Julie Morris is a Los Angeles-based healthy food chef, writer, and advocate of whole, plant-based foods and superfoods for optimal health. Her entertaining, fact-filled articles on nutrition, recipes, food politics, and natural living have appeared in various publications, as well as on her own eco-friendly website, www.juliemorris.net. Along with her web-based cooking show, "Super Foods With Jules," Julie's recipes and nutrition tips are dedicated to making a vibrantly healthy lifestyle both easy to achieve and simply delicious to follow. Morris is author of Superfood Cuisine.
If you were stranded on an uninhabited island off the coast of southern California for weeks, maybe months, which 3 superfoods would you want with you?
Actually, that sounds like a nice trip! My superfood strategy would be all about balance: I'd bring my wheatgrass powder for its alkaline-forming vitamins and minerals, hemp seeds for high quality protein and healthy fats, and dried mulberries because they're rich in antioxidants and freakin' delicious.
Which Navitas Naturals product do you think is the 'underdog', and deserves more praise and attention, and that you think has great culinary utility?
Yacon, all the way. It's super popular in South America, but hasn't caught on as much here yet. Since yacon's carbohydrates are primarily composed of inulin - an undigestible sugar - yacon can be used as a sweetener without having a significant effect on blood sugar levels. Even though yacon is a root, I think of dried yacon slices as a low-sugar fruit and yacon syrup as a low-sugar sweetener. Both products are also low in calories, and offer a delicious smoky-apple sweetness that can be used in everything from desserts to soups to breakfasts
What is your superfoods silver bullet, your most common go-to item that comes through in the clutch?
I'm obsessed with maca powder. Because maca is an adaptogenic food, it does wonders to keep me feeling balanced and sane if I'm stressed, and also gives me lasting energy if I'm feeling run down. I call it my suit of armor.
What is the best "bang-for-the-buck" Navitas superfood?
Wheatgrass powder is amazing! Not only is Navitas' freeze-dried powder the most palatable form of wheatgrass I've ever tried, it's incredible how much nutrition as little as a half a teaspoon has - I mean, how can you compete with over 70 vitamins and minerals encapsulated within one of the most alkalizing foods on the planet?
When did you get inspired to do a cookbook, and what was the biggest challenge getting started?
Well, I had talked about writing a cookbook for about ten years, which I got an itch to do right around the time I first started experimenting with incorporating more raw foods and superfoods into my diet. The light bulb moment stemmed from the realization that most of the recipes I had grown up making are created within a school of cooking-oriented thought that's thoroughly antiquated - one that's far heavier on highly processed and unhealthy foods then it needs to be. So, I became very excited about helping to expand the collection of recipes in the world that use whole, natural, plant-based foods to create delicious dishes that are beneficial and energy-giving.
What are you most looking forward to on Navitas Natural's "Cooking with Superfoods" Tour in March and April, is it the New England late winter weather?
Haha, definitely not the weather! Truly though, there's nothing more invigorating than being able to make recipes with other people live, while sharing all kinds of motivating tools about why and how to use these incredible superfoods in an easy, accessible way. It's going to be so, so much fun!
You have gotten a lot of accolades for your cooking videos and your blog, what is your best video that people should check out?
My "No Bake Brownies" cooking video, that takes just 5 minutes to make, is my most popular episode to date. Although the super simple recipe is made entirely out of natural whole foods and superfoods, many people attest it's the best brownie they've ever had! That's an honor!
What is your favorite dessert recipe to prepare, and favorite one to eat?
I make small batches of pure, raw chocolate all the time. Nothing tastes as good, and feels as good, as chocolate made with raw cacao, and it's so simple too. I melt down raw cacao butter, whisk in some cacao powder, and then vary up the sweeteners and flavors a bit depending on my mood
My favorite combo right now is mixing in maple sugar and a little vanilla bean powder at the last minute. Then, the molten chocolate mixture gets poured onto a ceramic plate and put in the freezer for 20 minutes to harden. Once it's solidified, it can be snapped up off the plate and broken into little pieces.
We hear that you are a running fanatic, what is your routine and are you a trail runner or road? Do you eat anything before running and how long before?
Yes, I love running - I've been running 6 days a week for over 12 years, and currently run around 40-45 miles a week. I live around nothing but very steep trails, so I like to do the hills half the time, and do longer flat runs along the beach the remaining days. I can't emphasize enough how much of a difference eating well makes for exercise - the better you feel, the more you want to work out, and the more you work out, the better you feel! I always have a light snack about 30 minutes before a run -- one favorite snack is a few dates with cacao nibs packed inside. It's very energizing! If I'm on the road, I'm also loving the new Navitas Power Snacks - they are an ideal pre-workout food. A superfood smoothie made with hemp and maca afterwards is a staple post-workout habit.