Tested by Friday sales manager Tripti Singh The Concept: Healthy meal plans devised according to traditional Ayurvedic concepts using macrobiotic foods and tailored to each individual’s metabolic requirements. The experience: As I’m lactose intolerant, cheese, milk and other dairy is automatically ruled out for me, and generally I don’t like any alternatives such as soy milk, so it can be a challenge to prepare exciting food within those restrictions.
Living a busy lifestyle, it’s really hard to prepare healthy food at home, and I was also hoping to lose a bit of weight. I arranged a meeting with Dr Chandy George, the Ayurvedic lifestyle consultant of Balance Café, and took him through my dietary habits, fitness and general routine.
After checking my BMI and body fat/muscle composition, he recommended a food plan with a maximum of 1,500 calories per day, based on something called six-tastes therapy: Sweet to increase body tissue; Sour to balance the appetite; Salt to help in the body’s metabolism and remove toxins; Bitter to reduce blood-sugar levels; Pungent to reduce excess body fat; and Astringent to strengthen the immune system.
The calculation of 1,500 calories a day was based on 1,100 calories from the meal plan, while I was told the balance of 400 calories would be derived from my body’s excess fat. The menu: The menu was fresh and more varied than I would usually eat, consisting of Indian, Arabic, Chinese and European meals. The salads were really interesting and I particularly enjoyed the chicken and pineapple, garden greens and Thai papaya salads. The dals and vegetable curries were other highlights and I relished the wok-fried green vegetables with plum sauce, the vegetarian platter, the shish tawook and the spicy chicken kebabs. The fish menu in the main meals was also great, with meals consisting of crispy red snapper, salmon, Nile perch and tuna. The dessert was mainly fruit based, plus the occasional tart (lemon, mango, and chocolate). Even though I was eating only 1,100 calories per day, I never felt hungry. Pros: Leading a busy lifestyle, which gives me no time to cook healthy food, the meal plan from Balance Café was fantastic. You get the food delivered to your doorstep conveniently every day. The calories are enough to fulfil your daily requirements and if you stick to your plan, a reduction of 2-3kg a month is very likely. Cons: I can’t think of anything that I was unhappy with. Although breakfast isn’t included (lunch and dinner only), that was perfect for me as I eat just one meal between breakfast and lunch times. The result: I lost 4kg at the end of the month, which I am really pleased about, considering I don’t have a daily fitness regimen due to lack of time. Verdict: Balance Café’s service is great. The food is fresh and tasty and I even got regular follow-up calls from Mr Azeem, the manager at Balance Café, to check if all was well and to my satisfaction. Price and details: Dh2,970 for 30 days. Call 04 515 4051, email info.balance@ landmarkgroup.com, or log on to www.balance-wellness-centre.com.