meditation

Self-Care Interview: Rachelle talks to Golubka Kitchen

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Rachelle Robinett is an Herbalist, Holistic Health Practitioner, and founder of Supernatural, a company dedicated to real-world plant-based wellness. Rachelle has been studying the relationship between plants and people her entire life – be that on a farm in the Pacific Northwest (where she grew up) to time with healers, specialists, and shaman in farther-away places. She now provides functional plant-based wellness services, products, and education to empower people to understand their health, and lean into it, naturally.

Routine

— Is routine important to you or do you like things to be more open and free?

This has changed a lot for me since launching my company and having total control of my schedule. I do schedule everything, but also move through life very intuitively. For example, on a day off I’ll plan to ride my bike but once I’m on it, it doesn’t matter to me where I go.
There are things I do routinely (meal preparation, exercise, rituals, sleep) but I never ignore instincts or anything my body is telling me. I love to be surprised but also care so much about how I spend every moment that planning is a big part of my life.

— What do your mornings look like? If they differ from day to day, describe your ideal morning.

No more alarm clock! Or, infrequently, which isn’t something I would have predicted for my life. I’ll wake up to open windows and the sounds of birds on a breeze. A glass of water with a tincture and probiotics. If it’s a day off, I’ll skip caffeine and head out for a run while I’m still sleepy. I love waking up while I run. A work day means a small cup of cold-brew with MCT oil and (currently, though it changes as I work with different herbs) mucuna pruriens and L-theanine.
I practice intermittent fasting daily so don’t typically eat until 11am or later but in the morning I’ll make a broth or giant green juice and also a smoothie, which becomes brunch.
A meditation ritual with some South American plants I’ve come to love and then it’s off to the races.

— Do you have any bedtime rituals that help you sleep well?

Getting away from blue light! If I’m near screens, they have physical filters and apps (like flux) installed to reduce the effect. Dimmed lights, incense, my “Zen Spa Stuff” playlist, and something to drink. There are always herbs at night as my energy tends to run very high, naturally. I cycle between kava kava, skullcap, valerian, poppy, lavender, and more.
Also very in love with a relaxing face-washing routine. :)

— Do you have any kind of mindfulness practice? 

I’m working diligently at becoming a more regular meditator. It’s most days now, but I’d like to deepen it. Otherwise, yoga, running and long bike rides silence my mind. I can practice yoga (ashtanga) for hours a day and be thrilled.

Sustenance

— Describe your typical or ideal meal for each of these:

Breakfast – A giant smoothie made with fresh tropical fruits and fats, ideally picked from a jungle farm that morning.

Lunch – All the vegetables, fresh and raw and local. Amazing olive oil, avocado, or coconut. Maybe some seeds. Seaweed too. Every color of the rainbow.

Snack – 100% cacao. Local.

Dinner – See lunch.

— Do you do caffeine and in what form? If not, what is your drink of choice in the morning?

Currently I have about ½ cup of cold-brew coffee that we make at home. I’m so high energy naturally that I often don’t finish it. Green juice is my favorite energy support. Otherwise I use water, food, sunlight and breath to adjust my energy.

— Do you have a sweet tooth and do you take any measures to keep it in check?

Dark chocolate – often homemade but if bought it’s 92 – 100%. I’ll eat that for breakfast, honestly. My sugar intake is so low that sweets cravings are rare but if they get aggressive I’ll have extra cacao in smoothies or elixirs, or eat more fruit, sweet potatoes/yams, etc.
Chocolate chip cookies are dear to my heart though.

— Are there any particular supplements, herbs, or tinctures/tonics that you take regularly and find to be helpful with your energy level and general wellness?

This evolves as I learn and grow too but …
– An excellent probiotic
– Personalized herbs. For me those are mood-supportive and nervous-system soothing. I use a combination of herbal teas (infused overnight), tinctures (HerbPharm are my favorite!) and well-sourced powders.
– Supplements depending on bloodwork, body composition and lifestyle.
– I’m seeing the greatest overall health changes in my clients who are working on gut health. It just affects so much!

Exercise

— Do you exercise and do you have a particular exercise routine that you repeat weekly? 

I live to move. Every single day if possible! If I skip more than two days, I get really restless. Running and yoga are my favorite, but I need both. I joke that running is my church; I treasure it and find it extremely cathartic. Yoga keeps everything balanced and I hope to have the practice for life. Weather permitting, I’ll ride my bike for hours but that just feels like play.
I’m also into strength training (aka lifting weights at the gym, which surprises people).
Overall, I consider exercise as essential as good food, water, and sleep. My preference for high-intensity exhaustive stuff comes from my high-energy personality but isn’t necessary for everyone. I’ve seen some of the fastest changes in my body with a daily yoga practice, some walking, and an excellent diet.

— Do you find exercise to be pleasurable, torturous or perhaps a little of both? How do you put yourself in the right mindset in order to keep up with it?

Absolutely heavenly. Excellent playlists are essential!
Also, just do it. ;)

Beauty

— Are there any foods, herbs or supplements you find to be helpful to your skin/hair/general glow?

I think people doubt me when I say greens, and especially green juice, are responsible for the glow but I really mean it. Veggies veggies veggies, healthy fat, tons of water, and sweat!

— Do you have any beauty tips/tricks you’ve found to be especially useful throughout the years?

Aside from food, water, rest, and sweat, I find that a consistent routine of gentle exfoliation and good quality rehydration (topically, that is) work best for me. Continually renewing the surface, allowing skin to breathe, and keeping it nourished with really simple ingredients (I love Egyptian Magic and fruit enzyme or honey-based masks) gives really great “face.” That said, I’m not an esthetician and have increasingly more respect for what I don’t know about skincare (thanks to spending more time with the professionals at CAP Beauty, especially) and it will differ for everyone.
What won’t differ is the value of a right diet to help reduce inflammation, increase circulation, maintain hydration, and provide enough energy for both exercising and rest. :)

Stress, etc.

— Do you practice any consistent routines in order to avoid stress?

Exercise and sleep have always been stress-reliefs for me. I’ve recently integrated more meditation, and herbs of course (especially nervines). What’s making the greatest difference, though, is – as with most things – addressing the root cause or source of the stress. Rather than just trying to breathe between emails, I’m looking at how to reduce email overall. Setting timers, limits on the number of meetings I’ll take each day, inbox pausing, and scheduling (and sticking to) more time truly offline. Personal days, screen-free evenings or weekends, etc.
If doing this, it’s important to prepare for there to be more to address when you return to it, so another part of the practice may be letting go of how much we want to engage with and choosing quality over quantity. Much harder said than done.

— What measures do you take when you sense a cold/general feeling of being under the weather coming on?

Heat and spice! I completely eliminate all sugar including fruit and yes, honey too. I put on three extra layers to get warm and stay warm. Garlic, ginger, and all sorts of spice. And rest. Essentially, I’m aiming to help my body reach a sort of break-point with the cold/flu, or to sweat it out before it even reaches a peak, which I’ve had a lot of success with.
Medicinal mushrooms can also be great for cold/flu season.

— How do you reconcile work-time with free-time? Do those things overlap for you or do you keep them distinctly separate?

I’m working on this. (See above regarding stress avoidance!) My work is my play is my passion is my love so what’s not work is sometimes very hard to determine. My hypnotherapist friend suggests that if it makes me happy, perhaps it’s not important to distinguish. My partner has inspired me to take in information from sources entirely outside of my usual bubble, which is great for play, and avoiding a filtered or algorithmic existence.
This is a new practice for me. I grew up in a home that didn’t allow for play so it’s something I’m creating space for and learning how to do as an adult.

Motivation

— Describe the actions you take or mindset you try to tap into in order to stay on track with your self-care practice and being nice to yourself?

I’ve found that it’s just impossible to be my best self when I’m not taking care. It’s really priority number one (and two, and maybe three) at this point. That said, there are times when life when it’s worth compromising different things. Like, in my twenties when I worked my ass off (and loved it) in order to achieve certain things. Now, I feel freer to play and rest.
These bodies are our only homes in this life. I am so grateful to have one; I really think of it like my best friend and partner in existence.

— What do you consider to be the single most important change you’ve made to your routine or lifestyle in terms of wellness?

Learning how to eat entirely plant-based, and well.

— How do you deal with periods characterized by a lack of inspiration or procrastination?

Thankfully, I don’t have these. But, the opposite side of that spectrum is overworking, under-socializing, or burnout. And, existential crises which seem to strike when things are best. Rest and changes of scenery can do wonders.
(Lately, I have been exploring procrastination from the perspective of mindfulness, though. This is an enlightening talk on it.)

— A book/movie/class that influenced your view of self-nourishment or self-care.

Instead I’ll choose a couple of people:

My mom, who as a Dietician gave me the greatest start in understanding nutrition, but more importantly taught me how to listen to my body. Rather than bandaging symptoms, she showed us how to ask “why” and follow the clues to root causes.
My dad, an Anesthesiologist who – much the opposite of Mom – taught us about medicine yes, but of more value he gave me the travel bug and experiences with wild nature that started and perpetuate my relationship with earth.
And, Wendy Green, who I met at the perfect time in my journey. She helped direct my then multitudinous health practices into a more singular approach, which I’ve honed and deepened since we met years ago. She also showed me how much I love ashtanga yoga, which is the gift of a lifetime. I’ll be back to her retreat for the third time this summer.

Knowledge

— Do you have any recommendations for those thinking of taking their career in a similar direction? Where does one start, where to find the education, how important is certification, etc.

This is one of the most common questions I receive! I appreciate Mountain Rose Herbs’ list of resources for those looking into schools, teachers, or even just books. It’s worth knowing which certifications are recognized by The American Herbalists Guild, though many people disregard the value of that and choose to study from great herbalists or schools that exist outside of the system. I’d recommend as much exploration and direct experience as possible in the form of classes, workshops, and apprenticeships before then committing to a longer-term study. Find someone whose approach you respect and identify with and learn from them in whatever ways are available.

— Tell us about HRBLS, your beautiful herb infused chew line!

Woo, HRBLS! These are my babies! Long story short, I wanted to give people an easy, delicious, beautiful but still very effective form of herbs. The HRBLS are gummies, or chews, that are equivalent to a dose of a tincture, a strong cup of herbal tea, or some capsules. They’re a marriage between functional food and herbal remedies. A snack medicine or treat with benefits.
Nerve Less is the first flavor (honeyed lavender tarragon) and includes my favorite herbs for daytime stress and anxiety relief, which so many folks come to me for help resolving. In the near future, we’ll announce the next flavor – okay flavors. :)

— And a last, fun one: what are your three favorite plants for the spring season and why?

– Nettle! Because it’s my bff (we grew up together) and the coolest combination of edible green, super-green plant medicine, and a natural antihistamine.
– Dandelion: I love the multi-taskers and like nettle, dandelion is an edible flower and bitter green (great for digestion), and medicinal top to root.
– Mimosa. “The tree of happiness” which blooms more in the summer than spring, but close enough. Aside from looking magical, it’s full of medicine – everything from antioxidants to DMT.

Fun and Inspiration

— What do you do to unwind or treat yourself?

Deep massages – two hours with the strongest hands I can find please! Acupuncture. Running, yoga, riding. TRAVEL.

Birthdays | Why I Left Vacation Early & Spent Mine on an Airplane, Writing to You

Today is my birthday. I’m writing this from a plane, in a stand-by seat that I barely snagged, in a dash to get home, which meant leaving my vacation early. (How’s that for vata?)

For my birthday last year I was in a jungle in Peru. The year before, a jungle in Ecuador. Honduras. Before the jungles, I favored Secret-Garden-esque bars and often alone. As a kid, it was Hawaii, Africa, days-away-from-civilization somewhere on a river-raft … There’ve been a couple beautiful parties with friends, food, a piñata and polaroid proof but more often than not, I’ve been on the road, and much prefer it.

Birthdays are an opportunity to retreat from life in order to reflect on it.

Check in on progress and be totally self-centered by which I don’t necessarily mean indulgent. It’s a day with our self - our best friend, body-house, being-thing that we exist in. Traveling facilitates the disconnection.

While it’s never a bad time to introspect, I’m sentimental about my birthday (obv). Not traditionally, but it’s a personal New Year’s. There’s always a resolution and often an extraordinary amount of writing preceding it and day-of (eh hem). I give myself gifts - like “I’ll be the healthiest I’ve ever been” or, in this year’s case - the gift of simply enjoying existing in this body, alive, breathing, practicing yoga, taking in nature, sleeping, eating perfectly, and being protected from the bombardment of other that tests our being every day. Indulging my sensitivity with stillness, peace, and beauty.

And so I was doing just that - sleeping in a tent in an ashram (aka yoga monastery) practicing four hours of daily yoga, with hours more of chanting and silent meditation. Eating Ayurvedic food, falling asleep to frogs by night, and wandering with deer and bunnies after wake-up bells before dawn, and taking naps all over the place (I think my brain actually just quit). Existing in a place where the standard greeting is “Om Namah Shivaya” (a Hindu mantra which the Swami translated to me as ~ “I acknowledge the consciousness in you as the same that exists in me, and all things).

But, something was different this time. Not long into the trip, I realized I needed to come home. It was one of those strong, intuitive calls that we feel first and figure out later.

Before being (too) impulsive, I wrote. Really? Why - really? You sure it’s not XYZ? You being windy? You exerting control over the situation? Fomo? Addicted to work? Just confused? Self-inquiring it out didn’t take long. I realized that the reason I wanted (*wanted, not needed or otherwise) to leave was that I simply love my life too much to want be away from it right now. It was such a long time coming, it’s so good, and that is also fragile. And, I can also do what I want, which is come home - now.

(While there - and over the last few months - I’ve also come to term with some of my monk tendencies, which involved learning about choosing and then owning the decision to either be in this world, or out of it.

I remembered how strongly I hadn’t wanted to return from Peru. Crying in the jeep on the way to the airport - dirtier and more beat-up than I’ve ever been, head aching from plant medicine and expanded self, and a long time away from home. I wanted to get out of the car in the little village - whichever it was, I didn’t care - and just figure it out from there. I felt like a foreigner in New York for a long time afterward.

Previous trips felt similar. Which is also why I love travel so much - we never return the same. But, if we choose to return, we better well be in the game. That’s a complicated lesson.)

The life I don't want to leave now is good because, I’m doing what I love.

“Doing” means work - profession, job, whatever. Which changed this year. (Also a story, I’ve been writing for you.) For the first time since high school, I’m not working full-time for someone else. I’m also not one person “by-day” in black and heels and Advertising, and another by night/weekends when I don’t wear shoes and play matchmaker between people and plants. Now, it’s all one. I’m myself, all of the time. It was scary and it was work - (three months of mind-bending, heart-breaking yoga therapy helped (yes, a story there too)) and now it’s real.

More and more of you are saying “I quit my day job to do what I love.” It’s momentum. It’s good.

And I’m grateful to be among you.

Not coincidentally, not only is it my birthday today, it’s also the birthday of this business.

Three years ago, it was a blog (can’t believe we don’t have a new word for that yet). A bunch of stories about the adventures of learning how to be a healthy, conscious, human. Then, I launched the first product. Then another, and another story, and so on. Now, it’s my life. And many others’ - humming along in service of the same mission: goodness. (Thank you all so much.)

Now, “home” “life” and “work” are one. Dharma, they might call it.

My hope is for you all to find the same groove. If I can help, I will. If I’m in service of the how-to-eat-well part, which is where my journey started, or inspiring extra self-reflection on your birthday, or any day.

So, my present to myself this year was an early ticket home. Though it means planes, trains, and airport trail-mix in place of birthday cake. And by birthday cake I do mean an avocado, of course.

See you soon,

Rachelle

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Major special thanks to my family - partner included - for supporting my whims and blessing my freedom.