Rachelle Robinett’s Plant-Based Living is What We Need For Our Urban Jungle
Who knew that these vegetable things were so good for you?
We’re back with another Member Spotlight, because our members are always up to something awesome!
This week, we talked to an old friend of The New Stand’s — the inimitably passionate Rachelle Robinett, who a year ago dropped her day job in fashion marketing to become a fully fledged Wellness Guide.
I was lucky enough to catch up with her between client meetings for a chat about the importance of plant-based wellness, in particular its applications to the stressed-out, over-caffeinated, borderline-insane and definitely masochistic lives we New Yorkers love to live.
We didn’t choose this life, it chose us. And Rachelle is going to save us all! Or at the very least make us feel way better about it. Check out our conversation below:
What led you towards not only being an entrepreneur, but one with a particular focus on plant-based health training?
It’s never something that I intentionally pursued, but it’s absolutely part of who I am and how I approach life, with its rules and norms. I don’t feel particularly bound by those things, and I think that has fueled projects for me — for all of my life — that just naturally fit that entrepreneurial label.
In terms of wellness, it’s pretty fundamental to who I am. I grew up on a farm in Washington state and all I wanted —as this little girl on a field — was to do fashion in New York City. I did that, which took a lot of grit. I have that old story of moving to New York, without a job and only a suitcase. And I had a really nice career in fashion, but wellness never left me.
On the side I would finish at the ad agency and quite literally change my hat, my shoes, and go to work in a kitchen or an apothecary, studying plants, herbs, and spirituality, and the effects of the natural world on our minds our bodies. Over time it became clear that was more important to me than what fashion was, so I built a business on the side. After three years of doing both, I made the full transition about a year ago to wellness. I get so much more out of it.
Do you see yourself meeting a greater need for this sort of living?
Definitely. On one hand it’s very trendy to be health-conscious now, which is a beautiful thing. Also, in New York, we’re privileged to have access to anything — we can have an ayahuasca ceremony in SoHo, for instance— but I think with all the access, there is a need to know the answer to the question — “what is right for me?” I get that question a lot. People don’t know where to start.
While we’re doing all these fancy, exotic approaches, the absolute most important thing, still, forever, is the food that we eat. And that is my bottom line. So many people are relieved to come to me and get control over what they’re eating. Because that food is medicine.
Which is at the center of some of the classes you teach — Cooking With Intention, for instance, what exactly do you mean by that?
It’s the idea that we go into preparing food for ourselves mindfully, with the intent to give ourselves something good. “I’m preparing this food to heal my body”. Or “I’m preparing this food to share an experience with another person, or to be alone with it, to reflect and meditate.” We’ll use a lot of medicinal foods, from nettle tea, to mushrooms and spices and herbs, and learn how to cook with them. The food is the medicine, let’s not treat it as just a supplement, or a powder in our smoothie, or a shot. Let’s make this what we eat all the time.
What about your one-on-one sessions, can you tell us more about those?
They’re 100% personalized. I don’t put people through a specific program — we start wherever you are on your health journey, and it can be open-ended or very specific “I want to be healthier or clear a specific digestive disorder.”
I help people explore herbalism, explore a plant-based diet, even explore veganism — I’m working with a client now who wants to adopt a diet that’s 100% raw, which is the way I like to eat. And we work together until we reach our goal. I see people weekly, and every person comes back the next week feeling better. It’s so rewarding!
Finally, what are some key elements that our readers can take away and apply to their lives?
One of my favorite quotes is “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants” by Michael Pollan. That’s a great line to live by. Eat more plants is a huge one for me.
My favorite herb for starters is nettle. It’s a beautiful dark green, tastes lightly earthy, and is a great multivitamin. It’s also considered a weed, so it’s not some exotic plant that we’re tearing up the world to find.
I think people could really benefit from doing things like meatless Mondays, or going vegan before five, whatever that trendy thing is. Try to eat more vegetables and stop by the farmer’s market more often.
I think it’s important for people to pause more regularly and try to listen to their own body, instead of focusing on whatever headline claims to be “the new superfood”. The other bottom line for me is that all these super foods won’t work if your diet and your lifestyle is shitty. It’s got to start from the bottom up, and gradual change is better than none.
It’s more important to me to eat that good salad rather than that new superfood herb. Simplicity, naturalness, and mindfulness are good places to start.
Check out Rachelle’s website for her upcoming events, newsletter, and tips for plant-based being!
This piece is part of our Member Spotlight interview series — a weekly feature that lets us highlight all the amazing stuff The New Stand Members are working on. Got something you’d like to showcase? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org