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Interview with Rachelle & Live The Process: A Moment With Supernatural

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Rachelle Robinett tries to live like water.

The plant-based wellness practitioner—who combines holistic natural medicine with practical lifestyle work to help people find balance—has always been interested in the existential questions of the universe. As she got older, she sought out answers in more practical ways, studying complementary and integrative health and the relationship between plants and people with healers and shamans in North, Central and South America.

Ultimately, she founded Supernatural, an herbal café and shop in New York City, a product line of plant-based remedies, ongoing workshops and education and private health coaching. 

Here, Robinett explains why, for her, happiness is about living with the flow:

Live The Process: How did your interest in plant-based food and medicine develop?

Rachelle Robinett: I grew up surrounded by medicine, nutrition and on a farm, so, though I never intended for it to be my career, it was something that I learned very early on and continued to explore passionately.

As long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by the human experience: What is real/reality, where do our feelings come from, how do our brains and bodies communicate and what else is out there? I started trying to figure that out (not that we can) as a kid and the incessant study of it lead me often to the exploration of the effects of what we take in through our senses during our experiences.

Hopefully, the majority of what we take in is either plant-based or derived from it—from oxygen to a salad to a sunset. I realized that plants were the through-line in my studies and now work: whether it’s using herbal teas to help energy; editing a diet to benefit brain health; considering psychedelics’ potential to revolutionize the mental health field; or supporting local farmers for the sake of the planet.

LTP: What do you offer via Supernatural? What might visitors expect to find at the café?

RR: Supernatural as a company has been around for many years, though prior to the café location, it operated under my name. The café opened in January 2018 at the Woom Center and is such a great centralization of all of Supernatural’s offerings. I see most clients there (though I also have many who live out-of-state, so we’ll do video call sessions). I have a menu of herbal drinks and snacks, as well as loose herbs that I’ll custom-blend for folks. We’re selling my and others’ herbal products and also hosting events. If I’m not at the cafe, I’m likely off teaching a workshop somewhere in the city or concocting something in my home apothecary, which is where this all started.

The Medicinal Mylks are people’s favorite items for sure, which means they’re mine too! I’m using an oat milk base and infusing it with all sorts of herbs. There are four versions right now, from an energizing Maca Mocha to a calming Hemp Happiness and, the newest, a Dandelion & Dopamine, which includes mucuna pruriens, dandelion root, malty tasting mesquite and some other secrets.

Of course, I love the custom orders too. My intention is to create a place where anyone can walk in with a question or need and have a conversation that’s empowering and enlightening.

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My coaching work is entirely custom. Whatever health goal someone brings to me—that’s where we start. And what we work on together may be herbalism-based, diet-related, lifestyle- and habit-centered, all of the above or otherwise. In classes and workshops, I’m usually breaking down a certain subject—adaptogens or CBD, for example—and giving people all the info they need to understand it and use it if it’s right for them. Sometimes we do hands-on stuff like making herbal products together or, for example, I have a fermentation workshop coming up where we’ll learn how to make sauerkraut, kombucha and the like. Either way, anytime or anywhere people cross paths with me, I hope to be informative, inspiring and empowering, leaving them with the tools and knowledge to better navigate their own health and the industry.

LTP: You’re clearly a seeker. What are you most interested in investigating right now and why is it important?

RR: I’m glad to come across that way! It’s true: my seeking is incessant. Right now, I’m investigating the intersections of food medicine or functional food, scaling my work—so, bringing the personalization and efficacy of one-on-one work to more people at once—and the ways in which we can rely on nature for health without destroying it. For more specifics, I spill the beans about what I’m in the weeds on in my monthly newsletter. For example, I recently called out fiber and starches as the next “big thing” in ingredients—essentially being treated as a new category or macronutrient. Now that I’m on the record about that idea twice, we’ll have to see how that pans out.

In my opinion, the most important point to explore is not what’s trendy, but what our own bodies are telling us. Becoming more sensitive to our symptoms and systems is where it all begins. The latest herb won’t help us if it’s not what we need. If we can’t understand the source of our discomfort, we won’t be able to accurately treat it. Connecting with our breath, pulse, digestion, thoughts and reactions throughout the day is so important. From there, we may need to learn some basics about self-care, by which I mean things like grocery shopping and preparing some of our own meals. There are a lot of steps between actions like that and taking CBD or glutathione, say.

LTP: What are some of your current beauty and/or wellness rituals?

RR: I’m so basic here! But it’s practicing what I preach, which is: eat greens, drink water, sweat often and sleep. Raw greens are one of my favorite things in this world. (At the moment, I’m eating an entire head of kale for lunch.) In a pinch or to up the ante, I’ll have a wheatgrass shot or drink some blue-green algae. I drink a ton of (filtered) water and will work out every single day if I can. Yoga, running or riding my bike are my faves, though I’m at the gym most often and totally into it. A nap on a weekend afternoon near an open window with a slight breeze is pretty hard to beat.

I get asked about my skincare routine a lot and this is it. Plus, okay, Egyptian Magic, which I’ve used as a daily (nighttime) moisturizer for years, even though they tell you not to use it on your face, I’ve heard.

LTP: What does happiness look like to you?

RR: Happiness to me, personally, is peace—internal contentment and external tranquility. I can hear the breeze in the trees and some birds or bugs. There’s no need for walls or shoes and everything we need for nourishment grows nearby. We live in a reciprocal relationship with what we live on, and there’s a continual source of knowledge or opportunity for new experiences.

I think happiness also has to be right here, right now, as often as possible. Everything changes and, when things are okay or good or good enough, I revel in contentment. 

LTP: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how can we all do that more each day?

RR: Living the process is life! We can’t predict the outcome or control much of anything beyond our fleeting present states. So, living the process sounds like being in flow, being here now and living like water, which has been a mantra of mine for most of my life. Live the process, walk the walk and enjoy the journey, right?

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This interview appears originally on Live The Process, here.

Founder Profile: Rachelle on The Glossary

Founder Profile: Rachelle on The Glossary

Did you grow up understanding the power of plants and how they can aid our bodies or is that something you learned later on in life? When did you decide to enter the holistic wellness world?
In many ways, I did grow up with it, though I wasn’t consciously aware of what I was learning then. Growing up with nature made me extremely sensitive and gave me, I realize now, a really special friendship with plants. My dad was an anaesthesiologist, so stories about surgeries were typical dinner-table conversation and I was even able to go to work with him a few times and sit in the operating room. My mom is a dietician, which meant we asked her what was good about pretty much every single food we ate. Though surrounded by eastern and western medicine, I was on a spiritual quest. I picked up Varieties of Religious Experience, which was way beyond my reading level at the time, and had no idea how right for me it was.

Long story short, I dove into every belief system I could, looking for the one that was right for me. And in the process, learned all about plant and traditional medicines - from ayurveda to traditional chinese medicine and beyond.

It was never something I intended to make a career of, but now that it is, I couldn’t be happier.

Interview: Rachelle on Starting Supernatural Cafe & Living Well, for Back to Basil

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Rachelle Robinett opened the Supernatural Cafe at WOOM Center on January 2nd this year, but she’s been studying and working as an herbalist for years. Rachelle grew up on a farm in Washington State, but she told me, “all I wanted to do was live in New York and work in fashion.” And that she did. Rachelle worked in advertising for fashion clients, and also did some modeling before eventually transitioning into the world of wellness as a full-time career. I asked her what the tipping point was for her to make the jump, and she says while friends had been encouraging her for a while, she credits one woman with giving the final push. The woman, who is now a friend, works at Estee Lauder. Rachelle explains, “I was in a meeting there presenting some advertising strategy and she interrupted me” asking, “could you please tell me what your skincare routine is?” Yes, you read that correctly: a meeting with one of the largest cosmetic & skincare brands and conglomerates in the world. Rachelle was caught totally off guard in the middle of a presentation, and started explaining that she drinks a lot of green juice and water, but the woman - whom she had never met, mind you - kept wanting to know more. After the meeting she pulled Rachelle aside to tell her that the information she had and the way she communicated was really special, and that she should really consider sharing it with a greater audience. So Rachelle started a blog and things grew organically from there.

Today Rachelle works individually with numerous clients to tackle their concerns on an individual basis. Her approach is very personalized for everyone, but she says she usually starts with food. She’ll even go grocery shopping with clients when needed. One of the most refreshing things about Rachelle is her down-to-earth, no frills approach to wellness. In the last few years the wellness movement has really taken off, and some days it feels like we’re being told we should buy ten different powders and try a variety of expensive treatments. Not only will that burn a hole in your pocket, but it’s often unnecessary. She says, “if we can fix a symptom with a food, we’ll use a food.” And that “diet is first...good quality food, good quality water, good sleep, good exercise - then herbs,” starting “with the weakest stuff first.” If you want simple, honest advice (there’s a lot of misinformation out there!) to improve your health, Rachelle’s your girl. If you want a delicious plant-based, non-dairy medicinal mylk, Rachelle’s your girl. If you want to hang out at a cool cafe, inside a very special yoga studio, and talk to a total babe of an herbalist - you guessed it, Rachelle’s your girl.

You can visit Supernatural at the WOOM Center at 274 Bowery, 2nd Fl.

 

Before sitting down with Rachelle this week, I emailed her a few questions:

ASHLEY: I was first introduced to the Supernatural Cafe when I sampled an elixir after a WOOM class (and it was delicious!). How did the idea to open a cafe inside WOOM Center come to you? Did you practice yoga there regularly beforehand?  
RACHELLE: So glad you liked the elixir! Making mixes for the yoga guests there is a great perk of being in a place with such a lovely community. Supernatural coming to be there was really organic and spontaneous even. After a practice there, the owners and I got to talking about my taking over the area that became the apothecary/cafe. We co-hosted a dinner together (they cooked and I taught about food as medicine) and the rest is (recent) history. 

I love mixing my own potions at home and have fun combining different ingredients. Are there any adaptogens or herbs that you don’t recommend combining? Do any counteract each other in your opinion? 
The beauty of plant medicine is that it's generally safe, though not always and not for everyone. It's always wise to read up a bit on any herbs you're using and usually to ensure that they don't interact with medications, or that they won't keep you up at night when you're trying to sleep because they're stimulating, for example! Otherwise, mix away.

With summer around the corner I wanted to ask if you have any herbal topical or ingestible solutions to ease redness from either sunburn, heat rash, or insect bites?
Internally, nettle (probably my favorite herb) is a wonderful antihistamine. Great for allergy season, or if you get a rash of bites, say. Topically, arnica and aloe are great. Comfrey and camphor and mints are soothing (though can be too sharp if you're sunburned). Coconut, shea, and jojoba are excellent moisturizers. (I haven't used lotion in years!) Witch hazel is also a great toner. I make simple essential-oil infused witch hazel-based mists and use them all day long in the summer, especially after a run or lots of sun. Verte Essentials' is also beautiful.

What are some of your favorite in-season plants to eat in the summer?
Fruit! Anything local. Lots of spring and summer greens. Lighter, softer things usually. And herbs that are food-medicine too, like nettle. And always mushrooms. 

In addition to WOOM Center, what are some of your other favorite NYC spots for self-care and yoga?
I'm a fan of simplicity and affordability so parks are always great - even if it's just a small neighborhood one. I love riding my bike and running - again as simple, free ways to get some sun and air. City Acupuncture is my favorite acu spot. Daniel Ryan for mind-therapy. A secret massage spot in the West Village for deep work. The Alchemist's Kitchen for herbal shopping and inspiration. Modo Yoga for yin or kick-ass flows. The Union Square Greenmarket! Jamie Cook for my hair, which is no small project. So many great spots...

Do you plan to expand the Supernatural Cafe to other locations in the future?!
If that's what the people want, then: yes!

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For more photos and the seasonal Supernatural menu, see the original story at Back to Basil.