I have embraced the plant-based lifestyle for four-and-a-half years, with an emphasis on whole plant foods. Like most Americans, my life tends to be a little too busy and my culinary skills are not the best. My desire is to eat as much whole plant food as possible with minimal time and effort. While I enjoy hiking and going to the gym, I don’t like to be active in the kitchen. In other words, I want to eat for maximum nutrition with minimal effort.
I recently reviewed seven plant-based meal delivery companies. I identified five criteria that contribute to my goal of convenient healthful eating. Of these seven companies, some embrace most of these criteria, but only Whole Harvest addressed all of my seemingly contrasting needs for optimal health and complete culinary laziness!
Plant-Based Meats and Cheeses
While it is certainly a health benefit to avoid animal products, plant-based meats and cheeses are not the best solution. Although they are void of cholesterol and harmful hormones (both naturally-occurring and injected into the agricultural animals), they tend to be low in fiber. Only about 5% of Americans get enough fiber in their diets,  contributing to digestive health issues, heart disease, strokes, hypertension, certain gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and even certain cancers.
Furthermore, plant-based meats and cheeses are usually high in saturated fat. The American Heart Association recommends limiting daily saturated fat intake to 13 grams.  One 4-ounce Beyond Burger patty has 6 grams of saturated fat. Most plant-based cheeses have at least 4 grams of saturated fat per slice. Excess saturated fat can cause a spike In LDL cholesterol, contributing to plaque build-up in the arteries.
Even the “healthy” olive oils are pure fat and are therefore extremely calorie-dense. Most oils have over 120 calories per tablespoon.  On a standard 2,000 calorie diet, two tablespoons of oil daily will contribute to over 10% of your daily calories without providing any substantial health benefit.
Additionally, eating oil has an adverse effect on endothelial function (the inner lining of the artery walls), reducing the elasticity.  This can contribute to blockages to the heart and brain which may increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Shopping for Additional Ingredients
Shopping for additional ingredients requires more time and money. When evaluating the total price and convenience of plant-based food deliveries, consider both your budget and your lifestyle. Rest assured that when you receive your Whole Harvest delivery, you have received complete meals. They suggest adding greens to most of their entrees, but they also include those greens with every delivery. Furthermore, a complimentary bottle of their oil-free Harvest Vinaigrette is included in every box, with an option to order different flavors of dressings and sauces.
Once again, part of the value of a meal delivery service is your time saved. All Whole Harvest meals are ready-to-eat, with some requiring gentle heating or combining ingredients in a blender for a few minutes. They believe that all cutting, slicing, and precooking of grains should be done in THEIR kitchen, not yours.
The chefs are masterful at cutting vegetables and cooking rice and quinoa to perfection, contributing to pleasing textures in his meals. They also masterfully marinate and combine ingredients. Palate pleasure not only has to do with having the proper ingredients, but it is also about how these ingredients are prepared. Quite simply, most of us do not have the culinary skills of an experienced chef.
Seasoning food is a learned skill. Whole Harvest has perfected the art of flavorfully seasoning the entrees, desserts, and snacks – with no processed sugars and minimal added sodium – while allowing the natural earthy flavors to come through. The Standard American Diet includes overly processed, fatty, oily foods, that are high in added sugars and sodium. These ingredient combinations overstimulate our senses and contribute to food addiction. Whole Harvest meals give you an opportunity to learn that nutritious, delicious food does not have to be addictive.
I am happy to have discovered Whole Harvest. I am thankful that the Whole Harvest kitchen team takes care of everything so that eating delicious healthy food is so simple.
Vince Tucker is a Lifestyle Medicine Health and Wellness Coach and an active member of The American College of Lifestyle Medicine. Vince is also a Certified Master Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator.
Check out Whole Harvest's weekly meal plan -- fresh, plant-based, ready-to-eat meals delivered to your door!