Teach Your Children Well with the help of Annie Van Druten


When we think of Annie, we think of happy, holistic health. And, we can’t help but to think of the song “Teach Your Children Well,” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. She is teaching her beautiful daughter, Uma, well by loving her through making amazing, healthy food and lifestyle choices for her. 

Meet Annie! She is a Licensed Acupuncturist and accomplished health and wellness professional living in Carbondale, CO. She has traveled the world to study the science and ancient tradition of Chinese medicine, and has a deep-rooted love and appreciation for food and the purposes it serves in our everyday lives.

Annie is a great friend to Your Milk Shoppe, and we are thrilled to have her periodically stop by to share some of her favorite healthy living insights and tips with our mamatribe! As a fellow mom, she comes from a place of encouragement and empowerment to help us nourish our families to the best of our abilities.

To learn more about Annie’s business, or to contact her directly, please visit:

During acupuncture school and my continuing education, I learned about the energetics of food.  This is not counting calories or grams of fat but how the energy of food can effect our bodies, for better or for worse.  For example, I was taught that ice cream is one of the worst foods we can eat because it’s freezing cold, it has tons of sugar and clearly lots of dairy. From a Chinese dietary perspective, it causes dampness – which is phlegm that can be found not only in obvious places like our sinuses, but also systemically – our guts – giving us sluggish digestion, loose stools and gastro-intestinal pain.  This dampness is hard for our bodies to let go of because while we eat something regularly, like ice cream, it weakens our Spleens, which in-turn makes it difficult to lose excess weight.

This is one example that our diets can do one of two things: in this case, take away from our health, OR it can add life and longevity to our years.

I am so glad that I went to acupuncture school before my daughter Uma was born, who is now 6.  It gave me the knowledge of how to be a healer in my own home.  I start that healing with food because as the saying goes, “we are what we eat.”

Uma just started kindergarten this fall, and for months I have been thinking about what I would include in her lunch.  During meals, I would observe her eating habits… what foods she would request, what she would eat up, and what foods she would leave behind.  I started a list in my Reminders app in my iPhone named ‘Food that Uma likes.’ I cook a lot and I may forget that she liked that split pea soup recipe I made for her last winter when it was freezing cold out.  Of course her taste may change, but at least I have a healthy dish idea that we will both hopefully enjoy, and ideally, the leftovers can go into her lunch.

I am a foodie.  I’ve worked at amazing restaurants in NYC and picked up some tools from watching chefs cooking at the open kitchen at Mario Batali’s Casa Mono and at Peter Hoffman’s Savoy.   I took a little of what I saw and experienced by working at these restaurants and it induced a passion in me.  What I experienced in those kitchens I have also incorporated into my cooking and the passion I have for healthy eating – to raise my daughter into a thoughtful eater who loves food from seed to plate.

I also get a little help from my Instagram friends like @weelicious, @rebelrecipes and @parisbyvegan and my village of friends and teachers who are helping me raise and mold Uma.  Also, Catherine McCord has a great book called Weelicious Lunches that has inspiring ideas and suggestions for picky eaters.  Get it at your library or find it online and pass it along to someone else who may use it.

I bought Uma the Laptop lunch box and it allows me to pack a variety of food without having to dispose of any plastic bags.  We love it!  So far it’s a 5-star.  There’s also the PlanetBox stainless steel lunch boxes which seem great as well!

My goal is to not waste any food!  And I’m so excited to say that we have achieved this goal so far – Uma eats it all up!  (Happy mama!)  Here is a pic of what she had for lunch one day last week.  Artichoke, turkey meatballs from paleOMG, organic mango chunks (previously frozen from Costco), organic, gluten free Ramen with broccoli, peas and tamari, and a fresh corn and black bean salad with cilantro, lemon juice and salt.


I also pack her 2 snacks including slices apples with peanut butter, oranges, local peaches, dates, organic coconut/pomegranate/mango chews (from our wonderful local grocer Vitamin Cottage), gluten free Mary’s crackers, cashews, pistachios and grapes.

There’s a lot of support out there online to help us be better lunch-packers.  I encourage you to check them out and find your own that suit your dietary needs!

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