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8 November 2014

making a change

you've all no doubt heard of ilumi by now; blogger meal plan provider of choice, mostly because bloggers just love a freebie, and because if you're going to offer to deliver someone food for free, chances are they're not going to say no. for me though, ilumi have been at the back of my mind for some time - probably thanks in part to the wider bloggerspher (thanks guys), but mostly because of all my food allergies. 

all the ilumi products are 100% gluten, dairy and nut free, making them the best solution if you're free from, or suffer from coeliacs disease. for me though, i don't suffer the same - some might say "easier" (probably opening a can of worms here) intolerances. mine are far less easy to avoid (fructose malabsorption, a.k.a onions and such, and lactose), and so i did wonder what benefits i might see from cutting out something that i don't need to avoid (gluten), when the chances of the thing i am supposed to avoid will likely be in them instead. it's a tough call, but then again, so is any other day when i have to eat pre-prepared food, eat out, buy a sandwich, etc...

then there's the price. i guess if i was to put a price on my groceries and eating out costs, i'd probably spend around £150 a month just on food. keep in mind i have to make all dinners from scratch, can't use sauces or mix through pouches, have to eat fresh product and buy lactose free products - plus i don't eat red meat, i only cook seafood at home, so not cheap stuff, plus... i like eating out. i looked at an ilumi meal plan for 28 days*, and the order was £149.99. that includes 40 meals, 20 sides, 16 soups and 11 ilumi approved products. that's... a lot of food, yes, but doesn't include anything fresh. i live for fresh fruit and veg, so adding that on top, as well as drinks, almond milk, etc... all added up, and before i knew it, the cost was out of hand. so, the idea went on the back burner.
similarly, i wasn't really prepared to spend that kind of money without having read a decent review from someone who's in the same boat (dietary wise) as me. so, when the good folks behind the brand got in touch recently asking if i'd like to give it a go myself, well, yes please! plus, after oslo broke me, i really needed food for the month, ha. the box of goodies arrived at work on wednesday, and i was not prepared for the size or weight of it. that box now lives at work, because... there's no way i can ever get it home, haha. when you think about it too, i do most of my eating at work, so it makes sense to keep it there and to just take home what i need of an evening.

so, for 28 days i have set myself a gluten and dairy-free challenge, to see if it has an effect on my health and well being. if nothing else, i can tell you this: based on cutting out the gluten and dairy alone, and with the controlled portion sizes, i'm almost certain there will be some weight loss. which will be a lovely side effect, yes, but not why i'm doing this. i want to feel better inside. in that vein, i haven't - nor will  i, weighed myself to see if there's a difference at the end of the trial. i am doing this to try and fix the internals, not the externals. after 30 years, i'm ok with those (ish).

i'm not going to lie and tell you i'm going to eat nothing more than these meals and fresh fruit and veg for the next 28 days, no no. you lot know how much i love to brunch, but i will aim to brunch without the gluten and dairy, and if not, be honest about the side effects. i'll aim to update every week on how it's been, the meals i've liked and disliked, as well as anything of note. i hope that if you'll find it useful if you - like me, have weird food intolerances. if not, just have a laugh at my struggle, yeah?

what did i eat?
breakfast - perker fruit berry porridge: love a bit of porridge, me. what i don't love is fruit inside of things, or having to make porridge with hot water instead of milk because your local tesco by work doesn't sell almond milk. it's like a prison. the porridge kind of went cold and i picked around the fruit. i'm not really a breakfast person, so i wasn't too bothered.

lunch - thai chicken soup: some controversy about the fact these pouches contain cooked meat but you can keep them on the shelf for 12 months without them going bad, but... cooked for the right amount of time, one barely notices they're eating space food. taste was great; lots of flavour, chunks of chicken (i think) were a pleasant surprise. only downside: too small for lunch. i was still hungry and wanted a roll to clean the bowl. note: i did not eat a roll.

dinner - sweet five spice and chilli pork with long grain rice: deeeelicious, if not verrrry saucy. there was not enough rice to sauce ratio, and served on a plate i thought there was going to be a spillage. there wasn't, because i'm an adult and i know how to eat food, but still. very saucy, and had to eat the meal with a spoon. not ideal.

breakfast - nairn's gf oats and syrup biscuit breaks: black coffee and biscuit breaks is the way to start a morning, i know this now. shame i grabbed three boxes of porridge and only four of the biscuits. hindsight eh...

lunch - spicy butternut squash soup: again, yum. i do love a thick and hearty soup, but again, not filling enough. may have to look into gf crisp bread or something if i'm going to keep up the soups for lunch. i guess after a few days though, my body will accept the smaller portions... wait and see?

snack - nairn's gf oatcakes: bland as sin, but man they fill a gap when you're storming down tottenham court road at 5pm trying to avoid tourists and not think about how far from home you are and whether or not you actually needed another two pink coats. had half the packet on the road, the other half after dinner.

dinner - lamb koftas in lemon and chilli dressing with basmati rice: another winner - someone on twitter (sorry nameless tweeter, i forget who you are!) said the koftas were their fave meal, so i had to try it. utterly yummy. i was careful to not pour all the sauce all over the rice this time, and was much happier with the sauce to rice ratio. minor concern: 

*stop reading now if you don't want to hear about toilet facts* 

something in this dish made me... ill. and without giving tmi away, my stomach made some noises i have never heard my stomach make. this was after two days of eating gf, and i'd not *been to the toilet* since thursday morning (pretty normal for me though, i can go twice a day or not at all for three days, without ever changing my diet. so weird). i guess my stomach is getting used to new ingredients, and i am pretty sure there was onion in both of friday's meals, which would explain the very sudden evac sitch i found myself in.

all in all though, i don't feel unsatisfied by the meals at all - they're on the small side for what i'd cook myself, but that's because i overeat, ha. and as i said above, i'll simply get used to that. i've not had fresh fruit or veg in three days now, and... i feel tired and a bit... heavy. i will be back to mainlining the superfood smoothies today though, i just keep forgetting to and going to bed early (still a bit sick). i'll pop into the shops over the weekend and stock up on the vegies, then i will be able to supplement the portions with steamed veg too, which will be a nice treat *winky face because vegies aren't a treat but whatever*.

if you've made it to the end of this post, i salute you. i also don't believe you, so if you're reading this i want you to comment with the name of your fave movie, because i'm bored of flix at the moment and need good suggestions. haha. many thanks. have a nice weekend!

have you tried ilumi before; what's your favourite meal?

*i'd be really grateful if someone could make me this soup that abracadabra girl posted last week*

Add your comment

  1. One of my fav movies is Almost Famous, so good.
    I'm looking forward to seeing how you find this, I've ummed and arred(?) about this for about 6 months but ya know the price etc. it'd probably do me & my remaining bowel good to try gf. Enjoy your veggies this weekend. X

  2. I've way too many to pick from, but I'm in the mood for adventure/fun, so I'll choose The Goonies. Sometimes I think it would be easier to use a meal plan service, so I'm interest to see how you find it. But I'd have to supplement with veggies, I can't live without broccoli!

  3. Haha! Oh Erica, I love your longer, detailed posts. I tried ilumi recently too, and found myself similarly peckish and veg-crave-ahoy. I quite liked the ease of it though, and not having to cook everything from scratch. Honestly can't imagine being allergic to onions- that's the worst. The WORST. Film wise- go Snakes on a Plane!! My guilty secret (not so secret) xxx

  4. Hmm, these soups look good but I like a good homemade any day!

    Rather than recommend my fave film because that's a fricking hard question to answer, I'm just going to say I watched La Grande Belleza last night and it was bloody BEAUTIFUL - not profound but the shots and scenes are just gorgeous... And it's on Netflix. Hoorah.

  5. Being allergic to onions must be a nightmare, they're used as a base in so much stuff!
    My favourite film is True Romance. But you should also watch Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

  6. I'm going to have a gander on their website to look at ingredients/nutrients etc on these "space foods" lol >.<
    I'm basically a living love affair with onions so maybe it'd be best if I didn't cook for you haha! You poor, poor soul ♡
    I hope you're feeling better now though and as for a film, the only thing i've seen recently is Annabelle and it was... okay, so maybe don't bother with that one ha!
    mwah x

  7. the sauce to soaker upper ratio is an issue - watched Fracture (again) last night with Ryan Gosling, its a goodie!

  8. I actually did end up watching this, thank you!!

  9. oooh, sounds lush!!

  10. don't think I've seen this yet.. or... Hopkins? maybe I have?


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