In theory, I love the idea of always eating healthy meals. In practice, however, I find it a hit-or-miss prospect. Sometimes I’ll whip up a tasty dinner using garlic, quinoa, and leafy greens, but often I just do what’s easiest — which usually involves opening a can or ordering food to go. So when earlier this year I heard about a Santa Barbara business called Delish & Nutrish that delivered healthy food made from Santa Barbara fare, I was curious. After I saw an example of their menus, I was ready to sign up.
Delish & Nutrish came into being two years ago when Nina Tafarella bought Sunshine Wellness Meal Delivery. Tafarella had been employed with Sunshine for four years, during which time she helped grow their services, as well as work with clients to create healthy eating programs. When Sunshine’s owner decided to sell, Tafarella was an obvious choice for buyer.
In addition to their delicious meals — which include fare such as Mediterranean turkey meatloaf with sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese; dairy-free protein smoothies; chicken, mango, and rice collard-green wraps; and grilled pork chops, to name a few—Delish & Nutrish is alluring for its commitment to using locally grown food. “I buy almost all organic, local produce,” Tafarella said. “I have had several people suggest I start buying cheaper food, but if I do that, I might as well not have the business. People notice a difference when they eat this food. They feel better, they’ve told me ‘I don’t have headaches anymore; I’m not bloated; my energy has increased,’ and they didn’t expect this was going to happen. If I stop being true to my mission and using preservatives and salt and processed food, they won’t feel that.”
Another selling point for me was the variety and flexibility of the meal plans Delish & Nutrish offers. Clients can choose to have just one meal a day or up to three meals a day plus snacks. Tafarella will also customize the program, tailoring meals to be vegan, vegetarian, or include meat, or to focus on weight loss or to be gluten and/or dairy free, for example.
In addition to meal delivery, Delish & Nutrish offers a seven-day raw-food cleanse and a program called Fab in 4. The program, in which I participated, is a month-long commitment that involves meals, nutrition education, and fitness. What you get specifically is two delivered meals a day (lunch and dinner); a meeting with Delish & Nutrish’s registered dietician, Justine Meyer, who will come to your home and clean out your kitchen cupboards of unhealthy food, as well as accompany you food shopping to give tips and guidance about selecting healthy things to eat; a private class at La Playa Pilates twice a week; and a four-week membership to Killer B Fitness, which offers excellent cardio classes that are dynamic and fun. I found the program a wonderful way to kick-start a lifestyle makeover.
“Right now the people who have been attracted to us are the people who eat healthy but are just really busy,” Tafarella explained. “That is my target market. And the fact that we’re using all local ingredients and we buy local [is appealing]. We don’t order from Sysco or big companies. So even though it’s more expensive, we’re supporting the local community.”
As for the Delish & Nutrish crew, Tafarella had this to say about them: “I have an amazing team including Justin Reed, who is the most creative and inspiring healthy gourmet chef I know; Justine Meyer, who is our Registered Dietician; and fiance, Jes Hulbert, who continues to put out fires (not literally) at our commercial down town kitchen doing repairs and necessary upgrades in order to keep things running.”