This week, we interviewed the incredible Julie Montagu, The Flexi Foodie, Yogini, Health Coach and Wellness Warrior. Julie is passionate about health, nutrition and wellbeing and has become a leading voice in the wellness world.  She believes that what we eat is essential to the way we look and feel and that small changes to attitudes around food, exercise and lifestyle can make a huge, positive difference in our outlooks on life. Julie has four children, Emma, 15 – Jack 12 – Willam 9 and Nestor 7. They have a cat named Sophie, Tortoise named Splurtle and a Tarantula named Pa-Pa! 

You’ve just launched an amazing healthy menu at Bumpkin. How did this come about?   

My good friend Marissa Hermer (who’s husband Matt is the founder/owner of Bumpkin) approached me as she knows how obsessed I am with healthy food, nutrition, superfoods, juices, smoothie…. Well,  in a nut shell, if it’s good for you, I’m all over it!   Plus, I studied nutrition through Cornell University and at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in NYC to get those credentials under my belt.  I’m a health-aholic! 

You’re a mother of 4 children, how do you stay in shape?

Running after them?!  Just kidding (sort of…) but in all fairness, in between teaching my own  classes in London and cheerleading about nutrition in my workshops, I manage to find time to always do 3 yoga classes per week.  I always put them in my diary and rarely ever let anything else or anybody get in the way!  Yoga keeps me sane!

How important is healthy food, and how easy is it to implement and maintain a healthy diet, being a busy mother?  

For me, I need oodles of energy throughout the day.   I cycle to all my classes and clients in London, teach/lecture in the morning, work on special projects in the afternoons, so the afternoon school run, homework, supper and then usually teach an evening class.  So, I need food that is REAL – no refined sugar or processed and packaged foods.  Therefore, I start my day with a green smoothie in the morning.  I fill my Vitamix up with goodness the night before so that all I need to do is hit the ON button first thing when I wake up. For lunch I have my favourite haunts – Retreat café in Parsons Green,  Triyoga Chelsea Organic Café to pick up a quick on-the-go healthy, energizing lunch.  However, for those lunch meetings or catch up with friends, I’ll definitely be at Bumpkin with a superfood salad and cold pressed juice in hand.  Honestly, it’s about making the effort, planning ahead and really, truly wanting to feel amazing every day.   Only whole foods give you that authentic burst.

What advice would you give to mothers wanting to give their children a healthy start from weaning upwards? 

My number one advise, would be to halt the amount of  sugar in your children’s diet.  It’s addicting, it’s ugly – they don’t need it.   There are SO many great alternative now such as Coconut Palm Sugar, Honey, Maple Syrup and dates.   In my blog, The Flexi Foodie, I only ever use these natural sweetners in my recipes, and my 4 kids gobble up every chocolate brownie, chocolate avocado mousse and chocolate truffles without ever knowing that I used something other than refined sugar!

Are there any juices that are good for children, at any specific times of the year?  

It’s all about what’s in season for me and what’s local.  So, if apples are in season – then yes, that apple juice is going to taste so much better than when they’re not in season.  If at all possible, buy what’s in season and juice what’s in season.  But I like to go further.  If you’re going to juice at home for your kids then why not juice a bit of spinach with that apple.  I promise, kids can’t tell unless you tell!  More nutrients, better tasting.  Kids love it.

You’re a yoga teacher; do you do yoga with your children?  

Hmmmmmm…. Well, I try!  My eldest is 15 and she used to resist but because she plays so much sport and without very much warm up or warm down, her back  hurts. So, she’s been much better at practising  some of the poses because she feels the benefits and lo and behold, her back is much better!  My youngest who is now 7, will be the yogi of the family for sure.   He’s always been interested in copying what I do – from downward facing dog to tree and it’s paid off as he can even get into Crow now!

You’re also a health coach; if you could change one thing in people’s lives, what would it be?   

I think it’s two-fold in my book.  It’s an addition and subtraction really.  Add in more dark, green, leafy vegetables and take out refined sugar.  If you do that, not only will the weight fall off but you’ll have tons more energy, your skin will look incredible  and you’ll just feel ridiculously amazing every day.

What’s in the pipeline for you?

Well, if this interview took place in mid-March – I’d be able to officially make the announcement of what I’ve been up to since last summer….. but that will have to wait!  However, I can spill the beans that I’m creating  my first range of  superfood products called JUB (Julie’s Unbelievable Balls, Brews, Blasts and Blends) and those are nearly finished and soon to be launched.  I’ve also been creating some online content with my filmmaker husband that will be up on my website about the same time as my big announcement in March.  So, it’s a watch this space for now.

What’s the one baby product you couldn’t have lived without?  

Oh my goodness, it feels like SO long ago when I had a little baby!  But the first thing that came to mind, was my Baby Bjorn!  Especially for the fourth child as he was dragged around everywhere and with so many kids, the pushchair was like having a 5th child – so I opted, when I could, to put him in the Baby Bjorn.  MUCH easier!

How would you sum yourself up in one sentence? 

A yogini, health coach and wellness warrior that believes that what we eat is essential to the way we look and feel and that small changes to diet and attitudes around food and exercise can make a huge, positive difference in our lives.