Welcome back to the In Her Shoes series, where we share inspiring interviews with influential experts in health, nutrition and lifestyle. Whenever I meet healthy, beautiful, successful women, I’m always dying to know what it’s like to walk in their shoes. What do they eat? What products do they use? What’s their routine? I’m obsessed with other peoples’ stories and love sharing uplifting women with y’all!
In our third installment of the series, we’re chatting with Julie Morris, a Los Angeles-based natural foods chef, spokeswoman and executive chef for Navitas Naturals, and New York Times best-selling cookbook author of four books: Superfood Kitchen, Superfood Smoothies, Superfood Juices and Superfood Snacks (I covered her amazing smoothies book here!). You can follow along with Julie's adventures on Facebook, and Instagram.
GETTING TO KNOW JULIE MORRIS
I first met Julie when I was writing a story about the health benefits of eating seaweed for Costco's magazine. During our interview, I was blown away by Julie's nutritional knowledge and cooking prowess and we really bonded over what it means to live a healthy lifestyle.
But I actually heard about Julie long before the seaweed story. After my doctor recommended I start eating an anti-inflammatory diet, I started drinking a green smoothie every day. I was in desperate need of delicious, healthy recipes that I knew would taste as good as they made me feel and found the bible on healthy smoothies–Julie's book, Superfood Smoothies. I loved learning about exotic ingredients like acai and wheatgrass powder and finding new ways to incorporate the ingredients I already knew worked, like flaxseed and chia seeds.
I've since picked up copies of all of Julie's books and love how fun and different her recipes are from traditional health cookbooks. Even better, they're also easy to make once you stock up on some of nature’s best superfoods.
I knew Julie would be the perfect woman to spotlight in this series and I'm so thrilled to share more of her story today. Take a peek at what it’s like to spend a day walking in Julie's shoes.
WHAT ARE THE FIRST 30 MINUTES OF YOUR DAY LIKE?
I usually get up early on my own – I don’t set an alarm unless I really have to (and I genuinely love getting up early). I drink a glass of water and almost immediately have some kind of easily-digestible small snack, like a piece of sprouted bread that’s toasted with a little bit of coconut oil and pink salt, or a couple of Medjool dates. I am such a morning eater and almost always wake up hungry! Then I make a pre-workout drink, like coconut water and lime juice, OM (Mushroom Matrix) NRG Matrix, or Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energy Optimizer. I throw on some athletic gear and head out to get my workout in for the day.
SHOWER TIME! WHAT ARE YOUR GO-TO PRODUCTS?
I’m super picky about body products for two reasons: 1) I have very sensitive skin, and 2) I’m extremely concerned about the number of chemicals and toxins we are exposed to in our environment thanks to our “advances” in technology and aesthetics. I think it’s a subject that is honestly under-exposed, and is super important. So, I try to keep things as simple and clean as I can (and am always learning new tricks). Right now I use Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap, which is really invigorating for the body, and Acure Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner.
WHAT’S YOUR TYPICAL BREAKFAST?
It’s always a big superfood smoothie, but the contents are constantly shifting and changing depending on the season and my mood! Right now it’s a version of the Creamy Orange Smoothie from my book Superfood Smoothies – I’m adding Amazing Grass Vanilla Protein Powder, Nutrex Hawaii Spirulina Powder, OM Cordyceps Powder, and Navitas Naturals Goji Berry Powder. It doesn’t look as pretty as the one in the book, but it tastes amazing and keeps me energized for hours.
ARE YOU A TEA OR COFFEE DRINKER?
I don’t drink tea or coffee regularly, but occasionally succumb to a really great latte blended with a touch of coconut oil, or a matcha latte made with almond milk. I fully admit to being a beverage piggy – it seems that for whatever reason nine out of my 10 favorite “treats” in the world are in beverage or liquid form. I drink a lot of green juice. I like to make them at home whenever I can, or I’ll grab a big bottle of Suja Power Greens at the store if I’ve got a busy week of recipe development. I love that it has only 6 grams of sugar per serving, but still has a touch of sweetness to it. I also drink Health-Ade Kombucha several times a week, which I’ll add a couple of drops of liquid stevia to, so that it tastes like a soda. I sip on soups and make superfood broths for colder days, too. Oh, and wine 😉
WHAT’S YOUR EXERCISE ROUTINE?
TIME TO GET READY! WHAT ARE YOUR GO-TO BEAUTY AND SKINCARE PRODUCTS?
My skin is fairly dry and very sensitive, but I do really well with Living Libations Sea Buckthorn Oil as well as their Rose Oil on my face, and coconut oil or Goe Oil on my body. I know a lot of people in my “natural” industry shy away from makeup, and while I certainly respect their choice (and they look great!)…that’s just not me. While I’m far from “glam” (I get ready in 10 minutes), I admittedly love wearing some natural makeup even if I’m just working from home – I somehow feel a little more “together,” if that makes sense! Suntegrity Tinted Lotion for my face is my favorite item in my makeup bag, and I also just picked up a W3LL People mascara and am definitely a new fan.
WHAT’S IN YOUR MEDICINE CABINET?
I feel very fortunate to not take any prescriptions. My “medicine cabinet” is primarily the foods and superfoods I eat every day. I’m not a huge fan of taking supplements either, outside of localized temporary needs (like getting a cold) – I think it’s totally easy, delicious, and normal(!) to get the nutrients we need from food. The one exception for me is taking BioAstin, which is an astaxanthan (a powerful anti-inflammatory antioxidant) supplement that I take to help keep my joints in working condition after almost 20 years of distance running. Now that I’m well in my mid 30’s, I sometimes also take MSM (organic sulfur) as a little skin boost to keep my collagen production nice and encouraged from the inside-out. Eating a whole foods, plant-based diet rich in superfoods for the last 20 years has been the best thing I could have done for myself – I just had blood-work done, and have no mineral deficiencies, alongside super low blood pressure, balanced weight, clear skin, etc. Most importantly, I feel good!
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE ON-THE-GO SNACKS?
I have more of a savory tooth than a sweet one, so I like to keep nuts like almonds and walnuts around for when I need to quell a hunger pang. Especially when I travel, I also keep energy bars on me … usually ones that I’ve made at home from superfoods (my collection of favorite recipes are all in my Superfood Snacks cookbook).
WHAT’S A TYPICAL LUNCH LIKE FOR YOU?
Admittedly, I almost never eat lunch. Most of the time I’m in the kitchen working on recipes, and am used to just kind of grazing and taste-testing whatever I’m making throughout the day. If I’m hungry, I might have a small snack like a quarter of an avocado, topped with hemp seeds and salad greens, wrapped in nori, or an apple with almond butter.
WHEN YOU’RE GROCERY SHOPPING, WHAT INGREDIENTS DO YOU AVOID ON THE LABEL?
Sadly, there’s too many ingredients on our shelves to list that are in the “avoid” category – most of our packaged food is really not in a good place right now. I try to buy ingredients in their whole food form as much as possible, and if it is a packaged product, I look for items that are composed of whole food ingredients. My mantra is the ingredients should always read like a recipe you might make in your own kitchen (If it sounds like a science experiment, it probably was!). I also avoid all meat, dairy, and eggs, and steer clear of refined sugar and artificial additives.
WHAT’S IN YOUR PANTRY?
As a natural food recipe developer, as one might expect, I have an admittedly vast, nuanced, and extremely well-stocked pantry. I have a huge section just for dry superfoods – things like goji berries, chaga powder, chia seeds, seaweeds, etc. I also keep lots of different types of natural sweeteners, flours, dry legumes, nuts and seeds, and dried fruit. It’s pretty much an edited version of the bulk section of a natural foods store. One thing you won’t find in my pantry: almost anything prepared! We don’t really keep any cereal, cookies, chips or much of anything around on a regular basis, because I’d rather just make my own version.
In terms of favorite staples, I’d say I lean on my superfood smoothie ingredients as well as dried seaweeds, quinoa, rolled oats, lentils, hemp seeds, and dates the most. Condiment-wise, my most regularly-used items for personal use are coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, sesame oil, umeboshi plum vinegar, tahini, and NuNaturals Liquid Stevia. And, of course, salt – sea salt, Himalayan pink salt, and Maldon Smoked Sea Salt are the most frequent offenders.
DINNER TIME! IF YOU’RE EATING OUT, WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR ON MENUS TO STAY HEALTHY?
I don’t eat out a ton – no more than twice a week, and usually less than that. But when I do, I usually check out the salad section of the menu first to make sure I can get some solid vegetable action. I try to pick the one that appears to have the most greens, and preferably with some kind of plant-based protein like seeds or legumes, and get the dressing on the side (restaurants are notorious for laying on salad dressing way too heavily). I’m definitely not afraid to ask for things to be left off, like cheese, or added on, like avocado. Then, I’ll look for some other kind of plant-based side or large course that sounds whole-foods focused, like a soup, a wrap, or roasted vegetable pilaf. Basically what I’m looking for is nutrient-dense items, as much as possible. Last night we went out for sushi, for example, and I got a vegetarian roll with asparagus, cucumber, sprouts, and avocado, along with a spicy miso soup, a seaweed salad with sesame, and a hot sake.
WHAT’S ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND?
I actually really like to peruse through cookbooks at night – I love to read other people’s ideas, and learn about other chef’s processes, and ponder their approaches. You can never stop learning in the culinary field. Right now I’m really enjoying leafing though The Food Lab, and all the work that went into it! What a book! I also love the inspiration that comes with reading books about business, psychology, and personal development. I’ve picked back up reading Outliers from where I left off a couple years ago. Those types of reads bring a lot of groundedness to my otherwise very creative, dreamy, and unstructured mental nature. I almost never read fiction – I save those kinds of stories for Netflix.
BED TIME! WHAT’S YOUR NIGHTLY ROUTINE?
I’m usually in bed around 11 – I’m naturally what they call “a good sleeper,” and fall asleep pretty much the second I hit the pillow.
FAVORITE HEALTHY INDULGENCE?
Oh dark chocolate for sure. I never feel bad about diving into my chocolate stash – sometimes it even happens in the morning.
FAVORITE PRODUCT THAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO TRY?
This is probably not what anyone would ever expect as an answer, but Navitas Naturals Wheatgrass Powder is one of my very favorite organic products in the world. In terms of nutrition, wheatgrass is just off the charts – it is one of the most healing, wellness-promoting foods we can possibly consume. What I love about this wheatgrass powder though is the fact that it’s very condensed – a ½ teaspoon is basically like having a fresh “shot” of wheatgrass juice. And even better, the powder doesn’t have a strong taste in the slightest – the flavor is almost non-existent! I put it in water, juice, uncooked sauces (even cocktails) and it’s nutritionally equivalent (or better) of having a heaping serving of green vegetables. So many of us struggle with getting deeply nourishing foods in our diets on a daily basis, in particular vegetables. While I’m not suggesting 100 percent replacing fresh foods with wheatgrass powder, this is a product that can help us meet our goals more easily.
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