One of my greatest passions is cooking. Throwing together a delicious dinner from a few ingredients salvaged from the whatever’s available; or trying a new recipe I’ve torn out of one of the Sunday supplements, is what makes me happy. So, it is with curiosity that I sign up for a day’s Detox Kitchen, where every meal and snack from wake to sleep is thought out and delivered to me.
There are five packages to choose from depending on one’s dietary requirements and the extremity of the detox, all free from wheat, dairy, refined sugar and preservatives: ranging from The Active Protein Package, an 1800 calorie plan designed to ‘help enhance your workout and aid your recovery’ to The Green Package, ‘900 calories of green goodness’. I’m tempted by them all, but not one for extreme diets or in need of workout support, I opted for The Protein Package: a 1500 calorie plan that promised seasonal vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, seeds, free-range chicken and turkey from a farm in Norfolk and sustainably-sourced fish: not too far removed from my current diet; save for the odd steak, Wagon Wheel or seven course tasting menu…
Package and delivery time selected, I awaited my first box.
Not having to make lunch the night before work; rush down some breakfast to get out the door to the train in time; food shop; meal plan; make – was all rather liberating. The last time I had all my meals decided for me, I also had all my excretions tended to; my clothes chosen and applied. I start to think about the time I would save if Detox Kitchen became my full time supply, and think of what I could do with that spare time… set up a business to fund this habit full time, perhaps, for this sort of convenience does not come cheap – from £33.99-£46.99 a day depending on the plan/£279,93 a week for the Protein Package. So, long term I’d have to park it alongside a daily personal trainer, regular ayurvedic retreats, twice-weekly blow dries, that Villeroy and Boch shower tray I’m pining after for my new bathroom.
Then there’s the other sticking point. I actually really enjoy cooking. It’s my weekend un-winder – the only time I can properly switch off my brain. Being such a fan of the kitchen, I fear five days or longer of this would leave me feeling unfulfilled; I might become one of those people who proudly admits to keeping shoes in their oven or take along my own food to dinner parties. On the flip side, I might start to look like one of DK’s svelte celebrity fans Gwyneth Paltrow, Suki Waterhouse; Elle MacPherson or Agyness Deyn. Tricky.
Monday morning comes, the box arrives at reception just after 7.30am, and so does the excitement of opening it up to see my full day’s meals and snacks in one. Written out like a menu, with instructions of what to have when. Although, the lack of instructions for when I should drink the juice or eat the nuts leaves me stumped. I re-read over the card a couple of times to ensure I haven’t missed anything.
On first site, I’m doubtful at how my whole day’s consumption can fit into this shoe box. Once unpacked, it looks like quite a lot: three meals, two snacks, a pudding, wheatgrass shot, Biocare Acidophilus supplement and pukka mint tea bag. To be supplemented by 1 ½ litres of water, Detox Kitchen’s RDA.
In goes the rice milk and porridge oats into the microwave for the instructed 2 mins, and out goes my common sense as I watch it gradually overcook; thinking ‘stay strong, it said 2 minutes’. I added the rhubarb compote onto the nuked porridge, swallow the pill, shoot the wheatgrass, and start work. It’s sweet, warming and fills me up to around 10.30am, when the little pot of hazelnuts winks at me and fills the hole. When I retrieve my lunch from the fridge – brown rice salad with avocado, chilli and spring onions – I’m not convinced it’s going fill me up, so mentally line up the carrot, ginger, apple, celery and lemon juice to have with it. It does, but I follow with the juice anyway.
About an hour before home time, I remember my pot of red onion hummus and celery sticks in the fridge, and although not really hungry eat it anyway, conscious I won’t have time to fit it in otherwise. I’m not used to all these snacks.
Without dinner to prepare, I have an unusually productive Monday evening. Waiting five minutes before my significant other has prepared his dinner and serve my tub of ginger roasted salmon, spinach, cabbage, edamame and tahini dressing. There are instructions to heat if preferred, but I opt for cold. It looks generous and delicious, and it is – plenty to fill me up, without the need for my ‘pudding’ of pineapple bites with desiccated coconut, but of course I eat that anyway.
I complete the day impressed by how well fed I feel compared to how sparse my upturned box looked that morning. Completing a week on the plan would be a doddle and I’ve no doubt I’d feel cleaner and leaner at the end of it.
In fact, scanning over the menu for the week, I’m sad I’m not trying it for longer. I could be tucking into pearl barley lemon risotto with peas, leeks and samphire for lunch tomorrow, or rhubarb and pear crumble for pudding on Thursday, a tasty sounding roasted salmon and Sri Lankan curry dinner on Friday, or toasted pecan granola on Sunday… Personally, I’d rather splash the week’s fee on a lovely, memorable meal somewhere. But I could certainly see myself perusing their new cookery book and whipping up some of the saintly dishes from there. I get the best of both worlds that way.
The Detox Kitchen Bible is available now from all good stockists, including the Detox Kitchen website. For more information about The Detox Kitchen, including details on how it works, recipes and signing up for their packages, visit www.detoxkitchen.co.uk.