For me, 2016 has been an experimental year of slow, incremental changes to my fitness regimen and diet in an attempt to live an overall healthier life. Trying to suddenly start working out twice a day or take on an overly restrictive diet have never proved sustainable to me, so instead I've made use of that ClassPass subscription to try out different workouts and establish a consistent routine. I try to hit up a few classes per week, as well as visit the gym on my own. However, making changes to my diet has been the slightly more challenging task. Though I definitely wouldn't categorize myself as someone that constantly eats junk, as a food blogger, I do get the opportunity to indulge in many wonderful meals per week, making watching what I eat occasionally less realistic. I mean, how can I be expected to pass up that free charcuterie at The Cannibal when it's sitting on the table? And since I spend the rest of my week running around the city, finding time to make myself healthy, wholesome meals when I'm not checking out a new restaurant is another challenge (not to mention I don't really cook, and certainly don't have the disposable income to have Sweetgreen everyday). Which is why I'm basically the ideal candidate for a service like Thistle.
A start-up food delivery service from San Francisco that launched in 2013, Thistle's goal was always to make healthy, high quality foods more accessible. They make nutritious meals using organic, local, and sustainable ingredients, delivering them fresh to your doorstep on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The best part? You don't even have to assemble them (score one for us non-cooks). Creating a new menu every week, their chefs pack every meal with superfoods, avoiding gluten and dairy. The service is totally customizable, allowing you to choose between 3 to 5 days of food and select how many meals/day you want (vegan or meat); skip any week, cancel anytime, and feel free to add on snacks, juices, etc.
Currently, they only deliver to SF and LA-- but not the Valley, so Kyle kindly let me use his place as the delivery location. It arrived promptly and as schedule on a Monday morning, with enough food for Monday's lunch and dinner, as well as breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Tuesday, with the addition of a few snacks, juices, and even an almond milk latte! Since I was still running around a bit that week and had some dinners scheduled, I didn't necessarily eat everything for its intended meal, but the kind folks at Thistle told me the food is still good 2-3 days after the date listed, allowing me to spread out the meals throughout my week a bit more. Everything was clearly labelled with their suggested day/time of day for eating, as well as all the nutritional information and serving instructions; the dishes that weren't meant to be served cold included details instructions for easily heating up in the microwave or on the stove. I absolutely loved this transparency: knowing exactly how many calories (most seemed to be around/under 500 calories), grams of protein, carbs, etc that I was consuming per day. And the ease of not having to give any thought to my meals or how to prepare them was actually quite a lovely break from the usual routine.
Aside from the ease, clarity, and convenience, the meals were actually quite tasty and well portioned. My favorite meal might have been Monday's lunch of Black & Pinto Bean Taco Salad w/ Ground Turkey. A mere 415 calories (including the Creamy Chipotle Ranch dressing), it was actually a very substantial salad and I couldn't even finish it! I loved the fresh tomatoes, corn, and the crunchy gluten free tortilla chips sprinkled on top. The ground turkey was a nice, healthy, and light addition of protein, and made the whole salad very satisfying overall (not at all like the rabbit food that typically comes to mind when one thinks of healthy salads). It's also gluten and dairy free, and would've been super easy to take with me and stick in the fridge for those days when I'm working from a co-working space. I also really loved the Almond Milk Latte with cold brew coffee, which was compact and adorable but packed with flavor (and enough caffeine to get me through my day). For dinner, another favorite was the Nutty Roasted Apple-Cranberry Wild Rice Pilaf and Herb Chicken-- healthy, substantial, and a much fancier chicken and rice dish than I could've accomplished on my own.
Overall, I really loved my experience with Thistle. I would do it again in a heartbeat, especially during lighter weeks when I have fewer events scheduled. It really takes the effort out of trying to eat healthy, which not only makes changing my diet possible, but also allows me a sustainable method of doing so. Though you'll pay $78 for 6 meals/week and $108 for 9 meals/week, the prices average about $13 per meat-based meal ($11 for vegan); it might be a bit more than you would spend on groceries, but it's definitely cheaper than getting take-out or eating out every meal (it's definitely worth doing the math to figure out what's the most cost-effective for you). Plus, paying an added premium for getting quality, healthy meals and not dealing with the hassle of actually shopping (or parking at Trader Joe's!) or cooking seems totally worth it to me.