Meet Marion’s Medicinal MavenMarch 5, 2020
It was Hippocrates, the famous Greek scholar, who said, “Let food be thy medicine.”
But do we?
“Years ago, I opted out of how America ate. I looked at it, and said, This can’t be good. But it took me a lot of years to be squeaky clean mainly because I’d go out to eat and would feel awful for two or three days. Finally, I got to a point in my life where I said, OK if you eat that, you’re not going to feel good… Are you willing to do that? And the answer was no. I’m not willing to do that anymore.”
The back story
She was born in Chicago. Her mother and father left Poland and came to the United States so that she could be born as an American citizen. They took her back to Poland to eat, grow and live. She came back to America when she was 16. She settled in Florida and had a daughter of her own, Patricia.
Patricia Parker is the owner of Health Naturally LLC here in Fairmont. She said her mother fed her really well with foods like liver and steaks with lots of fat but wouldn’t teach her her own language.
“She didn’t want the accent, and so she wouldn’t teach it. My life could have been changed if I had learned two languages,” she said about her mother’s native language.
But she grew up well regardless. It’s hard to imagine it now, but the owner of Health Naturally said she had never cared much about health. Her life consisted of cake, fun, and carelessness. She ate dinner only to eat dessert. And when she left her mother’s house, she only ate dessert. It didn’t seem to affect her until…
She had a beautiful 9 lb 10 oz baby boy. He was obviously difficult to deliver. Very difficult. She hemorrhaged for seven hours and had five blood transfusions. She survived the hemorrhage but contracted hepatitis c.
“My health tanked after that. Very badly. So I just kept getting sicker and sicker, fatigued, not sleeping, just generally not well.”
Eventually, Patricia was introduced to an herbalist.
“It took me about two and a half months to realize I wasn’t half-dead anymore.”
And that’s where it all started. That was in 1989. She was still in Florida.
Patricia started a macrobiotic diet and learned from her herbalist for two years until she went to visit some friends in Elkins, West Virginia.
“I visited them in November for about 11 days. It rained every single day,” she said, stressing every single word. “I fell in love with West Virginia.”
She moved to Elkins in 1995.
“I decided I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to live the rest of my life in Florida when there was someplace as beautiful as West Virginia. And I’ve loved it ever since.”
A business is born
She eventually moved to Barrackville in 2005 and Health Naturally was born in 2006 – under better circumstances than her son.
“I was 60 when I opened up the shop. It was probably stupid,” she said.
The delivery was smoother, but caring for an infant shop wasn’t easy, so she asked her daughter to come help. Cacie came, stayed for the first few years, went to college and is now back at Health Naturally.
She grew up the way you thought she would. Well, kind of. She ate brown rice pizza, carrot dogs and didn’t taste pop (you know, soda) until fourth grade.
Patricia said her children ate really good food like kasha (buckwheat groats) with a lot of butter for breakfast. She added hijiki seaweed to rice and soups, joking with the kids that it was black worms.
“I had to put cheese on everything to get them to eat it, so I did,” she said and laughed.
“You’d bribe us with Rice Dream!” Cacie reminded her.
Cacie still eats healthy, taking after her mom. Even for someone as healthy as Cacie, she said there are still foods she dislikes. She said she’s just never been able to get herself to like squash, cucumber or zucchini. Her favorite meals now are “mashes.”
“I kind of throw everything together. Like last night, I did sweet potatoes, mushrooms, avocado, wilted lettuce all steamed together. It’s always really good!”
“I’m to the point now that if you give me a bowl of brown rice with olive oil, salt, and cheese, I just think it’s the best,” Patricia added. She also loves grass-fed, grass-finished beef.
Patricia’s vice today? It’s still sugar… but not white sugar anymore.
“I don’t put it in my coffee or rasa coffee anymore. But every night after dinner – I found some really good artisan pumpernickel and sourdough bread. So I’ll put coconut oil and ghee together, and saute it on both sides. Then, I put honey, maple syrup or turbinado sugar on it.”
She says that’s as bad as it gets now.
“But when you were younger…” Cacie started.
“Oh no. Oh my gosh,” Patricia said.
“Tell her about the icing on the cake… To show how far you’ve come!” Cacie urged.
“So they would have a birthday,” Patricia said. “And of course I’d get a sheet cake, right. So when everybody left, I would put it in the refrigerator or the freezer. Well, it was not very long – maybe 24 hours – before I would eat the whole thing, but only the icing. So one time, I thought to myself, I am not going to do that this time! So I threw it in the trash. You know what I did? I got it out of the trash.”
“That’s how addicted to sugar she was,” Cacie explained.
“I would eat the biggest bag I could find of Oreo cookies, the whole thing. You have no idea,” Patricia said.
“To get to this point I think that is impressive for people,” Cacie said.
Patricia said she knows exactly what her customers are going through. Even to this day, she said she could abuse sweets but she holds it down. Surprisingly, she doesn’t really have cravings for anything.
“You shouldn’t crave foods. That’s not normal. If you crave something from Wendy’s or McDonald’s, there’s a good chance they’re addicting you,” she stated.
Nowadays, Patricia keeps a pretty low (and healthy) profile. She starts her days between 4:30 and 6:30 in the morning. She takes probiotics first thing and has two huge cups of Rasa (a mix of adaptogenic herbs with some organic coffee). She then spends time with the Lord, reading in the Word before getting to work. She makes orders for the shop and is building a greenhouse at her home.
“If it’s spring, summer and fall I’m gardening every day. Now I’m going to start seeds. I’ll be starting seedlings downstairs,” she said, adding that she has 18 blueberry bushes, 12 fig trees, a big asparagus bed, spinach, three or four kinds of lettuce, three kinds of green beans, three kinds of tomatoes and lots of garlic and onions. “So when the garden is going, I’ll eat a lot of vegetables, a lot of wraps with greens with miso and tahini.”
She tries to eat according to the seasons and cooks at home. She said she loves to cook, but it has to be quick and easy. She’s talking 10 minutes to make and 10 minutes to clean up – max. Even with this strict time limit, she doesn’t use a microwave. She doesn’t even have a microwave.
“I would say at least six nights a week, whatever I’m eating gets the addition of about six cloves of garlic and a tablespoon of grated ginger. And I just fry it up usually in coconut oil,” she said. “It can be too hot. I’ve overdone it.”
A way of life
She exercises almost every day, and about once a week she goes to Goodwill to see what they might have. You might be surprised to learn that she does go out to eat.
“The only place I can really eat is Noteworthy. I do like it, and I do eat the white buns, yes. How can you not?” she said and laughed.
But grocery shopping?
“I haven’t eaten from a grocery store in about four years. I try to support the local farmers. I get their meat, eggs. I’ve found an Amish farmer that has really good raw milk,” she said, referring to Colossians 2:16 Farm in Grafton.
She sells their hamburger, steaks, and roasts, all of which are grass raised and grass-finished. Future plans for the shop will be adding more of their foods, getting non-GMO bread, adding chicken and local food (like elderberry syrup!) from Sweet Winds Farm.
When it comes to the store, however, she said her favorite part is listening to the customers tell her that they feel good again.
“I’ve struggled with this because of all the different ways to eat. I have done, of course, junk food, lots of sugar. I did a macrobiotic diet for probably four or five years. I did a raw diet, 80% raw, for four years. … Now I try to eat a balanced diet, not being too extreme with anything, eating according to the seasons, you know, how our great grandparents ate.”
Brown Rice Pizza
Fun to make with kids!
Three cups of cooked short-grain rice
Mix it all together
Grease pizza pan
Wet hands (because it’s sticky)
Press into pan
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes
Add desired toppings
One stick of butter
1.5 cups rice milk or raw milk
1 tbsp baking powder
Form muffins on sheet touching
Bake at 350 until fluffy
Are you following a healthy diet?