Jamie Page and Kellar McAlister, Clean Kitchen 12 Week Challenge coaches and authors of “Clean Kitchen: The Cookbook,” held their first book signing Monday at South Mouth Deli in Hattiesburg.
Page and McAlister believe healthy living is achievable and that it should not require the kind of restrictions typically associated with a nutritional lifestyle.
Clean Kitchen began as a four- week program developed by Versus Strength and Conditioning gym coaches in Hattiesburg. Two cycles into the program, Page and McAlister realized they needed more time, so they extended the program to 12 weeks. The program now aims to push simple assignments, habits and lessons every day, and, as weeks progress, more advanced tasks are steadily added.
“We weren’t sure if people were going to buy into a 12-week program, but we realized that’s what is needed for people to get a good handle on the type of habits we were trying to teach,” Page said. “It was easier for people to slowly get into what we were teaching them so it would stick.”
According to Page and McAlister, Clean Kitchen brings a unique application to healthy eating, such as recipe revamps, in which a meal’s unhealthy ingredients are substituted with healthy ones that achieve the same flavor and textures.
“We started doing our recipes purely because we didn’t want to spend a ton of time in the kitchen, but we also like really good food,” Page said. “Not everybody loves to cook, and you’re not going to be a good cook. We just want somebody that is used to getting take-out to look at the recipe and not feel overwhelmed. They take 20 minutes max, probably, to prep or even cook.”
Hattiesburg resident Susan McClain said she enjoys the Clean Kitchen style of preparation and cooking.
“It’s healthy food offered in an appealing way,” McClain said. “I know this cookbook will help me eat better.”
As directors of the Clean Kitchen program at Versus, Page and McAlister strive to influence healthy habits. The duo published the cookbook through Amazon in January and presented the book as a supplement to their Clean Kitchen program.
The goal of Clean Kitchen is to change a person’s mindset and his or her relationship with food, according to Page.
“A lot of people are afraid to eat,” Page said. “What you put in your body is your health, so if we can help them change their mindset on what it means to be healthy and act on it, then they’re not scared. They feel confident, and it just changes them physically and mentally. We call it a [brain-retrain], because in that first month we are totally trying to combat against what everybody thinks they should be doing.”
South Mouth Deli partnered with Clean Kitchen and now offers a Clean Kitchen section on its menu, according to owner Josh Rodgers.
“You’ve got a restaurant that has kind of embraced [the program’s] theories and its way of doing things, so we’re going to kind of wrap that into what we do here,” Rodgers said. “We’ve got a number of their items on our menu that we’ve retrofitted to fit their style of cooking.”
The Clean Kitchen 12 Week Challenge registration begins April 10.