I do think it's funny that a few months ago, everything I read was warning about the perils of gluten and the virtues of veganism, and now everything is saying that actually might be rubbish, and maybe a little of what we fancy isn't so bad after all.
That's always been my philosophy anyway. I've had a wheat intolerance before, so I know what it feels like, and I've successfully lost weight whilst eating gluten and carbs whilst feeling perfectly healthy, so I've never thought that giving up gluten would cure all my ills and turn me into a superhero. And I have STRONG views on veganism. I mean, how can you live your life without cheese AND bacon? Not to mention eggs! You can never have a quiche lorraine! It's madness, I say. Madness.
Buuuut... there is some truth in the fact that certain food groups are better in moderation. And that's why I'm dabbling in part-time vegetarianism at the moment.
I'm a big fan of meat, and have no plans to quit it completely, but there's a lot to be said for cutting down. Meat free dishes are generally healthier, lighter and cheaper - and as cheese is an excellent source of protein, I see nothing wrong with sacrificing meat in favour of more of it. Also, I've been conscious for a while that Matt and I eat a little too much red meat, and late twenties/early thirties are a time when we should really all start thinking about what we put into our bodies and long term effects. Red meat can increase the risk of heart problems later in life and has been linked with an increase in the risk of developing some cancers, but in moderation, it's good for you - high in iron and protein.
Anyway, enough with the science bit. Cutting down on meat means upping our veggies, and we're getting through a lot of them. So I've been keen to try a veggie box and it was perfect timing when Sparshotts asked if I wanted to review their new delivery service. Sparshotts are a local greengrocer, based in Bricket Wood (the village in which I lived for the first 22 years of my life, fact fans) but they cover a radius as far as Baldock and Enfield (the full list is here). You can choose from the boxes available, make your own or even add to the existing boxes. Delivery's free, or £5 if the order is less than £20.
I ordered the Foodie Box which was £28 and included an aubergine, an avocado, a butternut squash, a mango, some broccoli, chestnut mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, courgettes, banana shallots, basil, bean sprouts, bok choi, asparagus, baby carrots, green beans, red onions, red peppers, red potatoes and cherry vine tomatoes. Quite a lot for £28, I think! Service was quick and easy - the website is super user friendly and they texted me 30 minutes before the delivery so I could make sure I was available.
Having so much veg in the fridge meant that I was keen to use it all up, and I cooked loads from scratch as a result. It went into so many meals: aubergine and chickpea curry, butternut squash lasagne, Korean BBQ (with turkey mince), burrito bowls, a roast dinner with all the trimmings and chicken stew with mash. All of which made around 6 portions, so our freezer is full of yummy meals cooked from scratch.
The box was a little big for two people, so I felt a little pressured to use it all before it went bad. I didn't find this a huge problem though, as I'm used to batch cooking, and I liked the push to use everything in it, even ingredients I wouldn't usually buy like aubergine or bok choi. It was fun deciding what to make with them. I'd definitely order a veggie box again, though - I liked getting all the veg in one go, it was convenient and way more reasonably priced than I thought. Next time, I'd probably order a smaller one, but there's a lot to be said for receiving a bigger box and batch cooking enough meals for the rest of the month!
If you live in Hertfordshire and the surrounding area, you can check out Sparshotts website here. And if you're not, why not take a look to see if your local greengrocers offer the service? You'll get local, fresh food delivered to your door and support independent businesses too! Win win, right?