Supernatural in Bedford+Bowery

Rachelle Robinett Supernatural Bedford+Bowery

“Wellness has become another way to display wealth,” holistic healer Rachelle Robinett recently wrote. In the piece, Robinett wryly points out the aspirational nature of the health trend, where stylized breakfast bowls “are the new handbags” and “instead of planning fashion shows, we produce cacao ceremonies at Saks Fifth Avenue.” The golden ticket? “An ayahuasca experience in a Soho loft.” A few weeks after her health world takedown was published, she opened the doors for her wellness cafe Supernatural, at the Woom Center, an “avant-garde yoga studio” on Bowery offering “4-D multi-sensory yoga” and sound healing sessions.

In a city where people have personal relationships with their baristas and therapists are a defining part of their week, Supernatural falls somewhere in between; it’s part cafe and part pharmacy, with a little magic maca powder on top. Robinett offers new customers a free 15-minute session to determine their needs and suitable beverages, and she’s happy to customize. Feeling a little anxious? A Green-Multi tea infusion of oat tops and nettle leaf, perhaps. She keeps all prescriptions on file.

Rachelle Robinett Supernatural

You don’t have to examine the wellness trend in New York too closely to see that behind the green juice lies a darker shade of commodification, commercialized spirituality, and hollowness. Robinett is the first to point this out. So what motivated her to open a wellness cafe that offers elixirs, plant prescriptions and medicinal mylks?

Robinett grew up on a farm near Seattle with a dietician mom and an anesthesiologist dad. It was an earthy and organic childhood, and she was desperate to get out. She moved to New York and began working in fashion. Although she loved her job, she couldn’t quite shake her upbringing. “I was always interested in health and the relationship between mind, body and spirit,” she told me. It became her side project, and she double-timed as a fashionista by day and potion maker by night.

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Turning a room of her Bed-Stuy apartment into her own apothecary, she would mix elixirs for herself and friends while scouring bodybuilding forums and witch websites for information.  Eventually her side project took over, and she switched full time to holistic healing and brand consulting. This is when she invented some of the menu items at Supernatural, such as the “Supernatural CBD.” Mixed with hemp milk and honey, the cannabidiol is said to help with calmness, pain relief and overall well being.

Now she refers to herself as part of a group she calls “ex-fashion,” those who used to work in fashion but have now jumped on the wellness trend. But for Robinett, wellness is more than the latest collection; it’s her deepest passion, and she takes a scientific approach to it. She prefers to understand the chemistry of how something affects the body rather than blindly subscribe to a craze. Speaking about her “Nerve Less” skullcap brew, Robinett says the skullcap flower contains properties that bind to the same receptors that Benzodiazepines (read: Xanax) do, giving a calming effect similar to that of everyone’s favorite little pill. 

Supernatural is not yet another matcha bar. Thankfully there’s no matcha or millennial pink cups in sight. In fact the only thing with caffeine on the menu is the “Wake Up” tea infusion. It can be found right above the “Medicinal Mylks,” some with eight medicinal mushrooms and some with CBD oil (spoiler: both are safe to drink before a meeting.)

Rachelle Robinett Supernatural Woom

“I wouldn’t offer dandelion root and say it’s going to change everything to someone who needs to make serious lifestyle changes,” Robinett says. For her it’s not about trying to bypass self care with miracle fixes. 

Robinett also offers workshops in the space; her next one, on February 25, is on Supernatural Herbalism. She’s also planning one on the 15th for “Self care through herbalism,”  focused on using herbal remedies to deal with stress. We’re raised to be always on, we’ve become disconnected from our bodies and what they’re actually asking for,” says Robinett. The cure might just be something Supernatural.

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Four Signs It's Time to Switch Up Your Supplement Regimen - Rachelle for Well+Good

Rachelle Robinett Well + Good Supernatural

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When it comes to your fitness routine and your diet, there’s something to be said for playing the field—like, doing a different workout every day to challenge different muscle groups, or hitting up new farmers’ market stands each week to ensure you’re getting a wide range of nutrients. But does the same go for your supplement regime?

The short answer: It depends. If you’re taking vitamins or minerals based on medical advice and are feeling healthy and happy, there’s no reason not to stay committed. Vitamins don’t become less effective over time. That said, there are certain scenarios in which it could be beneficial to replace, drop, or add a nutrient into your rotation. (Just make sure to check with your doctor first, since supplements can interact with one another—in nutrition, as in dating, it pays to be strategic.)

Is your supplement shelf due for a makeover? Here’s how to tell:

The seasons are shifting—or you’re moving to a whole new climate

According to Craig Elbert, co-founder and CEO of supplement brand Care/of, there’s no specific rule for when you should reassess your supplement arsenal. “Everyone is unique; there is no universal frequency,” he proclaims. “That said, we like to talk internally about making adjustments for the micro-adaptations and macro-adaptations of our lives.”

Micro-adaptations, he explains, are seasonal adjustments that tend to be cyclical or temporary in nature. Macro-adaptations are made in connection with lasting lifestyle and life-stage changes, such as moving from the rainy Northwest to the blazing-hot desert.

For instance, if it’s winter or you’re not getting as much sun as you’re used to, you may need some additional vitamin D or more energy support from supplements like B12 or functional mushrooms—all of which you may be able to phase out in the warmer months, when you’re exposed to more daylight.

Spring and fall, on the other hand, are prime times for supporting the immune system. “Elderberry is one great example [of a supplement for cold-prevention]—it’s an herbal product that has been used in traditional medicine, and has really powerful benefits for immunity,” says Elbert.

You changed your diet

First thing’s first: “Supplements don’t replace a healthy diet and lifestyle. They add to it,” says Ryan Perry, Director of Sales Training at supplement brand Metagenics. In other words, aim to maintain a balanced diet loaded with nutrient-rich foods, and then build your supplement regime from there based on any deficiencies—a simple blood test will show you if you’re missing out on anything.

Eliminating an entire food group is one surefire sign you may need to add a dietary supplement. Grain-free (AKA paleo and ketogenic) diets may be lower in B vitamins, while dairy-free diets may require you to rethink where to get your calcium, potassium, and magnesium. If you decide to try a vegetarian diet or simply find you’ve been consuming less meat than usual, keep an eye on your B12 and iron levels. The reverse is true, too—adding a food group may mean you can stop supplementing the nutrients that were once missing from your diet.

Still unsure? Here’s an in-depth cheat sheet that breaks down which supplements you likely need based on your diet.

You’re under a lot of stress

If work deadlines, S.O. drama, and news headlines have you perpetually on edge, supplements just might provide the relief you need, says Perry.

Along with healthy practices such as meditation, exercise and good sleep habits, extensive research shows that an added dose of high quality fish or flaxseed oils, rich in omega-3s, can effectively lower cortisol levels. This may also be a good time to seek out a magnesium supplement, as studies have shown that increased levels of adrenaline and cortisol are correlated with low magnesium.

Elbert also recommends adding adaptogenic herbs, such as ashwagandha or rhodiola, to your regime during stressful periods.

Your digestion is off

Digestion is another gauge of how well your supplements are working with your body—if you’re having gut issues, it may be time to lay off a little. Says Frank Lipman, MD: “I often stop [supplementing] or scale back on what someone is taking when they present digestive issues.”

After that, he creates a new regimen aimed at resolving the digestive problem. This never looks the same for any two people, he stresses, so it’s important to seek out your doctor’s advice. “I am a big believer in targeted supplementation addressing the needs of that particular person at that particular time in their life. And this changes constantly and needs to be individualized to each person.” (The inside scoop on what he’s taking: Krill oil, vitamin D, probiotics, a multivitamin, magnesium, glutathione, and more.)

It’s also crucial to note that digestion affects how we absorb our supplements. So if your doctor adds a digestive enzyme or a probiotic to your routine, it may help increase nutrient absorption from the food you’re eating. And that could mean you no longer have to take vitamins at all—an ideal scenario, indeed.

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Vegan, Grain-Free Turmeric Curry Bowl Recipe

A vegan, paleo/grain-free version of a simple turmeric curry bowl that'll keep you warm and well through wintery months.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 - 1 head of napa cabbage (a lengthwise quarter), thinly sliced
  • sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
  • 8 ounces tempeh
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, grated
  • 1/2 serrano chile, thinly sliced (leave the seeds in if you like spice and remove them if you don’t)
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 5.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 4 cups raw, "riced" cauliflower (from about 1 large head)

Directions:

  • Toss and massage cabbage with a couple pinches of salt.
  • Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add tempeh and crumble as it cooks. Add onion (and water if it needs it).
  • Add ginger, chile, garlic, and turmeric and cook until vegetables are softened.
  • Add coconut milk and ¼ cup water and simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened. Season with salt.
  • Serve over raw cauliflower rice with cabbage.
  • Optional serving add ons: lime wedges, coconut yogurt, toasted coconut flakes, and cilantro leaves.

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recipe adapted from Bon Appetit's Simple Turmeric Curry