Tasty! Trialling Ilumi gluten, milk and nut-free food.

More than a decade ago I contracted MRSI after an operation and after some scary days where the doctors tried antibiotic after antibiotic they finally found one which started to heal me.

I was glad that I have always been reluctant to take antibiotics - antibiotic immunity can develop if you take them when not strictly necessary leading to deaths from MRSA and similar nasties! I survived but am even more keen to avoid taking unnecessary drugs now.

ilumi boxAnyway, the point is, this episode left me intolerant to gluten  - badly for a couple of years and mildly now. I love crusty French bread, toast with melty butter and pretty much any other bread product - they are all now rare treats where I hang the consequences. Until this episode however I hadn't realised  it isn't just the obvious stuff which contains gluten.

I found that even things like crisps, gravy granules and many sauce mixes contain gluten so I really had to take my meals back to basics and make sure my ingredients wouldn't make me ill. This takes a lot of time and effort!

A friend's daughter has a similar problem so when ilumi offered me the opportunity to try a week of their ready-prepared meals I offered to share my pack with her and we could compare notes at the end of the trial.

I was very impressed with the selection of food available. The website allows you to choose food in a variety of ways - pick gastropub, Indian, Middle Eastern for example or meal by meal. You can exclude ingredients which you may not like or don't eat for cultural or other reasons, and select vegan or vegetarian food. As well as being gluten free, all Ilumi meals are nut and milk free too! (this doesn't apply to he Perkier porridge and snacks though - check on the site before ordering)

The box I was sent contained enough packets and boxes so I could eat three tasty meals a day, recipe cards and there were even snacks and some gluten free beer included!

contents of ilumi food package

The first pack I cooked smelled so good my son wanted to try it too - luckily the portions are large so I was able to share my Beef Meatballs in Tomato Sauce with him. We also shared one of the many packs of rice which come with the selection too!

It was yummy with just enough spice to make it interesting. And interesting is the word to use with all of the Ilumi choices -these are not your average ready meals! Pea, pancetta and mint soup, five spice and chilli pork, aromatic Thai Red chicken curry, Med-style rice with pork and chorizo....Yum!

ilumi meals

ilumi soup

ilumi glutenfree meal

The idea is that even if you are not avoiding gluten, by trying this scheme for a week you could slim down and lose any bloating you might have - I certainly found that the case!

My friend said she was really impressed with the food -She said:"Everything smelt amazing and was very tasty. So much flavour! They were really easy and quick to prepare - I did it all in the microwave and they tasted really good for a microwaved packet - not at all artificial."

She added:"The meaty ones had a decent amount of proper chunks of meat and the rice was a lot nicer than other micro packets I have tried."

My friend shared one meal with her friend, a nurse who said they would be perfect for taking to work for a quick, tasty, healthy hot meal.

Ilumi is ideal for busy people who want good food quickly. Great if you want to diet - just stick to the meals and snacks suggested. Excellent and economical if you just want to add one of the sauces to your own meat (£1.75 for sweet soy and ginger stir fry sauce) Fab if you want to throw a quick and easy dinner party - order one of the Banquets on offer which feed up to 8 people- at £25 it's way cheaper than ordering a takeaway!

ilimi food and microwavePrices are incredibly reasonable starting at £1 for rice pouches and as an example venison casserole with pancetta and sloe gin is one of the more expensive meals at £3.75. You can't make it yourself for that!

All of the beef, pork, chicken and lamb is sourced in the UK and the website has a comprehensive FAQ page for people with dietary or any other questions. I was sceptical about the taste and quality when I first heard about it but after trying the food I would recommend it as a great service even if you have no special dietary needs!

Disclaimer: I was provided with a weeks worth of Ilumi food for the purposes of this honest review. Views and opinions remain my own (and in this case, those of my friend).