In this turbulent world today, there’s nothing more important than intimate and authentic connections with a nurturing friends and community. This monthly Q&A series is all about sharing some of my favorite women in wellness and how they shape, shift and uplift others to live a soulful and centered life. This month’s interview features Katie Anderson of Taproot Alchemy. Katie and I met on Kaua’i several years ago. Her path has now taken her to Portland to study TCM, and she’s continued to inspire me with her drive and devotion to bring herbalism and ritual through her thoughtfully crafted products.
Every great journey has a story, tell us about you and your journey, and what led you to founding Taproot Alchemy?
The beginning of this endeavor began when I fell into a darker layer of life where depression sank slowly in over me like a mist so thick the light refused to permeate through. At the time I owned and operated a biodynamic cacao farm on Kaua’i in the start up phase, and began seeking a natural stimulant to help mitigate the downward swing that seemed to linger for days, months even. My best friend and I would meet for hot chocolate and chai at a local coffee shop in Kapaa town where I found myself sipping chai like my life depended on it. One day I asked to see the ingredient list to the chai I coveted so dearly in my darkest days, and was deeply regretful after seeing what laid before me on the mass produced packaging. Sugar and additives were two of the first ingredients listed. In that split second of inquiry, the allure of my drug of choice came shattering to the floor, there was no way I could sip it with the same ease and excitement as before. This new found knowledge of what I was drinking, and wildly everyone else was drinking too (unknown to me chai is a ridiculously popular drink), propelled me into a chai frenzy! This began my endless search for a chai powder that focused on real ingredients from the earth that illuminated health and wellness for the consumer over the usual focus of sugar, additives, emulsifiers, and profit/addiction. When I grew exhausted from searching and coming up empty cupped, I realized how simple it could be to create a chai powder who’s first ingredient, and every ingredient, was something nourishing! Thus creating a universal elixir that is the heart of this company! After a couple bad batches and kitchen disasters, I got it. And it became my ritual. I noticed benefits in my mental, physical, and emotional capacity far beyond that from the local coffee shop chai who’s ingredients lacked actual ingredients. I felt more stable with an increased overall well-being, and through ingesting medicinal herbs and spices in small doses over extended time, I noticed the fog lifting around me. I attribute the lighter days to the Turmeric Chai Mylk and Mushroom Mana combination I share today, well that— and the acupuncture I received throughout the process (but thats another aspect to my life story that has lead me to the here and now in Portland, Oregon pursuing Chinese Medicine— it seems that immense health and laser sharp trajectory came out of those dark days!). What came from the power of plant medicine is the alchemy I so deeply desire to share with the world today!
How would you describe your approach to wellness? What modalities do you work with?
I use nature as my predominant approach to wellness! As an aspiring Chinese herbalist and acupuncturist, alchemist, and human, nature endlessly gives herself to us to learn and lean into wellness! Everything we need to cultivate health is found in nature! The use of herbs and spices have a profound and potent ability to heal and with the proper knowledge of what each plant does, we can use it as medicine to heal our body, mind, and spirit! The tradition of using plants as medicine is not a new concept, but we are being asked to re-immerse ourself in the wisdom that was lost in our culture, to learn from the cultures who’s linage has not been lost, from thousands and thousands of years of knowledge from healers who have also looked to our earth for healing and knowledge!
Looking at the current climate, immunity is a big focus on our minds right now. What do you recommend for keeping our immune systems strong? My biggest recommendation for a strong immune system is to live in accordance with Nature. Put your hands in the land. Start a small organic garden in your yard or plant potted herbs and spices in your kitchen window. Eat primarily organic plant food fresh from the Earth, boost your system with organic plant supplements that increase brain function and overall well being. Through communing with nature, our bodies respond by acclimating and transforming to heal and meet the vibration of the planet we are so connected with. We are simply the microcosm of the macrocosm! What happens inside is a reflection and manifestation of the outside, similarly, what we see on the surface is a reflection of what is happening interiorly. As above, so below. Immunity is multi faceted, understanding that it can be viewed scientifically and through simple observation gives each of us the ability to take it into our own hands and take small actions to feel better and live a life of vitality and longevity.
What tools do you turn towards to process grief and sadness?
There are many modalities I use in the face of grief and sadness. The thing I reach for first is making sure what I put in my body reflects the quality of life I desire. When I am filled with immense anxiety and depression, two things I notice that can immediately boost my overall wellbeing is water and organic food! In conjunction to being hydrated and nourished, I look to exercise in a way that fills me with passion and inspiration, even in those deeply uninspired moments/days, I turn to my internal check list of basic tools that could be causing greater grief and sadness within my body. Introspection such as meditation and energy cultivation using Qigong are two other important parts of my practice for overall wellbeing to help process so much of what is happening in todays world as well as everyday ups and downs that accompany life. Another tool I use is play! I cannot express the importance of this tool enough, embodying a childlike way of connecting with others and the earth can fill me with overall ease and grace for living. I find the simple everyday moments are places where we can interject the most playful. Finding space and time to play and giggle and enjoy the moment is a crucial part of processing life in all of its shades. Another fundamental piece is finding the space to be gentile with yourself, healing takes time and is best done in small does over a lifetime! I know first hand that this particular tool in the kit is a bit faulty and doesn’t always work, but when it does, everything works a bit more harmoniously!
Katie is offering a special Taproot Alchemy product giveaway to the Vidya Living community! This giveaway will include a jar of Turmeric Chai Mylk Elixir Powder and a jar of Mushroom Mana Elixir Powder for making creamy herbal lattes at home! Follow the steps below to enter:
- Tell us how you’re caring for yourself in these quarantine times in the comments below.
- Follow @taproot_alchemy on instagram
- Comment on this instagram post and tag your friend!
- Share the giveaway on social media for an extra submission!
**Winner will be selected and announced on Friday, May 1 2020**