Healthy eating can feel like a task some days, no matter how on top of your fitness you may be. It is a mental game, as well as a physical one. But we all have those days where we order-in a cheeseburger or skip our workout. Those days are mentally taxing, and you feel defeated by cravings or a lack of motivation. But Julie Peláez and Jo Schaalman of The Conscious Cleanse have a different approach to those slip-ups.
“If you have a slip-up, we celebrate that, and ask ‘what did you learn?’” Schaalman remarks. “Come to us and learn how you thrive the most and what food makes you thrive.”
The Conscious Cleanse is all about remodeling the way you look at healthy living. Everybody is different, so everybody needs a different plan catered and customizable to their personal food needs. Schaalman and Peláez focus on mantras of being gentle to your body while providing the best fuel for a happy and full food experience.
The duo’s most recent cookbook, The Conscious Cleanse Cookbook, provides readers with the tools and easy recipes to create healthy and satisfying, flavorful meals. Recipes stem from their different programs such as the 80/20 plan, which highlights and accepts 20% of the time not following the cleanse, or their low sugar program, focusing on eliminating natural sweeteners for those with sugar sensitivities.
“It’s not about just eating really good food and trying to improve your health, which is great,” Schaalman says, “But if you feel your best, what can you do and who can you be in the world? And that’s a pretty exciting game to play.”
As a college senior who was tired of takeout, I put The Conscious Cleanse to the test. Together with my roommates, I set out to make three recipes from the cookbook in one night. All of us eager to revamp our dinners that lack variety, we went to the grocery store to pick up loads of greens, vegetables, and proteins. For us, healthy eating turns into a rut of the same ingredients without a variety or assortment of ingredients.
“Making your own food and keeping variety in their healthy eating is often the most difficult aspect of healthy eating for people to get behind,” Schaalman says. “We want to be teaching people that you can make delicious, simple food that doesn’t take that long to prepare with easy-do-able recipes that people can make and feel satisfied by.”
Enticed by Schallman’s words, my roommates and I eagerly began with a starter of sesame cauli wings (page 198), featuring a sweet and tangy sauce reminiscent of a general Tso’s dish. Schaalman believes “people will rave about” these meatless wings — and trust me when I say, we did. Easy to cook and only taking around 45 minutes, it was the perfect starter leaving my two roommates and I satisfied and ready for an entree. My boyfriend, who swears by buffalo wings, was pleasantly surprised to be enjoying cauliflower, of all things.
We paired this starter with a jalapeno cilantro mezcal margarita (page 238), a fantastic healthier cocktail with freshly squeezed grapefruit and lime. The cocktail was definitely a fan favorite in my household!
As an entree, I cooked a coconut glazed halibut with a butternut curry sauce (page 145). With these recipes featuring less than 10 ingredients, it was easy to cook and had me combining ingredients I would have never thought to. Butternut squash and yellow curry? Who knew it could taste so flavorful! With sautéed swiss chard accompanying the halibut fillet, the meal left us happily full without the groggy feeling that comes with a heavy dinner.
While healthy eating can feel like a task, The Conscious Cleanse makes healthy living fun for everybody. My roommates and I will definitely continue to use this insightful cookbook to satisfy our cravings in a health-conscious way.
“The conscious part of the conscious cleanse is being much more aware,” Schaalman says. “And waking up to using bits of food as a springboard to essentially feeling your best and living your most vibrant life.”
Learn more at consciouscleanse.com.
Photos courtesy of Conscious Cleanse.