If you still haven’t shed those extra pounds Christmas generously gave you, then make now the time to get back on track. Whether you’re having trouble making healthy choices, are time-poor or just need a helping hand with portion control, SL put seven regimes – from juice cleanses to Balance Boxes – to the test…
Detox Kitchen Protein Programme
Astrid Carter, Deputy Editor
What is it? I don’t go crazy at Christmas by any means, but I definitely felt a bit run down and bloated by 1st January and was keen to remedy this and get my diet back on track. I opted for four days of The Detox Kitchen’s protein meal plan: at 1,500 calories and with a varied menu, it sounded more doable than the ubiquitous juice cleanse.
What was the food like? Quite simply delicious and the service outstanding – the team will even check in the week before your cleanse to make sure there isn’t anything you don’t like. While I do eat pretty healthily normally, I realised I definitely don’t get my ten-a-day – something that’s a given on this package. The plan made me think of clever ways of getting more in – cucumber and beetroot hummus for my mid-morning snack, for example. It also re-educated me on interesting ways to add protein to my diet without meat; I only had meat in the evening on this plan.
What were the results? By day four, I felt full of energy and my tummy was noticeably flatter; colleagues were even commenting on my skin and claimed my eyes looked whiter and brighter.
Logistical ease: Everything you need was delivered to my desk daily – what could be easier? There were even supplements and teas to see you through.
Who’s it for? It’s easy to see why The Detox Kitchen is so popular with A-listers: it’s completely balanced and requires no thought at all to eat a diet that’s dense in nutrients, while being low in fat and sugar. This is real, honest food that is genuinely delicious – it doesn’t feel faddy or like a quick fix. Whether you’re looking to be more mindful of your eating or merely looking for a sensible way to reset your diet, The Detox Kitchen comes highly recommended.
The Detox Kitchen’s Protein package, is priced from £34 per day; visit DetoxKitchen.co.uk
SheerLuxe VIP Members can save 20% on the Detox Home Delivery Service until 31st January 2018. For more information or to sign up visit SheerLuxeVIP.com/Detox-
Plenish Gut Health Cleanse
Mia Luckie, Marketing Manager
What is it? Ideal for those intrigued by a juice cleanse but intimidated by the idea of living solely on liquids, Plenish’s seven-day Gut Health cleanse comprises of a couple of juices per day alongside well-balanced meals to boost the good bacteria in your tummy.
So what can you eat? On the plan, you’re only required to drink a couple of juices per day – I usually had one for breakfast and one as a snack mid-afternoon. You’re also supplied with a list of three recipes (you’ll need to buy the ingredients separately), which you can have for lunch and dinner. Recipes included sweet potato curry and vegetable-based soups but a list of unlimited ingredients meant you could mix and match to create something different altogether, e.g. your own soups or even porridges. You’re advised to have a spoonful of probiotic-rich kimchi with two of your daily meals as well as a pre-bed turmeric latte. It was easy to settle into this way of eating and while I was aware my calorie intake had been cut back, I didn’t feel deprived at all.
What were the results? My tummy was considerably flatter at the end of the plan and it’s made me think about my liquid intake – it’s clear that it’s not just water that hydrates but soups, juices and nut milks, too. I feel lighter and my sleep quality has increased tenfold – every night on the plan I fell straight asleep and woke up feeling genuinely refreshed.
Logistical ease: The weeks’ worth of juices, nut milks and extras is all delivered as one, but you’ll need to buy additional ingredients for the recipes, so it’s worth bearing in mind the weekly cost of the plan could be more like £80.
The Plenish Gut Health Cleanse is priced at £59 for a week, additional ingredients not included; visit PlenishCleanse.com
Purearth Medicinal Cleanse
Rosy Cherrington, Features Editor
What is it? An Ayurvedic-inspired juice cleanse to help boost digestion and energy levels, aka Purearth’s three-day Medicinal Cleanse. I’ve subjected myself to juice cleanses before and – although the first couple of days are always a struggle – by the third I’m feeling brighter eyed, lighter and full of energy.
What does it include? My daily drinks included two cold-pressed organic green juices, two nut mylks, one kefir tonic, one turmeric and ginger shot and one chaga mushroom medicinal tea (which can be heated up). I also received a pack of superfood greens to add to my water, a pack of herbal teas and Epsom salts for a detoxing bath – a nice touch I hadn’t encountered on other cleanses.
Did it work? I must admit, I was pretty hangry on the first day, but constant thoughts about food quickly subsided as the nut milks were surprisingly filling. By the end of it, I felt markedly better in the mornings than before, and found I was actually looking forward to starting my day with a green juice. Sadly, the cleanse didn’t help my digestion much as promised, but I did feel slightly better by the third day, and have managed to stick to a new healthy regime since – so all in all, I’d consider it a success.
Logistical ease: Three days’ worth of juices were delivered the day before I was due to start. You’ll need a lot of room in your fridge.
Anything else? I didn’t have the energy to work out while on the cleanse – but that’s pretty standard; it’s generally advised you take it easy, or do something low-intensity like yoga while juicing. In future, I’d much rather stick to Purearth’s Rainbow Cleanse – aimed at beginners and featuring energy-boosting root veggie juices (mushroom teas weren’t really for me...)
Purearth’s Medicinal Cleanse is priced at £70 per day; visit Purearth.co.uk
Spring Green London Active Protein Programme
Harriet Smales, Events Executive
What is it? A nutritionally-rich menu packed full of whole, plant-based food alongside a serving of protein at every meal (meat isn’t off the menu), Spring Green London’s Active Protein programme is designed to support an active lifestyle. As a keen gym bunny, I was on the hunt for a health kick that would leave me with enough energy to workout.
What was the food like? The sheer variety of the meals and the quality of the produce was impressive – think daily fresh juices, chia seed puddings, rainbow rolls and prawn, spinach and tahini tacos. The carrot cake overnight oats on day two were a particular highlight – something I’ll definitely be making again soon. Spring Green’s presentation is also second-to-none – it’s not every day your lunch comes topped with edible flowers. Portions were perfect, too – I actually exercised all three days during the programme and was never left feeling hungry or weak.
Logistical ease: Couldn’t have been easier. The Spring Green fairy would come first thing with a days’ worth of food and juices.
What were the results? While I don’t think I lost any weight on the plan, it’s absolutely put me on the right path post-Christmas and I’d definitely consider booking in again before a holiday or special occasion. If you’re looking for a health kick without the restriction, look no further than Spring Green London.
Spring Green London’s Active Protein: Plant Based + Lean Protein programme is priced from £42.40 per day; visit SpringGreenLondon.com
The Pure Package Healthy Eating Plan
Tor Cardona, SL Health & Beauty Editor
What is it? The Rolls-Royce of healthy food delivery services, it’s no wonder The Pure Package is an industry favourite. I signed up to their three-day Healthy Eating (1,500 calories) plan on a mission to restore flagging energy levels post-Christmas.
Hunger factor: Pure Package food is known to be restaurant-quality and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Packing maximum nutrients into a gourmet package, breakfast might have been buckwheat porridge with fresh berries; lunch a pearl barley salad with goat’s cheese; with Thai sea bream curry for supper (and a dark chocolate mousse snack in between). My only slight bugbear was that the snacks were very much fruit-based (there must have been at least three portions of fruit a day) – it would have been nice to mix this up a little. Breakfasts were also on the smaller side and – if you’re a morning gym-goer, you may struggle with this, although with two snacks a day, you definitely won’t go hungry.
What makes it different: A detailed conversation with a consultant before you begin ensures they won’t include any ingredients you don’t like, as well as discussing what size portions are required to enable you to achieve your end goal. The team are also on-hand 24-7 for any queries you might have – I put this to the test at the end of day one, feeling slightly miffed my dinner was devoid of carbs knowing I had to tackle an 8km training run the following morning. I was more than impressed to discover my breakfast on day two was rye toast with cashew butter, with lunch and supper containing perfectly sized portions of low-GI carbs. Full marks Pure Package.
What were the results? Within just three days, my energy levels were back on track, my tummy felt flatter and I had lost just under a couple of pounds.
Logistical ease: This was so easy you’d be a fool to reach for the biscuit tin. Everything you need for the day ahead, including mid-meal nibbles, is included, along with cutlery and heating instructions. All the meals can be microwaved, too. If your budget stretches to Pure Package levels and you’re a foodie looking to lose a few pounds, it’s worth every penny.
The Pure Package Healthy Eating programme starts from £39.95 per day; visit PurePackage.com
Balance Box Market Plan
Emma Wilson, Assistant to Georgie Coleridge Cole
What is it? From the team behind Pure Package, Balance Box is aimed at weight loss albeit with a slightly more affordable price tag. Using only fresh and ethically sourced ingredients and boasting a team of expert chefs and nutritionists, I signed up to the 1,800 calorie Market Plan for four days.
What was the food like? I was beyond impressed with the menu, both in terms of variety and quality. All the meals were delicious and well-balanced with a good mix of meat, fish and vegetarian options. I genuinely looked forward to each meal – highlights were the date bircher (I’ll definitely be making this again for the kids) or the spiced sea bream with black bean salsa. I was surprised at how much food there was and I didn’t feel hungry once over the four days. Three meals and two snacks kept me going and I didn’t feel the need to pick at the kids’ supper.
What were the results? I wasn’t looking to lose weight but I definitely felt trimmer come day four. The package has also encouraged me to carry on eating healthily and taught me I need to re-think my breakfasts; I eat granola most days but am always hungry before midday. A breakfast of boiled eggs, avo butter and rye bread on day two kept me full for hours – I’ll definitely be making this again.
Who’s it for? If you’re looking to lose a few pounds in a controlled way and remind yourself about portion sizes and snacking as well as learning what to eat to stay full, this is the one for you.
Logistical ease: Beyond easy – your food is delivered on a daily basis, with each meal individually packaged and labelled so there’s no confusion. All the packaging is microwaveable, too.
The Balance Box Market Plan is priced from £24.99 per day; visit BalanceBox.com
Georgie Coleridge Cole, Editor & Founder
What is it? A five-day detox with a focus on nutrient-dense, alkalising, easily digestible food aimed at reducing inflammation, boosting energy and improving gut health. Cru8 is backed by in-depth research – founder Alexi von Eldik studied at Oxford and completed an MSc in Organisational Psychology, focusing her thesis on how food affects work productivity, energy levels and wellbeing.
What’s on the menu? Veggies are top priority – it’s a mainly raw, plant-based diet so expect lots of fresh salads and soups. Meat isn’t off the menu, surprisingly, so expect servings of salmon and chicken with your salads. While the likes of nuts, seeds, pseudo-grains and fruits and vegetables form the basis of the programme, I was surprised at how much food there was. I wasn’t hungry once and almost forgot this was supposed to be a detox. The only rules are no dairy or wheat and everything’s almost exclusively organic. Breakfast ranged from Cru8’s own range muesli to Paleo kale bread with a poached egg, while lunch usually consisted of generously-sized salad and supper, possibly the most daunting, was a soup or bone broth. Snacks are also included – think activated almonds, crudités with turmeric hummus and kale chips.
Who’s it for? Those committed to seeing results – you can’t drink coffee, tea or alcohol and must avoid sugar and dairy at all costs over the five days. At the same time, if you’re very active or a keen gym bunny, the plan probably isn’t for you as strenuous exercise isn’t recommended.
What were the results? Stick with it and the results are impressive, even after just five days. My energy levels were back to normal and I’ve been sleeping soundly since. This really is the enjoyable way to do a detox.
Logistical ease: Daily packs are delivered straight to your door, providing you’re based in London.
The Cru8 Detox is priced from £225 per week; visit DetoxDelivered.co.uk