14 January 2016
If you haven’t seen her wonderful Superfood cookbook on all the best book store shelves, or seen her wonderfully contagious smile, you’ll know Julie Montagu as ‘The Flexi Foodie’. Balancing yoga teaching, recipe creating, book writing, and not to mention being a Mother, we wanted to know some more about Julie’s day on a plate.
JULIE’S DAY ON A PLATE
Green tea and Avocado on rye toast with chilli flakes and coconut yogurt on top at least 4 days a week! I”m obsessed!
Another green tea
Now that’s it’s cold…. always a HUGE veggie soup for lunch! I usually have 2-3 bowls!
Another green tea
Aubergine curry with quinoa – I tend to make a veggie curry about 2-3 times a week b/c my kids love them too!
Sometimes a good spoonful or THREE of booja booja ice cream or a couple of their chocolate truffles!
A good night time tea – Loving Positivitea at the moment
SO JULIE, LETS TAKE IT BACK TO THE VERY BEGINNING, CAN YOU PLEASE SHARE WITH US WHEN YOUR GREAT LOVE FOR YOGA BEGAN?
After my fourth child was born, I was exhausted both mentally and physically and I knew I needed to do something and fast! So, I went to my first Bikram yoga class and in one day became obsessed with it! From Bikram, I started to then explore other types of yoga and fell madly in love with vinyasa flow yoga. And really, once I started on the yoga path, the healthy eating lifestyle soon followed.
AND HOW ABOUT YOUR PASSION FOR A PLANT-BASED DIET? DID THAT COME ABOUT BEFORE OR AFTER YOUR INTEREST IN YOGA?
Once you start heading to the yoga studio and connecting with others, a lot of the conversation revolves around food – healthy food, healthy ways of eating, diets etc. It was fantastic for me to listen and engage with my fellow yogis and that’s when I started reading a lot of books on nutrition, healthy eating, different types of diets etc. But it was while I was on holiday with my husband, when I read The China Study from front to back in a day, that convinced me that plant-based was the way forward for me.
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR YOU TO SPREAD THE IMPORTANCE OF FEEDING YOUR BODY WITH NATURAL, NUTRIENT-RICH FOODS?
Because I have 4 kids, it became very important to me to start educating them first. And that’s one of the main reason’s I created the blog, was to document the plant-based meals I was making for my family so that others could have the same education about how important the foods we eat are.
HOW MUCH OF AN IMPACT DO YOU BELIEVE A PERSON’S DIET CAN HAVE ON THEIR MOOD AND MINDSET?
I became obsessed with foods that could and would give me energy, boost my mood and just overall make me feel better. I wholeheartedly believe that food really can be medicine. I’m living proof that foods really do boost the mood and helps with the head too!
AND DO YOU SEE FITNESS AS HAVING AN EQUAL EFFECT ON THIS, OR IS THERE ONE THAT YOU CONSIDER MORE INFLUENTIAL THAN THE OTHER?
Absolutely fitness plays an important role in mood-boosting. Research has shown over and over again, that when we exercise we release endorphins which can help put us in a happy state of being. But for me, it’s more than that. I love yoga not only because of the physical aspect/endorphine boost, but also the breathing and meditation of the mind that comes with yoga too. Sometimes I do wonder what on earth would I be doing and feeling right now had it not been for yoga.
AS WE UNDERSTAND, YOU LIVE BY A PLANT-BASED DIET, BUT HOW STRICT ARE YOU WITH THIS?
I wouldn’t even look at my plant-based diet as strict anymore – I’m just used to it because I know that if I even try to eat a piece of cheese, my stomach cramps! I believe that my body is just more suited for a plant-based diet and frankly, so are my moods!
IT’S AMAZING THAT YOU HAVE MANAGED TO CREATE A BUSINESS OUT OF THE TWO THINGS YOU LOVE, WAS THIS A FAIRLY STRAIGHT FORWARD PROCESS FOR YOU OR DID YOU FACE MANY CHALLENGES IN DEVELOPING THIS?
If I’m honest, it all happened very organically. While I was teaching yoga one evening, I started talking about foods that can affect the mood and the mind and after that class, someone asked me if I had a recipe that included those foods. So, the very next class, I handed out a healthy, mood-enhancing recipe and that was the beginning really. Every class after that, I had a recipe handout for everyone at the end of the class which zoomed in on a particular food and its health benefits. And from there, it just started to grow.
YOU ARE ALSO A QUALIFIED HEALTH COACH. HOW DID YOU BECOME ONE?
Do you have any advice to anyone that is thinking of going down that career path? Because I became so interested in food while attending yoga classes, I asked one of my fellow yogis who was very knowledgeable about healthy eating, if she knew of any really good online nutrition courses. And she recommended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Now, this was 7 years ago that I took the course and I was one of the first ones to take this course in England which is crazy to think about because I know of so many others who have now taken the course. To me, it is a brilliant course that does so much more than just teach out about nutrition. I really can’t recommend this course enough for anyone looking at becoming a health coach or simply learning more about foods and diets.
WHAT DOES AN AVERAGE DAY IN THE LIFE OF JULIE MONTAGU LOOK LIKE?
Life has become a bit easier this year as my youngest was old enough to take the school bus. So, not having to do the school run for the first time in nearly 14 years was sort of shocking!!! (but I’m not complaining!) So, once I get all 4 kids out of the house around 7:45am – my day begins! Emails, cycling to teach yoga, followed by meetings usually, a quick and healthy lunch at one of my favourite spots in London, somedays I’ll be blogging and recipe creating in the afternoons, other days it’s writing my next 2 books and then it’s always back home by 5pm when all 4 return from school. Supper is made, homework is done and on 3 nights of the week, I head out to teach an evening yoga class. So my days are jam packed but I love being busy doing what I love.
HOW DO YOU ENSURE YOU GET SOME QUALITY “ME TIME” WITHIN YOUR BUSY SCHEDULE?
I make sure that I have at least 45 minutes a day just for me. I just stick it in my diary every single day, it’s always there.
AND HOW DO YOU CHOOSE TO SPEND THIS DOWNTIME IF YOU HAVE THE OPTION?
THREE words: Epsom Salt Bath!
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR FIRST PIECE OF ADVICE TO GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO IS STRUGGLING TO FIND HAPPINESS AND BALANCE IN THEIR LIFESTYLE AT THE MOMENT?
I think step one is to take a step back. Create some space for you and work on what I like to call, your Vision board. Ask yourself, What are you passionate about? How do you want to feel every day? What have you always wanted to do? What are you hobbies? What are your interests? What is your ideal lifestyle and then go deeper with these questions and with small steps, start to make the answers to these questions your reality.
WE LOVE OUR MOTIVATIONAL QUOTES – DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE?
It’s a quote from Howard Thurman: ‘Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.’
AND FINALLY, WHAT CAN PEOPLE EXPECT TO SEE IN THE NEW YEAR FROM YOU?
I have 2 new books coming out in 2016. One on a healthy lifestyle called Eat Real Food: Simple Rules for Health, Happiness and Unstoppable Energy and then the follow up to Superfoods…. this one’s called Superfoods, Superfast: 100 energising recipes in 20 minutes or less. Both of which I can’t wait to share with everyone! I have a new online course on Self-love, Happiness and Letting Go coming out in 2016 too, a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training programme starting in Autumn 2016 and well, I’m sure there will be more to come!
To find out more about what Julie up to, visit her website, The Flexi Foodie, here: http://www.theflexifoodie.com