This diary Rebecca Anne Milford trials the Balance Box as part of her Detox Diary.
I remember chatting to a friend of mine about attempting to eat well back in University – the summer was coming and we were eager to exchange our staple pasta diet for fresh vegetables. She’d sighed and lamented ‘the trouble is, being healthy is for the wealthy.’ And she was right back then – a bulk-buy of baked beans for the entire flat was way more cost effective than choosing organic kale at the Farmer’s Market. But it seems part of that has followed me into my twenties.
There are any number of fabulous detoxes and cleanses on the market that will deliver you meals in increments, carefully portioned up so you don’t exceed the recommended allowance. It’s a superb way of cutting the craving for crap, and ensuring you don’t go off-piste with a portion of chocolate pud. But the general preconception is that these luxury lifestyle services are for those with more of an expansive budget.
Step up Balance Box, the third in the series of Detox Diaries trials. We’ve had a Juice Cleanse, Paleo eating, and now, from the team that created The Pure Package, there is a new diet delivery service in town. With a slightly more affordable price tag, it’s also available across England, Scotland and Wales.
That isn’t to say quality is in any way compromised – there’s still the focus on organic vegetables and grass fed, free range meat. But now, for as little as £19.99 per day, you can have your whole meal provided, cooked, and know the exact calories count. The founder, Jennifer Irvine, has studied Food Marketing Economics, is a best selling author, and has won a number of awards for her business acumen. The fact that one of our favourite fitness inspirations ladies, Millie Mackintosh, is a fan speaks volumes.
So what did I find when testing the Balance Box? Here’s a typical day:
6.30am: Wake after a good sleep, looking forward to my breakfast pot of Prune and Vanilla Bircher. Definitely feel less bloated (a result of not snacking or eating heavy carbs late at night.) Obviously I know this isn’t good for me but it’s hard to resist when you get in late and want to slob out in front of the TV in my most unattractive pair of pyjama bottoms. Now it feels great to wake with energy.
7.15am: Head to gym with my breakfast in my bag. I can’t be the only female who sometimes forgoes a meal and slips into the terrible habit of grabbing a coffee instead to satisfy hunger pangs. After getting used to breakfasts from Balance Box I’ve started to really look forward to this first meal, and can understand the mantra of ‘keeping healthy is all about eating breakfast’. It also makes me push harder in the Bodypump class, knowing I’ve got a tasty treat waiting. Yesterday’s cottage cheese with organic rye bread was a perfect post-workout meal.
8am: Breakfast! A delicious bircher made from oats, low fat vanilla natural yogurt, and prunes. It eradicates any thoughts of me cheekily grabbing a pastry, or making up for my lack of meal with snacks later. Also, I need to remember what a good mind-frame breakfast puts one in!
Head to office: My meals for the day are already there – they were delivered on Monday early in the morning in neat pots, and I sorted them into my fridge.
11am: Snack: At first I found it odd to be eating five times a day (so much more than I usually would!) but I quickly got used to it, and the way it stopped hunger pangs and regulated blood sugars. I don’t require the usual hunt for coffee at this time! Today I have a pear (one of my five a day) and some brazil nuts. When the biscuits come round I’, tempted by find it easier to say no.
1.30pm: Lunchtime! It’s Mushroom and Thyme soup, which I heat up in the microwave and enjoy with organic rye bread (who says you can’t have some good carbs on a diet). Some lunches are heated and some aren’t – the smoked mackerel pate on Monday was delicious and grabbed straight from the fridge. I’m on the 1200 calories a day Market Menu, which is carefully calculated so if I head to the gym a few times a week (and walk places) then i’m sure to drop weight. There’s a 1800 calorie p/d Supersized menu that’s ideal for guys, or those in heavy training.
3.30pm: Snack 2 – I’ve decided to walk home in a couple of hours – it’s nice out and walking is a great all-round calorie burner, plus I have the energy! Plus I don’t have to rush back and stress about what to cook, buying ingredients, how long it will take – the meal is in my fridge! And know it’s going to be good, so want to be deserving of it with a healthy ramble. Pre-wander I have my second snack – a Peanut Bar. Really tasty, big protein, and a boost of energy.
6pm: Home. So lovely to not have to worry about cooking and then reaching for the inevitable takeaway! My boyfriend is heating a pizza which, after considering steaming some vegetables and fish, I would usually just cave and grab a slice of. But with my Chickpea and Vegetable Korma in the fridge no need – yesterdays Chicken and Butter-bean Casserole actually got envious eyes from him! The korma is not only tasty but has a little blurb about the benefits of coconut milk, so I know what I’m putting in my body. The portion is decent without leaving me heavy or lethargic. And although I do fancy a sweet treat afterwards, I make do with a peppermint tea. I’ll probably have a treat day at the weekend, when cake is allowed, but for now I’ve been enjoying the knowledge that I’m only eating 1200 of healthy, organic food a day!
So how did I find Balance Box? I really enjoyed it. It’s not as hardcore as juicing (and can therefore be sustained a little easier), and the price point was superb. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to regain a positive attitude to their diet, but who find themselves falling at simple hurdles like time for preparation and knowledge of what’s good. Some people who ‘diet’ will think the idea of five meals a day outrageous, but it’s amazing what a difference even a week of following this plan can do.
So if you cant shift that last bulge but are exercising hard, and think your diet may be the thing, then Balance Box is ideal (plus you don’t need to live in London). And what’s more, you know what you’re eating it good for you. Clean eating that’s available all over the country and pocket friendly? That’s a balance we certainly like.