I started out in life as a radically picky eater. It all came down to texture for me. I hated tomatoes, cucumbers, jello, cheesecake, deli meat…. basically, if it had a “weird” texture, I wouldn’t eat it. I remember the first time I tried sushi at the age of 18 at a fantastic little spot in Berkeley, California and spit it straight back into my napkin. Now, I consider sushi to be one of the four main food groups (sushi, pizza, tacos, burgers, right?). What prompted my changing food habits was a determination to be open to new experiences. From a food snubber to a food snob, I now hail from the “I’ll try anything once” school of thought. That has led me down some very strange and occasionally less-than-pleasant roads. I won’t get into the how or why of it all, but in my lifetime I’ve occasioned to rattlesnake, antelope, and even cow brains.
Over the pandemic, I changed my eating habits for good, becoming a pescaterian and foreswearing the consumption of intelligent animals with personalities. For a long time, I thought it would be impossible to give up meat, but it was easier than I thought it would be. It didn’t take long before I didn’t miss it at all. With all of the amazing alternative meat options now like the Beyond Burger, Future Farms meatballs, and Qorn chicken nuggets filling my plate, I scarcely thought about the real version.
The main influence for my dietary shift was climate change. I felt the weight of responsibility for leading a life of convenience. While it’s true that mega corporations bear the majority of responsibility for damaging the planet, humanity as a whole lives a life of easy disposability. With the luxury of time afforded by lockdown, I scrutinized my habits. I changed my cleaning supplies to non-toxic and natural versions, I joined Green Truck so that I could recycle all of my plastic, cardboard, and electronic waste, and I made other significant changes to my shopping habits to ensure my purchases were sustainable and eco-friendly (and that includes my wardrobe and makeup).
Around the time that I was changing my lifestyle, I ran across a convincing argument by Arnold Schwarzenneger – someone I had revered since childhood. In a documentary called The Game Changers, he outlined the switch he had made toward a more plant-based diet. The health benefits were tremendous, reducing inflammation in joints and improving gut health. He had also previously argued that refusing meat consumption for at least two days a week would significantly improve the environment. Scientific data backs up this idea. If you embark on a vegan diet for just two days a week, in a single month you will have helped avoid the death of 66 animals, the use of 66,000 gallons of water, the creation of 1,200 pounds of CO2 gas, and so much more.
My argument against going vegan came down to one simple word: cheese. I could never give up cheese, I swore. However, the vegan world has figured out some cheese replacements that are just as good, if not better, than the original. Don’t believe me? Try Wild & the Moon’s cashew cream cheese and tell me it’s not one of the best things you’ve ever put in your mouth. With few excuses left, I decided it was time to embrace the “try anything once” philosophy, and take the dive into part-time veganism (something that is occasionally termed flexitarianism).
Then, as if in answer to my call, Root’d appeared in my life. You know its parent company, Freakin’ Healthy, well. They’re the makers of those tasty little nut-based balls of goodness that are a healthier substitute for things like Bounty bars and Reese’s Cups. Root’d is Freakin’ Healthy’s new foray into vegan meal delivery services, offering three meals a day, plus snacks for the vegan-on-the-go. One of the hesitations I’d also had about the diet was simply not having the time to cook elaborate vegan meals. Most days, I was working so much I would entirely forget to eat, much less have the time to whip up jackfruit tacos or eggplant lasagna.
Root’d removes all of the work from the equation, replacing it with delicious meals that will convince even the staunchest meat-eater to consider the alternative. Case in point: I kindly shared my Root’d lentil-based ‘Sloppy Joe’ with my husband, a man who was born and bred in beef country, and he tried to steal my other half because it was so good.
The food was delivered daily in a cooler bag around 8:30a.m., and served up some insanely delicious options. My favorites were the banana pancakes, the sweet “overnight” oats, the burrito bowl, the aforementioned sloppy Joes, and the eggplant lasagna. Even though I had a few stand-out favorites, it was all good — like shockingly, surprisingly good — like I didn’t think vegan food could be this good-good.
Instead of complex meat substitutions, they relied on simple vegetable and grain substitutions, which had the added benefit of improving my energy levels throughout the day. I felt better, and I was actually eating three meals (plus snacks), whereas my diet before had been erratic and mismanaged.
Caveat: as much as I truly and enthusiastically enjoyed the meals, I was mindful of how much plastic waste the containers were generating. Fortunately, I am subscribed to a recycling service, but for others that don’t have that option, the environmental benefit of going vegan is negated by all that plastic. Regardless, my adventure of going fully vegan for a week with the Root’d meal delivery service was one I would happily do again. If you’re trying for better, healthier nutrition options in the new year, or are short on time, Root’d’s service is the tastiest way to go.
The Root’d vegan meal delivery service is available five days a week. You can select the service for one, two, or four weeks, which includes three meals and snacks for AED120 a day. Alternatively, you can choose breakfast and lunch for AED 72.50 or lunch and dinner for AED 87.50.