Things Discovered: Hungryroot


I was really hoping that I’d be able to write a rave review about this “great” new thing I found (Hungryroot), but alas… it was not to be. Or, at the very least, it’s sort of hit or miss.

TL;DR: Mixed bag. Some of the food is good, but there are shipping issues that could mean what you get isn’t fresh (or even edible). It’s a little pricy as well.

 

I was excited because, though I’ve looked at other meal shipment offerings, with this one most of the recipes were well within my calorie range, and they were relatively healthy (vegan and gluten-free even… which doesn’t necessarily matter to me, but might to some). I ordered and waited – it took 2 weeks for my first shipment to be delivered. Which that part is fine, it was the delivery itself that was the problem.

So… it’s summer time and it’s been a bit hot this week. Plenty of 90+ degree days. I started to get a bit antsy as the day wore on and by 6p actually was calling FedEx to see if they could give me some sort of assurances as to my box actually getting to me. It will be there soon, we promise. Yeah, but what condition will it be in? Inquiring minds want to know!

About 6:40p, my doorbell rings. YAY FedEx!!!

When I picked the box up off the porch (driver was already hauling ass down the driveway) it was pretty warm to the touch. Bad sign. When I opened it – the box was lined with some sort of insulation material (not like actual styrofoam or anything that might have actually done a better job of retaining the cold, but sort of loose wrap material) and there was a fully melted ice pack on the top.

hungryroot

It was slightly cool to the touch, but only marginally so. There was a piece of cardboard under that, and then the food packs. The very top ones, that were directly under the ice pack, were well… not cold, but not quite warm – possibly edible, but who’d want to risk it? As I dug deeper into the box, the food packs got warmer and warmer, and even though there was another ice pack at the bottom of the pile (also fully melted), that was was actually warm and all the food packs on that level were also warm to the touch. Not sure what the box was sitting on the in the truck, but you’d almost think it had been sitting on a heater.¬†In any case, I certainly didn’t feel comfortable enough to attempt to eat any of it. Which is really sad, because I was totally looking forward to it.

I guess I’m just frustrated about the whole thing though. Their FAQ stated that there was enough ice to keep the boxes fresh for 2 days, but like, it was shipped out Monday night at about 11p and then not delivered to me until Wednesday after 6:30p. And while, technically, that’s not a full 48 hours, in the summer heat, the way it was packed just doesn’t hold up that long. Also, the box said “keep refrigerated” but FedEx trucks don’t have that ability. So if they were counting on FedEx to keep it cool in transit as well, that’s definitely not going to happen.

Anyhoo… totally disappointed. ūüė¶

UPDATE:

So, they credited me the cost of the original box and I agreed to try one more shipment. Still not super-impressed with their shipping. This one, again. left Monday (around 10:40a) and was not delivered until Wednesday evening (it says around 4:45p, but it was later than that – not that the delivery guy bothered to even ring the doorbell this time). Either way, still way longer than the 2 days that everything is supposed to stay fresh for.¬† At least this¬†time everything was still mostly cold (or at least not warm), probably because the weather’s been a bit cooler, so I’m going to eat it and see how it goes.

I started with the broccoli rice and added the Thai peanut sauce, and a container of Italian Herb Chickpea Medley. I had to add extra curry powder to the peanut sauce – it wasn’t bad, but it didn’t really taste like any peanut sauce I’ve ever had before. The chickpea stuff was pretty darn tasty though. So there is that. XD Also the Black Bean Brownie Batter is YUM!!

I debating whether or not to cancel. I mean, I like the idea of getting more veggies in my diet, especially since I’m really bad at eating them most days. But, if I’m going to have to worry about shipping issues every week, that’s a major deterrent. The other is that I already struggle with getting enough protein, and given that all of this is vegan, it’s definitely not going to help.

Decisions… decisions…

 

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Things Discovered: Healthy Wage


So apparently there is an app/website, HealthyWage, that you can use to essentially bet on your weight loss goals. You pay a fee (either monthly installments or all at once, whichever works for you), which is basically your bet. If you meet your goal (minimum time frame is 6 months) you not only get the amount you bet back, but an additional percentage as well (exact amount depends on your goals and the amount of time you are aiming for).

I came across the site via my local news, so there’s at least some hope that it’s on the up and up. But I need all the motivation I can get, so figured I’d try it out. My goal is to lose at least 30 pounds within the next 6 months. That’s slightly over a pound a week, but given how things tracking over the last few months, that should be doable without risking total failure.

hw

Anyone that wants to join me is welcome to do so (referral linky nets you and your friends an extra bonus $$ amount). You can also create/join team challenges which can boost your potential winnings as well.

Things Discovered: Chick-fil-a Market Salad


I like salad, generally smothered in blue cheese dressing of some sort (though not lately, of course), but salad is totally my thing. My go-to for most of last summer was the¬†Caesar Salad Kit with Greek Yogurt Dressing from Fresh Express which, if you ate the whole bag and tossed some grilled chicken on top, was only about 350 calories (21g carbs, 16g fat, 35g protein, and 6g fiber). But after eating it fairly regularly for months on end, as good as it is, I’m pretty burned out on it (at least for a bit). Which is good that Chick-fil-a just introduced some new salad choices.

 

Normally, I don’t eat fast food salads. Despite being promoted as “healthy” they often have a lot of extra junk on them and are pretty high calorie, but the new Market Salad doesn’t seem too bad, and really is just like having a mini fruit and salad buffet. It has some blue cheese on it (great selling point!!), and grilled chicken, but then also has strawberries, blue berries and apples. Which honestly, at first, I was like eww… but once I realized that I could pick out the fruit and eat it first, then eat the rest of the salad, it was apparent that this was really a wonderful meal choice. It also comes with small packs of a raisin/nut blend and granola for additional toppings (each pack was about 60/70 calories), but if that doesn’t appeal to you in salad form (#it me), then these make a lovely “dessert.”

Before choosing a dressing (which their Light Italian only has about 25 calories), the salad comes in at about¬†330 calories (27g carbs, 27g fat, and 27g protein), and that’s including the nuts and granola toppings so if you doesn’t add those, it has even less calories. So all in all, a tasty meal for right around 350 calories. Better yet, it hit all the crunchy, sweet and savory notes that keep me satisfied.

Things Discovered: Lean Bar


I signed up for the GNC Pro rewards program last year, which is a paid version of their regular rewards program that gives you a few extra perks, including a box of samples 3 times a year. Honestly, I’m probably not going to renew the subscription when it comes due in a couple months, as most of it ended up not being useful to me personally. I originally thought I’d be needing it more when I was going to have the bariatric surgery, but with that off the table, I don’t shop there that often (other than like every couple for some stuff that the kiddo needs), which generally doesn’t make paying for a couple extra coupons all that worth it. The sample boxes were interesting, but again, the first two only had a couple things that were even remotely relevant to me – like that yummy protein cookie I mentioned a while back (even though I filled out the profile thingy which was supposed to help customize it better), so not really worth it.

leanbar

Credit: GNC

 

The last box though, did actually have some good stuff in it, and I thought I’d share about one of them – the Blueberry Yogurt Lean Bar. It has 180 calories, 15g protein, and 10g fiber, along with other assorted vitamins/minerals (22 carbs, but with all that fiber it’s not so bad). Usually, I’m not a big fan of anything “blueberry” flavored, but this was actually pretty tasty, so thought it was worth mentioning. I’ll definitely have to check out some of their other flavors to see if they are as good. Would make a great after workout snack or even a quick breakfast for those of us that don’t like to eat a lot in the morning.

Things Discovered: Fitness Blender


So, even though I have a gym membership (and even spent several months earlier this year going 3-4 times a week), the fact is I’m fairly apathetic when it comes to exercise. I mean, I’m fat and very out of shape, so working out in front of others is not a pleasant experience (for any of us). I was swimming mostly (when I was going to my gym), but me and chlorinated water don’t mix well – my hair looked awful and my skin broke out so bad you’d have thought I was going through puberty again. My face still hasn’t forgiven me.¬†Other exercises are sort of hit or miss, I mean, I actually like doing the treadmill thing – it’s mindless and you can watch videos or read to pass the time… what’s not to love. However, I have chronic insertional achilles tendinitis and bursitis in both feet/ankles, which makes anything that involves standing or walking for long periods of time mildly uncomfortable on the best of days and down-right excruciating on the worst. So as much as I’d like to do something to increase my fitness level, I’m a bit limited (which is why the swimming was great – until it wasn’t).

This week, since I’ve been struggling with staying under my calorie goals, I really wanted to try to pick up something that would at least burn a couple extra calories (that way it wouldn’t be so bad if I ate an extra bite or two). So I loaded up YouTube to look at low-impact, super easy, beginner cardio videos, which led me to the Fitness Blender channel. In particular, the “Calorie Burning Low Impact Cardio Workout for Beginners” and “Fat Burning Low Impact Cardio Workout at Home” vids, which are still a bit above my current fitness level (I. AM. SO. OUT. OF. SHAPE.), but both contain really simple exercises and I know given everyday use, these are ones that I can do easily here at home in less than 30 minutes. Neither burn a ton of calories (maybe 100-200 depending on one’s workout intensity), but the potential is there to do these more than once a day, especially once I get to a point where I don’t feel like I’m dying just doing the first round (ok… it’s not quite that bad, but not so much that I’m ready to go again just yet). They also have a website, which I haven’t had a chance to look at much, but others might find useful.

Anyways, the point of all my ramblings is that if I can workout, so you can you. Even if we look utterly ridiculous in the beginning (I know I do) or can barely lift your legs (this is also me) or some of the exercises we just can’t do yet – the goal is to keep working at it. Do what we can and just move in place for the parts that we aren’t quite ready for. The point is to just keep moving. One day we’ll wake up and realize that we aren’t struggling as much as we used to, and with a little perseverance we can reach our fitness and weight loss goals.

Things Discovered: Mrs. Thinster’s Cookie Thins – Pumpkin Spice


And now… another thing that I may have to add to my “don’t keep in the house” list, even though they are oh so yummy!!

At 140 calories per 5 cookie serving (19 carbs, 1 fiber, 1 protein), these fit comfortably into most diet menus, however, they taste utterly amazing, which makes it really hard to stop eating them. Again, if you plan accordingly, it won’t break the diet bank to have more than one serving, but still, probably not a good idea to do so on a regular basis.

Taste-wise, they have sort of a ginger snap feel and flavor, but I can also get that pumpkin hints as well. And even though, they distinctly avoided using the words “pumpkin spice” on the Cookie Butter shake description, I feel like this is totally that flavor – in cookie form (which is probably why I’m having such a hard time resisting them).¬† But it’s fall… so ’tis the flavor of the season. Oddly, I’ve never been all that into it, but apparently it was just a matter of finding the right food combo. Definitely not complaining. YUM!!! XD

Cheat Days: Arby’s Cookie Butter Shake


Because there are just some days that you have to give in and go for what you are craving. And holy cow… this is pretty freaking yummy!!! Soooo totally worth the extra work I’ll have to do to compensate for going over calories today. And to be fair, I’ve been resisting this beautiful concoction for several weeks, so I think I did good to hold out as long as I did.

According to the Arby’s website it’s: Indulgently sweet with cinnamon spice. Topped with whipped cream and cookie pieces. I got the hint of cinnamon, but the rest of the flavors are hard to describe – if only because I’m too busy sucking it down to form a coherent thought. Totally delicious!!

I would add it to a “Things Discovered” post, but it’s very much not a diet food. Either way though, if you can squeeze the calories in (or are ready for a well deserved cheat day), it’s definitely worth getting one before they’re gone.

Things Discovered: Simple Mills (revisited)


So… I found out the other day that Simple Mills has prepackaged cookies as well. Now typically, I’m not a fan of store-bought cookies. I like my cookies firm and crunchy and it’s hard to find that outside of ones that you bake yourself, plus, prepackaged taste is usually kind of meh. But aahhh… the gods are smiling, because these cookies are crunchy and pretty much taste exactly the same as the ones I made from the mix version. I am so impressed.

The downside, is that they appear to be fairly expensive (Amazon has them listed for like $6+ per box), though I honestly don’t remember it being that much at the store where I found them. However, I fully admit I didn’t pay much attention, so I’ll have to check again next time I’m in.

The other great thing is that a serving size is 3 cookies and only 110 calories. And though they aren’t all that big, the Double Chocolate ones that I had tasted so good, that even just eating one or two was enough to satisfy a craving. In a former life I probably would have eaten an entire box (or at least more than one serving), but I was good and didn’t. But really, they are that yummy!!

Things Discovered: Simple Mills


So, now that I’m back on track (more or less), I’m continuing the quest for yummy, hopefully somewhat healthier, low carb options. Enter Simple Mills and their line of gluten-free bake mixes.

I ordered the 3-count set, which came with Chocolate Muffin, Artisan Bread, and Chocolate Chip Cookie mixes. Of course, I made the Chocolate Muffins…

chocomuffins

They weren’t bad and still warm it was like eating a brownie (which according to the directions you can actually make brownies with this mix so double yay!!). Not super-sweet – more of a dark chocolate flavor, but all-in-all pretty tasty. And at 110 calories* and 14 carbs, it definitely fits into my diet (with a little protein and fiber thrown in as well).

Can’t wait to try the other mixes!! Yum!!

* to make sure that each muffin was as close to the suggested serving as possible I used a one tablespoon scoop and evenly distributed the batter. Each muffin cup took about 3 tablespoons… making a total of 12 muffins.

Things Discovered: Great Low Carb Bread Co


On my continued quest for low-carb options, I came across the Great Low Carb Bread Co, and of course, I had to place an order. Obviously, they make bread, but they also make pastas, pizza crusts and other goodies Рall right up my alley. I miss my carbs desperately and thankfully the box finally arrived!!! Lucky for you, I spent the next few days trying everything out.

Probably goes without saying, the first thing I tried was the¬†Great Low Carb Low Fat Chocolate Brownie. Brownies are my downfall, I LOVE THEM!!!! Especially, the crunchy outer edges that are slightly overcooked. These, unfortunately, not quite hitting my brownie love sweet spot, but they still aren’t bad if you are having a serious craving.

GLCBCBrownie

They are made with stevia and¬†erythritol, which are sugar substitutes, both of which are something of an acquired taste (stevia, in particular, is a lot sweeter than sugar). The plus side though, is that these brownies are low calorie, low fat and low carb – only 55 calories per 2 oz serving size, with only 1.5g fat and 3 net carbs (22g carbs overall, but 10g of fiber and 9g of erythritol are subtracted from that total). Personally,¬†I don’t do the “net carb” thing, so I just count the whole amount, but I also think that the 2oz serving size is a fairly generous portion, and found that eating 1oz was more than enough for me.

Bottom line, I’d probably just make a batch of regular brownies and eat half a serving (or calculate in a whole one on a special day). The taste/consistency is really that important to me.¬†Having said that though, others might not be as picky as I am and find the GLCBC brownie just fine the way it is. Definitely something I’d recommend at least trying once to see if it works for you.

grilledcheese

The second thing I did with my order was make a grilled cheese sandwich with my low-carb Plain Bread. Two slices per serving has 60 calories, 3g fat, 8g total carbs (net carbs only 1g), 7g fiber and 7g protein. Grilled cheese is my other go-to comfort food, so of course, I just had to. Again, though this time due to using way less butter than I would normally use, it wasn’t quite up to par with my old-school grilled cheese, but still way better than never eating one ever again. As for the bread itself, definitely a winner!!

Up next was the low-carb¬†Fettuccine. It’s got 100 calories a serving, and though the 25g of carbs seems high, it has 18g of fiber, giving a net carb total of 7g. Plus, it’s got 12g of protein. The 2 oz portion size is quite generous, and honestly, I will probably drop it to 1.5 oz or even 1 oz in the future. But for review purposes, I ate the whole thing with a bit of alfredo sauce and it was YUMMY!!! So yummy in fact, that I forgot to take a pic of it before I ate it all. XD

I still have the pizza crust to check out, but I’ll probably save that for a bit later. Until then, enjoy!! ūüôā