Let me paint you a picture: it’s 8:30pm on a Thursday night. I’m sitting in Macdonald’s with a Big Mac and two serves of fries in front of me. I’ve already picked out the second meat patty and half the cheese from the burger and tossed over half the fries in a pile in the corner of my tray, never to be consumed. On the ground next to me is a shopping bag full of fruit loops, kool fruits, rice crackers, sherbies and tic toc biscuits. My parents, who I currently live with while saving to buy a house, have been away overseas for just over 24 hours and already I’m taking the opportunity to indulge in all the things I can’t eat when my mother is present to hound me about the shit I put into my body (which is not a complaint by the way – her nagging is an essential part of my path to health… clearly, given what happens the moment she’s not around). I have not cooked one meal in that time. I frown, scoop up the tray, toss its contents into the bin and walk back to my car.
“This isn’t going to work.” I think as I toss the shopping bag haphazardly into the back seat and drive home.
Suffice to say, I don’t eat this poorly every day of my life, but frankly it’s all just lesser degrees of the same.
It’s fair to say then that I probably don’t seem like the target demographic for local Adelaide business Sukha Life, whose marketing seems far more appropriate for women who spend half their life in yoga pants and the other half campaigning to have organic fair trade goods available in all local supermarkets. And yet, after staring at the contents of my cupboard, I found myself going ahead and spending two weeks’ worth of food budget on five days’ worth of meals. So why, and how’d it go?
Why do it?
I actually don’t like many foods. I’m not a picky eater by any means – basically so long as the food doesn’t contain coriander or extremely potent seafood, I’ll eat it whether I like it or not. Far more motivating to me than the taste of foods is the effort required to prepare them. In short, I detest cooking. It’s not that I’m not capable of cooking – I won’t win any prizes on Masterchef but I’m certainly capable of getting by on my culinary abilities. Maybe it’s because I’m only ever cooking for one person (thank you eternally single status) so the effort just doesn’t seem worth it. Maybe it’s because shopping and cooking for one person either means eating the same thing over and over again or having excessive food wastage. Maybe it’s because after working for 12 hours straight, the effort of cooking seems like too much of a hassle when no one’s around to judge me for opting for vegemite on toast instead. Maybe it’s because there aren’t really enough foods I actually enjoy eating so all the effort seems anticlimactic. Or maybe, and most likely, it’s just because my levels of laziness only put me about one step ahead of the noble three toed sloth (and even they can get a wriggle on when really pressured).
Whatever the reason, the fact is that I’ve made it clear over the years that I will do most anything to avoid having to cook a meal. This was how I found myself looking for a solution online.
What is Sukha Life?
My knowledge about the company is relatively vague – I’ve seen them pop up on my Instagram from time to time, and all I really knew was that their food usually looks really pretty.
Sukha Life is, in fact, a service that delivers pre-made meals. Think Lite N Easy but a whole lot fancier. They offer one day, three day or five day programs or a meal only option (your choice of breakfast, lunch or dinner). Their programs also include one of their “Beauty Elixirs” per day as well as detox tea. You choose a start date (they deliver on Wednesday or Sunday evenings between 6-9pm) and they deliver to you. The lack of a seven-day program is intentional. The implication is that you follow their programs solidly during the week, but make time to enjoy your weekend and ease up on the strictness a little. So, you know, if you want to still stuff a big mac in your face, the weekend is the time to do it. I’m on board with that philosophy.
The girls behind it, Amy and Elle, have qualifications between them – Amy is a Nutritional Medicine student, while Elle has a degree in Health Science specialising in Psychology and Nutrition. Does this mean they know what foods are best for you and your body at your stage of life? Absolutely not. But honestly if you’re going into any pre-made food program thinking that’s the case, you’re already on the wrong track. Never forget that nothing will take the place of an expert who is catering to your specific needs. If in doubt, see a dietician (and note that I said dietician not nutritionist – for more info on the difference, see here).
In saying that, any health professional ever will tell you that eating lots of veggies is good for you, as is cutting out processed foods. Given that Sukha Life’s focus is on 100% plant-based wholefoods, it’s certainly not going to do you any harm to try it out for a short time. If you have food intolerances, you might be all right as their foods are gluten free, dairy free and egg free. You can also contact them if you have any specific concerns (which I probably should have done since onions seem to hate me these days, but oh well – fingers crossed I sneak through unscathed).
I didn’t realise it when I placed the order, but because they’re a very small business, their delivery range is quite narrow. Specifically, if you’re more than 10kms outside of the CBD then no dice for you. I’m actually just ever-so-slightly outside of this range (depending where in the CBD you’re measuring from I suppose) so props to the ladies for delivering to me anyway.
They’re definitely not a cheap option. A 5-day program is $199.90 plus $8 delivery. Bear in mind that’s for 15 meals as well as the elixirs, but even so it comes out to around $13.85 per meal. That’s a lot more than most people are willing to spend on food, so it’s certainly not something I’d be doing every week. In saying that, also keep in mind the types of ingredients they’re using. We’re talking the kind of things that will set you back a pretty penny in a grocery shop anyway with the added benefit of sparing you a lot of time tracking said ingredients down (thank you decidedly shit supermarket ranges – yay!). Consider also that these kinds of foods are sold at a bunch of niche hipster cafes popping up around Adelaide. As someone who eats at said cafes on an alarmingly regular basis, $13.85 a meal isn’t outrageous, especially with the convenience of having it delivered to you. But will this become something you order every week from here until forever amen? Yeah probably not unless your salary is about triple mine.
So why try it?
I know, I know. When you look at me and my 35 extra kilos, I don’t seem like the type who would fall into the “Sukha Babes/Sukha Tribe” category. And look, I’ll be honest, there’s a lot of stuff I don’t buy on these new nutrition bandwagons. To start with, anything with the word “detox” in it kind of makes me want to throw up a little bit. I always associate it with those horrible “detox” diets with lemon water and such which have been consistently disproved by science (in fairness, I don’t get the impression that that’s what the girls are referring to but it still makes me cringe). I also understand that the degree to which these kinds of programs go is… well… unnecessary. Eating healthy food doesn’t need to be all quinoa, acai, gluten free and chia seeds. It’s actually pretty simple to cut back on processed foods and eat more vegetables when you get down to it. And the expense? It’s a lot, no question.
The thing is, despite being fully aware that all these “superfoods” are a trend many of us are starting to cringe at, I actually tend to like them. It is not unheard of for me to go on hugely expensive shopping expeditions and stock up on all manner of foods that make people roll their eyes into the backs of their skulls when they open my pantry.
I don’t understand it either, but goodness help me I actually like some a lot of this hipster stuff. And considering my general blasé view of foods, this is saying something.
The problem is that eating that way takes a lot of prep time and, as you’ll no doubt remember from my intro, I’m lazy. Making one batch of “raw” foods that lasts me a few days generally takes me an entire day. Making foods that call for random small quantities of fresh veggies, herbs and greens is also just a giant pain in the ass when you’re cooking for one. It usually means grocery shopping every few days to ensure that you’re buying things in small quantities while they’re still fresh, and as a wise person once said, “ain’t nobody got time for that”.
So will Sukha Life be my new dietary saviour? No. But might it introduce me to some new food ideas to incorporate in my own life (with hopefully less prep time and hassle) and keep me away from take away for a week? Maybe.
What’s on the Menu?
The menu changes weekly, but according to their website this is what I can look forward to this week:
Green Goddess Smoothie Bowl
Nourish Me Cauliflower Fried Rice w/ Tamari + Chilli sauce
Zoodles w/ Basil Pesto
Cacao + Zucchini Mini Loaves
Miso Pumpkin Buddha Bowl
Poke Bowl w/ Cashew Mayo
Vanilla, Mulberry + Cacao Granola w/ co-yo
Mediterranean Quinoa Balls
Tofu + Peanut Burger w/ Tomato Chutney + SP Chips
Plum + Apple Autumn Crumble
Glowing Green Goddess Bowl
Mexican Fiesta w/ Guacamole
Cacao + Peppermint Waffles
Superfood Bowl w/ Beetroot + Pomegranate Dressing
Mediterranean Nourish Bowl w/ Basil Pesto
With all this in mind, I invite you to check back on the blog next week. On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday I’ll be doing roundups of each day’s meal and exploring whether or not a fat person can go from eating like a bajillion calories a day to “living the Sukha Life (TM)” without wanting to jump off a bridge or gnawing off their own leg. I’m going to be completely honest and finish the week with a round up of my thoughts about the whole process.
If nothing else, you’ll probably get a laugh out of my failings and get to “ooh” and “ahh” at some pretty foods. And let’s also not forget that Sukha Life is a small local business run by two ladies who definitely take the “girl boss” title with their entrepreneurial spirit, so if that isn’t incentive enough to give it a go, I don’t know what is.
Have you ever tried something like this? What was your experience?
Disclaimer: I purchased the 5-day Sukha Life program out of my own pocket, so all opinions are entirely my own (not that I let free stuff sway me anyway because where’s the fun in that?). Just think – I could have bought a Tom Ford eyeshadow quad for that price with change to spare. The things I do for this blog (and my waistline).