We caught up with Lindsay Kluge, lead herbalist at Pukka Herbs to learn about how her passion for nature led her to healing through herbs. Her connection with nature is so inspiring, and we could not agree more that juicy July peaches are indeed the best food on the planet!
TIO: Lindsay Kluge
The Inquisitive Olive:
Lindsay Kluge is a Clinical Herbalist (MS), Licensed Nutritionist (CNS, LDN), teacher, mentor, writer and plant obsessor living in the Blue Ridge Mountains. In addition to her role as Lead Herbalist at Pukka Herbs, she serves as adjunct faculty at the Maryland University of Integrative Medicine (where she earned her M. Sc. in Herbal Medicine) and is a contributing writer for the The Herbarium at The Herbal Academy.
Teacher, Mentor, Writer & Plant Obsessor
A walk through collard greens
Kosterina in my kitchen
Sunrise, my favorite time of day
Favorite food? Juicy July peaches.
Favorite self-care treatment? A walk in the woods, or a quiet sit by the river.
Favorite yoga pose? Half pigeon pose.
Favorite place to travel? Any place I’m camping with friends.
Favorite part of your day? Early morning, just before sunrise.
What's your passion? What makes you feel most alive?
Being immersed in nature, experiencing and observing the slow and predictable rhythms of the seasons, and supporting people in their healing journey through herbal medicine and holistic nutrition.
Where do you live, and what do you love about your home/hometown?
I live in a small town in the blue ridge mountains of Virginia in a little cottage that I built a year ago. I’m completely in love with how beautiful it is here, all the time in every season. I love the magical blue mountains and the river here, the sweltering heat of the summer and the glorious mounds of snow in the winter. The abundance and aliveness of the Blue Ridge mountains never ceases to inspire me.
You’re an expert—that’s why we’re interviewing you. Tell us about your wellness journey and credentials.
I have always loved plants and connecting with them through food and medicine. I gravitated to studying herbal medicine and nutrition just after I finished college with a BS in Horticulture and Landscape Design. The progression of immersing myself in the plant world through herbs and food just totally resonated with me on a very deep level. In the process I gained so much knowledge about digestive health and wellness, which is something I had struggled with for most of my life. After three years in the herbal medicine graduate program at the Maryland University of Integrative Health, I earned my masters degree in herbal medicine (MS), and soon after my earned my license in nutrition (LDN, CNS).
CULTURE & RELATIONSHIPS
What’s a comfort food that you associate with family?
Collard greens! I love to grow these in the garden, and make them just the way my grandmother and mother did for me - with lots of garlic, onions, olive oil, and a splash of vinegar at the very end when they’ve cooked a long time and nearly melt in your mouth.
Do you have a home remedy or family secret you’d like to share?
My family’s go-to remedy for a nighttime cough is a strong home-made hot toddy. Equal parts thick, raw honey with freshly squeezed lemon heated until they melt together, then add a dash of honey bourbon and sip on it slowly. It’s so soothing for an irritated throat and stubborn cough.
What part of your morning ritual helps you start the day on the right foot?
Every morning I take my dog outside and we sit and watch the sunrise over the mountains while I sip a mug of black coffee. I love this so much. It’s a slow and beautiful start to the day that is different with each sunrise. It gives me a chance to sink into the seasons and take notice of those little seasonal shifts, day by day.
Tell us about a time when you didn’t feel well—physically, emotionally, or spiritually. What action steps did you take to heal?
I went through a divorce in 2018, and that process was extremely exhausting for the entire year. I experienced a tremendous amount of emotional and physical stress that manifested in dramatic weight loss, eczema, poor sleep, lots of digestive upset, chronic headaches and a general sense of displacement. I sought out a lot of help during this time, and worked with an amazing therapist who supported my emotional health and healing considerably.
I allowed my family to literally take care of me, feed me and house me. It was truly healing to surrender to this process and to let the healing happen. Ultimately, I allowed myself quite a bit of patience and recovery time without putting pressure on myself to figure everything out immediately. This slow and gentle approach to my own recovery was exactly what my mind and body needed. Day after day, I made sure to care of myself, one need at a time.
Take us with you on a grocery shopping trip. What’s always in your cart (real or virtual)? Do you hit up farmer’s markets, local bakeries, food coops, etc.?
I have a small but awesome farmers market in my town, and often stock up on eggs and seasonal fruits here that I don’t grow in my garden. At the grocery, I always have a jar of marinated artichoke hearts, coconut water, and whatever funky mushrooms make an appearance.
What’s the one ingredient or spice you can’t live without? Why?
Smoked paprika - I add this is everything for a smoky and rich flavor!
What must-haves are in your pantry?
I’m a huge fan of bulk, dried goods. My pantry is always stocked with dried beans (chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans and Cannellini beans), short grain brown rice, red and green lentils, cashews and walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds.
How do you enjoy your Kosterina Extra Virgin olive oil?
I just tried this on a batch of slow cooked Cannellini beans and it was incredible! I soaked then cooked the white beans with onions, garlic, bay leaves, fennel and salt, then when they were all done and still warm, I added a dash of Kosterina Olive oil on top and oh my gosh - heaven!
Do you like hosting dinner parties? If so, do you have a dish that’s your claim to fame?
Oh yes! My deep dish lasagna always has folks going back for seconds.
What are your favorite fitness resources/favorite workouts?
I love rock climbing. I would do this every single day for hours if I could!
How do you keep your mind and body fit? What are your routines for movement and mindfulness?
I take my dog on lots of walks every day. In total, I walk about 4 miles a day and run for 1.5 miles most days, too. Moving my body outside is just the best feeling for me.