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2020 brought multiple changes to both my employment status and my subsequent schedule. Earlier in the year, I had a 9-to-5, WFH job in print media. I woke up early enough to “maximize my mornings” and get into a pretty good groove: I did yoga, made breakfast, lunch, and dinner, got my work done, and found time to relax afterwards. Once unemployed, creating a balanced routine was suddenly my only job. And I was bomb at it. I was cooking 3 vegan meals a day and performing elaborate skincare and exercise regimens. I would grocery shop, clean my entire house, write in my journal, read for pleasure, and pick up flowers from the farmer’s market every week just for that extra little whimsical flex. Reflecting on that period right now, under eye bags glowing in the blue light of my computer, is making me feel very Natalie Portman in the last scene of Black Swan:
After a few months, I was fortunate enough to find myself employed: a full-time retail job and multiple writing gigs on the side. Two days in, all of my dreamy girlboss habits fell by the wayside. Every last one. If you’ve ever worked retail, you know the physical pain of standing up for a 9-5, the emotional pain of having to be jovial towards people who are anything but, lifting and loading heavy objects all day –– all during a pandemic, when it is psychologically troubling to be interacting with people or touching things at all. I’m constantly exhausted –– I even admit to skipping breakfast in favor of the extra 20 minutes of snooze time. During my 30-minute lunch break, I would rush to the nearest, cheapest, quickest possible thing that I could eat. By the time I got home I sure as hell was not interested in being on my feet any longer; not even to make a meal I knew I so desperately needed. It started to have detrimental effects on every other aspect of my life.
My mother suggested I “reclaim my time” by looking into meal subscriptions, but it wasn’t until someone else suggested it that I actually considered it (sorry Mama, you know how it goes). I researched countless brands online, consulted the TQE Meal Kit Subscription Roundup, and the sheer thought of not having to worry about how, when, and what I would eat during the week was already helping me sleep a little easier. Ultimately, I decided to try Splendid Spoon. With a focus on grain bowls and hearty soups as opposed to more salad-heavy brands, I hoped Splendid Spoon would satisfy my desire to stay plant-based while providing the sustenance I needed to support me in a physical job.
How It Works
Splendid Spoon has three available meal plans:
- Breakfast: 5 breakfast smoothies delivered weekly for a total of $65/week, or $13/meal.
- Breakfast, Lunch, and 1-Day Soup Reset: 5 smoothies, 5 grain or soup bowls, and 1 full-day “reset,” which consists of 5 soups to be eaten every 2-3 hours over the course of 1 day. $135/week or $9/meal.
- Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and 1-Day Soup Reset: 5 smoothies, 5 lunch bowls, 5 noodle bowls, and 1 full-day reset. $185/week or $9.25/meal.
You can choose how often you want to receive meals: weekly, every other week, or once per month. They provide the flexibility to update your delivery schedule to fit both your lifestyle and budget. Most importantly, the meals are zero prep. You either pop them in the microwave or heat them up on the stove.
I decided to go with the Breakfast, Lunch, and Reset plan. I figured that ~$27 a day is around what I was already spending by frequenting the taco truck near my job and ordering dinner most nights. The plan would be a great start to figuring out a baseline eating schedule; with breakfast and lunch taken care of I just might have enough energy to make my own dinner. As for the reset part, I was just curious what exactly a reset was.
Banana Flax Smoothie. This smoothie was my overall favorite! I loved the taste, plus it kept me full. It was also noticeably more hydrating than other smoothies I’ve had (even non-Splendid Spoon ones), I’m guessing due to the coconut nectar. That aspect was a pleasant surprise and perfect way to start my morning!
Dragon Fruit Berry Smoothie. By now I was excited to get up in the mornings, knowing that I had one of these waiting for me. This one was so yummy! My favorite in terms of taste, hands down. (For what it’s worth, it’s my boyfriend’s favorite of the ones I let him try, too). Felt a noticeable difference in fullness due to the lack of protein powder in this one, but that is to be expected.
AB & J Smoothie. This was the most filling of the smoothies, plus I loved the taste! It was almost too thick to drink quickly, and by the time I got to the last ¼ of the bottle I added a few splashes of almond milk from the work fridge. That gave it a really nice consistency.
Coconut Curry Rice Bowl. This one was great! I felt perfectly satisfied, and had enough energy for the rest of my work day. Flavor wise, this one ended up being one of my favorites.
Channa Potato Stew. The day prior I noticed I needed more calories to get through my demanding retail gig, so I planned ahead and made a cup of rice the night before to bring with me. The stew + rice ended up being perfectly filling, and I even had some leftover to pair with some kale for a very quick dinner that night! I didn’t mind the 20-minute rice meal prep, either.
Moroccan Lentil Bowl. I used the same rice trick as the previous day, and this time it was even better! I loved the taste, and I had enough leftover to have a very satisfying dinner! This over rice was my favorite of the bowls.
This reset day was unintentionally timed perfectly, as I woke up that morning hungover from a holiday-in-place celebration with my pod. Cheers to all my quarantined social drinkers out there. Anyway, I woke up not being able to even look at solid food. Luckily, my menu for the day consisted of Butternut Tumeric Soup, Fennel Consommé, Parsnip Apple Puree, Cauliflower Potato Chowder, and Pumpkin Pear Bisque. My favorite was the Butternut Turmeric: creamy, hearty, and comforting, and delicious. Though perhaps not in its intended fashion, this day ended up being exactly the reset I needed. I bounced back in no time.
All in all, I really enjoyed the experience. Although some meals were missing on portion size for the physical nature of my job, once I adjusted accordingly, I found the resulting eating schedule to be absolutely perfect for my needs.
Splendid Spoon really helped me get back into the practice of listening to my body –– Which things are helping me get up and get going? If something isn’t working for me, how can I adjust it so that it does? This is what Splendid Spoon is about: helping you establish healthy habits by creating a solid foundation to grow from. Added bonus: I didn’t have to worry about grocery shopping, or spending hours of my day off meal prepping. Having a prepared lunch on a 30-minute break means that I could spend that 30 minutes sitting down. My lower back is still thanking me.
My current lifestyle is nothing like what it was at the beginning of 2020. Dealing with such an extreme shift has not been easy for my body or mind to adjust to, and having reliably healthy, nutritious meals delivered to my door has been completely rejuvenating. I’m finding longer pockets of time in my days to dedicate to my wellbeing. I’m getting back to the mental place (Hello Ms. Portman!) I was in during my unemployed honeymoon phase with myself –– perhaps not at farmer’s market flower-level, but we’re working on it.
And, of course, no positive change is complete without conceding: My mother was right. Once again.