Honeycomb (11)

Healthy Changes – Part 1: Wonders of the VegBox

Healthy doesn’t have to be hard. It doesn’t even have to be boring or insanely complicated.

This is the first of a series of short posts where I hope to provide simple ideas on how you can make little and simple changes in your life which can make quite a big difference in how you feel. 

Making healthy changes in your life is much easier and more manageable than telling yourself you’re going on a strict diet or calorie counting. Finding healthier alternatives is about a long-term commitment to learning about what makes you feel better inside and then as a bonus on the outside. The small baby steps really help to make the changes stick and turn into long lasting habit changes.

Here is the first change that Peter and I made in our eating habits and are absolutely loving it. It’s a great way of tackling the challenge of getting as much goodness in our life as possible.

Wonders of the VegBox

We subscribed to a weekly vegbox from Abel & Cole about a year ago now. Since then, Peter and I have eaten more seasonal veg than what we had done in a long time. Before this bountiful box entered our lifes, I was cooking a lot of pasta dishes and buying a mix of veg in our fortnightly supermarket shop. This veg often didn’t go with the seasons and had a nasty habit of going off as soon as we got it through the front door!

We started reading more and more about the use of pesticides on certain veg and the potential benefits of switching to organic. I’m not quite sure how we then made the leap to a vegbox instead of opting to buy from local markets, but we did… and we’ve never looked back.

The seasonal box of produce which lands on our doorstep every Tuesday inspires me to whip up something exciting. Each vegetable, be it an aubergine or baby spinach, literally sings – so much so that I feel I have to do them justice, I can’t just put them in a pasta sauce.  But don’t worry though if you’re not sure how to use the veggies, most boxes come with some really amazing and helpful recipes which show you how to get the best out of the box. My favourite Abel & Cole recipe card has to be Call Me a Cabbage – I’m in a Curry!

If, like Peter and I, you hadn’t experienced freshly grown produce as the norm when growing up,  you will literally be blown away by the taste of things as simple as carrots, celery and cucumbers. They put our mass produced, shipped in supermarket veggies to shame. This really made me think about the quality of the vegetables and that, surely if they tasted so much better, they must be giving us even more nutrients and goodness than their supermarket counterparts.

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As well as tasting amazing, getting our veg this way helps to reduce miles travelled by the veg as they’re sourced more locally than supermarket produce. That said, you will still see that certain items will come from abroad, such as Italy. It’s swings and roundabouts really, but something else that we like about Abel & Cole is that their boxes are reused and their veg comes in paper bags or reused pots. You end up with less bags and less packaging waste.

There are quite a few varieties of veg boxes, we started out with a fruit and veg mix, then swapped to medium size box and are now completely hooked on the largest size. For me, the fruit was just a bit too ripe, I love things sour!!

Although we swear by Abel & Cole, there are other companies out there such as Riverford Organics. Plus, your local farm might do something similar on a smaller scale – well worth checking out. Also, if you’re in London, the big supermarkets are now delivering their own veg boxes, which are great for getting that hit of green, but the quality of the produce might not be quite as good as the traditional schemes.

Misconception 1 of the vegbox: ‘it’s too expensive’
It really isn’t that much more expensive than buying the occasional organic veg in the supermarket along with normal veggies. Because Peter and I now only get our veg from the box, we save on money at the supermarket (albeit, if I’m meal planning and I know I won’t get something, I’ll buy that in the shop). That’s another thing, it’s not a surprise about what will be in your box – you can see two weeks in advance what you’ll get with most places. Also, if you don’t like a veg like sprouts, you can switch them off and you’ll get a replacement.

Misconception 2 of the vegbox: ‘there’s no variety’
Although the seasonal changes in the variety of the veg are subtle from week to week, you really do get a broad range of veg. Companies are forever coming up with ways to keep the boxes exciting and often throw in freebies such as ginger or a veg you might not have come across before like artichoke. They want you to experience nature’s bounty so won’t give you a box full of carrots and potatoes.

Do you have a vegbox? What do you love most about them?