Whitney Baxter is a Naturopathic Physician and ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist practicing in Victoria, BC. She’s also a very special friend to Wild Woven and an early (OG!) supporter. We love all the wisdom she shares on her instagram @drwhitneybaxter and her blog. If you are living in BC, you’re in luck: she is accepting new patients! We interviewed her for the VIP spot in our journal series and she shared a bit about life in the mountains and how adaptogenic herbs are among our best plant allies!
If you were a plant, which one would you be and why?
Ashwagandha. This is my favourite adaptogenic herb (adaptogens help our body ‘adapt’ to stress). It’s so grounding and is exactly what I’ve needed this year to regain balance and mental clarity. This was a very hard question for me to answer, I love so many plants! Ashwagandha hits home on several levels – it contains many nutrients for improving mental and physical stamina, reduces inflammation and has even been known to increase libido. It’s a go-to of mine for patients who are noticing a little bit of burn out or ‘blah’ after times of high stress (which I think for many of us is very real right now). The root is used as medicine so it’s taken as a tincture or capsule – not a pretty tea or anything, but it does the trick!
What have you tried to cultivate in your home, and how?
My partner and I celebrate every win, no matter how big or small. We both changed our careers right before our 30’s, and for a while life felt really overwhelming. Celebrating the small stuff is a fun way to stay positive, and we’ve continued to do it for ourselves and our friends. I also just love an excuse to have a big glass of wine and a treat!
What inspires you most off-screen?
Running! I started running during my undergrad to combat stress. Ever since then it’s been a space for me to clear my mind and push myself outside of my comfort zone. I get my best ideas when I’m running and often catch myself with a giant smile across my face, haha! I think because running requires just me, not a bike or another piece of equipment, it’s a reminder to trust myself. It’s up to me to feel good, feel inspired to do my best work– yet also give myself what I need to rest and recover. It empowers me to keep going on days I feel super ‘blah’. And believe me, there are days when I get out there and do a 15 minute job, just like there are days where I get 1 task done for my business– but it’s something! Small progression is still progress and that keeps me going!
If you could take one perfect vacation, where would it be and what would you do?
This question reminds me of a backpacking trip I did to Peru with a girlfriend of mine right after graduating from university. She took us on all of these wild, gruelling hiking adventures that were honestly life-changing. I was so far outside of my comfort zone and I absolutely loved it. So, my next perfect vacation would be a semblance of that trip (likely locally for now!) My husband and I converted a Promaster into a camper as our pandemic project, equipped with dimming pot lights, a queen size bed, heat, sink and a heated outdoor shower. So yes, more comfort than living out of a backpack in the Andes, (although I’d go back there in a heartbeat,) but it’s another chance to travel minimally using only what we have in the van, giving us an opportunity to explore our local mountains.
What self care ritual can you not live without?
I started swapping out my afternoon coffee for this herbal tea blend (I know, I know, crazy.) I realized that my afternoon cup was really upsetting my stomach and left me feeling fried at the end of my day. I thought I needed the buzz, but it turns out you need to hydrate and nourish your nervous system–who knew?! Don’t get me wrong, I still looovvvee my morning cup of coffee, but this tea has been a gamechanger for restoring my natural energy, while still creating a sense of calm. The blend contains adaptogens and other mineral/nutrient-rich herbs that are calming to the nervous system and digestive tract. The recipe is below! If you’re not a tea person, there are many herbal elixirs mixes that you can buy that are easy and delicious. I love Harmonic Arts, which is a BC-based company.
*Disclaimer: don’t use herbal medicine if you’re pregnant, have a known herbal allergy, medical condition or taking pharmaceutical meds that may interact – teas are generally safe but it’s always best to speak with your doctor or naturopathic doctor if these apply to you.
avena sativa (milky oat tops)
chamomile (if you don’t like this flavour, swap in peppermint)
top with a few lavender buds (has a very strong flavour, start small and go up if you like)
1 tbsp steeped for 5 minutes (covered to keep in the volatile oils/aromas!) You can play around with the ratios to find the perfect blend for you. Enjoy the calming effects!