Dallas local Julie Fox has the perfect products for your pantry, golf bag and well-being.
More than likely, there’s been a time in almost everyone’s life that a good, healthy diet was sought after. Whether it was some sort of New Year’s resolution, encouraged by a doctor, or in conjunction with your fitness routine. However, maintaining those habits aren’t always easy with the course of today’s society. If that’s the case for you, local entrepreneur – and golf enthusiast – Julie Fox may have a solution. And even if that’s not the case, Mrs. Fox has some “real” products desirable for just about everyone.
Julie and her husband, Mike, have been Dallas/Fort Worth residents for the last eight years. As fans of the game of golf, this area of living has been wonderful for them. Since their arrival in 2008, the two immediately immersed themselves in the North Texas golf culture – you can find them among the crowds whenever a professional golf event rolls into town, or out on the links enjoying the game at TPC Four Seasons in Las Colinas. The last eight years have been smooth sailing for this golfing duo, but late last year, something occurred that would alter their lives for good.
In December 2015, Mike was diagnosed with Barrett’s Esophagus (BE), a condition that affects the normal tissue lining of the esophagus, in where tissue in the esophagus is replaced by tissue similar to the intestinal lining. There is no direct cure for the condition, and if it is not well maintained, there are possibilities of contracting much more serious health issues down the road, such as esophageal adenocarcinoma, a form of esophageal cancer.
Treatment for BE involves the slowing of the tissue development, best done by dietary and lifestyle changes. So, as someone who had been passionate about good food and good health for two decades, Julie knew what she had to do when stepping in and assisting her husband. Almost immediately after his diagnosis, the couple sat down and discussed the steps they’d need to take in ensuring progression of BE would not occur.
For Mike, a serious and solid diet alteration was essential. He needed to eliminate fatty foods, caffeine, spicy foods and anything else that promoted an unhealthy lifestyle. So the Foxes did just that. The elimination of grains, dairy and processed food immediately took place, and they went on a Paleolithic diet. Not only did they modify the products they bought and the meals they cooked, but Julie also took the initiative to begin creating her very own meals for Mike. Her very own creations (that solely began as an attempt to better her husband’s health) were the genesis of what would become a successful health-food brand, Julie’s Real.
THE REAL DEAL
To start, Julie developed two products – almond and cashew butters and grain-free granolas – that use “100 percent all-natural, good-for-you ingredients.” Each of Julie’s Real tasty treats is crafted in small batches with real vanilla beans and are sweetened with a touch of real honey. Each product is also paleo-friendly and completely gluten free.
But how does something so precise and fulfilling just come about? Cooking has always been a hobby of Julie’s; however, her cooking is a little different from the average person’s. Unlike most people, following a recipe is not in her interest – she prefers creating her own recipes. So creating Julie’s Real was a natural thing for her.
“She’s always been a really good cook,” Mike said. “If we ever have people over at our house, they always rave about it for days. She loves cooking but she especially loves taking care of people. So it’s only natural she created this in attempt to take care of me [and his health condition].”
And while Mike began to see immediate health improvements from his new diet (and steady doses of the delicious nut butters and granola), Julie didn’t simply stop at just taking care of her husband. They soon began to realize that Mike wasn’t the only one who could benefit from Julie’s new concoctions – they were actually delicious! Julie discovered that she could produce these simple, small-scale snacks with legitimate health benefits that tasted as good – if not better – than the highly processed products already on the market.
The nut butters come in four different flavor combinations – Cacao Espresso Almond Butter, Cinnamon Vanilla Bean Almond Butter, Cinnamon Vanilla Bean Cashew Butter and Coconut Vanilla Bean Cashew Butter – and the grain-free granola comes in two – Cacao Coconut and Cinnamon Vanilla Bean.
A PRODUCT SET APART
For most of us, it’s easy to go down the aisles of a grocery store and toss seemingly “healthy” items into the cart. However, for the Foxes and those alike, a thorough examination of a label is an everyday routine. Those Zone and Cliff bars that were always Mike’s go-to snack are now no longer options for him, given his condition; they’ve been replaced with something he knows he can trust, and what better way to trust a product than knowing it’s been made to precisely cater to his specific needs?
“When you actually read labels and look at what’s in the foods you eat, it’s truly crazy” Julie said. “So when you look at the labeling [on Julie’s Real], and see just a small handful of ingredients, you can see that what you’re putting in your body is limited and trust that it’s so good for you.”
Anyone who follows the paleo or gluten-free diet can probably attest to the struggles of finding that perfect, clean and healthy snack. Sure, carrot sticks and apples are good and good for you, but they aren’t always easy to bring along with you, especially if you’re always on the go, or love to golf, like Julie and Mike do. That quickly became a goal of Julie’s Real, to not only create quality, healthy products without a single processed ingredient, but to make them easy to integrate into the on-the-go lifestyle of the modern individual.
Julie believes that diet-minded people aren’t the only ones who love the products, however. Sure, it is easy for Julie’s Real to appeal to those who need non-grain/non-dairy/non-processed food options to avoid serious health problems, but Julie wants her products to appeal to those looking for great taste as well. And judging from early returns, she has accomplished that goal.
You don’t have to be health-conscious to love her products. However, it is reassuring to know that it’s even better for you than the stuff you might already love, plus it tastes just as good.
The biggest difference that sets Julie’s Real apart from your everyday granolas and butters is strictly the ingredients. It’s all clean, healthy and unprocessed. And so far, retail markets throughout seven states have picked up what Julie is laying down. The way her business has organically grown is a story that would make Horatio Alger proud – hard work, personal dedication and a quality product. And that commitment has helped her products find their way into the hands of people that Julie and Mike have often idolized.
A PGA PHENOMENON
Retail markets aren’t the only ones interested in what Julie’s Real has to offer. Did we mention the Foxes love to golf? Yes, a few times. But what we haven’t mentioned is how Julie has been able to marry her love for golf and her passion for her all-natural products. As her products gained popularity with retailers in the region, she embarked on another endeavor – getting her health-conscious snacks into the hands – and golf bags – of the guys on the PGA Tour.
One of the first bags Julie’s Real products ended up in was owned by none other than local phenom Jordan Spieth. By chance, Fox and Spieth are both clients of Damon Goddard and AMPD Golf Fitness in Dallas. Julie introduced her products to Goddard, who then introduced them to Spieth, and, as she had hoped, the two gave her rave reviews. Goddard even began implementing the nut butters and granolas as parts of the nutrition plan he builds for his golf clients.
“Julie’s Real has been the perfect complement to all of our players’ on-course nutrition,” Goddard said. “I am a firm believer in putting the highest quality of nutrition in our athletes in order to help and sustain high performance levels. Julie’s Real needs to be a staple in everyone’s golf bag for every round!”
It didn’t stop at Spieth. In the past year, Julie has been around the country at PGA Tour stops, getting Julie’s Real products in the hands of as many players as possible. The experience has been a dream come true for Julie. As a fan, she has been able to meet many of the players she and her husband watched on television and looked up to, but the even more thrilling moment comes when she discovers many of those same players are big fans of her as well.
In July, Julie and Mike were at the PGA Championship at Baltusrol when something occurred of which they could have never dreamed. This tournament was much different than most her and her husband attended – she was pulled inside the ropes during one of the practice rounds by James Hahn and his caddy, Mark Urbanek.
Then to add to the excitement, Jimmy Walker was the winner of the PGA Championship. The excitement from Julie on this win stems from the fact Andy Sanders – Jimmy Walker’s caddy – has been wearing her logo on the collar of his shirt since the U.S. Open at Oakmont. When Walker putted out for victory on 18 a few days later, Julie shot Andy a quick text message of congratulations. He texted her back the next day.
His text read, “Thanks so much Julie! Had the energy we needed for 36 in a major on Sunday, thanks to you!”
Julie’s Real has shown up on Tour players’ Instagram accounts, Twitter feeds, and even on television. And at the end of September, Julie’s Real made its biggest jump – to the international stage at the Ryder Cup. Right after the Top 8 for Team USA were locked in for the Ryder Cup, Julie received an e-mail from the PGA of America requesting some of her product for Team USA (at the request of the players, of course). Julie’s Real is now going global.
ONLY JUST BEGUN
Not even a whole year has passed since the Foxes first received the news of Mike’s health, which brought a sudden change to their lives in an instant. Yet, that change of lifestyle they’ve been conquering has brought them a sense of hope that with precise health choices, a little bit of determination and a lot of Julie’s Real, the opportunities are endless.
“When something begins the way this did – I was really just wanting to make something that would be good for Mike and that’d he’d enjoy – it creates a lot of passion for what you do,” Julie said. “So, watching it grow and seeing people get excited for it like I am is just great.”
The growth of Julie’s Real in such a short amount of time was something the both of them were optimistic about from the beginning. And still, today, you can see in the way the couple talks about the products, just how dedicated they are to bringing healthy alternatives to help change peoples’ lives. Although this opportunity started as a challenge in a tough time, the way they both rose to the occasion in attempt to not only better themselves but also others, is a true testament to the character behind Julie’s Real. There’s not much more you can ask for when trusting in a product.