Join me as I talk to Julie Nguyen, CEO of Methodology. Methodology is trusted by the highest performing busy professionals who want to outsource the thinking and labor behind healthy eating, so they can that invest that time and energy elsewhere. Because it’s difficult to not only figure out how to eat better in a way that supports your unique body, but also how to maintain it. According to their website,
We do this in three ways:
Methodology is here for you on your journey toward optimal wellness. You never have to feel alone or helpless again.
"You deserve to feel better than "okay."
"You deserve to live your dream life."
In this episode we discuss:
1. Her journey to eating chicken nuggets/fast food as an immigrant child to adulthood and being diagnosed with multiple medications and medical problems.
2. Her philosophy of FOOD AS MEDICINE where she used her diet to reverse and even eliminate her medical problems. She was able to get rid of her asthma with diet alone.
3. How you can start with clean eating principles to reverse your symptoms.
4. How her family changed their view of the American diet. They thought Americans had the right answers but found their diet was actually healthier than the average American diet.
5. How clean eating can be easy and delicious!!
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Welcome to ignite your power podcast. I'm so glad you're here. My name is Dr. Jenn, have you ever wanted to follow a dream? Or were too scared to do so? Do you have that nagging voice inside, or you're meant for something bigger, better, more exciting. I am here for you. I believe in women helping women is the most powerful force in the universe. I came from an Italian family where women were not supposed to get an education. But yet I listened to that nagging voice inside of me. And now I'm an OB GYN turned health coach. And I'm here to support, educate and empower you. On this podcast, we'll talk about health, relationships, money, mommy fails, you name it. I'll bring badass women experts to inspire you, to empower you to help you find that voice inside and define your power.
Well, Welcome ladies, I am so excited to bring a very special guest today to talk to us about her business. I'm honored today to interview Julie Nguyen. She is actually the CEO and the boss, the woman boss of methodology, which is an really innovative new company talking mostly about clean eating and trying to introduce us to this concept of cleaning and how it can actually be very convenient. And very good for you and also right to your door, which is amazing. So thank you very much. And welcome to well, woman MD.
Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here.
Well, I just want to start out first and just let's talk about you and your story. What brought you here, I read this wonderful post on your website about you being in love with chicken nuggets and as a child. So what made you just change your philosophy completely?
I'm Vietnamese American, and I grew up in Santa Ana, California, raised by a single mom and my mom from Vietnam. You know, in Vietnam, you can just eat anything, everything's healthy, everything's fresh. And so she came here, if you come here, as an immigrant, you don't really know that you have to learn how to eat healthy, you just buy food, like the way you did in Vietnam. And so she wanted me to fit in with American culture. And so instead of feeding me Vietnamese food, she took me to American fast food restaurants because like, that's what she knew American food was. And her perception as a Vietnamese person is Oh, Americans are so tall, like American food is way healthier than Vietnamese food, like that's what we should be eating. So I grew up eating a lot of Burger King, Taco Bell, McDonald's, all of that stuff every day. And a tasty food is eventually caught up to me to the point where by the time I was in my 20s, in college, and in my 20s, I was on almost a dozen prescription drugs as someone at that age, for everything from you know, I had to carry an inhaler with me everywhere I went, because I would constantly get asthma attacks. I had eczema all over my face and arms, you know, Acme drugs for anxiety. I mean, there's a really long list of things. So I just had tons of health problems. I was also very overweight at the time, too. So I just remember being in my 20s living in San Francisco at the time, I hadn't like gone to Stanford and was working at JPMorgan. And just wondered why everyone else my age was so much healthier than I was. I just thought it was a weird, like, why am I on so like, if you looked at my countertop with all the prescription drugs, it looked like it was like a senior citizens table thought number 22. So I kind of started to wonder, like, it doesn't make sense. Like, why am I so unhealthy? And I didn't, you know, I didn't really know, because all of the things that I suffered from I thought were genetic. Right. So you know, I thought asthma was genetic. I thought acne was because my skin was sensitive for whatever reason, and I had pimples.
So I was on all these drugs living in San Francisco. And I remember one day, I had the grocery market had run out of the fake soy tofu nuggets that I was eating that I would usually eat for lunch religiously every day, because I just thought they were tasty. And I was like, Oh, these are healthier. These are soy nuggets. And I was eating those every day. And then at some point, the grocery market ran out of them for some reason. So I had to, like eat something else for a few days or weeks. And then I remember that the eczema, you know, that I had, like, literally started to get better for the first time in forever, you know, in my life that I had known it and I was like, what, and I couldn't figure out what it wasn't. So I looked at like what has changed in my life and the only thing I identified with like, Oh, I guess I'm not eating the same lunch I've been eating every day for years anymore. And so then I started to just Google and do research and you know, learned about books and diet like whole 30 and and you know, just really started to learn about food for the first time in nutrition, because at that point, I thought that the only way food impacted us was how much we weighed. Like if I eat too much, or you know, be too many calories, I'll gain too much weight. And I thought that was it. Right, I had no idea that the quality of those calories mattered or you know where they were coming from. I had no idea food can impact skin like I did not think eczema was related to my diet at all right? Because the doctors that I went to for my eggs, but they never asked me about my diet, and they just gave me creams. So I had no idea that food could affect mental health, skin health, asthma, all these issues. So I had done reading on my own did an elimination diet cut out like dairy cut out processed foods. And literally within months, I started to notice all my health issues get better and it took years of experimenting you know, take things out reintroduce them take things out reintroduce them re to figure out what all my triggers were, but I ended up learning that dairy was the reason why I had asthma constantly. They're like two foods that turns out give me asthma attacks. One is wheat, and one is dairy. So is the craziest thing.
Once I stopped eating dairy during allergy season, when I used to be on prescription strength, allergy medicine, I no longer needed medicine at all. I no longer had seasonal allergies, like I no longer needed to keep an inhaler on me. So I know this is a long answer, but just kind of walking people through it. Because some people may have health issues like this, they think that there is no cure for. So I was just shocked. Because I was so I had suffered for so long, and no one helped me. Right, no one told me. And I got one of the best education in the country. And so it just made me step back and realize, wow, in this country, like you can have a really good education and still not know how to eat properly. Just imagine like, no one really knows how to eat properly. And that just really motivated me to want to start a company to help people with this problem. Because my life went from being you know, I was overweight, depressed, anxious, thinking, my life was just never going to be the way had dreamed it would be when I was a kid to, you know, literally being like happy, positive, healthy. And it was just like night and day, like I now feel like the world is my oyster life is awesome. And I just want everyone to be able to make that shift. So I wanted to start a company that would help people like learn how you know, and have easy access to foods that would nourish their bodies so that they can really live life at its highest quality like we suffer because we think there are no cures, we think it's normal. And we deserve to feel better than just okay, every day like we should feel vibrant and happy and energetic and confident. And that's what I want for women. So that's one of the reasons why I started methodology.
Yeah, I have a very similar story to yours. I am a doctor right, I should know better and know this information. And so I got very little nutrition education in medical school, and didn't really do much with my patients to teach them about nutrition and the connection between their disease and nutrition. And I started having problems with autoimmune issue Hashimoto's thyroiditis or an underactive thyroid, and I went to my doctor was like, What is wrong with me? Like I could sleep all day? I needed four cups of coffee in the afternoon. Like, I'm taking the medication like you told me, but I just feel terrible. Like, I feel terrible. And I had terrible breakouts and was my hair was falling out.
These are my friends, these physicians, and they're like, well, your labs look normal. So you know, like, there's not much else I can tell you. And so I had to do the same thing you did and just start digging and figuring out there must be an answer. There has to be a reason why I am not feeling well and got into taking integrative nutrition courses and reading a lot of books and finding out that my gut health my diet was really what was affecting me. And so I went dairy free and gluten free and have the same you know, and like instantly off of medication for anxiety off of hair, you know, all these hair products. I was spending a ton of money on all this fancy hair stuff saying oh, I must be shampoo, that's $30 That must be the answer to my problem. And ultimately figuring out it was just gut health and my diet that I had to change as well. What did your mom think about this journey? Because I would be so curious to know what your mom like, what is this lady doing over here? Like what did she think? Because she had the answer all along her own.
It's crazy. My mom feels so guilty, which I try to tell her all the time. It's not you. Felt like no one in this country knows how to eat properly, right? Like, and two. It's been funny, it took her a while she saw me switch my diet. And literally, I it was only until maybe the last three years, I was able to convince her to finally change her diet as well. Like she just thought my diet was extreme the way that I was avoiding dairy. So she finally made the change herself, and then was just shocked to learn that a lot of the things that she suffered from finally went away. But it's just yeah, it just shows that like, you know, it's really hard to change your perspective on things that are so ingrained, especially like with things like food. If you've been eating something your whole life, it's kind of, yeah, it's hard to accept the idea that like something that you have been fed into your child is making you sick.
Yeah, and on some cultures, food is the center of their family, right? That's most of their there are cultures where that you're getting together every single event and food is the center of it. So you can imagine that it would be difficult, I would imagine, I don't know much about your cultural. Imagine though it's related around food too, and sort of having to change people's perspective on what it means, especially if they had their own children that are starting to eat American diet, and the convenience is probably quite a change as well for them. Right?
Yeah, definitely. Food is a big deal to Vietnamese people.
We love Yeah, cooking, eating fresh food. I mean, fortunately, the beautiful interesting thing is with Vietnamese food, we don't actually use dairy or we, you know, hardly anything, right? So mostly coconut milk based rice based. So for us, thankfully for me to make this switch, I can still eat like a ton of Vietnamese food. And it's really easy to be dairy and gluten free with it. So that's been an easy choice.
Yes, my maiden name or my mom's name is Raimondo. So we're Italian. But now I figured it out. Just take some time. So you created this company methodology. And and I'm assuming that the reason why is to make it convenient. Make it simple for people because some people the obstacle of starting is the hardest part about clean eating, like, what do I even start? What do I do at a grocery store? How do I figure this out? So you basically have taking that out of the picture for people because you literally like, this is what you should eat? And it's coming to your door. That's great.
Yeah, yeah, that's exactly it. Because before we started methodology, I had actually started in nutrition education company called the body test. And what I learned through that experience, and why I pivoted was once I got the education to people, so they finally knew, okay, this is what I should eat. And this is what I shouldn't, they weren't able to stick with it long term because of how much work it is on an ongoing basis, both cognitively you know, shopping, cooking, cleaning up, they couldn't stick with it. So then I realized, okay, education is one piece of it, but we have to solve for the convenience and ease of use, so that people can actually do this over the long term, I want people to just make a permanent change, make it a lifestyle, basically. So that's what methodology is, and and the beauty of methodology, frankly, is, technically you don't need to learn the minutiae of nutrition, you can just trust us. And if it's on our website, you know, that we've already obsessed over making sure doesn't have processed ingredients and, and it's very transparent about the ingredient because people have different food sensitivities. Because, you know, I can't eat wheat, but a lot of people tolerate whole whole wheat and do really well with it, right. So the ingredients are there so people can say what they what their food sensitivities are. And those ingredients get flagged on the menu for them and register, you know, kind of like warn them, like Watch out this as we watch this as peanuts or whatever it is, because we take food sensitivities really seriously. So we built you know, custom software and a custom website to just make the entire shopping experience really targeted towards using food and medicine. So yeah, it makes it it makes it easy. And then Frankly, I think another big part of our brand is we have to make it delicious. There are a lot of healthy meal prep companies out there and I tried a bunch before I started methodology. And when the food doesn't taste good, you're also not going to stick with it. So even if someone's delivering something to you, but you don't look forward to eating it of course you're going to drop off and that's what I you know, it
saddens me to see so many people drop out of their, you know, healthy eating diets because they're not able to figure out like the taking is part of it and they're like life is short. You know, I can't eat food that tastes like this forever. They would just rather frankly, suffer you know, from being you know, overweight or whatever health issues then like eat on tasty foods. So a big part of our brand is we really lean into flavor and Quality. So it should taste as good as restaurant quality food is one of the things that we do differently. That needs to taste as good as restaurant quality food, even though it's healthy. So, like, I want customers to eat our food and immediately email us and say like, wait, like, it's actually good for me, because they just can't believe how tasty it is. So I think, yeah, for people to stick with something long term, you know, it needs to be easy, but it also needs to be delicious.
Yeah, they need to know that it's taste that clean eating can be good tasting, right? You're, you're establishing good habits for them as well. If they get that and then they go and make a meal on thanksgiving for their family that had similar ingredients, then you know that they understand the concept of why they're doing that. And you guys are very conscious for the environment, you have BPA free plastics or glass. So you're caring a lot about the environment around you as well, which I think is fantastic.
Yeah, before COVID, we had a closed loop supply chain, and we're working on getting that live again. But you know, the longer medium to long term goal for our business is to be as close to zero waste as possible, where the glass jars are being reused. The cute, you know, we want to move to cooler bags that are being reused, because we're looking for that customer who wants to make as part of their lifestyle and use us as a partner in their health over the long term. Hmm.
Yeah, I'm sure COVID has changed quite a few people's eating principles as well. I mean, they probably find places like you fantastic. Because when we couldn't get out and do things, especially in California, where you live, it's much more restrictive on restaurants and things that you can do at this point. So having that availability, it must have been fantastic during this time as well.
Yeah, we definitely saw a huge uptick, people care. I feel like people were in one of two groups and COVID hit, they either really wanted to be healthy because they wanted to make sure their immune systems were strong, or they were just so stressed out in the process. They went really unhealthy. So we scooped up a lot of the health conscious people. And then yeah, people are working from home way more so using us for work lunches, when maybe they used to get catered lunches at work. So yeah, we've seen a nice uptick, which is great.
And I saw also with your company, you have a portion that goes to science to learn about nutrition science. Can you tell me a little more about that?
Yeah, so we do we collaborate currently with Stanford University. We did one study with Dr. Christopher Gardner there. He's a professor of medicine. And we collaborated in the study with people who are either diabetic or pre diabetic. And we provided the food for the study to test a keto versus a Mediterranean diet. And both were high quality versions of the diets like versions made with Whole Foods. Right. And this is really exciting for Christopher, because compliance is a huge issue in nutrition studies, typically in a nutrition study. They tell participants what to eat. And then participants go off on their own and they do the meal prep, and they do the cooking. And as a scientist he has no, it's just people really aren't that compliant. They they obviously are tracking what people are eating, but the compliance rate is low, because it's a lot of work, right? So having us take care of the food for the study gives them a lot more confidence in the data they're collecting, right? Because they're really trying to measure the differences in these diets. And that data is going to be more reliable. And you know, he knows people are actually eating keto, right, people are actually eating Mediterranean because his team work with our team on designing the menu to make sure it's exactly what he wanted participants to eat. So studies like this are expensive, we donated the food right on and because we want to help further our learnings in nutrition. And it's exciting. It's exciting for me personally, because I just think it's it's so important that we figure out all the different ways foods affect our bodies, and it's expensive to learn these kinds of things, and of our company can help contribute to that, then that's really rewarding for us.
Yeah, well, it basically backs up What you said was food as medicine. So if you can find out that that pre diabetic eats clean, it does not become diabetic, how amazing would that be? I mean, that's a very nice solution to the, you know, very expensive diabetes drugs that are out there. So if you know, if you're the person who's in the pre diabetic category, this would be a fantastic thing to learn that maybe if you did these, you know, a Mediterranean diet, you would never have to deal with diabetes, because diabetes is a very difficult disease to deal with. When you have it as a patient. It's, it's hard. It's hard to make those choices, every single thing you put in your body, it matters. So I think I reward you I think that's fantastic that you're interested in trying to see how you can really truly treat food as medicine.
Yeah, that's that's that's our tagline and something that we take really seriously because of the experience that I shared. I I would just love to see as many people as possible, get off meds and and solve the root cause of a lot of their health. issues. And a lot of issues. Not all, but a lot of health problems are caused by diet.
That's what I do in my I have a health coaching business. That's what this is. So we talk a lot about hormones and different things like PCs, and endometriosis and thyroid problems and what we can do to treat to use food as medicine instead. And hopefully get people off of medication or help them balance their hormones. They don't have to be an anxiety medicine and do exactly what you're saying is trying to use it as a resource. I mean, it's just a matter of more people being aware and talking about these issues and talking about how food makes the difference and how we can still be happy and be in our family gatherings and still enjoy ourselves. But you know, ultimately feel better. Because there would be it would be much nicer world if we didn't have so much people that are so stressed out right now about what's going on. And then they could basically feel a little bit better in their own skin.
Yeah, exactly. It's, I see why it seems impossible to make the transition to healthy eating because I was an unhealthy eater myself, I literally lived on frozen pizza as in my 20s and chips, and loved and was very addicted to those foods. But you know, yeah, once you taste the good life, I realized now like I would definitely rather just be in a good mood and fit my clothes every day then eat chips.
So for people that are not ready to make the plunge to do a meal plan with you, what are your some suggestions for cleaning? And they can do starting at their house? Like what could they just basically start with and then there'll be so hooked to it, they'll want to, you know, get on a meal plan or get on a meal delivery service like you have?
Yeah, I mean, I think that one of the biggest things, one of the highest leverage things people can do is just start by cleaning out their fridge and pantry, and not buying those things home. For me personally, that was what gave me like a huge improvement in my health, right? Because we cannot rely on discipline we are we are in the output of our environments. And we can't control what's out there. But we can control what's in our homes. So, you know, my advice would be if you if you can't, if you're not ready to start meal prep, or you just want to see what it would be like to eat a little bit healthier. Just stop buying chips, ice cream, crackers, those kinds of things home clean, you know, clean out the pantry and fridge, try that for a couple of weeks and see how you feel just by eating fewer of those things. And you don't have to cut them out completely. Maybe on the weekend, you want it by just what you're going to eat for that one meal, and then toss the rest just but just don't keep it in your house. So because I think there's huge improvements, we can feel better within just a couple days of removing processed foods and you'll instantly feel like you're in a better mood, less bloated, less tired during the day. And that will build a virtuous cycle that will make you want to do more so on I think that that's kind of my number one recommendation because like I'm not disciplined, like I don't buy I run this business and this is my passion. I don't buy chips, ice cream, any of that stuff home because if I did, I would literally eat it constantly. So I'm not where I am because I'm a disciplined person I am where I am. Because, you know, I realized that the root cause of me over eating chips is just being surrounded by them. So if you just make the decision once a week when you grocery shop to not buy those foods, you save yourself hundreds of decisions throughout the week, when you're tempted by you would be tempted by those chips.
So yeah, small steps right correctly. If
you do one thing, just stop buying those things home for a couple of weeks and see what happened. Especially skin. I mean skin clears up fairly quick when you get rid of the processed foods. It's amazing how many clients will say I have eczema patches. I have cystic acne, I'm like just give it to the process food and within a couple days you're going to notice things start to clear up it's quickly how do you see skin changes? For sure.
Yeah, exactly. So yeah, skin is what motivates you. I mean, we all are motivated by different things. Some of us really want to lose weight some of us really want to get rid of the acne whatever it is find what motivates you and just remember that as your why when we get hard and you maybe want to eat pizza because that's that's kind of what I had to do what I rather like right now I'm you know I'm on camera all the time with the kind of job I have. So yeah, tempting when I hang out with my dad and I'm like there's cheese on the table because he's obsessed with cheese. I read for it. I think to myself what I rather have the cheese or do I want to make sure that when I'm on camera, telling people about the benefits of healthy eating, I don't have acne on my face. And that's a very personal why other people might not care about that at all. So I think if you take the time to really think about what really matters to you that you really value and tie that to the decision and the trade off. It really helps to do that when you're in caught in those moments?
What is the future for your company? What are you guys looking to do from here?
Right now we're focused in the short term, I'm just continuing to make our menu stronger. So we're bringing on tons of really amazing chefs who were previously at Michelin starred restaurants. And I really want to create food that that that award winning level just to show every chef and President America, that healthy food can be as good as unhealthy food as tasty, because I think that once we do that other chefs are going to start to pay attention and start to hopefully adjust their menu design and start to incorporate a lot of the things that we do. So we I really want us to be at the leaders of innovation from a menu design and culinary perspective, really pushing that envelope on how delicious food can taste, even when it's using whole unprocessed ingredients. So in the short term, just really want to continue to level up the food. I know I get questions all the time about when we're going to expand nationally, it's on the radar. But you know, it's I don't have any set plans yet. Right now. I'm just very head down on everyone in the West Coast, I want to make sure their experience continues to get better and better every month.
So where can people find you?
And you can go to our websites subscribe. It's www go methodology calm. And we're also on Instagram at go methodology. So you can follow us sometimes we'll link up there too. If you don't live in our delivery zone, we have a pretty awesome pantry that we're building out where we ship things like drink mixes nationwide. So those things move pretty well if you aren't in our delivery zone. But yeah, I think follow us on Instagram. That's the best way to learn more. Sometimes people are scared to try a subscription service. So it might, you know, be nice to follow for a while and see what our food is like see if your values align with ours and it feels like a good fit, then take the plunge.
Well, thank you so much for joining us today for this interview. I appreciate it. It's so important for people to see how you can really change your life. Right, you can change the way you think about food, your relationship with food and ultimately end up being a CEO boss over here. Well, thank you very much. And I appreciate it. And I hope you enjoy the rest of your afternoon.
Thanks for having me.
Wow, that episode one five. So quick. If you like this podcast, please subscribe and leave me a rating on whatever platform that you are listening on. If it's Google or Apple, Spotify, I heart whichever platform I would love to hear from you. I'm always trying to bring new topics and new experts on so I would love to hear if you have a particular topic that you want to leave me a message. So if you want to hear more about my business or more about women's holistic options, please check me out at well women md.com and that's WELLWOMANMD.com or you can find me on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest. And please let me know if there's something you want to hear about. I'm happy to bring that topic or an expert or if you know an expert that you want to hear from, let me know and I'll contact them. Thank you again.