Fresh. Glowing. Energetic. These are a few words that describe Julie Morris as I first meet her. Decked out in her Lululemon workout gear, we shared many good laughs and fresh green juices at Real Food Daily in Santa Monica. Julie is so fresh and light and warm and friendly, like the girl next door. Author of two cookbooks, Superfood Kitchen and Superfood Smoothies, executive chef for Navitas Naturals and cooking show host, Julie is an extremely talented and educated chef. Her mission is simply to share recipes and nutrition tips that are easy to achieve and delicious to follow.
Julie: I became a vegetarian at age 14. I was at school and they showed a video about animals in slaughterhouses and how farm animals were raised in factory farming. I’ve always been an animal person and it freaked me out. My dad had already become a vegetarian, so I came home from school that day and stated, “That’s it. I’m done. I cannot eat animals anymore.” So initially my choice was an ethical one. Later on, when I became vegan, it was for the health benefits.
Nourishment: What led you to the discovery of superfoods?
Julie: Superfoods happened when I was 20. I was in college and I had all of the symptoms of chronic fatigue. I was super tired all of the time, I had allergies, I was stressed and my immune system was shot. I was drinking coffee and energy drinks and doing everything I could to stay awake and alert. Nothing was working. I was always a foodie, so I started researching foods that would give me more energy. I discovered these things called “superfoods.” I started out with maca and goji berries and I felt so much better. This was the first time I became aware of the direct effect of food to my health. It was amazing! I started looking around for recipes and couldn’t find any, so that is what got me into doing this line of work.
Nourishment: If you could share 3 foods that we should add into our diets every day, what would they be?
Julie: Oh! That is so hard! Every superfood has it’s own special benefits, but if I had to choose, this is what it would be.
- Leafy Greens– so nutrient dense and easy to throw into anything from smoothies to salads
- Hemp Seeds– this is a complete protein, it has essential fatty acids and it’s easy to incorporate into your food
- Goji Berries– they are a complete food, meaning they have all of the major macronutrients, protein, carbs and fats. They also have over 20 vitamins and minerals and are extremely high in anti-oxidants.
Nourishment: We are some unique superfoods we may not know about?
Julie: Some up-and-comer’s are:
- Maqui Berries– They are a “rainforest blueberry” from South America. Right now they are the number one antioxidant fruit that has been discovered. They contain more antioxidants than goji berries or acai. You can usually find macqui berries in a powdered form.
- Sea Buckthorn Berries– This is a pretty orange berry that grows in clusters along the coastlines in Europe and Asia. They have a citrusy, tart, slightly honey taste. You can usually find it in a juice form. This berry contains all of the Omega’s including the rare Omega 7, which is good for circulation. Sea Buckthorn Berries are used for skin disorders, they are high in vitamin C and are an anti-inflammatory.
Nourishment: People will say that superfoods will cost a lot of money. What are some of the economic choices we could make?
Julie: When buying superfooods, it’s important to look at the fact that you are not buying calories, but you are buying nutrients. For example, when comparing camu berries to oranges, you need to eat about 16-17 oranges to get the same amount of vitamin C as in 1 tsp. of Camu berry powder. Now, I’m not saying don’t eat oranges, but realize that when you buy superfoods, you need very little to get a high concentration of nutrients. It’s not as expensive as you may think. Having said that, some superfoods that would be less expensive to purchase are dark leafy greens, chia seeds and frozen berries. Sometimes buying frozen versions of berries is a lot less expensive than buying fresh.
Julie: Yes! Smoothies are wonderful when you’re putting in all natural ingredients, but I look at a blender like this is your opportunity to put in as many good things as you can, why wouldn’t you take it? I look at having a superfood smoothie a day as my health insurance. It’s a beautiful way to start your day. You can make smoothies in any flavor, so there is no such thing as not liking your smoothie. There are an endless variety of combinations. I like the versatility, ease and nutrition of it. I look at this book for people who are new to making smoothies or new to making nutritious smoothies and want to understand how to incorporate superfoods into them.
Nourishment: You are so beautiful and healthy. What are your beauty secrets besides eating superfoods?
Julie: Exercise. It’s a huge part of my life. It’s nothing I do because I have to do it; it’s something I truly do because I want to. I love sweating. I think it’s really important to get your body moving and your circulation flowing, and obviously that leads to everything else, like better food choices and getting good quality sleep. Running is my favorite choice, along with a little weight lifting and some spinning.
Nourishment: What are some of your favorite meals?
Julie: Outside of starting my day with a superfood smoothie, I always end my day with a super huge salad. I treat my salad kind of like my smoothie. It’s a mountain of goodness. How much good stuff can I put into this bowl? I pig out on these salads every day. I also love chocolate. J For me, it’s a source of true pleasure. It’s healthy when you get good dark chocolate or even better raw chocolate. It makes me happy.
Nourishment: We all get cravings for sweets and comfort food. What are some healthy alternatives that will satisfy our taste buds but also nourish our bodies?
Julie: I like to make homemade energy bars, and I don’t mean the cardboard tasting ones you buy at the store. I make mine with sweet dried fruit, nuts and superfoods. You can make them taste like cookies or candies, essentially. Also, you can make homemade ice creams or sorbets out of frozen fruit. I like add protein powder to mine.
Nourishment: What’s next?
Julie: I’m working on a Superfood Juice book. It’s kind of the same idea the smoothie book, but with juicing. If you’re going to go through the trouble of juicing, why not take your juices to the ultimate level, nutritionally speaking. A juice goes way beyond apple, carrot and ginger, you can incorporate of course, leafy greens and also some of the superfoods like acai, goji berries, hemp seeds, and chia. This book really explores how you can incorporate these beautiful superfoods into your daily juices.
For more on Julie go to: http://www.juliemorris.net