Erin Lovell Verinder is a herbalist, nutritionist and energetic healer living in the wilds of the Byron Bay hinterland in Australia, working with clients locally in her Sydney clinic and worldwide via Skype.
— Is routine important to you or do you like things to be more open and free?
I honestly love both. I keep certain parts of my day very structured especially around work days and where I can, I claim open space. I follow structure to bring in the foundations of support that are essential for me to thrive and maintain my balance. Like slow mornings, connecting to nature, enjoying a whole nourishing breakfast. But then I open up my days where possible to flow & allow spontaneity.
— What do your mornings look like? If they differ from day to day, describe your ideal morning.
I keep my mornings slow and sacred, it’s been a very intentional movement towards this over the years. I wake with the sunlight pouring into our bedroom, we live in an old church and the light in here is just next level serene. I always keep the blinds open to allow my body rhythms to harmonize with the sun and moon cycle. This regulates your cortisol and melatonin in such a fundamental way.
I allow myself to wake slowly, no rush, no jump out of bed, no alarms, no startle response! I will then take time to do some stretching sequences with conscious breath, and then sit for a 20 minute meditation. Followed by a morning dog walk around our very green country town. Other mornings it’s a swim in the ocean with my husband and a lazy lay on the sand.
After this, it’s breakfast time. I brew a tea, or make a tonic and take that out into the garden. I really feel it’s so important to have a whole breakfast, and we really honour that in our household, we sit and chat and connect over a meal before the day unfolds.
I do my absolute best to only engage in anything work related after 8am and completely screen free before then is the daily goal.
— Do you have any bedtime rituals that help you sleep well?
Yes! I am super ritualistic about the evening wind down. I ensure I am off all screens at least two hours before sleep. I feel this is so greatly important to allow our bodies to align and flow into the yin cycle of the night. I switch off all overhead lights and only use very warm low light lamps as the sun sets. This is another trick to converse with your body to wind down, let go of any tasks and prep for rest. I read, write, listen to music and savour evenings for creative flow and conversation with my husband.
— Do you have any kind of mindfulness practice?
Many. I practice conscious breath and meditation as my main allies. But I also spend A LOT of time with plants, growing, making, conversing and in nature scapes. This is for me the ultimate mindfulness practice of oneness, presence and connection.
— Describe your typical or ideal meal for each of these:
Breakfast – Scrambled eggs with turmeric, garlic and greens, avocado and some home fermented veggies on the side.
Lunch – Wild caught Mahi Mahi with tarragon, parsley, lemon and garlic cooked in ghee, on top of a bed of greens with some roasted sweet potato on the side. (Literally one of my favourite dishes ever)
Snack – I love smoothies. Often a smoothie, my current fav is Strawberries, cashew nut butter, cashew nut mylk, collagen, hemp seeds, tocos, cinnamon, vanilla powder & ashwaganda powder.
Dinner – San choy bow, with a rainbow of veggies & lots of bold ginger flavour in vibrant cos lettuce cups.
— Do you do caffeine and in what form? If not, what is your drink of choice in the morning?
I actually do not, I am completely stimulant free. I have not always been, but just find myself so very sensitive to any stimulants these days. I used to love love love a great spicy black chai tea but since going caffeine free I have replaced it with a dandelion chai blend I make myself that is just so warming and grounding I adore it. Plus no crazy energy spikes and lows, so thats a plus!
— Do you have a sweet tooth and do you take any measures to keep it in check?
At the same time when I let go of stimulants, I completely let go of sweets- even natural sweeteners. In the past I have been an avid lover of raw chocolate and quite the connoisseur (ha) but these days I make my own carob chocolate that has no sweetener in it at all. I love carob as it’s very sweet naturally so you can get away with no added sweeteners. I pair it with vanilla powder and they work synergistically to give a natural sweetness that I find so comforting.
— 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?
I do utilize supplement support as needed, this shifts as my body shifts. I love Vitamin C on so many levels but particularly for its adrenally restorative healing elements, so it is absolutely in my daily supplement routine, alongside Magnesium citrate on the daily. With herbs, I will vary what I am taking depending on my needs. I add herbal powders and medicinal mushrooms to my tonics and smoothies. Currently my favourites are Withania (Ashwaganda) and Reishi.
I also am a huge lover of infusions (long loose leaf herbal brews) and always have a big jar of an overnight infusion with me to sip throughout my day. My most utilized blend would be Nettle leaf, Oat straw and Hibiscus. Earthy, calming, tangy and nourishing.
— Do you exercise and do you have a particular exercise routine that you repeat weekly?
Years go I had a heinous back injury, I herniated multiple discs from overexercising. My approach and relationship to body movement completely shifted after this, from rigorous to gentleness. It is still an area of my life I have to encourage myself back to and approach more as an act of self love. Taking care of my temple. I walk my pups daily, I love pilates and swimming, I have begun the be.come project and absolutely LOVE the approach to body movement with body positivity, inclusivity, no need for any equipment and in the comfort of my own home. This all feels really supportive and a mix of gentle yet effective support for me and my body.
— 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?
I am not a natural athlete by any measure! I have recently connected to how emotional it can be to return to body movement when you have been through a big physical injury/body change/life change. So for me the way I psyche myself up to do a session is to come from self love, to know this is a loving act of care for my body. That really helps me so much. Also knowing there are no rules to how you must move your body, allow exercise to meet your vibration- yin, yang and all between. Shifting the type of body movement I do with my menstrual cycle/hormones is so key. Be your own compass.
— What is your idea of beauty – external, internal or both?
Authenticity, when someone is just purely themselves and at ease with it. I find it absolutely stunning.
— What is your skincare approach – face and body?
Oils, oils and more oil. I swear by the dewy hydration of oils. I am pretty low maintenance with skin care, and have noticed I need a lot less intervention since moving to the sea and swimming in the ocean most days. The salt magic is so nourishing for the skin. I also find the sun very healing, contrary to the fear of UV rays we have been indoctrinated with!
I use a homemade herbal balm for a lot of applications, hair mask, makeup remover, and moisturizer. It is a power packed plant based mix, and such a heavenly blend. I also use Ritual oil, a moringa and blue lotus oil as a body moisturizer. I am in my mid 30’s and really notice my skin responds so well to the dewy goodness of oils.
I practice dry body brushing also, which I feel is so wonderful to aid stagnation and lymphatic flow. I use a jade roller which I keep in the fridge for extra lymphatic cooling, and use on my face every few days with oil. I always end my showers with cold water, to add in a hydrotherapy element.
I wear very little makeup, but when I do it is always natural, as clean as can be. I love RMS and Ere Perez.
— Are there any foods, herbs or supplements you find to be helpful to your skin/hair/general glow?
The importance of a vibrant whole foods diet and hydration is EVERYTHING! So many compounds in our foods, fruit + veggies are anti aging and collagen boosting anti oxidant heros.
I drink 3+ litres of filtered water daily and do my very best to eat a rainbow of seasonal organic fruit/veggies daily and honestly I rely on this to support my health, skin and hair primarily.
I do add in a marine based collagen daily to either smoothies or tonics.
Also I am in a stage of encouraging my hair to grow, and am using nettle, rosemary and horsetail infusions as a hair rinse. I also massage in olive oil and rosemary oil into my scalp, truly it is so simple and aids hair growth.
— Do you have any beauty tips/tricks you’ve found to be especially useful throughout the years?
A low tox life is key. Keep your stress in check, move your body, eat as clean as possible – mostly plants, organics or pesticide free produce, clean water and clean air.
The most incredibly glowy humans I know follow this ethos. This has been my guideline and I am often told I really do not look my age. I am so at ease with ageing but it is always nice to hear you are maintaining a youthful glow!
— Do you practice any consistent routines in order to avoid stress?
I really do. I work for myself and direct all of my offerings at this point. This can be demanding and means “work” can have a never-ending feel. There are always so many thoughts, needs and energy streams flowing into my work life. I also feel when you work as a space holder and in the healing realms, your energy output can be hefty. Burn out is high in this line of work, as you truly want to assist so deeply to aid others, we can often throw our needs to the side. I have learnt this many times in my years as a clinician/healer.
I implement a lot of consistency with a structured clinic week~ limiting the amount of clients I see weekly to where I feel my energy is at and how many clients I can truly be present for. I balance myself with time off, away from screens, in nature and welcome in receiving energy to counteract my giving energy. My self care practice is the core of how I seek balance. I am actually freakily good at giving back to myself, which I believe enables me to do what I do!
— If stress cannot be avoided, what are your ways of dealing with it?
For me, it is much healthier to come at it head on.. (typical Aries answer!)
I do my finest to address the stressors, and clear the way. Whether this means a mountain of admin, which is often a stressor for me as I not a natural lover of admin. I bunker down, switch off all other distractions, play some flute music or chants, burn some incense and get in the zone. When I exit that zone I feel so accomplished and reward myself with an ocean swim, or a nature walk to balance out the mental space I have been in.
— What measures do you take when you sense a cold/general feeling of being under the weather coming on?
First and foremost I rest. Immunity can be a very strong conversation our bodies communicate to us with the message of needed REST. My go to supplement and herbal approach is to take a high dose of Vitamin C consistently in divided doses throughout my day, I also add in zinc supplements.
I always have an immune focused liquid herbal tonic in my first aid support cabinet, so I begin this at a high frequent dose to meet the acute presentation of a cold/virus~ generally dosing up to 4 x daily. Usually it will have Echinacea, andrographis, elderberry, manuka, thyme in it. I love medicinal mushrooms to support immunity so I will take a blend of Reishi and Chaga in higher doses. I avoid raw foods and focus on lots of cooked warming nourishing food to feed the cold, congees, broths, soups, stew. I also make fresh oregano, thyme with sliced lemon & ginger tea. If I really honour the rest that is needed, the cold/rundown feelings will shift very swiftly.
— How do you reconcile work-time with free-time? Do those things overlap for you or do you keep them distinctly separate?
The best thing I ever did was to get a separate work phone. I have a dedicated phone that my clients can contact me on, so in my free time it is left at home or on silent. This has helped me enormously create healthy boundaries. I also do not have my work emails on my phone, so I do not check them at all unless I am sitting down at my computer to work. It is so important to be available to your own process and own life, especially when you are in the field of assisting others. These simple interventions help fortify those boundaries greatly for me.
— 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 return to softness with myself if I lose my way a little. I do my best to not judge or engage in negative self talk. I soften and return to my centre. We all have patterns we are cycling. Although I feel I am quite a master of my own self care practice I definitely can get caught up in my workload a fair bit. One thing I do consciously do is to book a treatment in weekly in some form, usually a bodywork-massage session. I find this tactile healing so restorative.
— What do you consider to be the single most important change you’ve made to your routine or lifestyle in terms of wellness?
I recently moved from the mountains to the sea, although they are both completely beautiful nature rich locations I was very much in need a big environment change for my own health and wellbeing. Having lived in a very cold environment mountain side for 10 + years I was craving the warmth, the salt and the sun. Being by the ocean and soaking up the sun rays has been so fundamentally healing for me at this point. Total game changer! The power of changing your environment is so potent when you feel the call to do so.
— How do you deal with periods characterized by a lack of inspiration or procrastination?
I acknowledge that this too shall pass, it is transient. I do my best to trust my own creative genius. I am quite a forward motion person, so when I am feeling uninspired it absolutely can get me down. I am naturally a procrastinator in many ways, which can be so frustrating but saying that I also have the ability to then smash out the tasks in an uncanny way! I often find when I am not in such a wonderful place with myself I feel that sense of stagnation, so I do my very best to get to the roots of that stagnation. Often it takes me getting into nature to be re inspired, crafting out some quiet space to re energize and tackle the task head on. I try to ask myself what is the block, and unpack the block to free up the energy flow.
— A book/movie/class that influenced your view of self-nourishment or self-care.
As cheesy at it sounds I LOVED Practical Magic, the witchy plant potions and the apothecary Sandra Bullock’s character opened was a total inspiration for me as teenager.. & still is now (lol).
— What was your path to becoming a herbalist, nutritionist, and energetic healer? How do all of those practices interweave for you?
I was always drawn to the esoteric realms and the mystery of nature. As a little girl I loved being outside, I loved the flowers, the trees, the plants, the grasses, the oceans, the mountains. I loved being an observer and always felt so held when I was in nature.
As soon as I began to understand that plants could have a positive effect on our health, it just fascinated me. Learning about folklore of plant medicine, applications and remedies drew me into a language I wanted to be fluent in.
I believe that much of our call to the plant path is remembering, these plants have been with us through our ancestral lines for eons.
My career began really at the age of 16 with energetic healing, I met a group of wild women up north in Australia and was welcomed into circles, introduced to the concepts of healing, and recognized as a student of these realms. I learnt reiki which led to crystal healing, then to sound healing, colour therapy, kinesiology.. I went to a college for 2 years to learn energetic healing in depth and graduated by the age of 19 holding full in depth sessions on auric healing and clearing energetic blockages. For me it felt too much too soon. So I went and travelled, met my husband in the USA and studied a whole lot more.
When I returned to Australia I wanted to anchor my knowledge of healing with more grounded modalities so I began studying Naturopathic medicine. I forked off into a Bachelor of Western Herbal Medicine and Nutritional Medicine. I loved learning about plants and food as medicine, I loved the union of science and grass roots knowledge.
Over years of being in practice, I have found that there is no way or no need to seperate these modalities. I weave them all in together to ultimately support the client in a very holistic way. I approach my practice with this lens of perception. I lead with intuition, and merge functional testing, pathology testing, traditional folk medicine, evidence based plant medicine, nutritional medicine, and energetics all to support.
I believe there are always energetics involved in a health presentation, along with the demand for nutritional healing as powerful ally, and herbal medicine to assist, shift and support. Aligning these healing modalities is a potent combination. Essentially the basis of Naturopathic Medicine is individualised care, no one case is the same. This ethos rings true to me, there is not one client I have worked with that is the same as any other. How can we approach health in one way, or believe there is one remedy for one presentation? It goes against the nature of our uniqueness! My practice is about honouring the individuals path, story and health goals.
— You put a lot of emphasis on gut health in your practice and believe it to be the root to all balanced health. Can you talk a little bit about why you see this as such an important aspect of wellbeing?
“All diseases begin in the gut” – Hippocrates had it right!
So many issues stem from the gut, it is the root of our health. With the emergence of continued evolving science we are seeing so much more information come to light around the microbiome/microbiota, which is truly wonderful. Much of our immunity is linked with gut health, it impacts mental health greatly with our “second brain” residing in the gut producing neurotransmitters, it is involved in the auto immune expression, it defines our ability to absorb and produce nutrients/vitamins/minerals, it impacts our metabolism, it is directly connected to our stress response and digestion responds accordingly.. And so much more…
I work very closely with digestive healing with each and every one of my clients as I believe this is a key element to balanced health and shifting imbalanced symptoms. Many of my clients present with poor digestion and we dig like detectives to get to the roots, often it is a leaky gut like picture – with parasites, yeast overgrowths or SIBO which we generally detect via functional testing. Once we have a good sense of what is actually happening in the gut, we go in with a supportive treatment plan – lifestyle, supplemental, nutritional and herbal interventions. It always astounds me how health can transform so greatly, from imbalanced to balanced with the right support, intention and dedication. Our bodies are so wise, and so willing to transform.
— What is your favorite way of incorporating herbal medicine into your (or your clients’) everyday life?
I personally incorporate it in so many ways. I make my own products and use them on my skin and in my home on the daily, I drink herbal teas and infusions daily and use tonic herbs to support my body/being. I have a herbal garden that is buzzing right now, so connecting with the plants via gardening is medicine to me. There is something so potent about growing and caring for a plant and utilising her healing, knowing the story of the plants beginnings enhances the healing power I believe.
For clients~ it really depends but I do always advise infusions to become a part of their everyday lives. They are so very simple and accessible, basically a long brewed overnight tea! If you are working with me in a session we will touch on many ways to incorporate plant medicine into your life, from the herbs that are suitable for your current process, to cleaning up your skin care with more plant love, to working with herbal tablets/liquid tonics for marked support.
Fun and Inspiration
— What is something you are particularly excited about at the moment?
This next year feels so full of creativity, as I expand and launch multiple new offerings. Right now I am in a potent brewing stage, so I look forward to it all coming to fruition!
— What do you do to unwind or treat yourself?
Days off at the beach, going into the bush, gardening in my medicinal plant patch, reading a great book, screen free days, massages, hugs with my husband & dogs.
— A book/song/movie/piece of art to feed the soul:
Book – Braiding Sweetgrass – Robin Wall Kimmerer
Song – Stay – Cat Power/ Ba
Movie – Call me by your name
Piece of Art – A oil pastel pencil drawing gifted to me by my husband and family by my dear friend and incredible creator Chanel Tobler called “Curves like jam”
— Is there anyone you would like to hear from next in this interview series?
Emily L’ami from Bodha, she is a scent magician.