What a privilege to have had the opportunity to connect with Julie Beyer, owner of For The Love of Food. She’s most known for her raw chocolate and GLOWBall truffles, which are gaining enormous popularity. Most recently, Erin Ireland named Julie’s GLOWBalls as one of her Top 5 Christmas Treats in Vancouver. That is a damn good nod if you are in the food business!
I had an opportunity to meet Julie at her commercial kitchen space where I sampled her products which are especially great for those with sugar intolerances. We sat down and talked raw foods, self care, glowing from within, and Julie’s journey to health and to entrepreneurship.
Tell us about yourself and your business?
I call myself an “accidental entrepreneur” as I never thought I would get into business particularly in a food-based business!
My mother passed away when I was 12 years old from cancer. My mother is part of the reason why I started this business, actually. So, I was raised by my father and two older brothers. Growing up, we didn’t exactly eat nutritiously. In fact, I ate cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner! (laughs). I was known for my lack of cooking skills for a very long time.
Growing up, I was more interested in world issues and I wanted to make changes in food from a political and economic standpoint. I went on an exchange program to France which changed my life and my perspective of food – the flavors and smells intrigued me. I realized then that eating is artistic and that is where my love of cooking and food began to grow. I then volunteered in small organic farms in Turkey – which changed my life and perspective on food again! I decided I wanted to be more ethical with my food choices when I saw the roots of where food came from.
Unfortunately, I got very ill when I returned from my travels. The cause was unknown but I likely picked something up while travelling. At 22 years of age and after consulting with various naturopaths, I changed my diet and focused on healing in more a holistic way I continued to purse my interest in nutrition while I studied in university. Because my diet was so restricted and because it was difficult to dine out, I had to cook for myself all the time so I started exploring how to make delicious food with the limited ingredients I could eat. I explored using my intuition and senses and creating healthy delicious dishes became an artistic passion. I actually thought I invented “cashew cream”! (laughs).
How did the business come about?
It was a difficult time for me as socially. I couldn’t go out to eat with friends. So I went to yoga for answers and spirituality. Someone said to me “sometimes your greatest challenge can be your greatest gift”. So, I decided to go on a healing journey of loving food. I asked myself, how can I bring this into my life? I started cooking for friends even though I didn’t know what it tasted like because of my food restrictions. I just focused on the scents and inspiration. It was a full circle moment when friends love what I was cooking and encouraged me to explore my interest in food and nutrition. I actually I laughed it off, because for so long I was known as the one who was the most incompetent in the kitchen.
After finishing university I was unsure of what direction to take. About 8 months later, my dad found me a life coach and after our first session I realized deep down inside I wanted to start my own business (though I was very scared!) I then began to teach others to eat healthy and that’s when it all started. I built my company through networking events, referrals and Facebook. About 1 1/2 years into it I got honest and decide to commit to it.
My product line started slowly. Can you believe I loved cereal and milk so much growing up that I decided to make my own cereal and sell it (laughs)? So, I created my “Mint Chocolate Chip GLOWnola”. I sold my raw granola in ziplock bags (laughs). I couldn’t believe it when I got an order for 10 people.
After I returned from a yoga retreat, I was back in Vancouver and within one week everything came together for me grow my food production business and take it more seriously:– a commercial kitchen space opened up that came with a commercial dehydrator, a manager from a local grocery store called me because they were interested in selling my products and I got the organic ingredients I needed for a great price from a restaurant that was closing down.
Let’s talk about “Get The Glow” – unleashing your natural inner and outer glow, which is the tag line of your website. Tell us more about that?
It came from my transition to health living. People kept asking me about how I got my glow – my face, hair and general health. Prior to eating healthfully no one had asked me that question. The only thing that was different about me was my diet!
Every cell from our body comes from food. Our bodies are like a car. You need specific parts to build that car – an engine, spark plugs, gears, etc. People just don’t make that connection. I think everyone deserves to feel good and look good. So, I include the name ‘GLOW’ in all my products to let people know that when you nourish your body well your natural GLOW will naturally shine through.
Why raw foods?
I’m not a raw foodist although I eat raw through my diet by juicing, smoothies, sprouts and salads. I just love raw for desserts. Because they avoid the use of flour which imbalances blood sugar and they are based on sprouted nuts, seeds and sometimes fruits which are high in nutrients. (I changed this because I don’t use a lot of fruit in my product line J
What are your top three favourite ingredients to work with/use and why?
Green Stevia – it glycemic zero, totally natural and magical for baking. Green Stevia is not processed like commercial white stevia.
Lucuma – a superfood powder that give a taste of nuttiness and cream. It is loaded with beta carotene and B vitamins.
Zeylanicum Cinnamon – a true form of cinnamon that helps lower blood sugar, contains the mineral chromium and it is much more superior to store-bought cinnamon from a health perspective.
How important is it for you to know the source of your ingredients and how involved are you in that process?
I am very particular where I source the ingredients for my products from. Sometimes you have to work with reality and a supplier may be out of something and you have to go elsewhere. When I talk to suppliers, I can tell where their passions are. I try to develop good relationships with my suppliers. I want to be inspired to work with them. Companies that go above and beyond to be sustainable are very important to me.
You were a recipe contributor to “IBS For Dummies”. Tell us about how that came about?
It fell on my lap actually. I just started my business and I was offered the opportunity to contribute some recipes. It was a sign that I was on the right path. I actually created a festive stuffing recipe that incorporated brown rice protein in it because that was one of the few things I could eat at the time! It is very filling.
Do you have any health or lifestyle rituals?
I prioritize all the time specifically with self care and food. I juice at least three times per week. And, I take a variety of supplements
I try to meditate for 20 minutes as it helps to build awareness. I try to use a couple of methods but primarily through self-observation and forgiveness, often called the Vipassana and Metta method’s of meditation.
Juicing or Smoothies?
Both! I juice three times per week. In the fall/winter I choose carrots, beets, celery, ginger and apple and in the summer, I choose more green juices.
As for smoothies my favorites are blueberries, banana, hemp seeds, lucuma, coconut water, maca, cholera, raw vanilla bean powder and avocado. As these foods are better to digest, they are better for your skin. That’s where the glow comes from!
What would we find in your fridge on a weekly basis?
I use apple cider vinegar for salads and digestion. Flax seed oil for my Omega’s with I love to put on salads. Raw cashews and tahini make for a raw Caesar dressing. Miso by the tub for a warming soup. Quinoa of course! And ,hummus, both homemade and bought (love Yummus brand)
How do you find balance in your life especially since you are now a business owner?
I’ve always been interested in this question. I believe we can live in a capacity to pursue our passions and not get burnt out. Most importantly, I have learned to develop a relationship with stress, I use to put pressure on myself for my life to look a certain way and only work a certain number of hours per week and do so many yoga classes etc. What has worked best for me is to cultivate more compassion and love towards myself when I feel overwhelmed.
Because I work so many hours, I make work fun as much as possible with music, laughter, and finding humour in the many mistakes and challenges that come up. I have learned that I best ride with overwhelm, stress and negative emotions by being real AND compassionate with myself. It can be very transformative (when I remember to do it!) to talk to myself as a small child and offer as much reassurance and understanding as possible.
Experiencing lots of stress and overwhelm has also allowed me to see that there are many other entrepreneurs and people launching projects or raising kids that are also totally overworked and stressed. My ‘suffering’ has inspired me to be more compassionate and understanding towards others who are also stressed. I try to remember to always ask myself what I can to be of support to others who I meet who may need support. I find there is almost always something I can offer whether it’s kind words, encouragement, advice, a connection, or a piece of chocolate 😉 etc.
I have noticed that what you put out into the world come back to you – 100 times better with effortlessness and ease. I believe that one of the key ways to decrease stress in our society is to work more collaboratively and to truly take a genuine action-oriented interest others wellbeing and initiatives to make the world a better place. Next time you are in overwhelm and wish you had more money, more contacts, more customers, more promotion, people who listened to you more whatever it is
Try (without ANY expectation of getting anything in return) going out of your way to buy your groceries at a local business your believe in who likely also needs more cashflow; try introducing two people you think could benefit from knowing each other; recommend a business you believe in to people in your network who could benefit from their services; donate time or money or promote a cause you believe in; listen as deeply and attentively as possible to everyone you speak with. Make it a practice to do give what you most feel overwhelmed and stressed by to as many people as you can and notice what happens.
Julie has also been nominated for Vancouver Creatives Photography portfolio’s “20 of the most contributive business founders and individuals to Vancouver’s unique high-quality lifestyle for the food industry category. The project is specifically focused on individuals who are making a positive impact in the community and nominees who are voted top in their category will be featured in a photography portfolio.
You can help Julie out by voting here: http://vnbphoto.com/vancouver-
Truly, Julie Beyer is one of the warmest, most authentic people I have met. She breathes exactly what she speaks. If you have the chance to meet her, take it! You can find Julie Beyer’s products all across the lower mainland of Vancouver. A perfect gift for someone you love over Valentine’s Day (and without the guilt)!