Can you have your cake and eat it too? This growing Utah company is revolutionizing the definition of clean eating by making it simple and delicious — and fans are flocking.
CLEAN SIMPLE EATS has helped tens of thousands of people fall in love with healthy, clean eating again. When most of us think about ‘clean eating’ the usual thoughts of cardboard follow. The founders, Erika and JJ Peterson, started by creating meal plans for close friends and family. Word spread quickly and now they are generating millions of dollars through their own website, garnered over 200k followers on social media and have over 25,000 members in their Facebook Group.
How did this happen? After Erika and JJ’s third child was born in 2012, Erika struggled with postpartum depression, the baby had colic, and their family was practically living off of pop tarts, cereal, and frozen pizza. In order to alleviate some of her baby’s tummy aches, Erika decided to try and remove dairy from her own diet; which was challenging with her current way of eating. Erika started experimenting with recipes, swapping healthier ingredients into recipes that she already loved. She was surprised that the recipes actually tasted good; wasn’t healthy eating supposed to be bland and boring?
Erika was so pleased and excited with this new way of eating, she decided to try exercising as well. Since JJ was a personal trainer, he convinced Erika to try a group fitness class. The class was challenging, but Erika was hooked! Her passion grew and she started an instagram page to share her experimental recipes. Erika’s mental and physical health improved, and her instagram followers grew too. She was even asked to share recipes on some popular blogs; and once she did, her following really started to boom!
Meanwhile, JJ began in-home personal training for clients, and Erika would make healthy meals for JJ to take to work. JJ’s boss wanted in on JJ’s delicious meals, so he offered to pay Erika to make food for him too! He was so impressed by the flavors and taste, he asked Erika to prepare meals for his entire family. Word spread and soon his business partner’s family was on board as well! Soon Erika was making and delivering meals and snacks for 12 people, outside of her own family, per week! This unexpected business was taking off, so Erika decided to pursue a coaching certificate from AFPA in health and wellness in order to be a credible resource for nutrition advice. Erika took on a couple clients to coach, but it was frustrating for her to only help a few people at a time.
Erika switched her focus online to sell customizable meal plans that were more than just a quick fix, diet fad — these plans proved to be satisfying and sustainable. They were basic with little design and zero pictures, yet people liked them. Her business really started to pick up traction after that and the meal plans started flying off the shelves! Erika reflects, “I would have never in a million years even fathomed of turning this into a career.” Luckily, she did!
In 2015, JJ applied for a reality TV show called ‘’Fit to Fat to Fit’’ He was 1 of 10 “Master Trainers” in the U.S. that was chosen to take part in this fitness/social experiment. He was tasked with gaining 40% of his original bodyweight over the course of 120 days. That’s gaining 1/2 pound bodyweight every day for four months! At 120 days, JJ had gone from a lean 184 lbs to 245lbs! He had gained 61 pounds total and had met his goal. Erika and JJ pondered how to take the weight off of JJ and his client in a healthy, sustainable way.
Erika decided to build a more professional looking meal plan that JJ could use to lose the weight and that she could market to her community. She compiled all of the recipes she had written to create the first ever 4-week Clean Simple Eats Summer Meal Plan. Erika launched the meal plan to her Clean Simple Eats Instagram community and everyone loved it. They loved it so much that they immediately asked for more recipes! Erika decided to write a second meal plan and launch the Fall Meal Plan in October of that same year. Erika believed that, “God placed this opportunity into our lives for a reason and that this is what we were supposed to be doing.”
Once JJ finished filming, he went back to his job and found it very unfulfilling. He dreaded going to work everyday, so he knew something had to change. After a lot of thought and prayer, they decided to take a leap of faith, and JJ quit his job in February of 2016 to join Erika at Clean Simple Eats full-time! With his background in business and exercise science, JJ was the missing piece to the puzzle. He set up the operations side of the business and put together workout programs to compliment the meal plans, while Erika continued her focus on recipe creation, food photography and social media content. JJ stated, “We knew that together we could be a powerhouse in helping as many people as possible better their lives by adopting healthy lifestyles.” The duo began running quarterly challenges that would offer prizes and accountability to their participants. These challenges continue to be the lifeblood of the company making the journey to better health fun and motivating for their community.
Since then, Erika and JJ have created four seasonal 7-week Clean Simple Eats Meal Plans all with balanced recipes that are not only healthy and yield results, but taste delicious! With the help of some smart people and their passion for healthy living and clean ingredients, they have also created their own Clean Simple Eats supplement line – ranging from fun, flavorful nut butters OffBeat to protein powders and whole food supplements. JJ says, “We don’t mess around with the quality and efficacy of our products.” And it’s true; to be included as a Clean Simple Eats protein powder – the whey must be grass-fed from New Zealand while being ethically sourced and cold-processed from start to finish.
The Clean Simple Eats meal plans can be customized to your own individual goals and lifestyle. The best part is that they weren’t built solely for individuals alone, but for couples and families! If you are looking for a way to improve you or your families’ overall health, hit your fitness goals, or simply raise your kitchen and food IQ, then look no further than Clean Simple Eats. Make sure to join their next health and fitness challenge; a new challenge kicks off at the beginning of each season, don’t miss it!