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Inspiring Conversations with Hortensia Martinez of CORE Foods LLC (DBA Conscious Meals)

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hortensia Martinez.

Hi Hortensia, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
The birth of Conscious Meals resulted from a detrimental illness that suddenly appeared while working as a Food Scientist for the food industry. From a super healthy woman, I was left in skin and bones, in excruciating pain, and relying on a wheelchair in a matter of weeks. Conventional medicine didn’t help, and doctors couldn’t identify what was eating my flesh. So, I took the matter into my hands by leaving my job and dedicating all my time to researching to learn how to heal myself. I educated in all possible areas of ancient ways of healing and alternative medicine, focusing on Holistic Nutrition, Ayurveda, Detox, Fasting, Fermentation, the microbiome, and every literature I could put my hands on. I went through very strict protocols and diets. Completely quit consuming processed foods and concentrated on eating plant-based vegan. At that time, I couldn’t make use of spices, oils, sweeteners, and not even salt. I was tested to learn to cook with just fresh herbs, vegetables, low-sugar fruits, and greens. For a foodie like me, this was the end of the world. To my surprise, the combinations I made with the few ingredients tasted good, especially when implementing meticulous cooking methods and temperature to alchemize the flavors. During the 2 decades working in the food industry, I was exposed to the various processes food gets treated, leaving the final product void of nutrients and soul. I learned the detrimental effects this food presents to the digestive system, a slow decline in its efficiency leading to illness. After healing most of the problems, I decided I wasn’t returning to my profession.

Instead, I wanted to share the goodness I learned through my experience. I had zero money and no job. I even had to sleep in my car, so I started selling raw fermented smoothies at the local farmer’s market. People responded well to the concept and asked for more! It all started at a food stand which then grew into an actual Grab & Go Fusion Restaurant and Catering in Sedona, and AZ dedicated 100% to the vegan movement. The idea was to make the concept Plant-based, Vegan, Organic, Gluten & Soy free. But that was not enough. I wanted to bring something more unique, so I decided all the food would be made fresh from scratch on-site without any pre-processed ingredients from the store. That is the uniqueness of Conscious Meals. Food is free of preservatives, additives, and other “weird” ingredients that don’t come directly from the earth. We are devoted to bringing consciousness through tasty choices and training palates to fresh, vibrant food. My vision is to serve the community with knowledge, dedicated work, and respect.

“Conscious Meals is Food with Purpose”

Hortensia Martinez
Food Scientist, Culinary Arts & Nutrition.
A philanthropist and an advocate for health.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Starting a business from scratch is not a smooth road. It has been organic growth. Every penny earned has gone to invest in equipment and expand the services and the business. I opened the business 3 months before covid; then, I had to close for months debating whether I should quit or come back. I finally made the decision I wasn’t going to leave without experimenting with what I was capable of creating. So I reopened (still during covid), a lot of struggle in the sense that there were not enough sales, and I had to invest my own money and borrow from family to survive. I had to work double shifts because there was insufficient capital to hire more help. I wore a thousand hats, cleaned floors and dishes, emptied grease traps, cleaned bathrooms, cooked, and more. It went like that for a whole year. It wasn’t until the beginning of 2022 that I started to see coins.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about CORE Foods LLC (DBA Conscious Meals)?
A made-from-scratch GRAB & GO fusion restaurant. Plant-based vegan, organic, gluten & soy-free, and, best of all, made from scratch!

Created this concept to support health through fresh, vibrant food, FREE of processed ingredients, preservatives, additives, or any other artificial ingredients harsh to the digestive system. Oriented towards those individuals who understand the importance of keeping the body vibrating high, who wish to better their health, are on the well-being path, or want to embark on a new tasty adventure.

What was your favorite childhood memory?
Gatherings during family reunions at my grandma’s house


  • $14

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Image Credits
Images taken by conscious meals staff

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