Modern life is best lived when balanced with ancient wisdom — especially when it comes to health and wellness. Educated in the art, science and spirit of herbal healing, Adriana Ayales is the founding herbalist and educator behind NYC’s modern apothecary, Anima Mundi. Adriana is deeply connected to the power of plants and devoted to bringing their ancient healing potential to the modern world.
Originally from Costa Rica, Adriana is skilled in crafting a wide spectrum of health-supporting remedies made with herbs and plants from around the world. Integrating her studies on rainforest tribes, Ayurveda, Chinese-Daoist Medicine, and European style alchemy, her work at Anima Mundi is fascinating to say the least — and a welcome respite from the overwhelm that is New York City. Adriana’s herbs are potent, and her knowledge is hardcore: she’s our go-to resource for all things herbal, from nervine herbs to herbs that boost collagen.
Curious about her daily routine and actual diet, we asked Adriana to join our In My Fridge series. From wild-looking rainforest fruits to a cozy tonic recipe made with Anima Mundi herbs to boost the mood, here’s what this herbalist eats daily…
Eat with the seasons, and grow your own food.
Always in my fridge:
A plethora of seasonal fruits. In the jungle we’re ultra lucky in this department: mangosteen, rambutan, papaya, actually real bananas, guanabana, uchuvas, wild berries.
All kinds of squash, sweet potatoes, kale, microgreens, fresh culinary herbs, squash, carrots, etc.
Ferments: kombucha, sauerkraut, miso, vegan cheeses.
Fresh harvest beans, stoneground corn tortillas.
Recipe staples always on hand:
Garlic, dill, shallots, miso, coconut vinegar, ginger.
Homemade hummus, vegan cheeses, tabbouleh and a bean salad of sorts.
Sumac, dill, smoked paprika, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon.
Ingredient that makes everything taste better:
Fresh or smoked wild caught fish, beans, dark greens.
I buy in bulk!
Best label reading tip:
Don’t buy anything that’s not from nature, and that you can’t pronounce.
Favorite vegetable + what you make with it:
Kale. Marinated kale salad with seaweed lathered in garlic tahini dressing.
Must-have pantry staples:
Essential tea basics: rose petals, calendula petals, tulsi, lemon balm, chamomile, lavender, blue lotus, mucuna, ashwagandha, vegan collagen, medicinal mushrooms (reishi, agaricus, turkey tail, chaga, lions mane, shiitake, maiitake, etc.!), matcha, the never-ending wildcrafted herb/tincturing section (and so so many more herbs!), organic coffee, coconut vinegar, every possible kind of seaweed, cassava flour, almond flour, nutritional yeast, different salts (pink, black, red, etc), maple syrup and coconut sugar.
Craziest thing I buy:
Recently, ackee fruit.
Always in my kitchen:
A hearty gluten-free banana or pumpkin bread.
Homemade coconut, cashew or almond milk.
Skip labels that read:
Partially hydrogenated oil, bleached (anything), artificial sweeteners, food colorings, MSG, etc.
For last minute entertaining:
Nut cheese with chopped veggies and seed crackers.
Favorite places to shop:
Farmers markets (always!). Yet, my favorite grocery shop in the world is Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco.
Simple go-to recipe:
Been loving this lately: Blue Lotus Mucuna Mocha. (See recipe below!)
Best food memory:
Potluck and BBQ’ing with family and foodie friends on the beach under an incredible starry night.
Blue Lotus Mucuna Mocha
First, steep 1 teaspoon blue lotus for 3 to 5 minutes in about 2 ounces of hot water. Strain, and combine with the other ingredients in a blender. Blend for 10 seconds, and enjoy immediately.