Waking With . Rebel Kitchen founder Tamara Arbib
If you've ever had the chance to come along to one of our Wake Up Well events, you'll know we LOVE coconut yoghurt. In our eyes, few breakfasts beat a hearty spoonful of Rebel Kitchen yoghurt, a sprinkle of our quinoa granolas and a handful of fresh fruit - usually topped with a satisfying dollop of nut butter. We met Rebel Kitchen founder Tamara at a panel discussion many moons ago and to this day, remain in awe of her passion, enthusiasm and vision. Like us, Tamara understands that good health isn't simply achieved from the food we eat, it's also about the way we treat ourselves and others. As a result, all Rebel Kitchen products are all organic and responsibly sourced from sustainable farms - with 1% of profits going to 1% For The Planet, helping to address the most pressing issues facing our planet. We recently caught up with Tamara to learn more about her morning routine, business highlights and advice for budding entrepreneurs, read on for the full story...
Talk us through your role at Rebel Kitchen and your day-to-day routine…
That’s a really great question to be asking my right now because I’m in transition at the moment. Having stepped aside to let our commercial director take my role as MD, I’m now just co-founder! I’m still a director, but I don’t have any involvement in the day. I am involved in creating the strategic direction of the business, and will always continue to serve as a kind of muse for the business, making sure we keep on the path so to speak. Make sure we always stay true to our values.
Day-to-day routine, I don’t have one! We’ve taken a year out of routine. I read an amazing book when starting up the business called Let My People Go Surfing by the Patagonia Founder, Yves Chouinard. He operated by an MBA - management by absence…I didn't get it at the time but I do now. My husband Ben and I have been travelling with our kids…we went to the countries of origin of our coconuts, met farmers, got closer to our supply chain…was invaluable to understand and learn and connect more to inspire how we develop and grow as a business. We are now based in Spain for a while. No day is the same. I’m trying to be out in nature as much as possible, weave in some more exercise which I’ve wanted to do for a while (setting up a business and having our 4th kid has meant that I haven’t had enough time to do any “me” so I’m trying to change that up).
I’ve always wanted to be of service to the people around me. When I was younger I wanted to be a doctor as I saw that being a way for me to give to others in the most literal sense. As my life unfolded I found that need to contribute to society was still with me, but changed form. I’m an environmentalist at heart with the food system being my forum. We need to see system change (and we are seeing things start to change!). When we started Rebel Kitchen it was because we wanted to see a new type of business in operation. One that isn’t separate from people and planet and that is connected and sees and facilitates that symbiotic relationship between all things.
What’s the first thing you do every morning?
I wish I could tell you it was a hot cup of water with lemon before a coffee, then some yoga and meditation but I’m a mum of four so my morning ritual is getting up and ready so I can get them up and ready! I try to do some form of movement in the morning. My best mornings are when I can be slow and take my time instead of getting up and feeling that rush of all the things I need to do. I’m really in a paradigm shift at the moment. Trying to unlearn patterns of behaviour that have been with me for years. I want to wake up and be present and watch the day unfold in magic and let life flow and come to me rather than chasing it.
What does your usual breakfast consist of?
Avocado toast. Or eggs on toast. Or both. I’m usually a savoury breakfast gal. Its the Israeli in me.
What are your most essential breakfast items?
Good bread - sourdough or rye.
Good butter - organic obvs.
Avocado - sorry I know it’s not always the most eco choice in the UK but in Spain they grow where we are!
Eggs - we have our own chickens. I love the fact that our food scraps feed them and they feed us.
Good coffee - cause life is too short. Having it bulletproof at the moment which I’m loving.
Jamu Jamu shot - something my husband makes us. Turmeric, ginger, honey - immune heaven.
Describe your healthiest and on the flip side, your most indulgent breakfast:
I don’t flip flop between healthy and unhealthy. I just do me. I don't see things as indulgent or healthy. I don’t think that’s a ‘healthy' mindset. All in moderation. Whatever makes you excited, raises your vibration, thats the path to take. Whether that is food, people, activities. I happen to really love yummy healthy food. I eat what I want but I’ve been eating really well for such a long time that it’s just not my reality to eat crap. It doesn’t make me feel good. I always eat what I enjoy and consider delicious because food is one of life’s pleasures and I want to enjoy the ritual of breaking bread. We are so lucky to be able to eat what we want, when we want. We live in so much abundance. I’m grateful for that.
The best place I’ve ever woken up is…
In my bed, next to my loved ones. I’m partial to a mattress topper - makes for a good bed. My view in Spain is of the sea…pretty awesome. Looks like a different Sugimoto photo every day. I am very grateful.
What is your best morning advice for busy people?
Every day we wake up new. Allow yourself to step into that new and not carry anything from yesterday forward. All the stories we carry in our head, they limit us to see what is right in front of us - which is the magic of life.
As founder of one of the biggest healthy food brands in the UK, how do you find balance between work and home life?
It’s such a dance and a weave. When it’s your business, it’s hard to switch off from it because your always thinking about it and wanting to see where we need to go next or what we need to focus on to grow/develop/flourish. It’s also an ever-changing beast. What works for a few months might not work later on because when you are a mamma, you are in constant dance with your role as a mum as well and what the kids need from you. My advice on this front is do what feels right to you. When your cup is full, you’ll be overflowing with energy for others. Fill your cup up first. It’s not my MO but I'm learning make it be. No one can tell you how to achieve it either. It’s something so personal to the individual. Just remember to be kind to yourself. Us mamma’s are amazing! We have the capacity for so much. We need to stop putting so much pressure on ourselves and just focus on being the best versions of ourselves that we can be. They way we can be of best service to those around us.
Did starting your own food business impact your diet and eating habits?
Diet and eating habits haven’t changed because of Rebel because we’ve always eaten well. My story around eating is very experimental in terms of I tried a lot of different eating habits to test and learn and feel how my body felt on them but after 20 years, I find myself exactly in the middle of it all. Like I said before, all in moderation. I like being fluid. I eat a mostly plant based diet. Something I want to learn more about is ayurveda. It resonates a lot and want to bring more of that into my life.
Ben now cooks for me more than the other way round because of time. It’s funny cause he’s also super busy and works just as much as I do but somehow that role reversed. I did it solely for like 7 years so I liked the flip but now that I’m taking a step back I can get back into cooking more which I’ve missed.
What’s been the highlight of launching Rebel Kitchen?
The fact that it is in creation! It’s a fully functioning business and doesn’t need me anymore in the same capacity. That brings me so much joy…to see this dream that I had come into reality and take a life of it’s own now…I feel very proud.
If you could give any advice to someone considering starting their own business, what would it be?
Really connect to the WHY…Why are you doing this? The road is not always easy. In fact, it definitely won’t be. But you will always be able to draw tremendous energy from your WHY (if it’s a good one!).
If you had to choose from the whole range, what is the ONE Rebel Kitchen product you couldn’t live without?
Our Rebel Kitchen Mylk, it is the most innovative product we have launched so far as it actually tastes like real dairy, a lot of hard work and love went into creating it and I think it’s pretty awesome!
And lastly, what is your favourite Qnola flavour and why?
Beetroot & Pistachio – for me this flavour combination just works so well.
Try Tamara’s favourite Qnola with Rebel Kitchen Mylk (£2.99) available at Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Ocado and independent retailers.