menu monday: premade paleo

Last week I had our food delivered from Pre-Made Paleo. Painters were in the house for the week, transforming our colorful walls to a lovely neutral shade. I wasn’t sure what sort of access I would have to the kitchen and, not wanting to deviate from my Whole30, I decided to order five days of prepared, frozen, Whole30 compliant food. My one qualm was cost, but a few quick calculations showed that ordering the meals was equivalent to the cost of eating them all out. Sold.

The order. The most cost effective way to order is to select one of the current menus. Each menu comes with 5 meals for two people. A meal consists of a protein and a veggie side or a combo of the two (a chili or soup where the veggies are included with the protein). I picked up one menu for our dinners and added five breakfasts for each of us, chicken sweet potato hash for me and pork skillet for Greg. Greg eats lunch at work everyday but I needed something for me. I went with five different chili/soup options as they seemed like the easiest items to reheat at work. I added a few more items to save in the freezer for food emergencies to get to the free shipping minimum ($250).

These pictures are terrible as it was late when I got home. First is the menu, where I grouped our proteins and veggies together into dinners. The second photo is lunches and breakfasts. Also, these are the last photos EVER of the purple kitchen walls. Because they are no longer purple. Hallelujah.

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The ordering. I ordered at the last minute for getting the food by the time we needed it. When I emailed Pre-Made Paleo to make sure they’d be able to ship in time, they responded very quickly and were helpful. It was painless to order and everything arrived solidly frozen.

The cooking. Or I should say, the “cooking”. I woke up each morning and cut open my breakfast pouch and tossed the contents into a hot pan with a little ghee. While it reheated I transferred Greg’s breakfast from the plastic pouch to a glass container for transporting and reheating and did the same with my lunch. Dinners went much the same way. Heat skillet, add cooking fat (or water), reheat protein for a few minutes then throw in veg. It was beyond easy and no mess minus washing out the pan. The food tastes significantly better if you allow it to defrost in the fridge before cooking. This requires a little bit of planning, but worth it.

The quality. The quality of the food is fantastic. All vegetables are organic and the meat used is all grass fed and pastured. Nothing but good things to say about where they source their products from.

The taste. Hit or miss. Some of the flavors I really enjoyed, some were not so enjoyable. Buffalo chicken was delicious as were most of my chili and soup dishes for lunch. Greg’s breakfast was tastier than mine (I ate his instead of mine one morning when he had a work breakfast).

The texture. Proteins heated really well on the stove top but became rubbery when heated in the microwave (they do not recommend heating in the microwave, by the way). Chili and soup dishes tasted great out of the microwave, which is my only option at work for heating food. The veggies were where I struggled the most. It is really hard to have good texture when you are reheating cooked, frozen veggies.

The filling factor. This is hard for me to judge because my appetite is off the hook right now. Greg seemed to do just fine with the dinner servings but I typically ended up needing something extra after. I also added a hard boiled egg to my breakfast each morning and a side salad to my lunches.

The value. It is not cheap but it is quality. I was able to put real food on the table in less than five minutes for every meal last week and not question whether or not I was staying Whole30 compliant. It was the cost of a week of combined take-out and eating in restaurants, though since I did add more to each meal I suppose you could say this route was slightly more expensive.

The verdict. Though it’s more cost effective, I probably won’t order a menu again. I just can’t get past the veggies. I should add that there are very few tastes I don’t like, but textures do bother me. I only started eating watermelon about two years ago because it feels like a sponge on my tongue. The veggies are probably perfectly fine for most, I’m just texture weird. I am, however, thinking hard about doing a big order of breakfasts and chili and soup dishes to have on hand for when the martian arrives. I’ll wait until we get closer to see how much food I’m able to prepare and put away and see how much freezer space we have. If you have a time period where you need extra help in the kitchen for whatever reason, I do recommend giving it a try.

Greg’s review. “It was good. I enjoyed it.”

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As for my Whole30, I’m going strong and on day 14 today. I didn’t keep up with my nightly journal entries because I am trying to get off the computer and get to bed at a reasonable time. Staying up later than necessary to blog about my good nutrition seems silly. I’m just about halfway through and thought I’d revisit the five reasons I decided to take this on at a less than opportune time.

Sleep. This was so rough the first week. But now I’m sleeping as well as I can considering the volleyball-sized growth on my abdomen. I am falling asleep easily and not waking up at 4am. I do wake up when I find myself in an uncomfortable position, but I’m falling right back to sleep.

Digestive issues. Few and far between. I’ve had heart burn once that I can remember since starting and it was very short lived.

Eczema. At the beginning of week two my wrist flared like crazy. I would have been frustrated, but thanks to my NTP class I know about common reactions to nutritional protocols. One is a healing reaction, which looks just like the symptom you’re trying to fix. If it’s not severe, the best thing to do is push through it. (I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice.) The flare lasted a day or two and now my wrist is almost entirely clear.

Lethargy. I’ve got energy! Don’t get me wrong, I’m tired as hell. Work is crazy, Greg has been working around the clock, I’m trying to study for my final in the hours before and after my time in the office, and we’ve dealt with home repairs and changing renters in the condo all in the last ten days. I’m beat. But I wake up well rested and have enough energy to get through all of the above without feeling completely worn down and unable to deal. At the moment I’m only making it to my weekly yoga class, though I’m very much looking forward to working out more once class is over next week.

Mama guilt. I’m feeling really good. The martian is kicking around like crazy which is a constant reminder that my choices are no longer just for myself. While I assume I will always think I can be doing more when it comes to motherhood, right now I feel like I’m doing a good job.

Maybe it’s because I’m too busy to think about food, maybe it’s because the reason I can’t have a glass of wine is bigger than the Whole30, or maybe it’s because it’s my fourth (?) Whole30. For whatever reason, I just am not that focused on it. That’s not to say I’m not being completely compliant and absolutely feeling the benefits. It just doesn’t feel like that big of a deal. I eat something that makes me healthier when I feel hungry. It’s that simple. I can do that for thirty days. But maybe I should pretend it’s harder for me than it really is this time around so I can pick a Whole30 reward.

I really don’t mean to trivialize taking on a Whole30. It is a big undertaking and I applaud anyone’s efforts to do so. The other Whole30s I’ve done have felt much more intense, for lack of a better word. I don’t know why this one isn’t the same, but I’m grateful. If it felt more trying than it does, maybe I wouldn’t be able to continue given what else is on my plate. I’m actually finding that it feels like something has been taken off my plate during this crazy month rather than the other way around. My food choices are very black and white, one less thing to deal with three times a day. This is just my experience of this specific Whole30. Whatever your experience is is totally legitimate and real as well.

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