Posts Tagged ‘my food my health’

Review of My Food My Health Menu Plan Service

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Back when I thought that candida might be causing the eczema in my sons, I began looking into doing a candida diet. It seemed to overwhelming to me to try to revamp the menu on my own, so I decided to see if I could find and test drive a menu planning service that would deliver me menus, recipes, and shopping lists customized for the candida diet.

Enter My Food My Health. I don’t remember exactly how I stumbled on them, but somehow I did find the service, and it appeared to be exactly what I was looking for. However, I didn’t want to commit to 3 months of the service, especially since money was tight at the time, so I requested a short trial to see if I liked it, and offered to review it in exchange for the chance to try it out. They set me up with a free trial, and now I’m fulfilling my end of the deal.

All in all, I found the service quite impressive. They have a lot of recipes, and are apparently adding new ones from time to time. You can customize your diet with specific issues, such as candida, celiac, eczema, etc, and you can also exclude specific foods (because they cause allergies or you just don’t like them). You can add other family members and specify exclusions for them as well.

Making a menu is as easy as clicking on  “Create New Meal Plan”. This generates a menu all ready for you. I found that I wanted to customize the menu, which was a little tedious but not really difficult. It puts one recipe per meal, but you can add more to create a 2 or 3 dish meal (such as adding a salad to a casserole, or an omelet to hashbrowns). I really like the fact that this menu plan allows you to plan all 3 meals instead of just dinner like some do. I was told that they are working on making the menu planner easier to use, which should make it less tedious and more user friendly in the future.

The list of recipes is quite extensive. Our family is vegetarian and mostly gluten-free, and there are still so many recipes we can use! (I ended up decided not to do the candida diet, by the way.) I didn’t expect to find many that Manny could use, but I did find a few. And they are really tasty, too.  Most don’t use exotic ingredients–a real plus for most people. A few do, but that’s okay; it’s fun to try new things once in a while.

I must emphasize how tasty the recipes are. I have only tried a handful, but I am very impressed. The Chickpea Chilli was a hit with my husband–and he doesn’t even like garbanzos! When I made the Seared Tofu with Green Coconut Curry (minus the jalapenos, for my daughter’s sake), along with a simple veggie stir fry, my husband said that it was better than eating out at a restaurant! The Quinoa-Millet Banana Muffins were very simple and easily adaptable to my son’s very restricted diet. The Puree of Chickpea and Tomato Soup earned me several complements at church, and I can’t wait to try out the Quick and Simple Ratatouille tomorrow, to serve with our traditional Monday pasta.

It is easy to print out recipes; you can either print out the whole week’s worth at once, or just print individual recipes. I found the latter worked better, though for some reason they always had 2 pages, and page 2 was usually blank (except for the website info and page x/x and time stamp on the bottom). That might be an issue with my printer, though. I like having printed them out; I can file them in my menu binder and use them again and again, even if I don’t continue with the service.

Once you have made your menu, you can click on shopping list and see a list of all the ingredients needed for the week’s menu. You can print it as is or hide certain things (say you have rice already in your pantry, you can hide that item). You can also edit the list manually, which is good if you need to add items to it. Personally, though, I wouldn’t print the list. I put my shopping list on my iPod with the ShopShop app, so it’s easier for me just to copy from the list. I do like how it the MFMH list is categorized, though. Ingredients are listed under headings like Produce, Eggs & Dairy, Flour, Pasta, Nuts & Seeds, etc. This makes it easy to see which items you are buying, as well as keeps you from running around the in a slap-dash fashion, or missing things when you are in a section. Currently it lists items from individual recipes separately–as in, 3 eggs, 6 eggs, 2 eggs, etc. I have been told they are working on the shopping list to consolidate the repeated items, so in the future it would show 11 eggs, not 3, 6, & 2.

One feature I wish it had was the ability to start the week’s menu on any day of the week. It starts on Sunday, and it is given in real time. Once a day has passed, you can’t change the menu. I shop on Tuesdays and like to make the menu Wednesday through Tuesday. This means that I would have to do Sunday’s recipe on Wednesday and plan my menu before Sunday, then change the days on the print out. This is awkward for me, but not impossible. Of course, this wouldn’t be an issue for someone who wanted to make the whole month’s menus at once. They could view the shopping list for each week and purchase the non-perishables for the whole month at once, and then just get the fresh produce as needed. This would mean less time in the store, which would definitely save money. You can plan your menu many weeks in advance with this service, so that would be very feasible. And from what I’ve been told, I’m the only one who has ever had an issue with this in the 4 years they have been operating, so I guess it’s not a big deal.

There is a way that you can add your own recipes, but it is a little hard to find. And the trouble is, it does not seem to add the ingredients to the shopping list. The box to add your own recipe is more just a box to add the name of a recipe you have, rather than being where you would write in the recipe. You can write in the ingredients, but you can’t add them to the shopping list automatically; you have to do it manually. At least it’s an option. I’ve been told this will also change in the future. Fortunately, your personal recipes have a special icon, so when making your shopping list you can simply collect the list of ingredients for those specific recipes and add it however you want–to their customizable shopping list, or to your paper or electronic one.

One neat feature I almost forgot to mention is that it tells you how many calories the recipes have, and gives you a total for the day on the menu. This is really handy if you are counting calories. I don’t count calories–never have and never will–but I know some people do.

The shortest subscription time is 3 months for $34.99. Other options are 6 months for $49.99 and 12 months for $89.99. This price is quite reasonable. I know a place that charges $5 a week for plans, which is reasonable, But My Food My Health’s plans are $11 a month for the 3-month plan, and the cost would go down if you subscribed for longer.

So do I like the service? Yes, to a point. It gets hard if you have too many diet restrictions (because it excludes recipes that could be easily modified, because the computer doesn’t know that, for instance, you could use a different milk or leave out the nuts), and recipes are not customizable by serving size, so if you are not doing this just for yourself, you would need to multiply certain recipes that are designed for 1 person and adjust the shopping list accordingly (omelet recipes are pretty much all one-serving recipes). I do love the variety of recipes and how tasty they are.

But will I subscribe? Probably not. I realize that what I need is just more recipes, not something that plans my menu for me. $35.99 is not bad for as many recipes as I can print out in 3 months–that would be a couple cookbooks worth of recipes, and as you know, most cookbooks are full of recipes you don’t use. This allows me to print the ones I like and put them in a binder, so it is definitely worth it in terms of just recipes. Some people will find it more useful than I would for the actual menu planning. And they add more recipes all the time, so an ongoing subscription will suit many people quite well.

Would I recommend it? Sure. I would say it’s definitely worth what they charge. You will not waste your money if you purchase a subscription. You can keep the printouts if you decide not to renew, and you’ve come out ahead. And you may like it better than I did and decide to keep the service.

What if you aren’t interested in a menu plan? They have a kid-friendly cookbook available that is gluten and dairy free  called Kids Delicious. The book would be especially suited for families whose children have autism, celiac, gluten intolerance, IBS or lactose intolerance. If my son were not so restricted in his diet, I think I would buy one myself! And who knows? Maybe I will get one sometime when Ralfie is older.

 

Disclaimer: I received a free 3-months subscription to this service in exchange for my review. However, the opinions expressed in this review are all mine.