Q&A: Adrienne Kimberley
Adrienne Kimberley is a nutrition consultant and yoga instructor who helps people connect with an innate and intuitive healthy lifestyle. Her approach to healing is holistic, emphasizing biochemical individuality, and she utilizes only sound and effective nutrition science. Adrienne graduated as an economist in 2008 and worked in the Chicago, IL business district for several years before following her passion for yoga and nature-based nutrition. She now lives and works in Seattle, WA leading online services and nationwide programs through Urban Leaf.
What are your top 5 tips for healthy eating?
Don’t be fooled by the latest technology or fancy labels; nature is always the healthiest.
Listen (and respond) to your body and trust your intuition.
Enjoy high quality treats (i.e. home-made), and enjoy these after you nourish your body with healthy stuff.
Add more green foods and more lean protein to every meal; eliminate trans fats, refined grains, and preservatives/artificial ingredients.
Cook. cook, cook, cook! Cooking is sexy.
What is your favorite detox?
In all honesty, I think the “detox” fad has gotten out of hand. Many detox methods—through herbal supplements, intense sauna sessions or blindly following a juice cleanse—can be downright dangerous for your metabolism and vitality. With that said, detoxifying through whole foods and eliminating common irritants or juice cleansing under the right conditions, can be incredibly beneficial, restorative and refreshing. We weren’t born with an addiction to cheesy poofs, soda or chocolate, and removing these processed foods provides space for your body to “re-set” and reconnect to nature. Quite literally, your palate and the serotonin (happy hormone!) derived from eating has to re-calibrate after habitually eating processed foods. A detox/cleanse can help you to crave natural foods again. Yet, it must be done mindfully. Ideally, under someone who studies nutrition so that it doesn’t damage your body in the long run.Urban Leaf is leading a whole food cleanse Spring Rejuvenation in May, and a guided juice cleanse with JuiceBox in June. Sound preparation, education and engagement is key, which is why I created these programs!
What inspired you to start Urban Leaf?
After years of suffering through digestive issues and eating issues, I learned about a holistic approach to nutrition. I learned that what I was eating was directly related with my energy, my digestion, my insulin resistance, my happiness and my ability to concentrate. I was fascinated and began learning as much as I could. As I amended my diet, I began to feel better, both physically and emotionally. I felt happy and healthy again. It was very profound!Fast forward about four years; I see a need for science-based, holistic nutrition in the yoga world. People are eager to learn about nutrition, but usually only have access to surface-level education through yoga studios. This inspired me to leave my corporate America job and create beautiful educational videos, blogs, programs, retreats, workshops and cleanses for yogis and studios nationwide.
Do you have a favorite go to recipe?
Yes! Eating it right now, actually. It’s super simple: one scrambled egg (or fried tempeh or lentils) over arugula with walnuts. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle fresh ground salt & pepper. Sometimes I add fresh herbs if they are around, or I add brown rice in the winter when I need more density. Completely satisfying and packed with great micro-nutrients, including essential omega-3′s, which are hard to come by.
How did you get introduced to yoga?
I grew up in a crazy dysfunctional household. I never knew my father, and my mother was addicted to drugs and alcohol. Somehow, my house turned into the local party house, and by age 11 I was confronted with constant partying. I remember one night sleeping with my desk against my door so that people wouldn’t sleep on my bedroom floor. Someone barged in my room, anyway, pushing the desk on top of me, and climbed into my bed to crash that night. I was no older than 12. Luckily, I was never physically hurt. I have tons of bizarre stories.
The point is that my defense mechanism growing up was to disconnect from my body, from what I was feeling, and pretend everything was just fine. This worked for a long time. But in college, it caught up to me. I felt pissed at my deceased mother, but clearly didn’t know how to express it. I didn’t want to feel anything, especially my body.In college, it was no surprise that I felt lost, alone and fragmented. I wanted to connect to something spiritually, yet not religiously, and so I tried yoga for the first time. I vividly remember the cool tones of the yoga room, the warmth, the soft music, and the sense of peace I had after practice. I felt connected to my body for the first time in my adult life. That was my introduction.
Aside from yoga, what activities do you enjoy?
Aside from yoga, I love teaching (and doing) Flybarre at Flywheel Sports. It totally lights up rhythm and athleticism in me. I also love hiking, bouldering, cooking and taking the dog for leisurely walks around the city.
What supernatural gift would you most like to possess?
To ease the suffering and worry in people around the world. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to have a degenerative disease or be in a economical/political situation where suffering is almost inevitable. I wish I could somehow genuinely help people in dire situations feel like everything is going to be alright. I wish I could make them feel worthy, loved and important–because they are.
In your next life, what would you choose to come back as?
I would totally be a cat. Maybe a lioness. Chasing birds, climbing trees, watching silly humans, fishing in streams, laying the sun… Animals have this beautiful ability to stay in the present moment at all times. I would love to experience that.
Who inspires you or your practice?
Ah, so many people! My partner Jim inspires me to be more creative, to challenge my intellect, and to step outside of what’s expected from me as a yoga instructor. My dog Roxy inspires me to stop and smell the roses; to go on long walks and take time for play.My practice is inspired by some phenomenal instructors that teach intelligent, thoughtful, transformational vinyasa, namely Seane Corn, Tiffany Cruikshank, Troy Lucero and Elena Brower.
What is your present state of mind?
Right now, I am excited. The sun is shining, the mountains are in view, the flowers are blooming and there is a sense of change and potential in the air. I’m very excited about how Urban Leaf will grow this year. April is my favorite month.
What are you listening to right now?
I am super into Jose Gonzales Pandora station right now!
What are you reading right now?
I am currently reading Any Human Heart by William Boyd, and I’m re-reading Digestive Wellness by Elizabeth Lipski. I find that reading fiction is essential to my ability to think and respond creatively. There’s nothing more fulfilling than getting lost in a story. I love listening to This American Life and Snap Judgment on NPR.
If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go?
I am longing to return to Southeast Asia. I would like to re-visit Thailand, and see Vietnam and Indonesia! The culture is so profoundly different and beautiful in Southeast Asia. I am forever intrigued.
What has been your favorite discovery on a trip?
When I studied in Guayaquil, Ecuador, I discovered that I am powerful yet vulnerable. I need other people to manifest my dreams, and other people need me to manifest theirs. I am a small piece of the world, but I am still important. Traveling has a way of humbling me like no other experience. When I’m removed from all of the tangible things in the comfort of my home, I am left with just the essence of who I am. I am left with what’s inside: my core convictions, my weaknesses and my strengths and my perceptions. Traveling exposes all of this and helps me to discover who, exactly, I am. That’s always my favorite discovery.
What is/are your “must haves” while traveling?
I travel very light. I must have a light bag so that I’m mobile. I pack facewash, panties, books and a yoga mat. The rest will fall into place.What is your favorite retreat venue?
Oooo. Well, I’m just in love with the Pacific Northwest right now, so the Yoga Lodge on Whidbey Island is my favorite. I’m leading an Urban Leaf retreat there in July. The forest trails are magical and the oceanfront is stunning. You feel a world away from the city, but you’re only a two-hour drive!
What’s your favorite quote?
“Wanderer there is no path; You lay the path in walking.” —Antonio Machado
This quote reminds me that although life may seem rigid, and we may feel like things are “just the way they are,” everything is in motion. Everything is evolving. There is no set path. We are only bound by our lack of imagination.
Interviewed by Nicole Muyingo