How a Healthy, Thriving Startup Was Born From Julie Nguyen’s Clean Food Cure

During her 20s, Julie Nguyen was a regular at the drive-thru. Fast food like hamburgers and chicken nuggets dominated her diet.

Eventually, that routine began to take a toll on her health. She struggled with bouts of asthma, eczema, and weight gain. Then one day her local grocery store was out of the chicken nuggets that had become a staple in her freezer. Magically, her eczema improved. She began to theorize that perhaps her diet was the true cause of many of her illnesses. She tried eating the chicken nuggets again and soon the eczema flared back up.

Julie then spent the next six years researching nutrition science, testing numerous diets, and working with nutritionists and personal trainers to get a better understanding of how food affected her body. In the process, she cured all of the health problems that she had suffered from for years.

The experience led Julie to found Methodology, a premium food delivery service that uses only nutrient dense, whole foods. All ingredients are sustainable, local, and organic. There’s no refined sugar, gluten, dairy, canola oil, chemicals, or preservatives.



We recently sat down to chat with Julie about her path to founding Methodology and how she draws inspiration from her customers.

As a kid, what did you hope to be when you grew up?

I was obsessed with The Today Show. Katie Couric was my idol. I watched Today every day for years, so I wanted to be a newscaster. By high school, I kind of dropped that idea.

I took the safe path and studied economics at Stanford.

Where do you find inspiration?

I love interacting with our customers. I get in our customer service queue for at least four hours a week.

Just this morning I saw an email from a woman who has been using our service and doing an exercise bootcamp for about a month. She’s lost 15 pounds and says she’s more confident and healthier than she’s ever felt. To her, it feels like a real miracle.

I wrote her back to say, “You deserve this. You are here because you have taken the time to really love and care for yourself. All of these awesome feelings you have, this is the way it’s supposed to be.”

I think it’s really important to remind myself why I do this every day. It’s for the customer.

What is one thing you wish you could go back in time and tell yourself?

I wish I could go back to myself as a kid and teach myself about food. I was sick for so long and it wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I learned that real food heals. I wouldn’t have had to suffer for so long.

But, if I didn’t suffer, I may have followed a different path. It led me to Methodology. At the same time, that suffering gives me the empathy to do what I do today so well. When my clients come to me, I’m not some girl who has been fit and healthy her whole life. I know their pain.

What’s something you had to learn the hard way?

I had never managed non-knowledge workers before. Everything I had learned working at J.P. Morgan and Lumosity prepared me pretty well, but I realized I needed a new tool kit.

For example, my team doesn’t read emails. I used to be an expert at motivating my team and keeping them aligned digitally. Now, I have to be a master of the whiteboard.

You need to understand the principles of what works for you as a leader. This helps you think about the best tools to use when you find yourself in a new context.

What’s the one thing everyone should know about food?

Just eat real food. If you do that, you don’t need to know anything else about food.

Real is unprocessed — you haven’t taken away anything good from it and you haven’t added anything bad.

FirstMark is a proud investor in Methodology, a meal delivery service that offers clean, ultra-nourishing, personalized meals for people who love food and want to achieve optimal wellness. Meals start at $14 each. For more information, visit http://www.gomethodology.com/.

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