Food, as far as I am concerned, is one of life’s true pleasures and I personally find the act of cooking and consuming interesting and varied fare to be a very invigorating and inspiring process. I have always been of the opinion that if you want to have balance in your wider life and continue to feel fit and healthy, both physically and mentally, then a carefully considered and, above all, interesting diet is a must. Although I generally feel that I ate well at university I did make a conscious deal with myself when I started working full time that given I was now earning I could therefore afford to buy good ingredients and learn to prepare food of a much higher quality than perhaps I was used to during my student days. I soon rediscovered how preparing simple yet interesting meals does not demand a professional kitchen set-up and similarly does not enslave you to the stove for hours on end. In fact, some of the best dishes are really quick and easy to knock up.
“Food is one of life’s great pleasures.”
Recently I had lapsed back into the classic trap of many young, busy professionals by feeling that I simply didn’t have the time to devote to coming up with new and interesting recipes and so I found myself living on the same few simple meal ideas that I was super comfortable preparing and that took very little time to do so. Although these meals were nutritious, balanced and tasty, the lack of variety that had established itself in my diet did see me start to eat out more in order to re-introduce some of the variety that I obviously subconsciously craved, an expensive and not necessarily healthy option. A friend then told me about her experiences of using a new service in Dubai that one signed up to online, choosing between one of four options – meat eater, vegetarian, paleo, and ‘premium,’ which basically just describes itself as being an ‘organic’ option, for what that is truly worth – and that then delivered, once per week, the ingredients to prepare five meals. Hearing my friend describe the tantalising variety of incredibly tasty dishes that she had already been preparing – a different one each day – peaked my interest and literally had me salivating like Pavlov’s pooch. A quick survey of the simple yet elegant website (www.livefreshr.com) convinced me that the idea sounded like a winner and I duly took advantage of the referral code the same friend forwarded to me, and eagerly awaited my first week’s delivery.
The order process was simple and with only four options to choose from it actually took a lot of the anxiety of ‘choosing what to eat’ out of the equation. At less than 200 AED (£40 / $55) per week for the equivalent of five meals per week I considered the price to be fair, being aware as I was of hardly ever spending less than that per trip to the store and returning home with what seemed to be far less in the way of food. I guess I am not alone in also finding trudging to the supermarket, especially several times per week, to be incredibly tedious and I know that I fall into the trap of opportunity buying whilst in store – not exactly the most cost-efficient approach to grocery shopping. The fact that I was able to specify that I was a single person and so would be cooking per day for just one person, with the ingredients for each recipe arriving in pre-portioned quantities, seemed like a revelation. So simple but yet so brilliant! It is almost impossible to buy base ingredients in the store for a recipe to satisfy the needs for just a single meal for one person, meaning invariably that one either overeats, wastes food (the classic “lets watch veggies rot in the fridge” game that I am sure I am not the only one who has been a regular participant in), or ends up eating the same meal for several days. The promise of a different recipe each day, prepared with fresh ingredients reinvigorated my interest in food, something that I believe is important for wider mental well-being.
Perfect for those singletons among us who also want to cook & eat great food.
The fact that I am able to specify a delivery day and time-window, with the food duly being delivered within the requested time, is another win for the service, and the presentation is excellent. The fresh, refrigerated, ingredients come in an insulated box, complete with ice packs to keep them fresh during transit whilst the dry ingredients and small per-meal ‘ingredient’ tick-lists come in a branded cardboard box, meaning that it can be easily recycled. A simple yet impactful presentation and way less intrusive on my overall day than having to trudge to the grocery store after work.
I have been using the service now for a week and just taken delivery of my second week’s set of ingredients and have to say that the first week has been flawless, so much so that I did feel compelled to produce a simple review video, not an act that I am quick to spend time performing in usual cases. With each meal’s ingredients clearly labelled, getting everything out and in front of me before starting to cook just appealed immediately to the organised process-fan in me that likes the order that it represented. The recipes themselves are found on the website, and can also be viewed as PDFs, and are clear, simple to follow and take, on average, about 45 minutes to prepare, long enough to know that you are, in fact, preparing good food from scratch, whilst not tipping over into tedium that can come with spending more than an hour in the kitchen – after all, who these days really has the time to do that?! I find the entire process of cooking to be quite meditative and enjoy getting lost in podcasts, audiobooks or music whilst I cook. It is, actually, this aspect of cooking that I particularly enjoy as it is a great opportunity to mentally relax before sitting down to enjoy some really decent food and the feeling of immense satisfaction that comes with knowing you are responsible for it turning out great. I can also envisage the service being a great way to get friends and couples cooking together, an activity that I know can be thoroughly enjoyable and a real bonding experience.
“Cooking is actually quite meditative.”
The variety is one of the main perks I have enjoyed with the service. So far I have enjoyed recipes as varied as fresh salmon with citrus risotto, chilli-ginger chicken and pumpkin and gorgonzola cannelloni, to name but a few, with each day being a new culinary adventure. Once again I actually look forward to my main meal of the day and feel the general sense of inspiration that comes with a varied diet, a sense that I feel extends into other parts of my day.
If you fancy trying the service out for yourself, then feel free to take advantage of the following referral link – money off for you and money off for me, so everyone’s a winner!