“This isn’t a diet or some crazy food trend. It’s a commitment to yourself to give your body the nourishment it deserves,” read the welcome introduction from Essentially whose new Raw Food Programme is not about counting calories but about counting nutrients. We put it to the test. #EWGetsFit
What is it?
It seems everyone in the UAE, at some point or another, has done the Essentially juice detox package – five days of just juice and cleansing. While there are many benefits to this type of detox, it’s extremely difficult to maintain especially when swamped at work. The last thing you want after a manic deadline is a bottle of broccoli, kale and celery.
However, if you are looking to eat clean, consume nothing but good nutrients and get in your five a day, but not in liquid form, then the Raw Food Programme could be what you need.
Much like with their juice programmes, Essentially delivers a bag full of food, juices and snacks to your door every morning so you are set up for the day (they come as early as 5am so there’s no chance of you missing them).
Before your programme starts Essentially email you your weekly menu so you are aware of the treats in store, and boy there are some great treats. The food package includes breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacks. As the name suggests all of the food is plant-based, raw and vegan – so no meat, fish, dairy or eggs. Protein boosts come in the form of chickpeas and quinoa – the only cooked foods in the programme.
How It Works
In-house chef Kristin Fraser is a holistic nutritionist who oversees all the enzyme-rich menus. Cooking over 40 degrees destroys enzymes and many plant nutrients, so to maximise nutritional value all the programme includes plenty of raw foods and cold pressed juices.
Call me naive but when I heard raw food I assumed bowls of leaves and roughly chopped vegetables still covered in dirt. I did not expect chia puddings for breakfast, chocolate brownies for snacks, pad Thai for lunch and falafel burgers for dinner.
The programme really educated me about healthy food combinations. When it comes to clean eating I struggle to think beyond a bowl of salad with chicken or tuna, so the different and delicious food combinations and dressings inspired me to lead a cleaner life. I’m not joking, I’ve already made the chocolate brownies for my gym buddies.
I did suffer a few side effects expected from a detoxes. I had headaches during the programme, and major caffeine withdrawals – coffee and tea are banned. I also had a mild skin breakout, but it’s to be expected when your body is eliminating toxins. The benefits included feeling lighter and less bloated. Also, unlike most detox programmes I felt energised enough to continue with my gym routines.
While there was an initial mix up with my order (confused over start date) the Essentially team were attentive to my dietary requirements and regularly checked up on me to see how I was enjoying the programme – I can’t fault the customer service.
The Raw Food Programme costs Dhs299 per day or Dhs2,790 for a 10-day package.