Quest for health, wellness leads to a business and book for Julie Eberle Pelaez
Fall 2017 Edition
Julie Eberle Pelaez’s journey after graduating from KU could be a guide book for how to follow your passion, and her passion for writing and being active and healthy is now helping thousands of others get healthy as well.
Pelaez is co-founder of the Conscious Cleanse, a program designed to help people feel better and get healthier by eating nutritious foods.
Pelaez graduated from the J-School in 1998 and was thrilled to be working at a magazine in New York. She loved her job, but she didn’t feel as though she was in the right place. She wanted to travel, explore and be active and healthy, so she headed west and landed near friends in Boulder, Colorado, thinking, "If Boulder doesn't work out, I'll go to California and try to get a real job again."
In Boulder, she took a job leading bike trips and started teaching yoga and studying nutrition with top experts. She met another yoga teacher, Jo Schaalman, who was also studying nutrition, and they discovered that they were both on a similar quest: to find out how food heals and how food hinders the body.
"How could you take a fairly healthy body, which I had, and optimize it?” Pelaez wondered. “What's possible with this thing that we do every single day, which is eat?"
The friends decided that they wanted to share their journey of health to help others.
"Jo saw that fire in me and had that fire in her own healing journey and said, ‘Hey what if we just got together and created a workshop at the yoga studio?’" Pelaez said.
So, the first workshop was a three-part series in conscious eating, a detox program and yoga.
“We were basically walking people through what is now the full-blown Conscious Cleanse,” Pelaez said.
Their vision was to create a program that could bring together a global community of health seekers. The program focuses on helping people become aware of how food affect them and makes them feel, and participants are encouraged to keep a journal to document those reactions.
“It's really our goal with the Conscious Cleanse that people learn habits that they can put into their lifestyle,” Pelaez said.
As Pelaez and Schaalman were offering the Conscious Cleanse in the yoga studio, they also had created a Facebook community. They ran the program using social media and email for two to three years.
The program isn’t focused completely on weight loss, although pounds are “released” once people start eating healthier. The program has helped people who have other health problems that may be related to their diet -- people who think they have done everything they can do for their symptoms. One client's rosacea cleared up after going on Conscious Cleanse.
For years, Pelaez had been dealing with acne and intense stomach pain and cramps after she ate. The program helped her identify a hidden food sensitivity that was the cause of those problems.
One day, one of the participants who was doing the program with his wife and had achieved amazing results approached them with an idea.
"He said, ‘You guys you have an amazing story,’” Pelaez said. “You are changing lives. This would make an incredible book. Do you want to write a book?"
“The Conscious Cleanse” was released in January 2013, and shortly afterward, they created a website. The book has sold 40,000 copies, and their live online programs attract hundreds to each session at their website, consciouscleanse.com.
Since then, they have had a partnership with Gaiam TV, they have provided content to Lucky's Market -- a fast-growing national organic health food store. They also have participated in a Google authors talk and have had speaking engagements, including at the World Tea Expo on Las Vegas. They also have created a line of detox teas, co-branded with the Tea Spot.
Now, they are working on an on-demand model that they hope to launch in early 2018.
Pelaez says the goal is to make the program accessible to as many people as possible because so many people have been on programs or diets and they are rigid and set people up for failure.
"Focus on what you can do and then do that really well,” Pelaez said. “And know that change happens not just in two weeks, but it happens slowly over time.”
-- Julie Adam