Flexi Foodie Q&A

We caught up with nutritional expert, yoga instructor and plant based recipe blogger Julie Montagu, who some of you may know as “The Flexi Foodie”. Julie is a true advocate for wellness of the mind and body and has used her study of yoga, nutrition and holistic health counselling to launch a line of nutrition and yoga books, a plant-based recipe blog and she has lots of plans for expanding her nutritional empire in the future. We wanted to get her take on everything from yoga stretches to balancing a healthy nutritional lifestyle with being a busy mum of four. 

MEAME

What is your favourite thing about the MEAME Jacket?

 I love the highlighted tweed in the MEAME Blazer  – think that is so cool! But also, I love it because I can arrive to meetings looking very smart and without having to wear another blazer! I think it’s pretty genius. 

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Nutrition 

How do you stay hydrated in summer without just sticking to water?

Cold-pressed juices and coconut water.  

What do you find is the best plant based protein source?

Chia Seeds – hands down my favourite go-to food for protein and you can sprinkle it on everything! 

What suggestions do you have for foods that can bring a quick energy fix for when cycling or doing prolonged activity?

Personally, I always have a cold-pressed juice in my bike bag. I’m not that much of snacker if I’m honest and juice really gives me that quick and healthy fix to keep me going and going. But if you do snack, then I’ve got some great energy balls in my cookbook Superfoods Superfast to keep you super energised and happy! 

What are your favourite foods to have for breakfast to keep you fuller for longer? 

For breakfast I  alternate between having granola topped with almond milk and berries to avocado on toast with red pepper chilli flakes. Both of them fill me up, give me energy and make me feel great. 

What sort of foods do you have on a typical day? 

I try to have breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day with the odd snack here and there. I cycle about 12-15 miles a day and sometimes teach yoga up to five hours a day and so I need fuel! And ‘good for you’ food is my fuel! Plus, creating space for three meals a day also allows you to create space for you. When you sit down for a meal, you automatically start to rest and digest your body. So, a typical day would be avocado on toast in the morning with a big mug of green tea, for lunch if it’s cold outside and I’m cycling around like I am most days, then it’s a huge bowl of hearty all veggie and whole grain soup. I’m obsessed with veggie burgers and sweet potato fries at the moment so I would have that for dinner. 

To live a healthy lifestyle what is the perfect ratio of exercise and nutritional diet? 

I’d like to look at it more like this – four legs of a stool if you like. One leg is your physical exercise, the other leg eating well and clean, 3rd leg taking those small moments of self-care out of each and every one of your days and the 4th leg incorporating a mindfulness and if you can meditation practice into your everyday life. 

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Where is your favourite place to practice yoga? 

When I practice yoga outdoors, my favourite spot is down at our estate in Dorset, Mapperton. And well, in London I actually prefer to practice at Triyoga because it feels like a second home to me. 

When is the best time of day to do yoga and stretches? 

There are so many different types of yoga and I just think it all depends on how your feeling and listening to your body. So, if you wake up feeling low and lethargic, then it is better to do an energetic Vinyasa flow class. But in the evening, if you’re feeling frazzled from your day, then restorative yoga is the way to go. Again, it’s all about listening to your body and giving your body and mind what it needs. 

Also, do you have any stretching or yoga pose suggestions to help relax after cycling long distance?

Personally, I find myself in downward facing dog after every one of my long distance cycles. It lengthens, strengthens, opens and grounds you. I think it’s the perfect pose to do after cycling and if you can stay there for 2 minutes, your body will love you. 

Do your children ever do yoga with you? 

Yes and no! Remember I have four children, so as much as I’d love them to all do yoga regularly, that’s not the case. I do hope that when they get older, they will remember how yoga has helped me become the person I am today.  However, my 9 year old Nestor does love yoga and especially doing some of the crazier poses. Emma, my 18 year old, frequently visits Triyoga with me where we do a class together. 

Julie Montagu photographed by Karen Yeomans, specialist in Sports, Fitness, Health, Well-being and Yoga Photography. Based in London.

Cycling 

Do you ever cycle around London with your children? 

Yes! My three boys love to cycle and in particular, my 15 year old Jack is obsessed with it and cycles everywhere around London. He and I also do a good cycling trip to the Southbank every summer and have lunch, walk around, soak up the sun and the energy and then cycle back to Wandsworth. 

Do you find that cycling is an easy way to get around London?

Not only do I find it an easier way to get around London but cycling gets me to and from yoga and meetings much quicker than the tube/bus. Plus, one of the main reasons I cycle is because I know what it does for my moods. Those endorphins get released and arrive at yoga or a meeting or wherever, always in a very good mood even when it’s pouring with rain! 

About Julie

Obviously you are a busy working mum of four, what does your week look like?

Life’s 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!) Once I get all four kids out of the house around 7:45am – my day begins! Emails, cycling to teach yoga, followed by meetings usually, then a quick and healthy lunch at one of my favourite spots in London. I’ll be blogging and recipe creating in the afternoons, other days it’s editing my next cookbook and I am always back home by 5pm when all four return from school. Supper is made, homework is done and on two 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.

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Was having a nutritional cookbook something you had planned to do after having your youngest child?

Having a superfoods cookbook was definitely not the end goal! Or at that point in my life, even a goal at all. I started a blog, The Flexi Foodie, because I wanted to document all of the recipes that I had been making for my family and document why I was making it and explain the ingredients in the recipe that are good for our bodies and mind. 

Having studied computer science, are you surprised that health and nutrition has now become a career and lifestyle for you?

To be honest, I wasn’t ever very keen about studying computer science at school. I studied because I knew it would really help me get a job straight out of university – and it did! However, it was not ever a passion for me because I knew it was just not what I wanted to do. It wasn’t really until my fourth was born nearly 10 years ago that I knew yoga was what I loved. I had been doing it prior to the birth of my fourth, but something clicked in me after having had four children and I knew I couldn’t live without yoga. 

Do you have any future plans as far as bringing out another nutrition book or any avenues you want to explore more?

I do have plans for another cookbook and I want to focus it around families but then my BIG project that I’ve been working on for six months is literally just about to launch. It’s my new Wellness Membership Site called Truly-Julie.com. It’s all about learning to take those small moments of self-care each and every day. And I’m there to support you through yoga videos, recipes, meditations, affirmations, podcasts, webinars and Facebook Live chats and videos. Each month is themed – so one month might be all about building your self-esteem and the next about mastering your inner critic. I’m very involved and there to support each and every one of my subscribers. 

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We are so glad that Julie is a fan of our MEAME blazer and we are excited about her upcoming Wellness Membership Site, Truly-July.com which launches on the 1st of September.