INTERVIEW: Get Scentered with Julie Montagu

julie montagu
We think you are a ray of sunshine - your positivity is an inspiration! With a life in the spotlight, four children and your own brand and business to juggle, how do you maintain your positive energy? 
Thank you!!!  The funny thing is.. .those things you’ve just listed actually ARE the things that help me maintain my positive energy. Without my kids, my passion for what I do, I just might be a couch potato with little to no energy.  So, my kids keep me going and on my feet at all times and my brand and business which are my passions also keep me smiling and energised! 
Tell us a little bit about your routine – what do you do first thing in the morning and last thing at night?  
First thing in the morning, before my kids wake, I stick my legs up against my bedroom wall, and breath for 5 minutes.  I then do 5 sun salutation A’s, make my green tea and only THEN do I wake up my kids.  At night, the last thing I do is lie on top of my Bed of Nails acupuncture mat, drink my Pukka Night time tea while reading a book. 
What inspired you to start a plant based diet? And what are the challenges?   
Growing up, I’ve never had a real taste for meat so it was an easy transition for me to go plant-based.  But the catalyst to that happening, was reading Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s book - The China Study.  Um, that did it in a heartbeat.  When I first began a plant-based diet almost 8 years ago, the biggest challenge was finding tasty recipes!  And that’s why I started my blog, The Flexi Foodie, almost 5 years ago, to document the recipes I was created for my 4 kids and husband - which must have been pretty decent in taste as that blog got me my first cookbook deal! 
We love your book ‘Eat Real Food’ – what inspired you to write it? And any plans for another?! 
‘Eat Real Food’ was like the dream book to write.  I had already a cookbook, ‘Superfoods’, under my belt but this book was different.  Yes, it has about 40 + recipes, but it’s just so much more than the recipes in the book.  
I wrote this book to simplify healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle.  I put everything I know about nutrition into this book and made it simple to understand as nutrition, at least to me, can get quite deep, complicated and confusing!  
And then the last third of the book is all about the things in life that help me radiate unstoppable energy - from simple but effective yoga poses, breathing exercise, meditation and positive affirmations.  It just does NOT need to be difficult when it’s actually all very easy. 
What is your top healthy eating tip (the one you would pin to the fridge)?  
Do NOT stress about eating badly once and a while! (but get that green juice in when you can ;-)
What would your advice be to anyone who is feeling a little sluggish, slow or lacking in lustre? 
If you’re feeling low on energy then 9 times out of 10, it’s due to your diet and your sleep habits!  Sort out your pantry and fridge with whole foods, resist buying processed, packaged and sugar-filled foods and make sure you’re getting 6-8 hours sleep every night.
Also, look at your Vitamin D levels and herbal teas and supplement that can help with stress, energy AND sleep!  Pukka Herbs has a great selection of not only teas, but fantastic herbal supplements.  
You’re a certified yoga teacher (amongst other things!) Tell us a little about how you found yoga, and the affect it has had on your life? 
I found yoga when my first was born 18 years ago and haven’t looked back! I honestly don’t think I could live without yoga. Seriously. When I step onto my mat, I expose my strengths and weakness to myself which allows me to look at them deeper not only in my practice but in my life!
And within the course of development, you often find the greatest accomplishments. Yoga is so much for than the poses because within each post there lies the ability in yourself to bring about healing and awareness.  And so this may surprise a lot of people but I do one Dharma yoga class a week, two vinyasa flow classes, one Kundalini and one restorative.  I need them all! 
You often talk about the importance of breathing. We think it’s really important too which is why it forms part of the Stop, Inhale, Reset Scentered mantra. Tell us how you use breathing and the affect it can have on your day… 
I almost feel that breathing has saved my sanity so many times!  My favourite breathing exercise that I use even while I’m cycling around London is inhaling for 4 seconds and exhaling for 6 seconds. Simply making your exhale 1-2 seconds longer than your inhale has been shown to calm the nervous system and in turn, will calm your mind and moods! 
Other than yoga, what else do you do to stay in shape? 
Cycling plays a huge part in my life.  I really never drive in London - you will always find me on my bike where most days I’m cycling between 12- 15 miles a day. 
You’ve had four children and you are in fantastic shape! There’s a lot of pressure on new Mums to bounce back – what is your advice for doing it happily and healthily? 
Well, stress plays a huge part on one’s mental and emotional stability as well as the physical body. And I know being a mum and especially a new mum, can and will be stressful. So, I believe, it’s all about taking small moments of self-care out of your day, to keep that stress at bay. And that self-care could simply be a green juice, or positive affirmations or a quick yoga sequence.  But my advice is to get that small moment in, each and every day.
You were recently named one of the top holistic health icons in the world (congratulations!), and are a fantastic inspiration to many people. But who inspires you?  
Thank you so so much.  It was a huge honour.  My inspiration is Debbie Ford, who’s been my inspiration for years!  Sadly, she passed away, but I still listen to her amazing podcasts about living your dreams and not living with regret.  
She’s a true inspiration and I urge you guys to read more about her and listen to her podcasts.
julie montagu
Julie Montagu