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BistroMD first delivery within hours (and gluten-free too)!

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Old 02-15-2008, 08:01 AM   #1
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Talking BistroMD first delivery within hours (and gluten-free too)!

Hi Everyone,

This is my first post.

I did a lot of research here and elsewhere online (but, believe me, this forum was by far the most educational, as I weighed the pros and cons of each and every home delivery plan out there for a month) and finally decided upon BistroMD. My first delivery arrives tomorrow and I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve, checking the "Santa Tracker" nonstop. It's fun to be this excited.

Anyway, I like to avoid wheat gluten (as I was getting horrible migraines and joint pain a few years back--plus I put on 60 pounds in one year while we were trying to figure out what was poisoning my system), so that has made shopping around for the best home delivery system (or ANY system, really, I didn't feel that it *had* to be home delivery, although I really like that whole convenience factor) quite a challenge.

Every company I emailed for information about their gluten-free menu options (Jenny Craig, Deliciously Yours, Purfoods) took days to respond and either sent me a form letter explaining that my "dietary challenges would make it impossible for me to enjoy their plan" or didn't really know what I was talking about, making suggestions that were not at all realistic or well-informed.

(At this point, I figured, "If I'm spending this much money per week, these folks had dang well better be taking good care of me.")

So, I shot that same email over to BistroMD, figuring I'd get the same level of service, and I have to say that I was BLOWN AWAY with how awesome they are. I received an email within two hours from a registered dietitian who enclosed both a gluten-free menu (with full nutrition counts) and a gluten and oat-free menu, so that I could see my full range of options.

Now, granted, the choices ARE limited when you try to eat gluten-free (I won't get to experience about 70% of their menu offerings), but honestly, that's the case no matter WHO feeds me, ANYWHERE. I always have to limit my options in order to avoid gluten (and believe me, just to stop the migraines, it is worth skipping the pizza I crave), so I'm used to it.

I was just so PLEASED by the response I got--prompt, well-informed, helpful, supportive before I had even chosen to become a customer--that I immediately signed up and then wished that I had emailed BistroMD just two days earlier, so I wouldn't have to wait an additional week to get started (they only ship on Mondays, so that's why my first delivery will be here within a few hours).

Just the idea of having gourmet, prepared, fresh, gluten-free food delivered to me, all in the right portions and glycemic index for me to (hopefully) lose weight and (definitely) get healthier is so nurturing, so exciting to me. I read somewhere--I think here on these message boards--that we need to keep in mind that we're not to compare the costs of these programs (and BistroMD is the most expensive of the bunch; I researched 'em all, so I know) that it's not just food we're buying. It's portion control, calorie counting, preparation, menu planning, delivery... and in this past ten days I've been waiting to get started, I've been watching what I spend in any given day between groceries and takeout and meals in restaurants and drive-thrus and snacks and cocktails... and I think I'll actually end up saving money on BistroMD, once it all comes down to it.

And to not have to worry about "getting glutened"? Oh, I'm in heaven!

I just hope the food is way yummy. I'm so excited. I took my measurements yesterday so I'd know exactly where I'm starting. I have already lost 15 of the 60 pounds I gained while we were figuring out my gluten sensitivity a few years ago, and I'd like to lose 50 or 55 more. But I'm not really driven by the scale. I'm a tall, big girl, so I know I'll never weigh less than 165 (nor would I try to. Believe me, I'm hot at 180, so that's fine by me too). I like to go by my measurements, the fit of my clothes, how easy it is for me to move and live without huffing and puffing. All that cool stuff.

Anyway, I just wanted to post about my already wonderful experience with this company and say THANK YOU to all of you who have posted your experiences with the various companies--as well as the official reviews of these plans by the 3FC admins--because all of you really helped me come to my decision about what I was looking for in a plan and what I could live with, what I should expect.

Honestly, I was not expecting a company to be able to take care of me "gluten-free" after the third or fourth company emailed back with such non-helpful responses to my requests. I had resigned myself to choosing the "least offensive" company and doing all sorts of work, subbing out food items that *my research* had shown would likely contain gluten. That's a lot of work for someone spending so much on a service, right? So, I'm thrilled already. It's a challenge to have dietary restrictions AND try to lose weight at the same time... so, I hope I have a good run of this. I'm planning to do at least two months with BistroMD and I'd like to continue to share my experiences here, as I go. I just think it's really helpful to others who are researching programs, and I know y'all really helped me out!

Okay, so there's my very long first post. Again, thank you. And I look forward to getting to know you all... and I hope getting to share SUCCESS with you as well.

Cheers,
full of grace
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Old 02-15-2008, 09:54 PM   #2
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Thumbs up Delivery and 1st Meal Update

Okay, so my first ever delivery arrived appx. 2:30pm PST. Everything frozen was still frozen and everything dry was still mostly dry. (One little patch of condensation in the "dry goods" box, but nothing was soaked through or ruined at all.)

I took inventory to be sure everything on the spreadsheet arrived, and it did. In fact, a few EXTRA items not on the spreadsheet were in the box. Yippee! Now, it turns out that five of the items shipped DO contain wheat gluten. I am a huge label junkie, so I read everything before checking it off and putting it away.

Anyway, two different types of muffin (a third type was, in fact, gluten-free) and two servings of the same flavor protein bar (the other two flavors were gluten-free) contained full-on wheat. Two of the frozen boil-in-bag meal thingies had modified food starch which is *usually* wheat, but sometimes is corn. So, when I called customer service, I was advised to not prepare the sauce packets (which are in separate boil-in-bag things) when preparing those dinners. As for the bars and muffins, I was told--if this happens again--to ask for a credit. But because their spreadsheet shows those items as being gluten-free, they were included in my shipment.

Hmm.

The cool thing is, the phone rep was very concerned that they have items on their official gluten-free menu that may contain gluten. So, she asked me to follow up with the registered dietitian with whom I had already been emailing (and I had actually already emailed her, before calling customer service), so that she could remove the items from the official menu, or get the labeling consistent with what is actually being prepared (gluten-free).

The phone rep was apologetic and concerned, and also very grateful for my patience as they "figure out the whole gluten-free thing," as it's still new to them too.

Hey, I hear ya! It's new to a LOT of people. So, I'm happy to help shape a healthy option for my fellow gluten-avoiders (or people with serious food allergies too).

Anyway, my first meal was the Mahi Mahi in a Tomato Caribbean Sauce. Um, YUMMY!! Wow! So good. And so much food!! Mahi Mahi, black beans and brown rice, and a plantain/papaya mix. Wow!

So, I'm happy so far, even with the hiccup. Believe me, I'm used to having to micromanage what's put in front of me (as is everyone with a food allergy or sensitivity, I'm sure), so that's no big deal. And I'm excited to see where we go from here.

I'll keep y'all posted! Thanks for reading.

Cheers,
full of grace
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Old 02-17-2008, 09:25 PM   #3
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Cool

Just an update for those keeping track.

Definitely loving the food. Lots of it. Really yummy. Very fresh and good. The chicken is sometimes a wee bit "processed/pressed" tasting for me, but the sauces and veggies really do make that texture fall into the background of focus.

Starting to get a little miffed about the gluten-containing items that were sent, just because the phone rep told me I could toss out the sauce packet because that's what contains the wheat... but I'm sitting here looking at a boil-in-bag packet in which the sauce AND the meat reside. So... tossing out the sauce pack = tossing out the meat. No. Too much loss. They've gotta do better with their product labeling vs. in-house list of what's gluten-free.

Anyway, it won't be 'til Tuesday that I get back in contact with the main, most wonderful CSR who had emailed me all of the helpful info from the beginning (and the phone rep I spoke with on Friday was clearly wrong on a couple of things, although very sweet and concerned) due to the holiday, so I'll store up my "grrs" (I think I'm just in a foul mood) and deal with her on everything in a day and a half.



I'm sure they'll make it right with credits and revisions on future orders (and hopefully revisions to their lists and/or labeling).

Started a 3FC blog because I realized my posts here had become pretty "blog-like," so if you want to read my day-to-day observations and experiences with BistroMD, please visit my blog. I'm too new to post a link in this message, but it's the standard 3FC blog URL with fullofgrace all together at the end. (Or check the "new blogs" area for one called "...the journey so far.")

Thanks for the support!

Cheers,
full of grace
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Old 02-23-2008, 09:56 PM   #4
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Talking Week 2 arrived yesterday.

Just a quick update to say that my Week 2 of BistroMD food arrived yesterday. Unfortunately, it was identical to Week 1, which means that when I spoke with customer service on Friday of last week and was assured that they were pulling the six gluten-containing food items from the standing order--and that they had caught my order in time to make that the case starting with Week 2--that it just wasn't true.

*sigh*

So, again I will have to supplement my order with one day's worth of "on my own" stuff, which makes me nervous and frustrated... but they'll *again* credit me for a day's food and, they promise, have it right by Week 4 (as I had already made customizations to Week 3 via email earlier this week).

Anyway, it's an imperfect system, but one with some really cool people who seem to care a great deal about how I'm doing and that I'm not getting gluten when that dietary restriction is important to me. That's nice. And, as always, the food is amazing. I haven't yet eaten anything from BistroMD that I didn't like. And most of it, I flat out LOVE. That's a big plus.

Hope everyone is doing well!

Cheers,
full of grace
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Old 02-23-2008, 10:35 PM   #5
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Hey there! I was wondering, when you contacted PurFoods, did they say they wouldn't be able to accommodate your dietary needs? I'm just curious because they have this whole gluten free plan on their website, so it seems odd that they would do that.

I have some friends with wheat allergies and I was thinking of suggesting the PurFoods gluten-free thing to them as an option (especially since they seem to sell a la carte meals), but I don't want to recommend it if they actually don't seem to know what they're doing!
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Old 02-24-2008, 05:30 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noodlebean View Post
Hey there! I was wondering, when you contacted PurFoods, did they say they wouldn't be able to accommodate your dietary needs? I'm just curious because they have this whole gluten free plan on their website, so it seems odd that they would do that.

I have some friends with wheat allergies and I was thinking of suggesting the PurFoods gluten-free thing to them as an option (especially since they seem to sell a la carte meals), but I don't want to recommend it if they actually don't seem to know what they're doing!
Hi Noodlebean (great name!!),

PureFoods--at the time I was researching all of the various home-delivery options--did not yet have its gluten-free plan "live" on the website. It had an area that was "coming soon," but no info at all on what that plan would include.

So, like I did with eDiets/Deliciously Yours, Jenny Craig, BistroMD, and anywhere else I could research, I sent an email through to the PureFoods people. This is what I sent to them, specifically, since they were actively working on the gluten-free diet:

Quote:
I understand you are developing a gluten-free home-delivery calorie-restricted plan. Could you please let me know the timeline for launching that plan? I'm ready to go ahead and order your diet plan as-is (well, if I can make some substitutions to avoid wheat gluten), but if you're close to launching your gluten-free plan, I'd LOVE to hold out for that one. Thanks in advance for any info you can provide. And thanks for developing options for those of us who like to avoid gluten in our diets, as we try to keep a healthy weight.
This is what I received by way of reply (auto-responder):

Quote:
Thank you for contacting PureFoods Fresh Start Diet Plan.

We received your email. We will answer promptly, but sometimes it may take up to two business days.

If you require immediate assistance, please call PureFoods Fresh Start Diet Plan Customer Assistance at 1-866-526-3257 Monday-Friday 8:00 AM-10:00 PM EST and Saturday/Sunday 11:00 AM-6:00 PM EST.

Sincerely,
Julie Hanes
PureFoods Fresh Start Diet Plan
1-866-526-3257
And then not a peep. Nada. Nothing.

And since I do most of my living online--and would really only be satisfied with a company that is both responsive to emails AND consistent with keeping its word (even if reported response time is "up to two business days"), I was very disappointed to receive NO further contact by PureFoods. Yeah, I could've called them, but I'm so email-based that I really didn't want to have to work that hard to get them to earn my business, y'know?

When five days passed without any word, I contacted BistroMD and was replied to within hours with a very detailed spreadsheet and tons of encouragement, so, even if the PureFoods website was updated by then to explain its gluten-free plan, I was wooed by BistroMD and ready to begin. (Honestly, I haven't even been back to the PureFoods website to see what their gluten-free plan looks like. Now that I'm on BistroMD, I'd hate to do "Monday morning quarterbacking" and get all worried that I've chosen the wrong plan. I want to stick with the one I've chosen, give 'em the chance to make this plan work for me--which they seem very eager to do--and then, if it isn't the right fit after a few weeks, maybe I'll look into the PureFoods plan. But the fact that they didn't answer my email, even though they acknowledged receipt of it, didn't fill me with confidence about their customer service.)

So, as curious as I am to check out the PureFoods site, I'm gonna NOT, for now. I'd hate to second-guess my choices this early in.

Anyway, that's how that went down, for me. If their website is filled with good info about how they take care of their gluten-free customers now, I haven't seen it but would hope that's a sign of an ever-more conscientious mindset on the part of food providers about its population of wheat-avoiders out there.

Hope that helps! Good luck to your friends!! If any of them choose PureFoods, I'd love to hear about their experiences.

Cheers,
full of grace
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Old 03-01-2008, 04:09 PM   #7
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Thumbs up

Just took my measurements (finally) and wanted to share some BistroMD-related results.

Two weeks on BistroMD and these are my changes:

Bust: down 1"
Under Bust: down 2.5"
Waist: down 2"
Lower Abs: down 2"
Hips: down 1.5"
Upper Arm: down .5"

All other "key" measurements are unchanged.

Note: These results are with NO exercise--just the change in diet ONLY. Will be adding in exercise SOON.

No, really!

I mean it!


Cheers,
full of grace
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Old 03-07-2008, 12:52 PM   #8
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Thumbs up

Quick update to say that I'm finally uploading photos of the BistroMD *food* to my blog, if anyone wants to check back and see what the goods look like.

Starting Week 4 today.

Cheers,
full of grace
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Old 03-07-2008, 12:55 PM   #9
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Oh, duh. That blog URL is http://3fatchicks.com/diet-blogs/fullofgrace/ (or in my little sidebar on my posts). Thanks!
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Old 03-07-2008, 03:13 PM   #10
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Very nice blog! Thanks for sharing and the food looks nummy!
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Old 03-07-2008, 03:22 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by fiberlover View Post
Very nice blog! Thanks for sharing and the food looks nummy!
Thank you for visiting! And for the feedback! I'm no expert at photographing food, so I know the lighting is off sometimes, but I hope it conveys the general "vibe" of what the meals are like. I just finished uploading the last of the photos a moment ago.

Not sure if I'll have more "new" foods to try (as the gluten-free choices are limited and I think they've sent 'em all to me by now), but I'll photograph anything new that comes in--and the snacks and breakfasts if anyone would like to see those (but they look like what you'd expect: a muffin, oatmeal, berries, snack packs, bars, instant cocoas, protein shakes, etc.).

Thanks for the encouragement!!
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full of grace ...the journey so far.
My waist measurement, in inches:


My weight, in pounds:

Every bite is a choice.
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Old 03-25-2008, 07:39 PM   #12
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Just a quick update (outside of the regular updates at my blog), for anyone looking into BistroMD. http://bistromd.com/menu.aspx

(And actually, this might apply to ALL of the "home delivery" plans--especially for those of us with food sensitivities or allergies--and companies with which you are customizing your menu.)


PROS for BistroMD
===========
The food is delicious!
The food is filling!
The variety (yes, even with my gluten-free limitations) is wonderful!
No need to add meals, snacks, or anything you'd have to buy at a store. It's ALL included.
The "grab and go" and "prep at home" options are balanced!
The customer service is amazing!
Every mistake has been credited back to my account, quickly.
Response time is very fast via email.
I am losing weight (nearly 10 pounds so far, just under six weeks--without changing exercise regimen).


CONS for BistroMD
===========
Meals are not "fresh," but are frozen and require boil-in-bag or microwave prep.
Gotta stay right on top of them to be sure they're sending the right items--every time.
And even then, sometimes they leave stuff out by mistake.


But I really think that all of those cons are cons affiliated with ANY of these diet delivery services. I haven't seen anything that makes me think these issues are unique to BistroMD, among the food delivery services. And MANY of the other companies seem to have many other, much more serious-looking, "problems" for their customers. (I've read some nightmare accounts about Deliciously Yours/eDiets out there. Eesh!)

So, I'm basically putting this list together to help anyone else looking into different programs, but also to remind myself that it's mostly good--and it works--with BistroMD. I really do love the food. And the customer service has been outstanding.

I might try PurFoods Gluten-Free program in the future http://www.glutenfreemeals.com/meal_info_list.asp but I'm sticking with BistroMD for at least the next few weeks, as I'm committed, I like the food, and I believe they're gonna work out some kinks on "my ideal menu" here in the next two deliveries. I'm patient.

Besides, I have enough weight to lose that I can try both of these plans and give each quite a few weeks before changing things up.
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full of grace ...the journey so far.
My waist measurement, in inches:


My weight, in pounds:

Every bite is a choice.
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Old 04-11-2008, 04:01 PM   #13
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Another update as I've just completed Week 8 on BistroMD:

Just because they do all of the thinking for you doesn't mean losing weight is easy on any of these plans.

I was so sure that if I just chose a home delivery program and stuck with it, the weight would fly right off and I'd never have to think about anything.

Dangit, if we humans aren't filled with our own devices to derail our progress, when we want to!!!

So, just a note to those who are thinking, "I'll do the expensive home delivery thing and that'll be an easier diet than one I have to think about and plan for, in terms of shopping and prep." Yes... that's true... but weightloss is still very, very challenging, even with all of that good stuff going for you!

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full of grace ...the journey so far.
My waist measurement, in inches:


My weight, in pounds:

Every bite is a choice.
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Old 04-28-2008, 05:09 PM   #14
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Other updates, as I'm in Week 11 now.

Week 5 is half-off.
Week 12 is half-off.

(I'm guessing other, future weeks will be half-off, but they'll let me know about 'em as I near 'em.)

There are incentives for referring people (which I haven't done. I'm actually being pretty private in my "real life" about the fact that I'm even dieting right now, unless someone notices and then I tell 'em it's an intentional weight loss going on, and lots of work involved, etc.), as well.

Just to add to the math, when you're figuring out how much the plan is, for the long-haul (if, like me, you have a lot of weight to lose and plan to stick with something for months and months to make it happen).
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full of grace ...the journey so far.
My waist measurement, in inches:


My weight, in pounds:

Every bite is a choice.
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Old 06-12-2008, 02:15 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by full of grace View Post
Hi Everyone,
I did a lot of research here and elsewhere online (but, believe me, this forum was by far the most educational, as I weighed the pros and cons of each and every home delivery plan out there for a month) and finally decided upon BistroMD...

I was just so PLEASED by the response I got--prompt, well-informed, helpful, supportive before I had even chosen to become a customer--that I immediately signed up and then wished that I had emailed BistroMD just two days earlier, so I wouldn't have to wait an additional week to get started (they only ship on Mondays, so that's why my first delivery will be here within a few hours).

..I've been watching what I spend in any given day between groceries and takeout and meals in restaurants and drive-thrus and snacks and cocktails... and I think I'll actually end up saving money on BistroMD, once it all comes down to it...

...I just hope the food is way yummy. I'm so excited...

full of grace
Wow, that's GREAT!!! I'm glad you were able to come to this decision as I've had a GREAT experience with them as well. Well, I never went through them directly but emailed them a couple times and loved the responses. One of my sisters has been with BistroMD for awhile, and my other sister is with another, I think it's Diet to Go or something.

They love the food, each different in taste, so I think you made the perfect choice, as they've lost tons of weight already... well it's taken awhile, but they were in excess of 300+ pounds I think, but are now around 220 or so. They exercise along with it, and try to sweat a lot. LOL. Supposingly they are competing and betting to see who can get to 150 first, which is funny. I think they will stop around 190 though.

I apologize for intruding on your thread and putting all this, but I got carried away. Just talk a lot I guess. :-D
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