Ep. 60: Bethany McDaniel on Primal Pastures & Primally Pure Skincare

Fed & Fit
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    The Fed+Fit Podcast | Nurturing a Healthy Mindset for a Healthy Lifestyle

    We're back with our 60th episode of the Fed+Fit Podcast! Remember to check back every Monday for a new episode and be sure to subscribe on iTunes!

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    Ep. 60: Bethany McDaniel on Primal Pastures & Primally Pure Skincare

    On today’s show, I talk with the lovely Bethany McDaniel about her farm, Primal Pastures, and her beauty line, Primally Pure.

    1. Introducing our guest, Bethany McDaniel [2:23]
    2. Starting a homestead [13:49]
    3. Farm tours at Primal Pastures [16:55]
    4. Advice for new entrepreneurs [22:39]

    Cassy Joy: Today I’m back with another interview in this interview series, where I called up some of my favorite people in the industry and asked them to hop on a call with me for a little while. I’m joined today by the lovely Bethany McDaniel. She is just a shining example of seeing an opportunity, or seeing potential in an industry, and making it happen with regards to just background, believes, perspective on I think just where the paleo food industry and just good quality healthy living can go. And she’s making some of those things possible. She is an owner; I guess that’s the right way to put it. The owner {laughs} with her husband in Primally Pure, it’s a skincare line.

    You guys, if you follow me on social media you’ve probably seen me post about them, or some of these products in the past. I absolutely adore them. And then of course, Primal Pastures, which is the farm that they built and live on where they sell chicken and pork and beef; lamb and a bunch of other wonderful foods that Bethany can talk to you about, but they sell it to, they’re local to southern California and that’s who they usually sell the products to, but they also do farm tours, so they can walk people around and help them see the process, you know. Know thyroid food and know where it comes from kind of idea, so she’s got some really great vision for both of those companies, I know.

    And it’s really an honor to have you on the show, Bethany. I’ve always adored you. I’ve always adored your outlook and your style and the things that you put out there. I just think it’s so great, and you’re just so great to talk to in general, so thanks for coming on the show!

    Bethany McDaniel: Aww, thank you Cassy. It’s so nice to be chatting with you today; I’m so excited.

    Cassy Joy: Me too, likewise. Well, you can do a much better job of talking about your story than I can. {laughs}

    Bethany McDaniel: No, you made it sound awesome {laughs}.

    Cassy Joy: Oh, did I? Good.

    Bethany McDaniel: Yeah.

    Cassy Joy: That’s one of my goals with these, is I want to feel the warm fuzzies.

    Bethany McDaniel: {laughs} I did.

    1. Introducing our guest, Bethany McDaniel [2:23]

    Cassy Joy: Oh good! But please, share a little bit more about your background. I know you kind of have an interesting story, but what brought you to California, brought you to the farm, and then brought you to start this amazing beauty line.

    Bethany McDaniel: Yeah, so it’s all kind of happened over the course of the last really four years or so since my husband and I got married. We actually both grew up in southern California, and then moved to Arizona after we got married, and he was working as a teacher and I was working for the Special Olympics out there. We would always come back to visit, because his whole family lives in SoCal. And one Easter, his family had the idea of starting a farm. It’s been something that his dad has always been super interested in, and he’s read all kinds of farming books, probably hundreds from guys like Joel Salatin, who pretty much invented the standard pastured poultry farming model that a lot of farms across the country use today.

    Cassy Joy: Yeah.

    Bethany McDaniel: And everyone has always kind of thought it’s been just a nerdy little habit of his, but we all started to get more interested in it once we started finding out more about food and just started looking for better quality meats to eat. So we were all kind of just toying with the idea one year, and all of a sudden Jeff’s brother goes into the other room and just orders 50 chicks, and we kind of just had to figure out from there what we were going to do with them. {laughs}

    Cassy Joy: What a great way to do it. I love that. {Laughs}

    Bethany McDaniel: Yeah, yeah. We started it just as kind of a fun hobby, and then as time went on, we started kind of chronicling the journey on Instagram and Facebook, and all of the chicks eventually sold. Not the chicks, but they presold before we even processed them or anything. So we didn’t get any of the first round of chickens that we raised.

    Cassy Joy: Oh, wow!

    Bethany McDaniel: And then it just kind of started growing quickly from there. Jeff, my husband and I, we were just making so many trips back and forth between California and Arizona that we eventually just decided to take the leap and move back to California. We moved in with my husband’s parents, because that’s where the farm was at the time. They only had 2.5 acres, so it was not much land to get started with, but we made the most of it. Before we actually moved back, my husband’s sister’s husband, so my brother-in-law quit his job and went full time, and then him and his wife and their son Noah moved into Jeff’s parents house, so they were the first ones to move in. And then Jeff and I moved back, and we moved in.

    Cassy Joy: {laughs}

    Bethany McDaniel: So his other sister ended up moving back, too, so at one point there were 8 of us living in a tiny 1700-square foot house.

    Cassy Joy: {laughs}

    Bethany McDaniel: And that went on for about a year. So, it was crazy. We all got to know each other really, really well during that time.

    Cassy Joy: That sounds like a blast.

    Bethany McDaniel: {laughs} Yeah, it was fun at times, but it was definitely hard at times, too.

    Cassy Joy: Yeah. {laughs}

    Bethany McDaniel: Yeah. But, we made it work and then a year or so after that, we ended up getting the opportunity to move the farm to a 40-acre piece of land not too far away from where we were farming at the time, and that’s where my husband and I live now. Looking back, it’s kind of crazy that we ever even farmed on such a small piece of land and did farm tours there. We had potlucks there where hundreds of people would come out, and all bring good dishes and we would watch movies out on the pasture. So, yeah, it’s kind of cool to see everything that’s happened in such a short amount of time.

    Cassy Joy: That’s just amazing. What an incredible story. And it’s so inspiring. I live on a third of an acre {laughs}

    Bethany McDaniel: {laughs}

    Cassy Joy: In suburb, San Antonio, and it makes me want to just; you know, a few miles away, we’re in the Texas Hill country area, and there are some big plots of land available and Austin and I just keep, my husband and I just keep thinking about how much fun it would be to just go for it and you did. That’s awesome. And I love following you on social media. The photos you post, of your land and everything you’re up to. I know a lot of work goes into it, but it really does look just so lovely and wonderful.

    Bethany McDaniel: Aww. Yeah, it really is. It’s a huge blessing to be able to live on a farm like we do. I mean, our house is very old and modest, nothing special, but I love just waking up and hearing the animals outside all the different farm noises, and being able to take walks around the farm at night. It’s really neat.

    Cassy Joy: That’s awesome. Ok, so that’s business number one.

    Bethany McDaniel: Yeah.

    Cassy Joy: And you didn’t stop there {laughs}.

    Bethany McDaniel: {laughs}

    Cassy Joy: So, a couple of years ago, I’m thinking around the same time frame, you started Primally Pure, is that about right?

    Bethany McDaniel: Yes.

    Cassy Joy: Ok. So tell us about what inspired you to start it, and your thought into distinguishing your products. Because there is a difference. I’d love to get your perspective on that.

    Bethany McDaniel: Sure, yeah. So, I started just messing around with different product formulations back when Jeff and I were living in Arizona. It kind of all started with food with us, and I think that’s pretty common for a lot of people in this industry, or people that are just wanting to make healthier choices. It started with diet, and then I started looking into other areas where I could just become a healthier person overall.

    Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm.

    Bethany McDaniel: And skincare products was kind of the next place that I started looking. I started doing just a lot of things, just making very simple swaps in the beginning. Like, instead of deodorant I would just use coconut oil and baking soda, and rub that on my armpits. But that kind of, after a while, you don’t want to do that every single day, and then bring the two different jars of coconut oil and baking soda when you're on vacation, and use that mixture all the time. My husband, especially, didn’t want to do that. I tried to get him to, and he was not about to start rubbing stuff on his armpits every day.

    Cassy Joy: {laughs}

    Bethany McDaniel: {laughs} So I knew I had to come up with something just to make the process a little bit easier for us. So that was the first product I started experimenting with. It took me a while; I mean, I was working, it wasn’t my main focus, but it took me a while to really get a recipe down that I liked and that he would use. Then, before we knew it, a lot of our friends were starting to ask about it, and wanting to buy it. So I started just kind of selling it to friends and acquaintances. And then I had all these ingredients, so I realized I could make a lot more with these ingredients, and I started doing body butters and lip balms and stuff like that, but still kind of for us and family and friends.

    And then we moved to California, and we were all living in that house. My family started really pushing me to start selling it, at least on the farm’s website because they knew that customers would probably be interested. I was really nervous about the idea of putting it out there, even to just a small group of people. I was doubtful, I guess, that anyone would really be interested. But they just bugged me about it so much that eventually I decided to put it out there. And I was blown away by how many people were enjoying it, and just giving great feedback on all the products. So that got me more excited, and eventually I ended up making my own website and formulating new products and just kind of turning it into a real business, as opposed to a little side project. But it all kind of happened just very naturally, and it’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s kind of just flown very nicely, so. It’s been a lot of fun.

    Cassy Joy: That’s awesome. You know, you hear that over and over again. Some of the best products out there, or even if it’s not a product, maybe it’s a professional service, started from somebody who just loved doing it and just wanted to create something, and didn’t put necessarily sales pressures on it when it was in the creation stage.

    I’ve sampled a lot of beauty products over the years, and I’m a really hard sale. I’m a painful sale, really. {laughs} When it comes to not just products, but food products and people, you know, it’s tough to get me to really buy in, and I do not remember the first thing I tried of yours, but I was blown away instantly. Your chapstick, I gave it away in part of my thank you for coming on my bachelorette trip presents, and people loved it!

    Bethany McDaniel: Oh, good!

    Cassy Joy: I still see them carrying them around, and then they ask me if I have anymore, and I’m like, no but here’s the website. {laughs}

    Bethany McDaniel: {laughs} We just need to get you an endless supply.

    Cassy Joy: Oh my gosh, no! I’m just going to send people your way. And then the body butter; oh my goodness! It’s the almond one.

    Bethany McDaniel: Yeah. I think you were one of the ones that gave me the idea for the scent, too. I posted something, and you said almond.

    Cassy Joy: Yes. And it is amazing. I sleep better, because I have it right next to my nightstand. And I put it on every single night, and I’ve been meaning to put a picture of that, but I’ve just been using it up. But I use it every single night before I go to sleep, and I love it so much. So anyways, you’re killing it.

    Bethany McDaniel: Well good.

    Cassy Joy: The deodorant is awesome. And I don’t know, did you ever come out with a charcoal mask, or is that something you were developing?

    Bethany McDaniel: I’ve talked about charcoal masks before, but I don’t actually have one as a product.

    Cassy Joy: Ok.

    Bethany McDaniel: I just use the powder and mix it with water.

    Cassy Joy: Got it. Just curious. I think I saw you post about it once upon a time, and I was like, ooh, I can’t wait for that! {laughs}

    Bethany McDaniel: No, I just need to figure out. I would need to mix it with another ingredient, because I think I would get so many complaints about the mess it makes.

    Cassy Joy: Oh, yeah.

    Bethany McDaniel: It’s just so messy by itself.

    Cassy Joy: Totally makes sense. But anyways, you do a very thorough job, so thank you for that. And readers, you can find; oh readers. Listeners; if you just Google Primally Pure, it should come up. So really, really great stuff.

    2. Starting a homestead [13:49]

    Cassy Joy: I do have some questions for you outside of some of those. If someone listening maybe is interested in; they love the idea of starting a homestead of some sort. Maybe they start just a little backyard garden as a starting point, or I know a lot of people get chickens if they can wherever they live. But what would be some of your advice for somebody who wants to be a little bit more self sufficient, would like to be able to grow or create some of their own foods, where do you think is a good place to start and maybe some attitudes to keep in mind?

    Bethany McDaniel: Yeah, you know I think like you said, a small garden or chickens is a great place for a lot of people to start. And there’s so much information out there now online and on YouTube; we learned so much just by watching YouTube videos.

    Cassy Joy: How funny!

    Bethany McDaniel: I know! I think we actually had a computer outside with YouTube videos on the first time we ever processed a round of chickens ourselves. So it’s just, it’s crazy how much these days you can learn just from watching videos and looking at blogs and stuff like that. You don’t have to read a whole book on something if you know what you want to learn and you know where to find it. It’s pretty easy now.

    But I don’t know, I think that you can start with something just very small, and chickens are great for a lot of people, just egg layers for the backyard. There are so many different fun breeds you can get, too, that are different colors, and ones with mohawk looking things and fuzzy feet. {laughs} That I’ve always wanted to get, but we always end up getting the more practical ones.

    Cassy Joy: {laughing}

    Bethany McDaniel: But yeah, I think there’s a lot you can do to just have fun with it and kind of see where it goes from there, see where your interests grow in farming or raising plants or whatever that may be. You don’t have to start huge, you can do something very little, and then kind of see where that goes.

    Cassy Joy: Yeah, definitely. You know I just emailed out, depending on when this show airs, but recently emailed out a list of 7 herbs you can grow from home.

    Bethany McDaniel: Yeah.

    Cassy Joy: You know, and that’s something, even if you’re living in an apartment, potted plants are very herb friendly, and so that’s kind of an easy thing to start. Because there’s a different kind of appreciation, and if you really want to get very hippie, like I do in the kitchen, I think food tastes better when it something that you great.

    Bethany McDaniel: Yeah.

    Cassy Joy: And there’s a different level of appreciation.

    Bethany McDaniel: Totally.

    3. Farm tours at Primal Pastures [16:55]

    Cassy Joy: That’s very cool. It’s a good place to start, as well. And I know you guys; you guys do farm tours. What’s your thought process behind the farm tours, and why is that so important?

    Bethany McDaniel: We’ve done farm tours ever since we started, and it’s been a huge part of our business. We only sell, like you said earlier, we only sell to people in Southern California right now. It’s probably going to stay that way with our farm. We may plant additional farms across the country, but we just believe very strongly in today’s world where there are so many different terms used to describe different ways of farming, not all of them mean what you would think they mean. So we always want to give people the opportunity to come visit the farm for themselves and actually see the food that they’re going to be eating.

    Because even though it’s different from raising it yourself, you still get more appreciation for the process after seeing the animals, seeing that they’re living happy lives. I think it helps people to feel a lot better about where their food is coming from, and just to feel good about the stuff they’re feeding their kids, and all of that. So we always want to show people everything that we’re doing, and be as transparent as possible about the way we’re farming and what we’re feeding the animals, and all of that.

    Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm. That’s great.

    Bethany McDaniel: Another thing we do is processing workshops, which is a really cool event that not a lot of farms do, and at those we give people the chance to actually pick out a chicken from the pasture that they want to take home; to process themselves and then take home and eat. So we let people come to the farm, pick out their own birds, and then we show them step by step how to process the chicken, and then send it home with them to eat for dinner that night.

    Cassy Joy: That is so cool. Bethany, have you ever read the Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan?

    Bethany McDaniel: I haven’t. I’m so embarrassed that I haven’t. {laughs}

    Cassy Joy: No, no. Don’t be embarrassed.

    Bethany McDaniel: It’s been on my list for a while.

    Cassy Joy: I shouldn’t have blindsided you with that question. {laughs}

    Bethany McDaniel: {laughs} No, it’s ok.

    Cassy Joy: But it relates to that, because what he tries to do in the book is, if I’m remembering the right book I’ve read several. Well, I say read; I listen to books.

    Bethany McDaniel: Yeah. {laughs}

    Cassy Joy: {laughs} I’m an audio book listener.

    Bethany McDaniel: Me too.

    Cassy Joy: So it was one of the books I listened to, I think it was Omnivore’s Dilemma, but what he tries to do is essentially the destination is a plate, and all the foods that wind up on a plate. You’ve got a pile of corn; in his book I think it was corn. I remember there being some sort of a protein, and some other herbs and some mushrooms and things like that, and his goal, his mission, was to experience everything that went into creating that plate. And he went and met; I want to say it was pork. He went and met the pork farmer, and just went through. I’m using all the wrong terms; you’re probably laughing at me.

    Bethany McDaniel: No, it’s ok. {laughs}

    Cassy Joy: {laughs} But he went through that whole process of meeting the farmer, his methods, why, how, and then the processing. I think there was chicken involved, as well, because I think he went through that. It’s been a while since I read it. He foraged for mushrooms, wild mushrooms. Went and met the corn farmer. And it sounds like, it was this huge process for him to try to chase all that down. And it’s so cool; what struck me is, it’s so cool you’re offering people that experience just in one sitting. So that’s amazing, I think that’s very, very neat. If I lived nearby {laughs} I might be showing up. I’d be bartering Fed and Fit book leftovers for chapstick and {laughs} just hanging out with the piggies. {laughs}

    Bethany McDaniel: Oh my gosh, I would love that. {laughs} Oh that would be amazing.

    Cassy Joy: Oh man. That’s great. That’s really, really wonderful.

    Bethany McDaniel: Yeah. And it’s a really emotional experience for a lot of people, too. We don’t force anyone to participate, obviously. You can be as hands off or as hands on as you want. But we’ve had, I think a few vegetarians now go through the process. People who are ready to get back into eating meat, but want to be as connected to the process as possible. So, yeah, it’s really neat to see the different types of people who come out for it.

    Cassy Joy: Very neat. That’s awesome. Well, I know that you have your hands full. You guys have the exciting announcement of expecting your first baby girl this May!

    Bethany McDaniel: Yeah.

    Cassy Joy: That is so exciting! I’m sure that is going to probably keep things fun and full {laughs} for you.

    Bethany McDaniel: {laughs} Exactly. This came as a surprise to us, so it’s been such a crazy time preparing for the baby and then trying to get both of our businesses to a place where we’ll be able to take some time off to spend with her once she arrives. But the good thing about pregnancy is it’s a 9-month process, so we’ve just been taking things step by step, and hopefully everything will come together in the next month or so.

    Cassy Joy: Yeah! I’m sure it will. And not that you need it, but I’m here for you if you need anything. {laughs}

    Bethany McDaniel: Oh, thank you.

    Cassy Joy: Of course. If you need anyone to gush anymore about the sunscreen {laughs} or the lip balm, I’m your girl.

    Bethany McDaniel: {laughs} Thank you Cassy.

    4. Advice for new entrepreneurs [22:39]

    Cassy Joy: Of course. Thank you so much for coming on the show. I do have one more quick question for you. There’s a lot of folks that I think are; and I kind of mentioned this before we started the call, but a lot of folks who listen that maybe they want to start a new business, and maybe they don’t know exactly what they want it to be, but they know that they want to do something. I’m curious, I like to ask everybody who comes on the show that is an entrepreneur, any advice that you have for somebody looking to start something. It can be as specific or broad as you like.

    Bethany McDaniel: I love this question, because I feel like I could relate to it so much before any of this even started. I always kind of knew I wanted to do something that was my own thing, but I would look at these other companies, or bloggers, or authors, and just think; that’s unattainable. Like it just seemed; I couldn’t see the steps in between not having anything like that and then all of a sudden having this huge company, or whatever.

    Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm.

    Bethany McDaniel: So it’s really intimidating if you look at other people and what they’re doing. It’s really easy to kind of get down on yourself and think that you could never do something like that. But I was really fortunate to have family members that really gave me the push that I needed to get started and the confidence boost. So that was a huge help for me. If you don’t have that, I would just encourage you to try to give that to yourself. And not to compare yourself to where other people are at, because that can get really discouraging.

    Cassy Joy: Absolutely.

    Bethany McDaniel: But, yeah. And I didn’t know at the time where I wanted to go. I was really interested in the farming stuff. I start writing a blog for the farm, and at one point kind of that that’s where I wanted; that was the direction I wanted to go in, and then just kind of ended up going in a different direction with Primally Pure. So I would just say to pursue whatever interests you have, and see what comes from there. I think your passion will kind of take you in the right direction, and show you where you’re supposed to go with it.

    Cassy Joy: Isn’t that funny? That’s incredible advice first, and foremost. But second, it’s interesting to me, even in, I’m almost 6 years into Fed and Fit, and when I started it, it was just a pure food blog. It wasn’t even that paleo, and things evolved over time, and my curiosity for nutrition science and physiology went into it. But I don’t really realize what it is that maybe is distinguishing until I get feedback from other people. For example, Jimmy Moore, I was just on his podcast, and the low-carb conversations, and something that he told me, he says, “Cassy, something that sticks out about you is your energy and your excitement for science and just kind of seeing possibility for anybody.”

    Bethany McDaniel: Yeah!

    Cassy Joy: And I was like, really?

    Bethany McDaniel: {laughs}

    Cassy Joy: {laughs} I didn’t know that! I thought I just wrote recipes.

    Bethany McDaniel: No, that’s so true. I’ve thought the same thing as well.

    Cassy Joy: That’s so sweet! But, you know what I’m trying to get at is, just to reiterate your point; having sounding boards, whether it’s people who you know really well, like family members or friends, or just reaching out to folks and asking them for feedback, or maybe you get unsolicited awesome feedback from somebody like Jimmy, but it can really help you fine-tune what exactly your passion is. Because I know a lot of people are multi-passioned, you know. We want to do it all. But there is, I argue I think there’s one or two things on the list that probably excite you more, and sometimes it takes somebody else seeing that and telling you, for you to be able to interpret.

    Bethany McDaniel: Right. That’s so true. And that’s been kind of the theme I’ve tried to maintain throughout starting Primally Pure. I just, I take feedback so seriously so I love it when people write reviews on our website and send me emails. I cherish every single one. Even negative ones, because I would rather have people tell me if they’re having an issue with something than not know about it and never fix it. So feedback is so important.

    Cassy Joy: Absolutely. And you care, because it is something that is a huge passion.

    Bethany McDaniel: Yes.

    Cassy Joy: So that’s awesome. Well, Bethany, I can’t thank you enough for coming on the show. Killer advice. I love your story, and I’m sure that listeners are going to be curious about you. So feel free to go check her out online; Primally Pure and Primal Pastures. I will link up to everything in the show notes so you can just go to my website and click directly from there to see all of her great works, and stay up to date with her on social media or just through her websites.

    Bethany McDaniel: Thank you Cassy!

    Cassy Joy: Oh my gosh, thank you so much! Have fun chasing chickens {laughs} and all those other fun things. And if a charcoal mask ever comes out and you need someone to give you advice, you know, on a beta test {laughs} I’m your girl.

    Bethany McDaniel: {laughs} Perfect. Good to know.

    Cassy Joy: Ok. You guys have a wonderful day. Thanks for joining us, and we’ll be back again next week.


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