It was just another lunchtime at work when it hit me. I peered down at my Tupperware box, filled with the usual suspects: spinach, kale, brown rice, tuna and avocado, seasoned with some lime juice and chilli. Was it healthy? Sure. Was it the same thing I had been eating for over a month (or four)? Damn straight. Was I bored AF? Mhmm.
Yep, I was officially in a lunchtime rut.
Having had the initial epiphany, I realised that not only did my rut status apply to lunch, but it extended to…well… all my meals! Thanks to my repetitive diet, I wasn’t consuming a great variety of veggies or nearly enough of them in general. So, when the opportunity to test out a 28 day plant-based eating challenge by dietitian-designed, meal delivery company Eat Fit Food came my way, I was totally on board.
But first, a breakdown! Besides the ostinato of my daily dishes, I’d also been experiencing a lot of bloating and had yet to pin down a reason for the not-so-sensational sensation. While I’m no nutritionist, the idea of overhauling my entire diet to see if it made any difference (can’t keep doing the same thing and expecting change, right?) was pretty appealing. Before starting the program, I jumped online and did a little research into exactly what it offered.
Handily, all meals are sealed for freshness and get delivered to your door between the hours of midnight and 7:00 AM. For each day of the 28 day ‘Cleanse’ challenge (done over 5 days each week) you get:
3 dietitian-designed, portion-controlled meals
2-3 healthy snacks, ranging from organic fruit to seed & nut bars
1 fresh veggie juice
I took a peek at the online menu and suffice to say, I was keen as an organic bean! Check out one of the daily menus below:
Juice – ‘REJUVENATE’ with apple, cucumber, celery, lemon, watercress, beetroot & ginger
Breakfast – Apple strudel loaf, 5 seed crumble & coconut yoghurt (Side note: this was DELISH. I warmed it up, added an extra touch of cinnamon and was in heaven.)
Snack 1– Herbed tahini dip with homemade sesame & psyllium crackers
Lunch – Chargrilled veggie salad with chia seeds, roast tomatoes, lentils, macadamia & lemon dressing
Snack 2 – Fruit
Dinner – Za’atar crusted market fish with roast spring onion, sweet corn & silverbeet
Snack 3 – Eat Fit Food Cleanse Bar
After signing up, selecting my meals for the week was pretty straightforward. They offer meat (chicken), seafood, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan options. While this might be a drawback for someone that loves red meat, it worked perfectly for me as I don’t tend to cook red meat at home. An added bonus? All ingredients are sustainably farmed and some meals include organic produce from their very own farm – Eat Fit Farm.
Lesson 1: My meals don’t need to be as big as I think they do
As many things tend to, my 28 day challenge kicked off on a Monday. The first thing I noticed when I opened my first delivery of meals, was a brown paper menu highlighting all my meals for Monday and Tuesday, which was a bit exciting! Everything was also perfectly labelled, outlining all the ingredients in the dish. I then noticed how small the portions initially looked.
I won’t lie, I was kind of worried. Being a fairly active gal, I was skeptical as to whether such small meals would sustain me throughout the day. Initially, I did feel a craving for more food (for complex carbs like whole grains, especially) but gradually over the course of the first week, something shifted.
After the first three or four days, I noticed a difference in my energy pretty quickly. My carb cravings mostly dissipated (except for the days where I worked out hard) and I felt a lot lighter in general. The majority of the meals are plant-based and I was easily getting 5 or 6 serves of veggies a day through these small meals.
For the most part, my bloating had also disappeared. Being a fiend for research, I started looking into it and it seems there is plenty of evidence to suggest that extended periods of sitting down after consuming large meals (hello, office hours!) hinder digestion by compressing the abdomen, often leading to bloating, heartburn and constipation. Conversely, it seemed that eating the smaller, lighter meals on a more frequent basis allowed me to digest more comfortably.
Lesson 2: Veggies are the real MVP
Until this program, I wouldn’t have believed it was possible for there to be this many different ways to get plants on our plates! Most meals, breakfast included, had at least two if not three different vegetables, and then there was the fresh veggie juice that kicked off every morning. The best part? They varied so much I never got bored – I got inspired! From the spaghetti pomodoro with vegan “tuna” (this was easily one of my faves) and to the veggie packed breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, beans and avocado, I was sold. Veggies and legumes appeared in all forms – broths, pancakes, sauces, dips, side salads, spiralised and more – adding loads of flavour while upping the daily intake.
Lesson 3: Getting fresh, delicious meals delivered feels really, really nice
Honestly, I’ve done the meal delivery thing before and doing this challenge just reminded of how good it feels to not have to spend half the week cooking! Do not get me wrong, I love to cook, but every so often it feels like, in an effort to be healthy, so much of my time and energy goes into meal prep or attempting to find new recipes and sourcing ingredients – which I often don’t end up using.
It felt nice to have someone (or rather, a group of highly qualified expert someones) taking care of the hard work so I could free up my afternoons and evenings for socialising, taking long, hot baths or generally doing whatever I felt like! For virtually a month, I didn’t need to think about a large portion of my culinary chores, which I genuinely felt lowered my daily stress levels significantly!
Would I do it again? For sure! Given that my goals were to remix my lunchtime game, add more veggies to my plate and attempt to beat the bloat, I am pretty happy with the overall results. The food was always fresh, flavoursome and offered heaps of variety. Depending on what you like, the lack of red meat could be considered a downside in terms of iron, although it did include plenty of plant-based sources (like tofu and lentils). On the whole, I can’t really fault it – it quite literally, delivered the goods!
About Eat Fit Food
Designed by dietitians for the time-poor and health-conscious, Eat Fit Food delivers portion and calorie controlled meals to your door. Free from additives and refined sugar, all meals are prepared with love by their professional chefs using the finest quality produce, including locally farmed and ethically sourced meat and fish. With delectable meal plans available for healthy weight loss and maintenance, head to www.eatfitfood.com.au for more information and follow @eatfitfood to check out more of their delish dishes!