Your food is in the mail

Far from being restricted to non-perishable staples, today's online food services include freshly prepared meals, individually customized menus, expensive gourmet items, exotic ingredients and also health foods and meal plans specifically designed for weight loss. Particularly the latter caught my attention.
Depending on where you live, you can set up an account online with a provider of your choice. In some metropolitan areas, there may be dozens of them. You place your order(s) and wait until delivery starts within a day or two. Some companies deliver meals daily, others once a week. You may order all your meals or pick specific items.
This highly customized service is not cheap. You're looking at $100 to $400 for five to seven days of delivery. Not only the prices can vary significantly, so can the quality, freshness and taste of your mail-order meals. But considering the organization and labor that go into the whole process and the time you can save by not having to shop and cook yourself, it may still turn out to be a bargain.
As I mentioned earlier, some of these companies specialize in health conscious and weight management diets. Typically, after an initial consultation via e-mail or over the telephone, you can set up a personal program that determines your optimal daily calorie intake and other nutritional specifications and have your meals designed accordingly. Offerings like these are especially popular with people who wish to lose weight, but don't have the time or the inclination to manage their own meal plans. As one client explained his motives to try some of these assisted diets: "I decided to [have my diet meals home-delivered], knowing I would never be able to stick to a diet if I had to do the buying and cooking myself." (As seen in the New York Times on 5/5/2010)
As a health counselor, one important aspect of my work with patients struggling with weight issues is to have them develop a personal relationship to their food. Weight gain can routinely be associated with what is called "mindless eating." Most of us, myself included, sometimes reach for food for reasons other than hunger. We may find ourselves munching on snacks or sweets because we are bored, stressed or tired - often without noticing. By contrast, the conscious planning of a home-cooked meal, the shopping for specific ingredients, the careful and loving preparation in the kitchen, and finally the enjoyment of the food and sharing with loved ones can provide a much more satisfying experience.
I admit, I am a great fan of farmers markets. I love to feel, squeeze, smell and taste the fresh fruits and vegetables I find there. I appreciate the human touch, the exchange and interaction with the people who have grown and harvested these foods and whom I implicitly trust with my health and well-being. I don't deny the convenience of having a ready-to-eat meal dropped off at my doorstep when I'm exhausted from a long day. But I hope I will never lose touch with nature's great gifts. I don't ever want to see that part of my life become extinct, no matter what they invent next...[[In-content Ad]]