“Today’s episode is with Rachelle Robinett, a Holistic Health Practitioner, Clinical Herbalist & Founder of Supernatural. Rachelle is a go-to expert in the wellness field, one that she helped build, but is also not afraid to speak her mind about when it goes too far. In this episode we chat about and explore my interest in urban herbalism, the challenges and beauty of the wellness industry, having a business with multiple facets and layers, why Rachelle uses food as medicine before herbs, and more. Rachelle is such a wealth of knowledge— I can’t wait to hear what you learned in this episode!”
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.
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?
This interview appears originally on Live The Process, here.
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.