Episode 115 | Where to Start with Natural Living, Cooking from Scratch, Holistic Health | Elizabeth Parsons of Purely Parsons

It can be overwhelming to figure out where to start in your natural living journey.  I get asked all the time, “Where should I start?”  On today’s episode, I am talking to Elizabeth Parsons of Purely Parsons about this exact question.  We have both been living a natural lifestyle for over a decade, and if there is anything we have learned, it’s that this is truly a process.  It’s unrealistic to overhaul our entire way of life overnight, but there are so many small changes we can make gradually over time that will add up to a new lifestyle.  I’m so grateful Elizabeth joined me for this conversation.  As a homeschooling, homesteading mama of five and pediatric nurse, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this topic.  Whether you are just getting started or have been living this way for many years, I hope some of the information shared in this episode serves as the catalyst for you to take the next step in your natural living journey.

In this episode, we cover:

  •  Starting small by making easy swaps in your home
  •  What resources we used to start learning and researching
  •  The importance of whole foods in natural living
  •  How we handle criticism from others about this lifestyle
  •  Success stories of healing our bodies naturally, apart from allopathic medicine
  •  What foods you can start making today in your home
  •  The most important items in Elizabeth’s wellness toolbox

About Elizabeth

Elizabeth is a wife of 12 years living in the Texas hill country with five children. Our family has a passion for bringing health back to the basics, to the way God intended it. This desire to help other families was ignited by our own personal journey in which we were failed by allopathic medicine and thrust into doing our own research and becoming our own advocates. Our main philosophies are treating food as medicine and decreasing overall toxic load on the body. We have seen this concept successfully achieve health not only in our own lives but also in the lives of close friends and family members. While western medicine focuses on the symptom, we want to focus on the source. Above all, we believe the ultimate source of wisdom and life is the Lord Jesus Christ and that through Him, all can live life more abundantly. Our humble prayer is that through us, being used by Him, we would be able to help you in your journey to healing.

Resources

Elizabeth’s birth affirmations

Lisa’s sauerkraut blog post and video

Lisa’s bone broth blog post and video

Lisa’s milk kefir blog post

Lisa’s yogurt blog post and video

doTERRA Essential Oils

Elizabeth’s DIY Elderberry Kits

Earthley Wellness – Use code PURELY10 for 10% off

Earthley Wellness Good Night Lotion (Magnesium Lotion) – Use code PURELY10 for 10% off

Lisa’s mayonnaise blog post and video

Leefy Prana Turmeric Supplement – Use code PARSONS15 for 15% off

Elizabeth’s birth story on Happy Homebirth podcast: Apple or Spotify

Connect

Elizabeth Parsons of Purely Parsons | Website | Instagram

Lisa Bass | Blog | YouTube | Instagram | Facebook | Facebook Group

More Resources

Want to start your own blog? Get my FREE blogging success masterclass.

Get your Berkey Filter with the Simple Farmhouse Life podcast discountWatch my Berkey review video.

Download my updated ebook with ALL of my sourdough recipes.

Transcript

Lisa Bass Today on the podcast, I’m going to be bringing on Elizabeth Parsons from @PurelyParsons over on Instagram. She is a mother of five. She had surprise twins at home, which that is a story all in itself. We’re going to talk about natural living and getting started with it. Where should you begin? What resources? Where did we begin? We’re just going to chat about that because we’re both over a decade into our journey with natural living. And I know a lot of you ask me, “Well, where would you even start? This is all very overwhelming. I need to figure out where to even begin.” So we’re going to dive into all of that. 

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, I’m popping in after doing a bit of editing to apologize for the last 12 minutes of this episode. We actually switched the first part of this year to a new recording software for having guests, and we had to work out some technical issues. It’s all fixed now, so I apologize that this episode is going to suffer from that. But going forward, you can expect a lot better audio. So thanks for hanging with me. 

For those of you who don’t know Elizabeth, which you’re in sort of the same niche that I’m in, so a lot of people probably already know you. And plus I’ve mentioned you on my podcast a couple of times like you have just pointed out. So Elizabeth and I were chatting before. Whenever I had Abby on about a year ago, M is for Mama, I had her on recently. But when she was on over a year ago, I was talking about this woman that had surprise twin home birth and how shocked I was about this. Now it turns out later on, Abby invites Elizabeth and myself and several other ladies to her house, and so I actually met her. But before then she was just the lady that gave birth to twins that she didn’t know were twins. So she knew she was pregnant, but she didn’t know that there was two of them in there. And then I also talked about you on my home birth story because whenever I was in labor, I was listening to home birth stories and I was listening to yours that day that I had him. And then also, you were talking about your birth affirmations. And so I was using those during my labor with Theodore. 

Elizabeth Parsons Oh, that makes me so happy. 

Yeah. So it was super helpful. I was reading through them like they were literally on my laptop when it was probably like an hour before I had him. 

Elizabeth Parsons Oh, I love that. Thank you so much. That makes me happy.

Lisa Bass Yeah, so we’ll leave that down in the show notes. But Elizabeth is a mom of five, two of which are twins. She is over on Instagram as @PurelyParsons. She does natural things. So lots of essential oils, lots of education on like whenever your kid has a cough or just any particular thing, you go to her page, she has a highlight on it on Instagram, helping you to know, you know what you should use. And that’s where you’re the most active, correct? Over on Instagram, that’s where you share most things?

Elizabeth Parsons Yeah, yep, that’s where I am for the most part. I have a website, but I’m completely revamping that right now. So, yeah, Instagram is the main thing. 

Lisa Bass Yeah, that’s where you share your tips. That’s where people can really figure out what you’re about and also get all of your awesome tips. I was looking through your page and you have something for just about every thing that people constantly say, “What do you do when this happens?” I’m just going to say, “Go to Elizabeth.”

Elizabeth Parsons And I feel like a broken record for— because when you’re on Instagram, it’s like you’re getting new followers and stuff. And so people who have followed you for years know that you have a highlight on strep throat from like two years ago. But new people, they don’t know that. And so I kind of feel like a broken record sometimes when I’m like, “Oh, look at my highlights.” But it’s true. Go look in my highlights. 

Lisa Bass Yeah, yeah, it’s all there. So first question on the list of questions for you is what got you started into some of the things that you know in digging, in learning, and what was the catalyst for that? 

Elizabeth Parsons I think when I got pregnant with my first child. You know, when before you have kids, it’s like you do things that— you kind of just do things that you know and things that are comfortable. But then when you are bringing a life into the world, you’re kind of like, “Well, wait a minute.” It’s just that natural, motherly instinct, I think, that makes you want to research everything. That kind of correlated with a health event in my husband’s life where he got really, really, really sick. He has autoimmune disease, and this was like back in like 2011 or 2012 before people even really knew what that meant. Now it’s like everybody knows what it means. But back then there wasn’t a lot of information on it, and people didn’t even really know what that meant when you said that your husband had an autoimmune disease. And so his kind of like health issues and then the subsequent birth of my daughter just caused me to literally just start researching everything and changing a lot of the things that we were doing. So that was kind of like the catalyst for this whole thing. And it’s been, you know, now we’re almost a decade later journey. 

Lisa Bass So, yeah, well, that’s what I wanted to talk about more than anything. Whenever I was first writing the idea for this down, I was, I put: I want somebody who’s sort of at the same place that I am with their journey. Where, you know, you’ve been at this for a while, but you also weren’t completely raised that way. Like most of the way that you were raised, maybe wasn’t— it was more conventional. I think most of us were by the age that we’re in and also access that people had to certain things. Like it was out there, but it wasn’t out there as available as it is right now. And just speaking to that for people, because a lot of people want to know where to even begin. They see that they want to start, but they don’t even know what things should you even change first? 

Elizabeth Parsons Yeah, it can be really overwhelming and, honestly, really discouraging. If you try and just completely overhaul your life. It’s not sustainable. It’s not going to work. So I recommend just doing the easy things first and taking it one at a time. It doesn’t even have to be a whole thing, you don’t have to completely overhaul your kitchen. Just do one thing in your kitchen that is better than what you have now, and you don’t have to go through your house and completely throw away everything you have. Just as one thing gets used up, replace it with something that’s a little less toxic or not as harmful to your health. So the first thing, if you’ve got Febreeze, or Glade PlugIns, or you’re using products like that, just throw them away–candles! All of these things that we think and that we associate with, “Oh, that smells good,” really are toxic to our health. And now when I’m around that stuff, I get physical reactions to it because I’m so removed from it that when I’m around it my body is like, “What is this?” It’s like being assaulted. So any synthetic fragrances and you know, your laundry, or like sprays, or candles, or anything like that, that would be the first thing that I would replace and those are so, so easy and often a lot cheaper than your conventional cleaning sprays. So cleaning stuff is a really easy swap because you can make a cleaning solution out of vinegar and lemon. Like just pour some vinegar, white vinegar, in a mason jar and the next time you use a lemon, throw the rind in there and leave it for a week. And now you have a lemon all-purpose spray that you can use on your counters. And especially when you have little kids— and you know this, Lisa— they are all over everything and putting their hands in everything and putting their hands in their mouth, and I don’t want them ingesting 409 and Bar Keepers Friend. Those ingredients are awful and carcinogenic, and we don’t want this stuff being inhaled by our children, who are so vulnerable and so little. And there was an instance when my oldest was a toddler and she grabbed my cleaning spray and sprayed it in her eye and I’m like, “Oh my goodness, I’m so glad that that was just vinegar.” I’m sure it didn’t feel great, but I don’t have to call poison control over some vinegar, you know? And so cleaning supplies are a huge thing to replace that is honestly pretty easy. I can give you a replacement for pretty much every room in your house that is not necessarily more expensive, but that’s going to be a lot better for your health. Like I said, just take it room by room, but not all at once. When we try and do all these things overnight, it gets really overwhelming and then we just give up. So even if you just start— I mean, it’s January, everybody has resolutions in January– so just start in January. And I say try and replace one thing a month, like just one thing a month. That seems super reasonable. And then by December, look back and see like how many things you replaced and like removed toxins, or even sometimes it’s adding things like a water filter. Clean water is super important to our health, and I don’t think people realize how many toxins are in our typical water system and you can get your water tested. Adding a water filter can make a huge difference in your health. Adding an air purifier can make a really big difference in your health. So sometimes it’s adding things, but a lot of times it’s taking things away. 

Lisa Bass Well, and those suggestions, especially the last two, are great because they really don’t require a lifestyle change in any way whatsoever. They don’t require any new learning. It just is, you know, changing the air you breathe and the water you drink, which you already do those things. And so those are pretty simple swaps. Well, I guess let’s start here. What books did you read? Like when you were first starting to think about this. Because I’m thinking back to 13, 14 years ago when this started becoming interesting to me, and there were a few books that got me started, that got the ball rolling, that led to one— one thing led to another. And then I have this whole basis of beliefs now that came from books I read long ago, and a lot of times people will say, “Well, why do you do this?” And I’m like, “I honestly researched that so long ago that now it’s just part of what I do. I don’t even remember. I know it’s good. I know it’s better. But at this point, I can’t really explain it anymore. Just go read this book.”

Elizabeth Parsons Yeah, that’s so true. I would be interested to know what books you started out with. I can’t really even remember if I started out with books. I mean, I read books over the years, but honestly, a lot of my initial research was online. I would look things up and read blogs and read— Weston A. Price is a huge part of my research— or not my research, but a catalyst for my learning because they have a lot of people come on— they have a podcast, and they have a lot of people come on there that are super knowledgeable and super informative. And so that will kind of spark my interest and they’ll recommend a resource and I’ll go research that. The first thing that I remember researching was childbirth, and I could talk childbirth all day long, but Ina May Gaskins’s childbirth book was a really big thing and then also Redeeming Childbirth from Angie Tolpin. So those two books I do remember reading about birth specifically and another person, that I don’t even know if she’s active anymore–I think she is on Instagram–but do you know who Mama Natural is? 

Lisa Bass Oh yeah. Oh my gosh. So long before I had a blog, long before I had a YouTube channel, I was watching Genevieve. I mean, way back.

Elizabeth Parsons Genevieve, yes. Yes, I used to watch her YouTube videos. 

Lisa Bass Same. Long before I even thought about starting a YouTube, I was watching her. 

Elizabeth Parsons Yes, me too. So I would sit and binge watch her. 

Lisa Bass Yes, I loved them. 

Elizabeth Parsons Anytime I needed like a recipe for something or a more natural alternative something I would type in— like I would Google search: “Mama Natural” whatever I was looking for. And she usually had it. Like her website is super, super user-friendly and packed full of resources. So she was a really big part of my early journey and I still love her, her website and stuff. Is she still doing YouTube? 

Lisa Bass No, very rarely. I check in every once in a while because I’m like, “Oh, I wonder if she’s back?” And then she doesn’t, because I think she’s so focused on her childbirth— she has childbirth courses, she has a weekly natural guide to pregnancy. I should get her on the podcast. I hadn’t thought about that. I don’t know if I could or not. 

Elizabeth Parsons I know she moved. They lived in Chicago. 

Lisa Bass Yeah, they moved down to Florida. I know all about it. 

Elizabeth Parsons Yeah, yeah. Okay, we could geek out over her together. 

We could. Yeah, her and then I also— there’s several older bloggers that no longer blog anymore that got me started a little bit. And then also Wellness Mama— she’s still huge, obviously. 

Elizabeth Parsons Wellness Mama, Mommypotamus. 

Lisa Bass Yep, Mommypotamus! Yep, those are all the ones I read long before I even thought about starting a blog. And so, yeah, I was thinking— no mine started with books because the internet wasn’t as big whenever I was first a young mom. There were a couple of books, but there also were bloggers, now that you’re mentioning it, there were lots of those. The first book that I read was— it was a book called “What the Bible Says About Natural Living.” Some of the things that he wrote about in that book I no longer— it needed a little bit of refining. Like whole grains were huge in that book, but not fermenting them or souring them in any way like Weston Price would recommend for a traditional type of diet. But the basics were there. What it taught me, which was a great place to start, was just cook from scratch. It doesn’t even have to be, you know, avoid this thing, avoid that. It was just use honey, use oats, use wheat, use meat. 

Elizabeth Parsons Use what God gave us. 

Lisa Bass Yeah, just regular, whole things. The ingredients, not the meals all separated out in ingredients. And so even though now it’s, “Okay, well, maybe less honey. Maybe soak and ferment the grains. Maybe add in some fermented foods.” Just the basic of “make real food” was what I learned from that book back whenever  I was not even a mom yet, and that is what I built off of. But then I started getting into Nourishing Traditions type stuff after that, and that opened a lot of doors. 

Elizabeth Parsons Yeah, yeah, and for me, I had to— I don’t know about you, but I did not grow up— I grew up in a one-parent household and I did not know how to cook when I got married. I mean, I knew how to cook kind of, but like, not really. And so everything I learned, I had to teach myself. And I think we live in a convenience culture where, you know, you just want to throw something in the oven or drive through the drive-through and— but at what cost? You know, what is this costing our health and our children’s health? And when we just cut it down to the basics, I think we overcomplicate cooking our own meals. We really do. Like a lot of times, dinner for us looks like some sauteed ground beef, some roasted broccoli, and rice. That’s not hard. You know, anybody can do that. We don’t have to be making these like extravagant meals. Those are nice, but I’m not making these extravagant meals every single night. And so I had to learn everything. My website says “back to God’s design for health” is kind of our tagline and so everything in life, it’s like, “Okay, well, how did the Lord design us to consume this?” So like with milk, how did God design milk? To come from a cow, if we’re talking about cow’s milk. He didn’t design milk to be pasteurized and homogenized and taking out all of these necessary nutrients and beneficial nutrients. But we, as a culture–as a society, have come to that point because of the practices that we have and because of— I mean, you know why conventional milk is done the way it’s done. Even just our society’s view of fat, like not drinking whole milk. I grew up in that kind of like, “skim milk is the best” culture, but it’s not. So it’s kind of an unlearning of a lot of things that were kind of ingrained in me. You know, our parents just thought that they were doing the best. A lot of the things that I do now were especially an unlearning process for me outside of food, but just in the whole natural living realm, because I, by practice, am a nurse. I graduated nursing school and was in that arena and that mindset. So I really had to unlearn a lot of things over the last decade that I thought were good. 

Lisa Bass Right. Yeah. I’m sure you get a lot of pushback. Do you get pushback from your family or mostly just— I don’t know, I’m thinking about like— I put out stuff like this, and then I get all of these things about raw milk. And all the time, I’m like, “You need to read into the statistics on this.” But what do you do about— I don’t know, a lot of people ask me, “What do you do about the pushback from your family and your friends?” And mostly at this point, I think I’ve been weird long enough that I don’t get it any more. 

Elizabeth Parsons Yeah, I don’t really care. I don’t really get pushback from my family. I think that my family thinks that we’re weird in some ways. My family doesn’t really do the same things that we do, but they accept us for what we do. I try and give them the “why” behind what we do and they maybe understand it, maybe not. But I don’t really care. And especially with strangers on the internet, I’m not going to take criticism– I love this– I don’t even remember where I heard this, but it was recently: “I’m not going to take criticism from somebody I wouldn’t take advice from.” That was just like— because it’s so true. If you’re not going to go to that person for advice, then don’t accept criticism from them. So I don’t really let the— you know, of course, we get like DMs and stuff that are hateful, but you just kind of let it roll off your back. It is what it is. We know why we do the things that we do. 

Lisa Bass I think a lot of times too, unless they’re going to be willing to read several of the resources that you provide, it’s difficult to explain why something is actually so much— but a lot of times, the proof is in the pudding. Have what kind of— you know, have you guys experienced? You said your husband was going through a major medical challenge. How have you been able to transform that situation? 

Elizabeth Parsons He was so sick. I can’t even put it into words how sick he was. He could barely hold Selah when she was a newborn. He got an upper respiratory infection, and he went on two rounds of antibiotics for that. And then kind of in the same couple of months had an accident, an auto accident. So that kind of triggered his autoimmunity. Then he got injured by the TDAP after Selah was born. It was kind of those three things, back-to-back-to back, that was just like assaulting on his body. He was so sick he could barely function. Autoimmune is kind of like a roller coaster, so he would have some good months, and then he would flare and it would be some bad months. But now, he has never had to take thyroid medication. He’s been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and early onset MS, and he’s completely reversed all of those markers through mainly diet, elimination of stress, and detoxification through sauna is a big thing for him, and exercise and stuff like that. But if he feels like he’s going to flare, we can really control it. We have things that we know to do; we pull back and we get more strict with his diet and he gets better sleep and he— so we have kind of a protocol in place that we do. But it was years. It really, really did take years. And that’s the thing, people just want an easy fix with stuff like that and that’s what the mainstream medical system will do, they’ll say, “Oh, you have high blood pressure. Here’s here’s a medication that you can take for that.” And maybe that medication will help you short-term or long-term, but we have to really get to the root of why. So, root-cause healing instead of just covering the symptoms. If Noah would have gone on thyroid medication, he would still be on that and he would be on that for the rest of his life, but through the modifications that we’ve done, he’s been able to be medication-free and live his life. He is thriving. So it’s really incredible. 

Lisa Bass Yeah, I’ve seen this. A couple of examples come to mind really quickly. But in people in my personal life that have had a certain trajectory that they were put on, they were told to take this medicine, do this thing, and they ended up going in a different direction, seeking out natural doctors and diets. And I’ve watched as the symptoms completely reverse and they’re no longer reliant on something for the rest of their lives. Actually, a close friend of mine, her son was non-verbal, he couldn’t walk completely, getting worse and worse and worse. She was taken to so many specialists, given so many— he had surgeries, he had medication. She went to this certain natural doctor in our area, that my sister also took her son to, and she got him on a certain diet, and he now is completely going in the opposite direction of the downward that he was going before. And then my sister, her son had a dairy allergy. She had him on GAPS— or, I guess, really it’d be a dairy intolerance; I don’t know if that’s considered an allergy or an intolerance, but it was a very high marker. And he had all kinds of symptoms that were really bothering her because they were an obvious sign of what was happening in his body. She did the GAPS diet for two years with him, and he has no markers. He can eat anything he wants. He’s completely fine. I guess once you’ve seen this a couple of times in your own life, several examples, it does make you want to dig deeper and research further and keep learning and keep going down this path of learning natural things. 

Elizabeth Parsons It’s amazing how much of our immunity is in our gut. The GAPS diet is designed to heal the gut. Noah was on that as well for a certain time, and he had— his leaky gut was out of control. When you give the gut time to heal, then you can reintroduce these foods and your body doesn’t react in the same way because those food proteins aren’t leaking out into your body where they’re not supposed to be. That’s why another thing I’m super passionate about is baby food and properly introducing solids to our babies. Rice cereal at four months old is such an outdated practice. Please don’t give your baby rice cereal at four months old. Their digestive systems are not ready for solids until usually around six months, sometimes much later. So I have a whole series– I did a whole series on baby food on my Instagram. Things like that, it sounds dramatic, can really set your baby up for life for having a healthy gut from the beginning. Even just when they’re first born, not pumping them with certain antibiotics or unnecessary procedures and things like that. 

Lisa Bass So what about in the kitchen? Where would you— what was your first— you talked a little bit about baby food. Which, by the way, do they still recommend rice cereal at four months? Is that still a thing? They did when my oldest was a baby, but I don’t check in much with the others.

Elizabeth Parsons Yeah, I have enough people say that they do. Their pediatrician was like, “Yeah, just give them some rice cereal.”

Lisa Bass Okay, because I did that with my firstborn, and that’s it. After that, I learned. I never did it again after that. But what about for people who want to start? We already talked about just getting real natural ingredients and starting there and cooking simple meals. Like you said, just meat and vegetables. It’s doesn’t have to be something fancy, doesn’t have to be a recipe. What about things like fermenting foods? Have you have you explored into that in your kitchen? 

Elizabeth Parsons Yeah, we do. I can honestly do a lot more fermenting, but we have sauerkraut on a daily basis. Sauerkraut is super easy. 

Lisa Bass I always tell people, “Just start with sauerkraut.” You don’t even have to go beyond that. Don’t even. It’s fine. Don’t even ever go beyond it.

Elizabeth Parsons Yeah, it’s so easy. You really can’t mess it up. So we always have sauerkraut and we put it on salads every day. We pair it with certain foods. It’s really good on cod. I don’t know if you’ve ever had sauerkraut on cod, but mmm.

Lisa Bass I haven’t. We never make cod, but I should try that. 

Elizabeth Parsons Oh, it’s so good. We did sourdough and we did kombucha for a little while, but we cut that just because it was a lot of sugar and I wasn’t drinking a ton of it. So we didn’t see the need to have it all the time. So, yeah, we do some fermenting. 

Lisa Bass Yeah, for me, I always tell people sauerkraut and kefir. If you’re totally overwhelmed, you do not know where to start, just start with those two because you can get probiotics all day long and those two will be really simple. It’s seriously cabbage and salt. And then, as far a kefir goes, it’s kefir grains and milk strained off. It’s the easiest thing. 

Or even just making your own yogurt at home is super easy. That was one of the first things I learned how to do. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, I highly recommend getting one or two of those.

Speaker 3 Yes, that’s the one reason you definitely need an Instant Pot: bone broth and yogurt. 

Elizabeth Parsons Yeah. Bone broth and yogurt, because it’s so easy. It’s so easy to make yogurt and you get so much of it, and it’s so cheap to make your own yogurt. 

Yeah it is. I find that it’s a few more steps than kefir, which is why I make kefir more often than yogurt, because you have to keep the— it’s really not hard once you have the Instant Pot, but you have to keep this yogurt at a certain temperature. The kefir is seriously just put milk on kefir grains. That’s that’s all it is.

Elizabeth Parsons I’m going to have to try that. I’ve never tried to make kefir before, but you’re inspiring me. 

Speaker 3 It’s easier than yogurt. That’s the thing. It’s not that I’m like, “Oh, you know, kefir is so much better than yogurt.” It’s just that it’s actually easier. 

Elizabeth Parsons Where do you get your kefir grains? 

Lisa Bass Well, I bought them like 11 or 12 years ago, and they multiply. So I’ve never rebought them. I can mail you some. Just send me your address and I’ll mail you some. I occasionally will mail them out or I’ll just compost them. I used to sell them years ago on Etsy, and then it became more of a hassle than what it was worth. But yeah, it’s super easy.

Lisa Bass So what are you learning now? Are there things you’re exploring into now that you’re trying to either learn in the kitchen or just research for health? What’s currently on your radar? 

Elizabeth Parsons Kefir! No, I’m just kidding. 2022 is going to be my year for sourdough. We’ve made sourdough in the past, and I’ve been making— I’ve had a sourdough starter and have made sourdough bread for years, but I think the grains that we use, they’re are a little bit more dense, and so I’ve never been able to perfect that fluffy, true sourdough. And I’ve never really done it with like the proper tools. So I ordered everything. I’ve got my lame, I’ve got my proofing baskets, I’ve got my Dutch oven. So I’m going to learn how to do sourdough properly in 2022. It’s actually funny, my friend is going to come and help me, and she uses the sourdough starter that I gave her like three years ago. So kind of full circle. Because we would make sourdough bread and it was fine, it tasted fine, but it was more like loaf bread. It wasn’t really the true sourdough: airy, light. So sourdough is one thing that I really want to learn to perfect. And then I really want to get more into— so we just moved onto a different homestead and we had a sauna at our old one that we had built. We did a traditional Swedish sauna with cedar wood, and it was beautiful. But it was built into a cement platform, so we couldn’t take it with us. So we’re having another one built here because, like I said, sauna’ing is a huge part of my husband’s detoxing process. So now that I am not pregnant and not in like the new-new stages of breastfeeding, I really want to get into a regular sauna routine. Because when we were at the other property, I was pregnant for the most part or had newborn twins and I was just— even to get 10 minutes away was impossible. So, I’m really excited to get into like a regular sauna routine and cold therapy. Like go straight from sauna to a cold shower. If you research the benefits of cold therapy, it’s pretty incredible. I’m really excited about that.

Lisa Bass I’ve only ever read about it on Wellness Mama, but I’ve never tried it. 

Elizabeth Parsons Oh, okay. It’s really hard, and— 

Lisa Bass I’m sure. It sounds simply dreadful. I’m sorry. My husband does it in a way. He does that where he’ll go and get in a completely, all-the-way cold shower, and I won’t even do lukewarm. 

Elizabeth Parsons No, that’s what I’m talking— I don’t do like the cold plunges yet. I don’t have somewhere where I could do cold plunges, which I know people that do and that has a lot of good benefits too, but I just do a cold shower after a sauna and it’s really uncomfortable. 

Lisa Bass Yeah, that sounds horrible. I don’t think I can take it. So building the sauna; sourdough bread, light and fluffy. Are you talking about the Instagram loaves that have the design in them? All of that.

Elizabeth Parsons Yeah, because I think— so we’ve used emmer berries and we’ve used more like traditional grains, as opposed to the all-purpose organic flour, and I think that’s been our problem. But my husband handles the traditional grains a little bit better. So that’s why we’ve always done that and haven’t really felt a need to change it.

Lisa Bass Yeah, I mean you can make delicious and beautiful loaves. I do think they’ll have a different quality to them, but they’re still so good. I need to get back into that because I’ve been trying to make the light and fluffy breads. But I also want to make einkorn breads and perfect those a little bit more, and whole grain. 

Elizabeth Parsons Einkorn, yeah, that’s the other one. 

Lisa Bass Yeah. But they definitely don’t do the same things. They don’t stretch. You can’t really stretch and fold them. It’s a whole different experience honestly. 

Elizabeth Parsons For a long time, I thought it was me. I was like, “What am I doing? What am I doing wrong?” But yeah, I do think it was just the flour.

Lisa Bass It’s that, and it even helps to add in the bread flour, which is even more gluten and worse for you, but that is what will give it that big stretch and the big holes and all of that. So yeah, I need to work on it too, but I’m really not sure if it’s something you actually can achieve or not, to be honest. Good bread, but not necessarily the big, airy holes. I get that question all the time. That is something— we want there to be extremely healthy and also light, fluffy– I don’t know if it’s a thing. I’ll let everybody know if it is, though. Oh, one other thing I wanted to ask you was what do you keep on hand? So you’re really into essential oils. I saw that you recently got Founders for doTERRA, which is super exciting. So I’m sure that you have a pretty nice little stash of essential oils. What wouldn’t you go without? 

Oh my goodness. 

Just narrow it down to like five. That’s going to be hard. Okay, maybe 10. 

Elizabeth Parsons Oh, okay. So, I mean, are essential oils one thing? Essential oils would be one. That’s literally something I use every single day, and I have for like eight years. I only recently started doing doTERRA two years ago, but I’ve been using essential oils for eight years. They are an everyday part of our wellness toolbox. I think doing elderberry syrup is a huge thing in our house. We don’t do elderberry syrup every single day, but in times of illness it’s a really big part of our routine. What do I always keep on hand? There’s honestly— I don’t really give my kids a bunch of stuff every single day. I think we just focused mainly on getting things through our diet. This isn’t really something I keep on hand, but I would say is a big part of our routine is trying to get into the sun. The sun is our friend. And so I guess just getting that vitamin D, that natural vitamin D, on a daily basis is huge for us. 

Lisa Bass How cold does it get down there in Texas? Are you guys cold?

Elizabeth Parsons It was like 22 this morning. 

Lisa Bass I didn’t realize it got that cold. Okay. 

Elizabeth Parsons It does. We were in the 70s two days ago, and it gets a little bit warmer the rest of the week. That was definitely a cold dip for us. We get pretty chilly in the in the winter, but we still usually have sun. It’s not like— I mean, we used to live in Missouri very close to where you are, and it was not— we called it “Misery” because it’s just gray and misty. And I just need the sun!

Lisa Bass Yeah, that’s true. 

Elizabeth Parsons So it’s a little bit easier for us down here in Texas, but that’s why we live here. And we love it, we love it so much. I think having natural beauty products— that’s one thing that people don’t really think about. The things that we’re putting on our skin; the lotions that we’re using; the deodorants that we’re using; that we’re putting on very sensitive parts of our body, we really want to be reading those ingredient labels. If we can’t recognize some of that stuff, we need to be like, “Okay, well, what are these things?” Because usually they’re synthetic chemicals that are designed, created to alter or to mimic something that’s already in creation that’s already been given to us. Yeah. So usually there’s a more natural alternative to that. Earthley is a company that I really, really love for natural beauty and supplement products. They have a really good lotion that’s super clean. You can understand all of the ingredients that are in their products. So a lot of this stuff that I give my kids is Earthley. There’s one thing that I would not ever live without, it’s called Good Night Lotion. It’s a magnesium rub. And so my kids, if they’re having growing pains, I will rub that on their calves; or if there’s a night where I just want them to get really good, solid sleep, I’ll rub that into their bellies. 

Lisa Bass I need to get this. Is it from Earthley? 

Elizabeth Parsons It’s from Earthley. It’s called Good Night Lotion. It’s like magnesium flakes with some carrier oil. When I was pregnant, it was huge for my pregnancy Charlie horses. So that’s a product that I don’t think I could live without. I’m sure I’m forgetting about a ton–oil! Olive oil.

Lisa Bass Yeah, do you use it for carrier oil? 

Elizabeth Parsons I usually use fractionated coconut oil for my carrier oil for oils, but I’m talking about food. We use so much butter and olive oil.

Lisa Bass So much fat. I shared a post the other day on rendering lard in my kitchen because from a local–. 

Elizabeth Parsons Oh no. 

Lisa Bass Yeah, well, actually it wasn’t that bad. I only got– 

Elizabeth Parsons Really? 

Lisa Bass Not really. I mean, maybe I didn’t read all my DMs, but I did get one DM from a nurse who said, “As a nurse, this looks like a heart attack waiting to happen.” I’m like, “Uh-oh! Outdated science, lady, you have not been reading up on your current science.”

Elizabeth Parsons We had some bacon fat on our counter the other day, and my daughter comes up and she was like, “Oh, mommy, can I have some of that ice cream?” And I’m like, “That’s not ice cream. You don’t want to dip your finger into that and try it.” Because we always have our butter dish out on the counter so it’s room temperature– that is a tip. Maybe people don’t know this: if you are using butter in the refrigerator, put that thing on a Pyrex and stick it on your counter. It makes cooking, like slathering pans and cooking with it, so much easier. 

Lisa Bass Fat doesn’t mold, doesn’t go bad as long as it’s fully fat. So because people wonder that too cause we’re so far removed, I think, from old ways. Everybody used to leave their butter out, that was what we did. But now we don’t. We’re far removed from the process of butter and knowing that fat preserves things, it doesn’t go bad.

Elizabeth Parsons And even just God’s design again, back to that. Like our eggs that we get from our chickens, we leave those out on the counter and we don’t put those in the refrigerator, but it’s because the way that they’re designed, they have a self preserving quality until you wash that bloom off in the sink, then you have to put them in the refrigerator because that coating is gone. So yeah, it’s just super interesting. 

Elizabeth Parsons Yeah, it is. They’re naturally preserved. Yeah, I really weird people out to when I put raw egg yolks in mayo. Every time I share that people are–

Elizabeth Parsons I just shared that the other day. “You can eat raw eggs?” 

Lisa Bass Yes, yes you can. Yeah, it’s really good for you. 

Elizabeth Parsons Homemade mayo is so easy, and that’s another thing, it’s so easy to make but it saves you so much money because clean, mayonaise is at least six dollars. And it’s still got preservatives and stuff in it. So yeah, it’s crazy. 

Lisa Bass Yeah, I think the point is start slow. Maybe this year, for 2022, make a list of the things that you would like to work on, add a couple of things– one or two things to each month. Take it slow. The best thing you can do if you are like, “Okay, fermenting, essential oils, all of these things…” Just start by changing your food to real food. That is not a hard swap to make, honestly, because you can make everything just using the ingredients and not the prepackaged stuff. 

Elizabeth Parsons Yeah, and even if it’s something where you can’t afford to buy organic, getting non-organic produce and eating produce is better than getting prepackaged, Franken-food is what I like to call it. It’s still better than the the prepackaged stuff that’s got a bunch of preservatives and chemicals. I found out the hard way that I was allergic to MSG, which is in literally everything. So, just take it one thing at a time. Make your own bone broth. That’s super easy. Just throw it in there, put some water in it.

Lisa Bass It is. Yeah, once you get used to a lot of these things, it is as easy as throwing a pizza in the oven, honestly. 

Elizabeth Parsons Yeah, it really is. It really, really is. But it seems overwhelming at first.

Lisa Bass It does. I can understand that. Well, that’s the reason why I want to have you on is encouraging people from the perspective of somebody who’s already been on this whole journey for 10 years. It’s not like this was something you just started working on yesterday. When you first had your child, I’m sure you did all kinds of things that now you’re like, “What was I doing?” I have definitely a whole long list of things. Then each year I learn a little bit more. Like we were talking about the Instagram sourdough breads, I just, in the last two years, learned how to do that. I’d been, just like you, baking sourdough bread forever and I wanted to have a little pretty loaf with the design of it. I never knew how to do that. I just kept it really basic. So just learning a bit each year has made it to where you are now able to, with confidence, do a lot of things that before you couldn’t. We could go on and on for way too long. We need to wrap it up here. But the confidence that you have now, when your child wakes up in the middle of the night with a certain something, to grab a certain oil and go over and feel like you don’t need to consult Dr. Google and rush off to the E.R. You have that confidence now to know: When is this serious? What can I use? It really does evolve over time. 

Lisa Bass It truly doe. People always tell me, “Well, it’s easy for you because you are a nurse.” I don’t think that that’s true because everything that I’ve learned in my motherhood has not been something that I learned in nursing school. Maybe certain instincts and more so along the emergency line, but everything I’ve learned has been on my own and with my own experience. I had an instance where a close friend of mine hit a deer on their way to my house the other day and I didn’t– she was asking for ibuprofen. I don’t have ibuprofen in my house. We don’t have ibuprofen, we don’t have Tylenol. I haven’t given– I think maybe Salah was the last baby that I gave ibuprofen to.

Lisa Bass Is that your first? 

Elizabeth Parsons We didn’t have it. Yeah. I gave my friend Leafy, its turmeric and ginger. It’s like a little tonic. And I gave her some turmeric pills and some arnica. That’s another thing: homeopathy. I didn’t even mention that. 

Lisa Bass Oh, I know, like I said, we can go into birth. We could really go into birth. There’s a lot of stuff. 

Elizabeth Parsons Yeah. So I had all that on hand and I was like, “Here, take this.” And it helped. And so it’s just about having the tools in the toolbox before you need them so you’re not scrambling and then running to Walmart in the middle of the night. And, you know, there’s limited choices there. 

Elizabeth Parsons We didn’t get into essential oils really specifically, but I think we could talk for at least four more hours on all of these topics. So I’m going to send everyone over to your Instagram. They can check out your highlights whenever they wonder, What do you do about this? What do you do about this? A great place to get someone going on their natural living journey is following along with people like you who have compiled all of these resources, so you can find Elizabeth over at purely Parsons on Instagram. So much good information there. And also, obviously check out her birth story on Happy Home with Comcast, because that’s a good one. Thank you so much, Elizabeth, for joining me, and I hope you can have a good evening and get back to your kiddos. I hope they’re all sleeping for you. 

Elizabeth Parsons They are. Thanks for having me, Lisa. 

Elizabeth Parsons All right. Well, thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Simple Farmhouse Life podcast. Be sure to go over and check out Elizabeth over on Instagram. All of her story highlights for all those common ailments that you might be asking, “Where do I even go for this? I know nothing about this, but I want to learn and dive in.” Her page is a really good resource to get started. As always, thank you so much for listening, and I’ll see you in the next episode of the Simple Farmhouse Life podcast. 

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