I’ve been cursed with a stomach that will tolerate approximately three foods (on a good day), and, in a cruel twist of the knife, I’ve been doubly cursed with the inability to produce anything remotely edible in the kitchen.
I ignored my sensitivities for a long, long time (ahem, 27 years), but when the pandemic hit and work events came to a halt (truffle-doused “light bites” are my kryptonite), I decided I could perhaps experiment with cutting out some common triggers: dairy, gluten, coffee, alcohol, garlic, onion, sugar, avocado, vinegar, potatoes … aka everything that is good in this world.
There have been a number of doctors, a number of diagnoses (IBS, SIBO, stress, “it’s nothing, you’re fine”), and a number of medications, but the only thing that’s seemed to make any conceivable difference was altering my diet.
I relied heavily on my boyfriend’s cooking skills while we were both working from home, but eventually he returned to work in person and I was left to my own culinary devices, i.e. praying that the food co-op gods would re-stock Amy’s vegan gluten-free burritos.
You’d be surprised by how few stores in Brooklyn (the dietary restriction capital of the world) carry food that, at the very least, is both dairy and gluten-free. When garlic and onion are added to the conversation … forget it. But then, like a phoenix from my bland and repetitive diet’s ashes arose Daily Harvest.
The brand specializes in pre-packaged meals of all kinds (smoothies, bowls, flatbreads, soups, non-dairy ice creams, lattes … ) that are not only delicious, but actually healthy. Daily Harvest offers organic plant-based options that are filling, devoid of sneaky preservatives, and, best of all, actually safe for me to eat.
And yes, garlic and onion do figure into a number of offerings, but they’re rarely key ingredients. A pinch of garlic, how rebellious, I know.
Equally important is the preparation, which is rarely more extensive than your typical frozen meal. The smoothies are probably the most challenging, and that’s only because cleaning a blender is a personal circle of hell for me.
Daily Harvest is kicking off 2022 with a new set of meals, and they might be the company’s best yet. The brand’s Harvest Bakes provide a hearty serving of vegetables, nuts, and grains that pop straight in the oven and unlike many pre-packaged meals, actually fill you up. So long, compulsive snacking!
And OK, do these sound restaurant-worthy or what? Cremini + Smoked Paprika Ropa Vieja, Chickpea + Coconut Curry, Gigante Bean + Artichoke Olio, Squash + Wild Rice Gratin. They taste restaurant-worthy, too.
So here’s what you do. You choose a plan (6, 9, 14, or 24 items), you pick your items, you select a delivery date, and you enjoy a smorgasbord of healthy and satisfying meal options. Though delivery is weekly, you can skip a week or pause your plan at any time.
For me, there’s a feeling of safety when my freezer’s stocked with Daily Harvest. It’s not fun to be afraid of food (for any reason), and knowing that I have meals that won’t physically ail me is a source of comfort in a time when the very word seems fantastical.