Through the ’80’s and 90’s, before reality TV turned everyday people into cooking superstars and celebrities, Julie Stafford wrote Australia’s biggest and fastest selling healthy eating cookbook. Her ‘Taste of Life’ series of twenty-two best-selling cookbooks sold 2.2million copies in Australia, US, UK, and NZ. Julie’s life-changing direction from art teacher and farmer’s wife to healthy eating guru began after husband, Bruce, was diagnosed with life-threatening cancer at age 30. Having only just begun their love story, Julie wasn’t about to give up on it so easily. She researched the link between diet and disease and how diet might turn things in Bruce’s favor. Bruce beat the odds, living free from cancer for 22 years.
Julie became a regular presenter at food and lifestyle exhibitions, appearing on television teaching how to cut back bad fats, lower cholesterol, eat less sugar, shake less salt and choose a diet predominantly of fish, lean meats, nuts and seeds, fresh herbs, and organic fruits and vegetables. Long before ‘Juice Bars’ became the norm, many were already calling Julie, ‘Australia’s Juicing Queen’. She consulted with food and appliance manufacturers helping design and promote products for a new and growing health aware audience. Julie also wrote ‘Stepping Out’. Her best-selling motivational title put her on the lucrative speaker’s circuit where she fast earned a reputation for challenging audiences to embrace living beyond the comforts of their comfort zone. Julie has presented to over 1500 community and corporate audiences ranging in size from 5 to 5000.
When Julie’s life took an abrupt turn, at age 53, when Bruce lost his fight against mesothelioma (terminal asbestos cancer and a totally unrelated to his first cancer), Julie began a journey to discover who she could become in the next chapter of her life without the man she’d adored for more than 30 years always by her side. Inspired by a pesky seagull that came to live on her Point Lonsdale, beach-house balcony, just days after Bruce passed, Julie let go the safety of her comfortable life and traveled to Dubrovnik, Croatia, where she found her courage and capacity beyond grief and suddenly finding herself alone. Since then, she’s traveled thousands of kilometers, crossing several continents, including France, Italy, Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, America and Canada.
Julie’s journey, after Bruce passed, reminds us that no matter the paths we’re asked to walk in life, it’s when we boldly step off the paths that we walk every day, into the unknown, to want to know more, that we most often find the full of surprise wonders that are life’s greatest lessons and rewards, not only in what we see and experience, but in the spark of life ignited because of what we see and taste there.
Julie found the words to share the lessons of her journey in her new release, ‘The Seagull An Unexpected Love Story’. For every woman who has ever faced a life challenge, Julie’s memoir reminds us all that we have choices, and how we are braver than we imagine. It’s about the power of ‘reinvention’ and the ‘rewards’ when we don’t let age define us, but instead we let our spirit guide us.
Julie is thrilled to be exhibiting 18 of her new series of vibrant inks and acrylic seagull artworks… all inspired by Point Lonsdale seagulls, at Tussock Upstairs Gallery. Each seagull carries a piece of the wisdom of Julie’s extraordinary journey.
Today, Julie lives in Melbourne, Australia. When she’s not painting, Julie is an avid photographer and travel blogger. You’ll find her travel snaps and you can read her ‘insights on life’ in her travel blogs on her website www.juliestafford.com.au