But, the first one is really motivation. Because if you don’t know there’s a problem in the first place you can’t really, you’re not gonna be motivated to actually fix it.

So I kinda cover it in the book the different ways that it can affect your life. And one of the things, you know, like when our son was having, you know, those behavior issues, it really was hard on our marriage and it was hard on the other kids in the family. And you know, your stress level which affects your health and there’s just a lot of reasons besides, I mean whatever your health issue is. Most people, if they’re eating the kinda diet that we used to eat, if they’re not sick yet, they’re going to be. It’s just a matter of time. You can’t just keep eating the way that we were without it eventually affecting you. So, I tried to just kinda cover some of that, you know, the different ways that it can benefit your family, besides the obvious things. You know, and there’s always a lot of excuses for not eating real food and, you know, people are always like, “Oh, you only live once.” And so, I try to address some of that in here as well.

Just to kinda give people some motivation, but part of the book that I really love is just where I shared some reader stories about how they have benefited from switching over to real food and what a difference it’s made in their family and their health. And so, I’m hoping that, you know, that gives everyone some fresh motivation. Another obstacle is people, I think this is maybe even worse is, you know, then the motivation, but when people start on this road they feel so confused and overwhelmed. They don’t even know like, where to start or how to continue or what to implement first.

So, I have a bunch of tips in here as far as, you know, what they can do, how they can get help. One thing is to connect with their local Weston Price chapter. Because they are great for support. Do you have a local chapter, Katie?

Katie: Not right where we live, but there are a couple that are really closed by.

Kelly: Yeah. I love ours and they’re a great resource, you know, if you wonder about where to find certain foods, and that kinda thing. If you don’t have a Weston Price chapter nearby, another way that you can get help like that is to check with your local health food stores. Sometimes they can connect you with different sources also. The localharverst.org website can help you connect with other good resources too. Another obstacle is people say they don’t have time to cook real food. So, I give a lot of tips in there about, you know, making extra batches and, I don’t know if you do that too, Katie, but I love whenever I’m making something I figure what’s it take for extra time to make extra. It really doesn’t cost you any more time. And so, I’ll make like three pans at once of like say, you know, whatever I’m making like a chicken and rice dish or whatever it is. And then just cover the other two and either give one to a friend who might be, you know, who maybe just had a baby and then stick one in the freezer. So, that’s just, you know, one of the tips that I share. The Crock-Pot is another great tool to make sure you can use and it cuts down on your time. I did that yesterday, actually. I knew I was gonna have a crazy day. So, when I got up I threw some chicken in the Crock-Pot with some bone broth that I had in the freezer. And just let that cook all day, I threw in some herbs and stuff too. And then for dinner, we just had chicken tacos and it was so fast and simple. So, actually on my website, I have a whole list of what I call fast food meals that you can make, you know, at home. Because you definitely need to have that kind of list of these meals that everyone in your family likes and that you can pull off fast, because you know, you’re gonna have those days. And if you have a good list to refer to, then you’re not gonna be tempted to go through the drive-through.

Katie: Yeah. That’s a great tip. And I love the reader stories you have in your book because it really hammers home the point that real food affects all of us in so many different ways. So, obviously there’s usually things that people are hoping, that they’re able to resolve when they switch to real food. But, it was almost, like there’s always surprises too that they didn’t expect that another change would happen or that this would get better also. And so, it’s kind of fun to see how it really affects everybody so positively, but so differently. What would a typical day looked like for you guys as far as your, like, real food meals and your routine?

Kelly: Well, I’m so blessed because our daughter who is 13 she loves to cook. So she’s really kind of my magic bullet these days. She just helps me so much in the kitchen. And, but before I had her I just had to learn to do things more efficiently. And so I would just think ahead more, you know, as far as what we were gonna have for dinner that night and try to get ahead of the game and like I said, make extra and then I just utilize those fast food meals so much. And, you know, the thing is we’re not big snackers around here. I mean, once in a while the kids will want a healthy snack so I try to keep things like beef jerky around or cheese or you know, different whole food snacks. But, it’s you know, so our typical day is I’m not really in the kitchen a lot for breakfast and lunch so much because I’m usually working or we’re doing home schooling or that kind of thing. Or we have leftovers. We have leftovers a lot because I always make plenty and the meals are usually pretty darn good so everyone is happy about the leftovers. And then you know, then I’ll just make a nice dinner almost every night. And I love to cook too so that’s not a problem for me. You know, my daughter, her and I will like a turn on a cooking show while we’re making dinner together. So, it’s something that we actually love to do is it doesn’t feel like a chore. I know a lot of people don’t love it, though. And for them they just have to find coping techniques and just, you know, like I said put on a good podcaster, a good show, and make dinner while you do that, you know. I mean, do you like to cook, Katie?

Katie: I do. I definitely occasionally get a little tired of it just because I feel like I cook so much with the ages my kids are, they’re just pretty much always hungry and always growing. But, I love that your daughter’s so helpful now because I’m still in the age with mine where I’m letting them help, but, sometimes it’s not really that helpful. And it’s more of a mess, but I keep reminding myself that one day I’ll be able to turn over a whole meal to them. And that’s when all these little baby steps are gonna pay off. So, that’s great to hear that it actually does when they get better.

Kelly: It does. But, I think it’s either in them or it’s not though, because like our son who’s 16, he is so not in the cooking at all. And I was teasing him the other day. I’m like, “What are you gonna even make for yourself when you’re on your own someday?” And he was just laughing, but I said, “I just want you to like, it’s kind of my goal I’ve tried this before and it didn’t really go well. But, for homeschooling in the fall, I think I’m gonna really push and have him make a meal for us. A whole entire meal, at least like once a month. Because I feel like I’m not doing my job as a parent if I don’t encourage him to learn to cook, you know. He knows about the good ingredients and stuff because they hear me talk about that stuff all the time. And he appreciates it more too as you know, as he realizes that good food can taste so wonderful. But, I just want him to know how to do it himself.

Katie: Yeah. I think that’s really important too and like you said, even though some of my kids are definitely not gonna be the cooks in the family, I feel like that’s an important skill that… Actually I didn’t learn that much before I left home and I had to learn once I got married. And so, it was a learning curve for me where my husband, he’s the oldest of six and so always had to help with the cooking. And when he moved away from home, he was very adept at cooking for himself and all the cleaning. He could sew on buttons, he had all those practical skills.

Kelly: And aren’t you so thankful to have a husband like that?

Katie: I am. Yeah.

Kelly: Because I’m thankful too. My husband’s like that.

Katie: Yeah. And definitely it makes me realize I want our kids to have that gift also, so…

Kelly: Right. Because I feel like my mother-in-law like gave me a huge gift by raising her sons that way. And I feel like if I don’t do the same for my future daughter-in-laws, I’ll have dropped the ball.

Katie: Yeah. Well also, who knows like it may be a while before they get married and they’re gonna need to do all that stuff on their own…

Kelly: Exactly.

Katie: …to survive. Like your son in Florida can’t exactly call you if he needs a button sewed on. So they got to know that kind of stuff. So, you mentioned your fast food ideas that you have on your site. And I’m definitely gonna link to those because they’re awesome. But, can you share a couple of your favorites just to give an example?

Kelly: Sure. I’m gonna pull it up so I can think about it as I tell you. The quickest one that comes to mind though is, you know, and you probably don’t do this with your kids because it’s bread, but like a basic grilled cheese sandwich. You know, my kids love grilled cheese and on a crazy night out I’ll make them sometimes like an egg and cheese sandwich or whatever. You know, I use either my homemade bread, or I use bread from our local baker who makes like a fermented loaf. And I use, you know, healthy cheese and lots of butter. And you know, throw maybe like a fruit or something with it and that’s dinner some nights. And, sometimes I’ll make like we call it ketchup soup because I just thought that when the kids were younger I wanted to make sure they’d like it so I called it that. But, I’ll make like a tomato soup to go with it which only takes maybe 10 minutes. So, sometimes we’ll just do snacks for dinner. We’ll just have like cheese or crispy nuts or you know, like beef jerky from a farm.

Oh, let’s see. Let me look at some of my other ideas just to give you some… Oh, baked chicken is the fastest meal ever. It’s, you know, like, you clean the chicken, put some seasonings on it and throw in the oven. I have a recipe on my site for a five-minute baked chicken and it’s nice because you can just throw it in there for a couple of hours and then the family comes home and they can smell it and it smell so good. And if you want, you can throw some potatoes and carrots in there which doesn’t take long either. And it makes its own gravy in the bottom. You know, it’s just a really, I think that’s one of the most simple meals there is. And… I don’t know if you ever buy the hotdogs from the store that are Applegate? I think that’s what they call them.

Katie: Yeah. The grass-fed, pastured ones, unprocessed. Yeah.

Kelly: Right. Yeah, you know, they’re expensive, but, I don’t even care because it’s such an easy quick meal for the kids sometimes. And again we have our local baker makes fermented homemade buns. And so, I’ll just pull those two out of the freezer and that’s a really quick meal sometimes. Sloppy Joes I think is a super easy meal. Our family loves them so I use like three pounds of ground beef from the farm. And our ground beef has some heart in it too, so I feel like they’re getting extra awesome enzymes and it’s just a super fast meal to pull together. Even hamburgers, that’s fast just to throw some of those on the grill or fry them up. I don’t know, what are your fave… You must have some good fast foods meals too, don’t you?

Katie: I do, and that was kind of a learning curve for me also because at first, like you I was watching cooking shows when I first got married to try to learn how to cook. And of course, everything on a cooking show almost always is like, you know, 40 ingredients and it takes 45 minutes to cook and it’s gourmet and it’s awesome. So, at first I was kind of in my head of what I was supposed to be cooking and even when we switched to real food and we’re more on a grain-free diet I would still try to make like an Italian dish but substitute out the noodles and use vegetables or something. So, I was still like making tomato sauce from scratch and doing very time intensive things. So, for me it was learning how to pre-prepare a lot of like, the tomato sauce and like anything I could make ahead. And either freeze it or can it. And then have things ready to go more quickly at night. And right now it’s awesome because our local farmer, you mentioned finding a local farmer. We found one who they grow completely, organically and they deliver on Saturday mornings.

Kelly: What?

Katie: So it’s like the best thing in the world. And so I just go online and like pick out all these amazing stuff for the week and they deliver it.

Kelly: You are lucky.

Katie: Yeah. We’re so spoiled by them, they’re amazing. And so, like right now everything’s in season. So, we do a lot of like stuffed zucchini boats and like stir fries because they’re so simple. You just throw some chicken or ground beef in a pan with whatever vegetables that are in season and let the kids help pick seasonings. And sometimes it’s more interesting than others but, yeah. I finally found a lot of those cool recipes myself and I feel like that really is a lifesaver, just to have that kind of that treasure chest of basic, easy recipes.

Kelly: Now, do you use, I think they’re called like zoodles or something. The zucchini, you take zucchini and put it through like one of those spiralers or whatever?

Katie: Yeah. That’s fun because the kids, they love any kind of vegetable noodles and you can do sweet potatoes or carrots or zucchini or if you do potatoes…

Kelly: Really? Are those as good as, because I was shocked at how good the zucchini noodles were like with butter and then like a pesto on it or whatever. Are the carrot and the sweet potato ones as good?

Katie: Yeah. I feel like you just have to pair them with like zucchini goes with almost anything. Like sweet potato noodles are really good with I’ll make like shrimp carbonara or like things that would naturally kind of blend with that flavor really well. But, the kids love them. The only thing I would caution I found out about a natural remedy because of that spiral slicer. I had the blades of it in my drawer and I reached in the back of the drawer to grab something else and sliced my entire fingerprint almost completely off.

Kelly: Oh my gosh.

Katie: So I learned that raw honey is really good for healing wounds. So, I don’t let the kids use like actually slice the noodles because those things are incredibly sharp, but they do love eating them.

Kelly: So…but you don’t cook the sweet potato first?

Katie: You don’t cook it first. So I would make the noodles first when it’s hard because they’re easier to make the noodles and then I would usually just either…

Kelly: And then you cook them.

Katie: Oven roast it or saute them in butter.

Kelly: I am so gonna try that.

Katie: Yeah. And there’s, I mean even on Amazon like there’s $10 ones that are handheld if you want a simple one that doesn’t take up much room.

Kelly: Yeah. I actually have one. One of my sponsors sent me one of those one time. So yeah, I’m gonna try that. Another one, actually I think soups are pretty quick to make. Especially if you have like broth in the freezer all the time like I do, and once in a while if I don’t have enough broth in the freezer, I kind of add some organic broth to it just to make it, you know, more of it. But, for the most part I usually have tons of broth in the freezer you probably do too. But, I think the soups are a really fast meal that you can pull together. And the kids can help you and like you said, throw some seasonings and that kind of thing.

Katie: For sure, yeah. I feel like in the winter we do just a ton of soups and Crock-Pot meals. And then in the summer it’s more stir fries and salads for a lot of meals.

Kelly: Do your kids eat salads?

Katie: Yeah. That was another thing like we have to work with them when they were little. And especially with like raw ingredients they had a little more trouble with it. But now, they eat it pretty well. Especially if we make like a homemade dressing that’s got a lot of healthy fats and stuff, they’re really good about salads.

Kelly: Yeah. My kids kind of go in streak with salads and, but they love it when we make homemade ranch which is so easy. It takes like five minutes, you know.

Katie: Yeah. What do you guys use in yours? Is it like a yogurt based or is it dairy based?

Kelly: I love it when I can find the pastured sour cream. So I’ll use that. And then I’ll make my own homemade mayo and then just tons of like herbs. Usually, we have herbs on the deck that I’ll just chop off and throw in there and, you know, plenty of sea salt and that kind of thing. And you can like to different things with…like if you wanna dip you just don’t add any liquid. And if you want it more of a dressing, you can add a little bit of cream or milk and, you know, make it more pourable or whatever. But, my kids love it when I make that.

Katie: Yeah. I think almost every kid loves ranch. Ketchup and ranch.

Kelly: Yes, exactly.

Katie: So, if someone’s just starting out into real food and maybe they’re still in that overwhelmed phase or hitting a lot of those obstacles, what would be maybe three little baby steps that you would tell them at first like don’t worry about everything, but just work on these little switches.

Kelly: Right. And that’s what I usually try to do to help people not to get overwhelmed and to just, you know, start slow. One thing I tell them the biggest thing they need to do first is before even if they wanna instead of changing everything all over is to just start learning because again, I don’t think until you have that, the knowledge inside of you that it’s gonna be able to stick, you know. You have to kind of be passionate about why you’re doing it. So, once you start learning I think some stuff just kind of falls into place. And then, you know, like I said, either, you know, connect with good friends. I really have good friends that help me find sources and help me not be overwhelmed.

And the other things is I would say, don’t beat yourself up if you kind of go through streaks. Because I do the same thing still after all these years. Like I’ll go through a time where I’m motivated to make our own bread and then, you know, that will kind of…I’ll kind of let up for a while if I get real busy and I’ll just get a local source that I trust. So, if things kind of come and go, don’t beat yourself up and just keep doing the best that you can. And, I guess the other probably the biggest thing is to become a label reader and realize what you’re putting in your family’s bodies. And that not only will it help motivate you, but I think it’ll just, you know, make you so sick that you’ll want to make those differences. And it’ll kind of give you the encouragement that you really have to keep going on this because, the food companies aren’t gonna look out for your family. You know, a lot of them these days are switching a lot of their ingredients, or getting rid of some of the bad stuff and they’re you know, even some fast food places are, you know, like Chipotle recently, they’re cleaning up the ways that they do some things. And a lot of their food is, their meat is from local pastured farms. And so, things are getting better, but you can’t trust other people with your family’s health. You have to take it in your own hands and read the labels. And know what you’re feeding them, and know how to nourish them because it’s just so important.

Katie: Yeah. I absolutely agree. And I also feel like it’s the first part is really the toughest. So I agree with you completely. If they can find a support network and take baby steps then and not get overwhelmed, I feel like that’s just a big key to just make a long lasting change like that. And I’m gonna make sure I link to both your book and your website. But, can you also just talk a little bit more about like what people will find when they buy your book and also, all the resources you have on your website?

Kelly: Well, I’m happy to report that my website is finally becoming a little more easier to get around thanks to Katie’s husband who’s helped me a lot with that. And it’s been a long process but now, if you click on the navigation bar, the blue bar across the middle of my blog, it’s so much prettier than it used to be. It’s used to be kind of an embarrassing mess. So, it’s getting there. It’s not done all the way, yet, but my website is definitely much easier to get around than it used to be.

And I tried to organize, you know, my book into, you know, the beginning I kind of explain like I said the whole first chapter is what to avoid and what to buy instead. It’s kinda like a chart. So, you can kinda look up whatever it is you’re wondering about. Whether it’s like, you know, yogurt or seafood or you know, whatever, produce, whatever it may be. And then after that, I go into some of the reasons, you know, the reasons behind some of these things that I recommend you avoid and some of the things I recommend that you add in. And I talk about the whole myth of cholesterol, I touch on that because that’s sort of a hot topic for me.

And, from there I talk about, like I said all the obstacles that people will face when they’re switching over to real food and how to get over those obstacles. I also have some recipes in the book that show how simple it is to adapt. Because that’s one thing, as people get more in this journey, they’re gonna realize it gets a lot easier. Like I don’t know if you feel that way too, Katie but over time, now it’s become almost natural to me like I’ll look at a recipe and right away I know what I’m gonna change. And I know what I can change without ruining it, you know. Like there’s some obvious things, you know, you can switch out in recipes. But, for the most part, you can easily adapt. You know, for example, like if you’re making say cookies for a treat, for the kids, always, they have vegetable oils on the label or in the ingredient, the recipe list. But I just switched it out for melted butter and that works every time. And, you know, some people might use melted coconut oil and you can get the, unrefined which will still taste like coconut or you can get the refined, which is almost as good for you, but there’s no coconut taste. So it won’t change, you know, anything in your recipe at all.

So, there’s all these ways you can easily adapt recipes. And it just becomes second nature to you. So, that’s another thing hopefully to give people hope that, if you stick with it, it’s not always gonna be like a burden in your life. You know, there’s enough, especially these days, there’s enough options out there. It’s just a lot easier than it used to be.

Katie: Yeah. For sure. I definitely agree. So Kelly, thank you so much for taking the time to be here. I feel like you’re such a wealth of knowledge and you’re so fun to talk to. And I’m gonna make sure I link to a lot of the recipes and resources you mentioned and also to your book, which I would really encourage people to go check out.

Kelly: Thank you so much, Katie. I always love talking with you.

Katie: And thank you for listening to the “Wellness Mama Podcast.” If you enjoyed this podcast, or any of the past episode, I would really appreciate it if you would take just a minute to go to iTunes and give it a review and a rating. And just this is how other people are able to find the podcast. And I would really appreciate your two minutes of time to do that. Also, if you would like to get my “Seven Simple Steps for Healthier Families Guide” plus my quick start guide, and a free week of meal plans, head on over to wellnessmama.com and you can enter your email and get it right away.

And also, another huge thank you to our generous sponsor Vital Proteins Gelatin and Collagen Powder. They offer pastured, healthy grass-fed gelatin and collagen. And basically, if you don’t understand the form, gelatin is the one that will gel in liquids. So that’s great for making jello and marshmallows, and anything you need to thicken. And collagen, will easily mix into any kind of food or drink. So, if you don’t want something to thicken and you want to just be able to sneak gelatin, the better if it’s a gelatin and collagen into your food and drinks than collagen peptides, is the way to go. And gelatin is one of my favorite daily supplements in some form or another. I’m so amazed at all the benefits it has. It’s known to support skin, hair, and nail growth and pretty good for joints and help joint recovery. It can help tighten loose skin, like for me, the kinds you get after having five babies.

It can improve digestion because it’s great for the gut. Some people say it has helped their cellulite. It’s a great source of dietary collagen. It’s a decent source of protein. And it’s composed of the amino acids glycine and proline which many people don’t get enough of in today’s diet. So, if you wanna check it out you can go to wellnessmama.com/go/gelatin and you can get a 10% off discount at that link.

And if you have never used gelatin, there are some awesome ways you can use it. I use it in homemade marshmallows, in smoothies, in teas, to make Jello. I even use it as a hair treatment to thicken my hair. To make homemade children’s vitamins that are chewable. In my shampoo to make my hair thicker and then on my face as a mask to help reduce wrinkles. And there are just so many great uses for it. So, if you’ve never checked it out, I would definitely encourage you to hop on over to wellnessmama.com/go/gelatin and check it out. And as always, thank you so much for listening and have a healthy week.

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Thanks to Our Sponsors

Thanks to Vital Proteins for sponsoring this episode of the Wellness Mama podcast. I use gelatin and collagen powder daily in cooking, baking, smoothies, hot drinks and as a supplement. Collagen helps reduce wrinkles and improve skin health, so this may be the reason that I often hear “You look too young to have five kids!” If you’ve never tried gelatin or collagen, I definitely recommend checking our Vital Proteins! Use the code VPWM10 to get a 10% discount off your order!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


10 responses to “038: Kelly Moeggenborg on the Reality of Real Food”

  1. Alex Avatar

    I have been enjoying your podcasts. Thanks!
    This one i found a little frustrating when Kelly would say “obviously” about some real food things they do. I have been trying to eat healthy and real for years and haven’t heard of the importance of some of these things. Like raw milk. It’s hard to get in Canada.
    Thanks for everything!

  2. Naomi Avatar

    I was just wondering in what containers do you freeze your homemade bone broth in?

  3. Kristin Avatar

    I really enjoyed this podcast and like getting new cooking ideas! Thank you! I feel like I am learning a lot about how to feed my family healthier.

  4. Jessie Avatar

    I just listened to this episode while I was making dinner. I love how you both made eating healthy real food sound accessible. I thought I’d share that I’ve been making ranch using my homemade yogurt and kefir. Another way to sneak in some good for you probiotics. My 5yo otherwise refuses kefir, but as you said kids will eat anything with ranch on it! Thanks again!

  5. Teresa Avatar

    I loved this for beginners so I posted it on Facebook. I hope that was ok to get the word out there:)

  6. Alyssa Bronikowski Avatar
    Alyssa Bronikowski

    Hi Kelly and Katie,
    This was a really interesting podcast! Quick question, why are soy products on the do not eat list? I always thought limited soy like tofu was a good option for red meat, etc.?


  7. Kelly Avatar

    Katie, thank you so much for having me on, I could easily talk to you for hours! 🙂


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