with Julie Morris Meet the Queen of Superfoods!
Meet the Queen of Superfoods!
Julie Morris is a mix of California cool, Aztec wisdom and exotic beauty.
If superfoods had an official “face of…” model and spokeswoman, it would be Julie Morris.
This Californian beauty has become synonymous with superfoods.
She’s been cooking (and uncooking) up acai, maca and goldenberries for years, even before they were part of mainstream vocabulary.
She’s been cooking (and uncooking) up acai, maca and goldenberries for years, even before they were part of mainstream vocabulary. Julie is not only a natural foods chef and on-camera personality, but also a bestselling author.
Her books – Superfood Kitchen, Superfood Smoothies and Superfood Juices – are global hits and her next book Superfood Snacks will launch in May, 2015.
She’s the executive chef at superfood giant Navitas Naturals, a company specializing in 100% organic superfoods from across the globe. She’s also the new culinary director at Beaming who just opened new organic superfood cafés in Brentwood and Santa Monica.
Julie serves BWB writer and fellow superfoods enthusiast Rebecca Leffler a big scoop of superfood-infused wisdom and shares her insider’s guide to all of her favorite spots in California.
Do you have any Aztec ancestry? Tell me how your love affair with superfoods began…
Over time, the large caffeine load (and stress) led me to experience adrenal fatigue in the form of chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms
It really started out with a love affair of coffee, which was fine for a couple of years.
But over time, the more coffee I drank, the more I needed to feel an effect.
Over time, the large caffeine load (and stress) led me to experience adrenal fatigue in the form of chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms – I was constantly tired, recovering poorly after sports, sleeping poorly, suffering from all kinds of allergies to things I was never allergic before, etc.
My body was acting a lot older than it was – I was just 20! Since my symptoms were all over the place, they were difficult to “treat,” so I decided to start researching energy foods, in hopes to give me the boost I needed.
I discovered a whole new collection of foods, some I had heard of before like spinach, while others were new to me but very famous in other parts of the world, like goji berries.
I decided to give superfoods a try by giving up coffee and put these special foods to the test. I gathered a few to start – goji berries and maca root were my first two – and I made little cookie-like balls out of them.
After a few weeks, I noticed that my energy was dramatically more balanced: I didn’t have any of the temporary energy “highs” like a double espresso gave me, but I also didn’t have any of the energy lows that made me need a nap in the middle of the afternoon. Instead, I felt just all around “good.”
I felt like my body was performing the way a body should: even, and efficiently!
It was the first time in my life I was fully aware of the real power of food: how food could positively effect the way that we feel.
I think that there’s a lot of us in the world that are simply sick and tired of being sick and tired – which is largely attributed to the food that we’re putting into our body on a daily basis.
You’re from California, world capital of healthy living. Farm-to-table eating, exercise and fresh air have been a part of California lifestyle for so long, but these things are finally starting to become more mainstream in other parts of the country. To what do you attribute this shift?
I think that there’s a lot of us in the world that are simply sick and tired of being sick and tired – which is largely attributed to the food that we’re putting into our body on a daily basis. It’s definitely a time of transition.
We know better – and it’s a matter of choice. The thing about superfoods, whole foods, exercise, etc is that they WORK: you feel so undeniably good it makes the process addictive, and over time health and energy become exceptionally easy to maintain.
Add to that, there’s been some groundwork done now in the way of both accessibility of products as well the how-to of the “practice of health” (which includes great recipes, of course!), making a healthy lifestyle easier to achieve than ever before.
You were speaking fluent superfoods before they become trendy. How have you seen the superfood industry change over the past few years?
Huge expansion. When I first started to get into all this, I had to hunt all over Los Angeles to find a goji berry (which, if you think prices are steep now, just imagine they were 3 times the price when first introduced on the market).
Now, one by one, superfoods are getting their chance in the spotlight, and slowly getting the medical research conformations they deserve, too. It’s really exciting to see … and there’s constantly new things being brought to the marketplace.
Sea Buckthorn (berry) is something that we are going to continue to see and hear more of as Omega 7’s continue to be explored in the medical communities
Are there any superfoods you love that we may not be familiar with yet? What are the upcoming “trendy” superfoods we’ll start to see in this new year?
I feel like we’re going to continue to see a lot of things with various berries – there’s so many profoundly medicinal varieties, and it doesn’t end with goji and acai (or strawberry and blueberry for that matter).
Sea Buckthorn (berry) is something that we are going to continue to see and hear more of as Omega 7’s continue to be explored in the medical communities (which Sea Buckthorn is a wonderful source of).
Aronia Berries are a wonderful local North American superfood which are picking up steam too. I also thing the world of medicinal mushrooms is going to be continuing to expand – which is good for everything from the immune system to a sports boost.
Oh, and turmeric – I know most everyone’s heard of it, but not everyone is using it as much as they should. Turmeric is on the verge of exploding as a healing tool, as it is SUCH a powerful anti-inflammatory!
January is always “detox” time. Suddenly everyone is looking to start exercising and eating well. What advice do you have for healthy eating newbies or anyone looking to add more superfoods to his/her diet but overwhelmed with all of the information out there?
Smoothies. That’s the place to start. I genuinely think that everyone should have a smoothie every day – and I don’t make those kinds of sweeping statements often.
Smoothies are profoundly customizable – you can make them taste like just about any flavor, they are the simplest thing ever to make (they’re about the same effort as making a cereal bowl), and you can absolutely pack them with good stuff.
Research a couple new superfoods and put them in your smoothie along with a fruit, almond milk or water, and maybe a handful of greens.
Nutrition can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be, but sticking to a nutrient-dense smoothie a day ensures that you’ve have at least one awesome meal.
Of course if you’re looking for a little more guidance in the smoothie department, it goes without saying my book Superfood Smoothies has you well covered.
Every day I have a giant superfoods smoothie with plant-based protein powder, maybe some chia seeds, maca, cacao, mulberries.
What does a typical day of eating look like for you?
I like to exercise first thing in the morning. Before I run out the door, I’ll have a little snack – we’re talking very little, like a date for example.
When I get back, I have a giant superfoods smoothie. It changes every day, but there’s usually some plant-based protein powder, maybe some chia seeds, maca, cacao, mulberries.
I like to play with different combinations. That usually keeps me going through the morning. I do a lot of recipe development during the day, so a lot of what I eat is whatever I’m working on that day – a soup or roasted vegetables for example.
I’m a big grazer throughout the day on things like avocado or fruit. Then, in the evening, a big salad is my staple, usually followed by warm goodies like a stew or cozy things like roots, tubers or risotto.
And I always have dessert.
This may be like asking you to choose your favorite child, but do you have a favorite superfood?
It really is! The one I use more than any other is hemp seeds. I use them in both savory and sweet recipes.
I can’t think of anything more delicious than hemp seeds – they’re really satiating, they’re just perfect.
If you were on a desert island and could only bring 3 superfoods, which would they be?
It would be a strategy more than anything else: spirulina, hemp seeds and goji berries.
You could live pretty amazingly well just from that. Although cacao would be a close fourth place.
You’ve been superfooding (yes, it’s a verb…thanks partly to your work!) for so long now. Do you ever get bored of them or are there any you’ve cooked with so much, you can’t have them anymore?
More than anything I find I get sick of formulations (protein powders, blends, etc). Not that there’s anything wrong with them – some are great products! – it’s just the flavor get’s a little old after a period of time, and I don’t want it anymore.
Superfoods as individual ingredients are so versatile that I haven’t really met a superfood that I’ve outgrown yet.
I’m pretty good about rotating the foods that I work with, too.
January is also all about back to work and back to school. Can you share a favorite quick superfood-infused snack recipe with us ?
Spiced acai energy bars!*
Find it HERE in our recipe section.
Any advice for staying healthy while traveling?
Snacks! I always bring my “insurance” with me like spirulina, a mixed greens powder, camu powder, a plant-based protein powder and goji berries.
You’re all about beauty from the inside out, but what are your secrets for glowing skin from the outside in? Are there any favorite beauty products you use?
Lots of juice – especially green juice. I am adamant about green juice for clear skin. Also sea buckthorn (juice) – is a wonder superfood for anti-aging.
I also use pure sea buckthorn oil on my face as a moisturizer.
Can you share some natural beauty remedies using superfoods?
You can make a really cool detox mask with avocado and a little spirulina! Looks gross but it draws out impurities and moisturizes. Coconut oil is fabulous too. I keep it really simple and mostly rely on a clean diet.
What are your favorite places in LA …
Café Gratitude, Crossroads and Brunch at Inn of the 7th Ray
Beaming, Topanga Fresh Market and Alfred Coffee
To work out:
I’m mostly outside, running on the beach, doing the Santa Monica Stairs, or hiking. I
also do a wonderfully exhausting cross training class a couple times a week
For natural beauty:
My bathtub, filled with aromatics and salts!
To be a tourist:
Santa Monica Farmer’s Market, Getty Museum, and the Greek Theater are three of my favorite spots.
We know you lead a healthy lifestyle, but do you have any vices? What is your most “guilty” pleasure?
I will never say no to a good margarita.
Rebecca Leffler is a Paris-based writer and journalist who, after a career as the French correspondent for The Hollywood Reporter and as a film critic on Canal+, traded red carpets for green smoothies. She’s written five books about healthy lifestyle from Paris to NYC and beyond, including Très Green, Très Clean, Très Chic: Eat (and Live!) the New French way with plant-based, gluten-free recipes for every season, and most recently Le Nouveau Manuel de la Cuisine Végétale. Rebecca has pioneered the “vegolution” in Paris, where she continues to organize events focusing on healthy eating, yoga and la vie en rose… And green! You can keep up with Rebecca on Instagram!