FED up with the excesses of the festive season and ready to embrace some super healthy and tasty dishes?

Southend’s Conscious Kitchen hears you.

Having revamped the cafe, in Sutton Road, late in 2017, owner Claire Brooks, 38, is on a mission to make our guts happier this year.

But where did the inspiration for Conscious Kitchen – which also offers food workshops, demonstrations and tasters for those who are unsure of their selection – come from?

“I have always wanted a hub, a place people can come together, have a laugh, learn, grow and share knowledge,” the mum-of-one explains.

“As my own health journey evolved I struggled to find anywhere that served healthy nutritious plant based food be it eat in or on the go.

“I wanted to create a space where highly nutritious plant based food is available to all to eat in or take away. You don’t have to be a vegan/vegetarian to come here.

“In my opinion many towns and villages are missing somewhere with a good atmosphere and community vibe, what better way to bring people together than through amazing food ….Right?

“I have such a good vision for Conscious Kitchen, my main focus is gut-health, but disguised in among wonderful flavours.

“I have a fantastic team of passionate people around me and we are creating a range of products that will be available both on the deli and on the shelves. The products are mainly raw and live, so a lot of fermented foods and beverages, some of which are being tested by laboratories to satisfy the EHO, and some have already passed the requirements and being labelled as we speak.

“I want to combine my passion of food, nutrition and helping others by offering the full service and empowering people to take theirs and their families health into their own hands. I currently consult at V-Health in Thorpe Bay as a Naturopathic Nutritionist too.

“The gut, our ‘second brain’ is currently at the forefront of medical research and educating people on this is in my eyes is the way forward. Fermented food has an array of beneficial bacteria to support our microbiome and is a great way to introduce in to your daily food regime at a very low cost.

“We’ll be running workshops on gut health and food fermentation, medicinal raw chocolate, herbs, Doterra essential oils, nutrition and iridology. I can’t wait!”

Does she think there has been a massive increase in demand for healthy/vegan food and drink in Essex?

“Yes, definitely!” she exclaims.

“I think there is a shift going on universally at the moment and people are waking up! People are becoming aware of chemicals, pollutants, pesticides and GMOs in the food, but more importantly the disgusting and disturbing behaviour and acts of cruelty taking place in both the meat and the dairy industries.

“The internet and social media are playing a huge role in this shift too and touching the hearts of compassionate people who are making educated choices for themselves and their families to avoid such foods.

“Many people I know source their meet ethically and from biodynamic farms. With so many dairy alternatives on the market now I really hope these industries start paying where it hurts….financially!”

How did she get into the world of super healthy food?

“After feeling the benefits of doing a simple cleanse myself five years ago I realised that a plant-based diet was the way forward,” she explains.

“I have studied nutrition for the past 10 years and I am now enjoying linking that knowledge holistically, as we all know how to live a healthy lifestyle but other mental, lifestyle and physiological factors get in the way.”

What misconceptions may people have about Conscious Kitchen?

“People think salad is boring and associate it with just lettuce, cucumber and tomato in this country, but it can be so much more!

“They probably feel they won’t leave feeling content, but I guarantee it will be quite the opposite!

“Expect a tasty deli counter with seasonal tasty produce, salads ready to order and sweet treats every day. When our chef is in on a Saturday and on our pop up nights, she will be knocking up different street food from all over the world.”

Will non-vegans still enjoy tucking in at the café?

“If you enjoy your food, meat or not I guarantee there will be something you enjoy,” Claire promises.

“I want to show that healthy food can taste amazing, you won’t even know the sweet treats are healthy, what a bonus! The atmosphere is positive and uplifting, chilled with good vibes.”

And children are welcome?

“Of course! My six-year-old wants kids’ parties there,” she laughs. Children are our future and it is essential to ensure the correct nutrients are provided to enable them to grow into a healthy and strong adult. Children today are increasingly lacking energy and nutrients due to fast, packaged and processed foods.”

So be it a Budda bowl or fermented foods, it seems you can just relax and tuck in. This kitchen has your conscious covered.

Find out more at www.consciouskitchen.co.uk