Food Find: Embody Fitness Gourmet, Darien & Westport
I sound like a broken record saying “eating right is 70% of the weight picture”, but it’s true. It’s the part I personally struggle with the most but I know that in order to see results you need to eat a clean, unprocessed diet that makes you feel good. With long, cold winter days it is so easy to slip into a processed, sugary storm and after the Superbowl and subsequent snow day I wanted out.
The word “cleanse” has always scared me. I don’t want to give up coffee, vodka or chewing food for that matter so I’ve never even attempted a full-on juice cleanse. Don’t get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for anyone who can live on a caffeine free liquid diet for days but that’s not for me. I like to workout, I like to chew and I have 3 little people that make my life intolerable without coffee and the occasional cocktail.
There are different types of cleanses though. This week I took the opportunity to do a two day ‘cleanse’ – but this was not your typical juice cleanse (although that is an option at Embody!). The THRIVE 5 ‘cleanse’ from Embody Fitness Gourmet had a menu with real food. I already knew I loved Embody’s grab and go items so I was eager to try their full day menus.
I had tried many of Embody’s a la carte items (the Almond Buzz smoothie, Cali Love Salad and Ceviche) but liked the idea of picking a couple of days to come in the morning and pick up my food for the day. I was more than pleasantly surprised.
Everything Embody serves is clean, whole and unprocessed. Their ingredients are either organic (all greens are organic) or ‘consciously sourced’. Sugar is kept to a minimum (no added sugars anywhere with exception of agave nectar that is used sparingly in some of the afternoon juices). The only sugar is derived from fruit and/or vegetables. Since fruit can be high in sugar only small amounts of it are used whereas vegetables are very low in sugar, so the menu is heavy on the veggies. By the nature of sourcing good lean proteins, the fat aspect takes care of itself as in your consuming good fats (organic egg yolks, salmon, filet mingon, etc (no butter or heavy creams, and many of the side veggies in the entrees are wet sauteed or steamed as opposed to sauteed in oils). Avocado and nut butters are also used for a source of good fats (omega III, etc). You can choose between Level 1 (1000-1200 calories per day and 45-60g protein) or Level 2 (1200-1400 calories/day and 60-75g protein). The only difference is portion size.
The menu structure has been reviewed by a nutritionist to make sure they created an optimal meal plan for the average active fit person. Think of this as a personal trainer for your nutrition. Every Thursday a menu for the following week is made available (get on their email list!). You have the option of choosing one day, multiple or all 5 days. Although you order in advance all items are made fresh daily. Cleanses can be picked up as early as 7am.
The first day consisted of the following: 1. Almond Buzz Smoothie (which my 4 year old son helped himself to before I could get a proper photo).
2. Lentil soup with kale chips, 3. ‘Jolt’ juice (lemon, cayenne & light agave), 4. Greek Souvlaki chicken with roasted tomato, cucumber and sautéed garlic spinach and 5. Chia seed pudding topped with fresh berries.
Day Two consisted of 1. Morning Pro Bowl (cage free eggs, lean turkey bacon, spinach, tomato & avocado), 2. Ceviche (shrimp, mango, tomato, corn & spices), 3. ‘Green Light’ juice accented with carrot & beet 4. Salmon with citrus salsa, grilled zucchini and string beans and 5. Dark chocolate & berries.
The portions are large and you do not feel deprived. Special requests can be accommodated: pure Paleo, vegetarian, etc. The menu is mostly dairy free (cheese is used sparingly and you can certainly request no cheese).
Per day price is $80 per day (if you commit to all 5 days the price drops to $75 per day).
Don’t want to commit to a full day of food? Their grab and go/ made to order a la carte menu is divided into 4 parts: Blend Bar (smoothies), Juice Bar, Mixology (salads & bowls) and Breakfast.
Why do I love Embody Fitness Gourmet? It’s fast, fresh, clean and convenient. The calorie and protein count are listed. The food is delicious and hearty, never oily or greasy and no hidden sugars. I was pleasantly surprised by how great everything tasted. I will definitely go back for more. My favorites? The ‘Jolt’, kale chips, ceviche, egg bowl, Cali Love and Almond Buzz.
Embody Fitness Gourmet is open from 6:30am-7pm and has locations in Darien (inside the YMCA) & Westport (Bridge Street Square).