Noël’s life-long passion has been the study of plants, health, and consciousness. Her formal education in horticulture and agriculture lead to careers in regenerative farming and sustainable cooking, which supported higher education in Ayurvedic medicine and herbology. She runs an Ayurvedic practice and teaches Vedic philosophy classes in New York City, where she helps patients and students get excited about the relationship between food, environment, and health.
Who or what was your introduction to cleaner, more sustainable living? How has your life changed since you began to make the switch? (i.e. beginning to compost, shopping at the farmers market, reducing animal product consumption, changing out chemical cleaning products for natural ones, etc.)
I grew up in a ‘waste not want not’ household. My parents insisted on turning off lights when we left a room, wearing second-hand clothing and reusing the same ‘perfectly good’ trapper-keeper each school year instead of buying a new one. ‘Why would we buy mulch for our garden beds when we could chop the leaves that fell on the lawn and make mulch of our own?’ they reasoned.
Although their conservative practices were less about environmental health than protecting the hard-earned money that they spent their valuable time working for, never-the-less they instilled in me an awareness of and respect for resources, and a recognition of a win-win-win result: what saves time and money often tends to benefit the environment, too.
My near zero-waste lifestyle has unfolded as a consequence of the topics of my education (horticulture, agriculture, sustainable land-planning, holistic nutrition, health coaching, and Ayurvedic medicine) as well as choosing never to leave school. I’ve only been out of school for a single year since moving out of my parents house as a teenager, which has meant living on a student’s budget. I am very considerate with how I spend my time, my money, the quality of what I intake (source), and do my best to make choices which produce as little waste as possible.
How do you try to be kind to Mother Nature?
Asking permission to take only what I need, then using those things respectfully by actually experiencing them with awareness and gratitude. That sounds so austere, but it is the truth! I try to do this as best I can.
What have you learned from the Covid-19 pandemic?
My suspicion that I can be perfectly content wearing the same, simple clothing (one outfit!) and eating the same, simple food every day has been reconfirmed. I remembered (as a city dweller quarantined in the suburbs) how important access to basic things like darkness at nighttime and silence are to my health. More importantly, perhaps, I’ve learned that all actions I take must lovingly express sensitivity and respect for the mindset of others.
*Noel in laundromat, East Village NYC
Do you have a “meditative” cleaning practice you love like ironing?
My mother has often wondered aloud how she birthed a daughter who irons every linen - sheets, towels, underwear, everything, though the truth is that I find almost all cleaning tasks deeply relaxing. I often deep clean and organize my space as a way to decompress or in the morning to build a momentum of productivity for the day. ‘Virtual’ cleanup - emptying email inbox, deleting phon pictures, etc. - is also very real and very satisfying.
Do you have a “grandmother tip” for health or homecare that has been passed down to you? What is it?
Water is the universal solvent! The cure for almost anything is hot or cold water, depending on what you need. Water will rejuvenate, strengthen, lubricate, and it will also purify. My ‘tip’ is to learn to create a relationship with the water element.
Where do you find information that inspires you in the realm of personal and environmental wellness? (i.e. podcasts, books, blogs, Instagram accounts, etc.)
I draw a lot of inspiration from Vedic and Sufi teachings, and am always reading a book something which helps me stay motivated to continue refining and enhancing my self-care disciplines while remembering that ‘less is best’.
I love listening to Sadhguru lectures, he’s fabulous, or others in Ayurvedics like Dr. John Douillard. I’m also really into personal growth lectures; many of the speakers on the MindValley platform have inspired me in one way or another.
My inbox is flooded with subscriptions to all sorts of health/science newsletters that I mostly delete because they’re so redundant or they’re trying to sell something I don’t want, but there are a few names I tend to open, like Dr. Mercola. I love how ‘controversial’ he is, when he’s mostly on point but people aren’t ready to hear what he has to say. On IG @ra_of_earth and @farmerrishi putting out some fun stuff on wellness and farming respectively. I also like Regenerative International and Scientific American’s articles.
What did you notice after using our laundry pods for the first time?
Laundry doesn’t need to soak when using Nature First by aiure laundry pods. I grew up soaking all linens in a top loading washing machine with cold water and very little detergent for an entire day before we turned on the machine. It seemed to relaxed the fibers enough that by the time we finally closed the lid, the agitation would get out almost all stains. Now I only have access to a front loading machine, where I can’t soak, and it doesn’t matter!
Where do you see yourself ten years from now? This can mean anything to you.
Studying Ayurveda and Yoga; it is a life-long love affair.