Nectar's Tori Holmes Breaks Down the Adaptogen Craze
When it comes to morning rituals, Tori Holmes has it figured out. From lattes infused with special healing herbs to feminine-charged crystals (a.k.a. the yoni egg) she believes that taking a moment to honour ourselves can have positive effects on our minds, bodies and even our work. The owner of Vancouver's Nectar Juice company, which launched in 2014 and now boasts three locations, is no stranger to health. At the age of 21, she rowed across the Atlantic Ocean in a 24-foot boat (and was the first woman to do it, no less). Not long after, Holmes was diagnosed with the early stages of breast cancer, fuelling her into an eye-opening journey studying ancient Chinese medicine and nutrition. It was this unconventional approach to her own health, Tori says, that was the reason she beat it.
When it comes to the entrepreneur’s own set of habits, it's evident we could all benefit from her wisdom on the importance of self-love. I recently sat down with Tori at her flagship store in Mount Pleasant to pick her brain on the current health craze, and what advice she has for fellow self-employed business owners.
Photography: Andrea Fernandez
You are all about rituals, in your own life and through the healthy lifestyle you’re promoting though Nectar. Why are rituals so important to you?
“I think it’s important to have a daily investment of something, always moving and pointing in the direction you want to grow. We have to plug out and plug in with intention. A ritual is about creating a state change. We keep hearing these buzz words like, ‘awareness.’ But you don’t just have awareness, you have to create a state change that allows you to have contrast so that you know you have awareness.”
What exactly do you mean by a state change?
“A state change would be like, is my hand in hot water or is my hand in cold water? If it’s just in the water all day, I can’t really feel it. I have to create a change of some sort, outside of the norm, to know I’m even in the norm. It’s also consistency – if you start doing the same thing every day, you notice it.”
Can you describe a morning ritual you’ve developed?
“I like to burn Palo Santo, put it in the bathroom, turn the shower on and shut the door. It’s like I’m creating an Egyptian bath, allowing the air to hold the scent of the Palo Santo in the steam. There’s something about scent that is so powerful and doing it in a consistent action gives me intention. I know when I get into the shower that I’m ready to start my day - and I associate that ritual with Palo Santo. I know I'm going to have a good fucking day!”
“After my shower, I put my Yoni egg in, which is just putting intention around my womb. I’ll make my adaptogen latte, which is super simple. I take an ice cube of almond milk, I throw it into my bullet, take half a scoop of honey, full scoop of coconut oil, pour in boiling water and I blend it. You can add collagen, any other supplement or even a shot of espresso, whatever your thing is. Then I take a moment to just sit and check in with my body. I ask little things like, ‘How you feeling, today?’ Before I leave my house I take out my yoni egg.”
How has this ritual helped you, both on a personal and business level?
“For me, it’s a 360 of getting physically embodied with my yoni egg, stimulating myself through scent and mind and taking my organs to the gym with my adaptogen latte. Foundationally, what I say to myself is I’ve put myself in the receiving mode. I’m physically and emotionally ready to receive. These three rituals help me to feel grounded in my essence and my woman-ness. I’ve been doing these particular rituals for about a year, while I was building these last two Nectar stores. Compared to my first store opening, I felt like I was able to build and experience my own self, versus building to prove something. I actually had a lot of fun and was able to experience myself.”
People can’t stop talking about adaptogens, and I myself am a bit overwhelmed by the trend. What exactly is an adaptogen?
“Adaptogens can also be described as ‘king herbs’ – a class of herbs that stimulate systems, help your body come into homeostasis and manage stress. As an example, to help you understand, oregano is a different class of herb, which does something to you (it has an effect on bacteria). What an adaptogen does, on the other hand, is help your body come into homeostasis, so it’s actually saying, ‘Hey liver, wake up, do your job better.’ So then your body is supported in doing its actual job. So you can’t take too much, there aren’t any contra-implications and you can’t overdose on them. They help to tonify your system versus fixing, changing or stimulating it in some way. They are best used in small doses, just as you would work out, over your lifetime. Which is how I approach all medicine.”
What are some of the benefits you’ve noticed since you began using them?
“I’ve been using adaptogens for 10 years. They’ve been used in every one of Nectar’s products that we created from the beginning. I’ve also used them in my own health journey. The practice has allowed me to understand my own contrast because it’s something I take consistently, so I’m quicker to notice when I’m off course. The rhythm of my health is just little bumps, instead of these polarizing moments of: ‘I feel amazing’ and now I’m crashing. I have a better ‘okayed-ness’ in myself, I used to be quite constitutionally anxious and I haven’t had anxiety for years now. That’s probably biggest change I’ve noticed, and because I don’t feel anxious all the time, I have a lot more energy. I have a lot more ease in life, and laughter and joy. A better connection to self.”
As a business owner and entrepreneur, what other tools help you to stay grounded?
“Number one, without a doubt, is having a ritual. There’s so much inconsistency in every day life, so how do you ground yourself? Whatever it is – do something every day at the same time and put honour around it, because the life of an entrepreneur is not scheduled and it’s not employed.”
“Number two, is decide what you want to create and create it. The most paralyzing thing in entrepreneurship is having a vision, putting it out there, and then spending as much time suffering about that process as you do about building it. That was like my first year versus now, when I’m just like, this is really what I want to do. You have to put it out, birth it and then let it go. That’s really hard and takes a lot of self-esteem. In order to have that self-esteem you need to have that ritual, that consistent thing gives you a sense of okayed-ness in a weird way. Knowing there’s one thing you can predict when you can’t predict all the rest – that’s been a huge part of my identity, probably why I practice it so much.”
Why is health so important to you, both in your vision for Nectar and for your own sense of well-being?
“[Because it's] the best strategy for an entrepreneur. You work crazy hours, if need be you’re the first person in and the last one out, and if something goes wrong, you’re there, you’re always accountable. My first year, even through we’re a health company, it was all about Nectar and what Nectar needed. I almost burnt out. It was almost a little bit of a pivot of the company where it became more about health versus just juice. Health is also a viable business strategy because you just perform better, you feel better, you work with your employees better if you feel good. [Building Nectar] was really hard and I just had to draw a line in the sand during my second year, where I would be like, I’m gonna leave to go work out, or I’m going to take a holiday. I think that your health always has to be part of the strategy.”