The art of clean eating


cleankitchen3Two Hamilton friends are following their dreams to forge a new business focused around clean eating and healthy lifestyles. They are boldly launching a clean eating business, incorporating catered functions, weekend retreats, boot camps and nutrition advice. Fitness Journal finds out more.

Many people focus on health as part of their lifestyle, from working out regularly to making sensible food choices.

However when it comes to socialising, there are often limited options and good intentions fly out the window.

Like many people in their 20s, socialising is an integral part of lifestyle for Ashleigh Crate and Kellee Antoinette. However, the pair is determined to implement a healthier aspect into socialising, with the creation of their business Clean Kitchen & Co.

Focused around clean catering and providing clean healthy drinks and nibbles for their clean events, the business also offers nutrition plans, weekend retreats and boot camps, seminars around sport, chemistry, nutrition, and how to go from fat to fit.

Their clean events will include giveaways from local health organisations and businesses.

“We are both business-oriented and love health and fitness. Clean Kitchen & Co is the perfect combination of the two,” says Kellee.

cleankitchen4Shared interests
From a high achieving sporting family, Kellee’s career focus was always based around chemistry and science. After achieving a BSC in chemistry, she studied as a personal trainer and in nutrition as a ‘hobby’, before realising that was where her true interest lay and went on to become a cafe manager.

With a BCS in marketing and public relations, Ashleigh’s focus is around business and banking. She is also a personal trainer and competes in Body Building, Bikini Class.

Sharing a commitment to their own health, as well as a vastly different set of complementary skills, the Hamilton friends are setting out to bring a fresh approach to social events such as baby showers, hens’ nights and friends and family get-togethers.

“We’re really passionate about implementing health and wellness into every aspect of life,” says Kellee.

“Sure, you can go to the gym and eat healthily during the day, but what about when you socialise? It is often then that healthy lifestyle habits go down the drain. We want to bring health to events and change the focus of get-togethers to include clean and healthy drinks and nibbles.”

The pair are launching Clean Kitchen & Co on February 26. If you are interested in attending this free information evening, contact them directly via Clean Kitchen & Co on Facebook.

“We get invited to many social functions and there are rarely any healthy options. We’re out to change that and help educate around health, nutrition and fitness, said Kellee.

Business goals
With qualifications in chemistry, nutrition and fitness, Kellee and Ashleigh have a broad business goal; to help people take charge of their health, wellbeing and overall happiness. They have spent considerable time and effort working on their business plan for Clean Kitchen & Co.

“We understand the hard work and dedication it takes to run a business efficiently,” says Ashleigh.

“We want to inspire others to live a healthy lifestyle. These events are fun and something those who already live a healthy lifestyle, or those aspiring to can host or attend without ruining their diet. Each attendee will receive a recipe book and goodie bag containing organic items, vouchers and information.”

As well as preparing clean recipes for events, Kellee and Ashleigh will chat about the chemicals in food, the importance of a good diet and overcoming various food issues.

This is backed up with retreat weekends, nutrition plans, personal training and boot camps.


Ashleigh Crate (left) and Kellee Antoinette.

Fast friends
Although both girls attended Sacred Heart Girls’ College, it wasn’t until they met up on the first day of their personal training course that they became fast friends.

“We just hit it off immediately. We had the same passion driving us toward our goals,” says Kellee.

“After chatting about nutrition and how hard it is to stick to a clean and healthy diet while being social – Ashleigh came up with the idea of hosting ‘clean’ dinner parties.

“The idea continued to develop; with countless hours spent planning, researching and sharing ideas.

“We are driven and focused and having reached a point where plans needed to be put into action, we made a joint decision to give it our all and strive to be a positive influence and mentor in the lives of others,” said Kellee.

Despite having successful careers in their chosen fields, they have no doubts about their decision to forge a new business together.

“We want to pursue what makes us happiest and what will make our lives more meaningful.

“We are looking forward to making a positive impact on people’s lives, whether it is in fitness, nutrition, health and wellbeing, motivation or even just to give them support.”

A bit about Kellee

Kellee Antoinette (23)
Raised in a sporting family (her stepfather is an Olympic rower and her father a top New Zealand motocross racer), Kellee has played many sports over the years and always maintained a reasonable level of fitness. However she has also experienced the opposite end of the spectrum and this is one of the things which fuelled her quest for knowledge around health and nutrition.

“When I was 17, I put on 15kg and went to war with my body. I ate because I was unhappy and then hated myself for it. This led to a completely unrealistic and unsafe goal of being ‘skinny’.

“Over the next two years I over-exercised, starved myself and obsessed over every single calorie I put into my body. I didn’t care about nutrition, or muscle mass or giving my body all the nutrients it needed, all I cared about was being skinny.

“And that’s what I got. I was 62kg with a 6ft frame and wanted to be smaller.

“The importance of clean eating and nourishing my body wasn’t fully realised until I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease of the thyroid gland, which makes me very sensitive to gluten, refined sugar, over/under eating and over/under exercising.

“This wake-up call forced me to rethink the way I treat my body, especially the way I talk to myself.

Kellee admits her mindset has completely changed. No longer concerned with her weight (she doesn’t even own a set of scales) her focus is now on building muscle mass and nourishing her body with a well balanced diet and exercise programme.

“I am happier and healthier than I have ever been and wish to share my experience and knowledge with everyone. I am setting out to motivate, educate, support and inspire all who have struggled with their heath.”

A bit about Ashleigh

Ashleigh Crate (20)
An excellent example of how two people with different stories can share a common passion to help others, Ashleigh’s story has seen her morph from an ‘unsporty’ youngster to a driven competitor who now competes in body building – bikini classes.

“Growing up, although I played sport, I was never a ‘sporty person’ wasn’t fit and not happy with my body.

“This didn’t affect me in a big way when I was younger, but as I got older I grew more self conscious.

“Coming out of high school I landed a great opportunity working at BNZ, started university and although I was in a ‘happy place’, my negative body image really brought me down.

“So I did something about it.”

Ashleigh went to see Jake Campus and in just 12 months transformed her attitude and physique.

“I went from being 19 years old, 32 percent body fat (obese range) quite short, but 69kg, unfit and wouldn’t be seen in a bikini, to less than a year later having 12 percent body fat (athlete/bodybuilder range), weighing 56kg, fit and standing on stage in front of hundreds of people in a bikini.”

She followed this achievement up by qualifying for the IFBB Body Building Nationals 2015, which she is training for now.

“Wow, my self esteem, my lifestyle, how I treat myself and others all changed for the better. I have never worked so hard for something in my life. I love my life now and all I want to do now is to help others get to the same point because it is such an amazing feeling,” she said.

Quick bites

• Ashleigh and Kellee share the cooking duties in the kitchen. Their experience as personal trainers in nutrition and bodybuilding has given them an impressive depth of culinary knowledge.
• Kellee’s favourite recipes to make are rose water bliss balls. These tiny delights are gluten and dairy free and also free from refined sugar.
• Kellee has carefully researched clean recipes for tasty treats which do not affect her nutrition plan or autoimmune disease
• Ashleigh’s focus in the kitchen is creating dishes packed with macronutrients
• Ashleigh’s favourite ingredients to work with are potein powder, oats, rosewater and coconut
• All recipes are prepared and packaged in a commercial kitchen


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