Start Small Challenge | Interview with Dietitian Melissa Powell


Melissa Powell is a dietitian & professor at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga and a wife & mother of 2 children, ages 7 & 11 months. Check out her interview to find out the "hook" that drew her into the pasture raised meat world, as well as helpful tips & fun stories of others engaging it for the first time!


As a dietetics professor, what do you like to communicate to students about meat products? 

    I encourage students to know a farmer and to grow a fruit, vegetable or herb. This allows us to reconnect to our food sources in good and healthy ways, reminding us that food is more than the individual nutrients we read about in the textbooks.

      What kind of transformations have you seen people undergo when they understand the background of what makes pastured raised meat healthy & important? 

        I have had vegetarian students become meat eaters after touring EdenThistle. Their fears about animal products subside when they see happy chickens and pigs, behaving as chickens and pigs should behave, and a farmer who cares for the animals and land. Even my 7 year old son tastes a difference. When we visited family recently and his aunt served eggs for breakfast he turned his nose up and said, “These are not Chattanooga eggs!”

          What would you encourage other people to do if they're somewhat intrigued by pasture raised meats, but haven't been fully convinced its worth changing habits?

            Start simple. Replace a pound of ground beef here, a whole chicken there, and gradually increase as you are able. Also, I would strongly encourage you to visit a farm and meet the farmer. This was the hook for me.  

              The price point for pasture raised meats can be difficult. What's a strategy you've applied to make it work for your food budget? 

                The research continues to point towards a mostly plant-based diet being good for health and the environment; so, if we can view meat as a seasoning or side dish, you quickly realize that your budget can handle this higher quality meat because you are purchasing less meat over the long-term. You are simply transferring the same food dollars from the grocery store to the local farmer.

                  What's your favorite meal/recipe to prepare with an EdenThistle product?

                    Katherine’s crockpot whole chicken recipe (on the blog). I use the chicken in various dishes and then make a stock for use in soups and risotto. I use the eggs in a sweet potato and kale hash. My son’s favorite recipe is to make sliders with the ground beef.

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