Traci Donat’s decades-long story and immersion into traditional folk medicine and herbalism didn’t begin out of thin air. Her interest first developed in high school when she was able to work alongside an inspiring herbalist who forever shaped the course of her life. After graduating she continued following her passion for plants and soon discovered biodynamic gardening, creating a garden of her own in Cambria, California.
Taking inspiration from Susun Weed, her love for gardening reached an all-time high. She started making and brewing herbal remedies for friends and family and began to see firsthand the profound transformation that occurs with deep nourishment.
This led her to found the company Simples, a line of healthy plant-based tonics based on her studies, traditions, and of course, plants. Simples’ tonics are a new breed of superfoods, and Traci is proud to play her role in offering them to the world with love and excitement.
We caught up with the mixologist and entrepreneur to ask her what the seven things most inspiring her life are right now. This is what she said:
1 | Ayla Nereo —
Her music is beautiful and uplifting. I have the song “Turning Wake” on repeat and am obsessed with it. I listen to it over and over and sing it at the top of my lungs on my morning commute.
2 | Jane Goodall —
Whenever I’m feeling lost I think ‘What would Jane Goodall do?’ She is my North Star, a woman who has devoted her life to the betterment of animals, humanity and the planet, moving through even the most treacherous waters with grace. She has had such a powerful impact on the world, while always operating from a centered, rational, calm and loving place. She is truly the divine feminine at work.
3 | Gardens —
Planting a garden from seed is the most miraculous and uplifting practice for me. Running a business now I don’t have as much time to tend to a garden, but every spring I never miss the wonder of planting vegetables, herbs and medicinal plants and watching them sprout and harvesting. It’s a miracle I never tire of.
4 | Wild plants —
I have been working with herbs and wild plants for decades and can’t live without them. From what they provide nutritionally to the amazing health benefits they secrete, my body depends on them. I drink the Simples Tonics every day.
5 | Dandelion —
Dandelion has an amazing nutritional and health promoting profile, but for me, it’s the spiritual and emotional connection to this plant that makes it a favorite tonic of mine. When I’m struggling, I look at this specific picture my husband took of a dandelion busting through concrete and then blooming. It’s a very powerful message for these times. When I drink a dandelion tonic, I can feel all that resilience being transferred to me.
6 | Small-batch handmade herbal beauty products —
I’m addicted. I love beauty products just as much as the next girl, but when you start working with handmade, fresh herbal products that use only the finest oils and freshest plants you will never want a factory product again. Two of my favorites are King’s Road Apothecary and Plantfolk. I carry products from both lines at the Simples shop.
7 | “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer —
A beautifully written love song to the earth that combines factual, scientific information with traditional indigenous knowledge. It is a beautiful bridge, filled with reverence for the magic that is our planet. Truly inspiring.