A new year usually brings along many resolutions, the most popular of which is the infamous diet. THIS is the year I will say no to carbs and wine and chocolate and all that is good in this world for the love of God!! Why do I even live?! (Sorry, if you follow my Instagram you will see that I love food and in no way can give up the aforementioned food groups.) For those of us who are disciplined enough to try and modify our diets, it seems that by the time February rolls around most people have given up or, in the case of me, never started. Why? The normal reasons include time, convenience, money, discipline, or all of the above.
For many of us, time is a huge factor in why we make our food decisions. Between working, hanging out with friends and family, school, taking care of our four legged family members, working out, there is no time left to prep for meals, shop, cook, and eat. Let alone to make sure we are eating healthy! (Taco Bell double decker at 1:30 AM anyone?) This is why companies like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron have increased in popularity over the last several years. They deliver the pre-measured ingredients straight to your door. Boom! You just have to cook them. Ugh, who the heck has time for that? I certainly don’t have the time…or more importantly the skill. (This is the girl who boils water so long it burns and needs to google what sauté means.)
Fort Wayne, we have another option. A local woman-owned option no less! Marina Arambula, a certified integrative nutritionist and health coach with Gladd MD, started a company called Savory-Pantry in spring of 2015, and it has truly made a difference in the lives of so many, including my own.
I asked Marina about the concept behind Savory-Pantry. “It started out as a boutique service,” she reminisced. “Food either benefits or inhibits your health. So many of our clients felt better eating organic, unprocessed, meals with healthy non-inflammatory fats, but it was too difficult for them to continue long term.” In her role as health coach it was her job to motivate and inspire her clientele to continue their healthy lifestyles and find out what obstacles were hindering their progress.
“You can give them all the ingredients, but you cannot give them the time and motivation.” Marina herself has a family of four and strives to ensure they are all eating quality organic food with no hormones. The all too familiar theme of “if only I could have someone cook for me” was the overarching request from many of her clients. This gave her the idea for becoming a personal chef of sorts and creating large batches of meals that her clients would store and eat a little at a time.
As the word spread about Marina’s delicious healthy meals, so did the demand. Her large batches, became more of a co-op concept where each person purchased individual meals, which increased the amount of diversity she could offer. Meals like apple and pork burgers served with shredded zucchini salad, paleo chicken piccata, garden fresh meatballs over basil-infused spaghetti squash, sloppy joe sweet potatoes, and my husband’s favorite – paleo barbecue chicken pizza with almond flour crust. (He orders those twenty at a time). I have never had healthy food taste so delicious, and it took many weeks before he finally would try a bite…and he was hooked!
The paleo and primal concepts have become incredibly popular over the past several years, because they are typically free of many of the ingredients people are sensitive too such as gluten and dairy. “This is a framework that regulates blood sugar, reduces inflammation and increases brain health. I have a lot of clients who ask for paleo and I accommodate, but I do a lot of primal too. I mean paleo won’t let you have beans, rice, and corn. I couldn’t even have salsa! These are Mexican staples – who am I?! Primal allows me to incorporate things like grass-fed cheese and dairy.”
I have been using Marina’s services for months, and I have never had the same meal twice. She will also change things if I want a non-dairy version of what she has on the menu. “Cooking is an artistic expression. My mom taught me how to make delicious meals from scraps. She taught me the seasoning rules and what ingredients complement each other. I love to cook and am inspired by the creativity and challenge. If I am making a non-dairy lasagna, I need to incorporate ingredients like thinly sliced mushrooms, cashews, coconut milk or butternut squash. Things to trick the palate.” She uses locally sourced ingredients from places like Seven Sons, Gunthorp Farms, and even local gardens through the co-op. She wants to feed her family the best ingredients, which means she will never sacrifice quality. “I am here to promote health. Because of that I will never waiver from my standards.”
The meals are served fresh, not frozen in order to keep the nutritional value. The moment you freeze something it loses its full nutrition potential. They come in individual servings (300-500 calories) which are typically $15, or 16 individual meals for $200. There is also a family style option of 4-6 servings. Besides the meals, she has numerous breakfast and snack options available for people on the go. All of the Savory-Pantry meals are able to be ordered online and picked up at local spots such as Gladd MD, Vital Living Spa, and Mad Apple CrossFit. From there you heat it up and bon appétit!