Thursday, November 20, 2014

Q&A with Factor 75.

{I was not compensated to write this post and all opinions are my own. I received four free meals from Factor 75 to facilitate my review. This post contains affiliate links to the Chicago Jogger Landing Page, which means I receive credit if you purchase meals using the CHICAGOJOGGER code. Look for details below - thanks for supporting the companies I believe in!}
 
As the busy holiday season nears, I'm expecting all of us will have less time to cook. A local Chicago company, Factor 75, contacted me last month to see if I would be interested in tasting and reviewing a few healthy meals from their delivery service. Factor 75 meals are fresh, not frozen, and ready to eat or go into the fridge for another day. This was my first experience with a meal delivery service and it was an easy process! The meals arrived right on time, packed in a box with ice.

  
I ordered four meals for K and I to try, including Butternut Squash Lasagna, Pumpkin/Apple Hash with Chicken Sausage, Chicken Fajitas, and a Taco Bowl. All of the meals we tried were delicious, but my absolute favorite was the squash lasagna. Butternut squash is a fall staple in our house, and this version was cooked perfectly, paired with marinara, ground turkey, and spinach as a hearty lasagna. Factor 75 meals are intended as individual servings. However, the chicken fajitas ended up extending to two meals for me when K was out of town for work travel, with the addition or corn tortillas and extra avocado. Healthy fats! Check out this week's menu here.


Factor75 currently delivers to the whole state of Illinois, including the Chicagoland area. The company is developing plans to expand regionally in the Midwest in the next few months. Enter your zip code here to see whether the company delivers to your area. If you're interested in checking out Factor 75, you can get one free meal with the purchase of five items. Click here to check out the Chicago Jogger landing page - enter the code CHICAGOJOGGER to get your free meal. Purchasing any combination of five items qualifies you for a free meal {buy five, get one free!} - even breakfast and snacks.
 
Factor 75 is located in the neighborhood Pilsen, with a new kitchen in Northbrook, IL. I am impressed by Factor 75's tasty offerings and the company's dedication to healthy meals for busy people. The company even has an eBook: Five Steps to Optimal Nutrition. I asked company founder Nick Wernimont to answer a few questions for readers, to provide additional background and throw my support behind a growing local company.

Q&A with Factor 75's Nick Wernimont

How was Factor 75 founded?
I had a full time job and was an MMA fighter so between 8-10 hour work days and 3-5 hours training a day I didn’t have time to eat healthy or make my own meals.  My body broke down after a short time.  Fortunately a trainer of mine introduced me to a personal chef who worked with athletes and she started making my meals for me.  The difference it made was incredible and almost immediate.  I had no idea how big of an impact what you put into your body was as to what you got out of it.  I found the biggest factor that impacted my performance, both physically and mentally, was food.

I immediately wished I had discovered nutrition earlier. I thought more people should know how it feels to walk around every day with the type of energy, focus and motivation that I did only from a change in how I ate. People are busy, though and most can't afford a personal chef. So I dropped everything and started working on a way to make it happen for them anyway.

Factor 75 isn’t about dieting. It is about Performance Eating. We want to help our customers eat optimally so they can perform at their best and get the absolute most out of their precious time. Whether you’re a marathoner, a tri-athlete, a cage-fighter; or a busy professional looking to perform better at work, a mom or dad looking to get more out of the time you have with your family, eating better means living better.

What is Factor 75's mission and inspiration? 
We believe people should spend their time creating moments that matter.  That life is not valued in number of years, but quality of moments you create. Our mission is to help people eat better so they can live better.

Our inspiration comes from our community.  These are people who lead by example, people who are always striving to improve and want to perform their best no matter the activity they choose.  They are athletes, professionals, mom’s and dad’s, anyone really who is passionate about living life to the fullest.  We respect that and are here to serve them. 

How often do your menu items change, and what inspires the changes?  
We add new dishes to our menu weekly, sometimes bi-weekly.  It depends on if we believe we have a dish that fits ours and our customers expectations.  The inspirations come from our entire team and our customers.  We all sit down and ask ourselves what dishes Mom and Grandma made that we would love to eat more often and can make healthy.  We take the dishes we all love and re-engineer them with healthier ingredients.  The result is comfort food that not only taste great but is incredibly nutritious.

Does Factor 75 use seasonal and/or local ingredients? 
Yes. We use a lot of seasonal ingredients as we rotate the menu through the year.  All of our ingredients are organic and whenever possible we use local farms to source them. 

What types of meals are available?
We have recently revamped our menu so there has been some changes.  All of our dishes are now Gluten-Free, Soy-Free and 100% Organic.  A lot of our menu is also Paleo.  We had vegetarian options but recently removed them for the time being.  Our nutrition philosophy does include animal protein and fat so we have taken them off.

What is the service area in Chicago?  
We currently serve anywhere in the state of Illinois.

How can Factor 75 help a busy lifestyle?
The average American spends 2.5 hours a day sourcing their meals.   Often these meals have very poor nutrition and frankly, taste like crap.  We save you 2.5 hours a day, delivery delicious meals that make you feel awesome.  Simple enough…

For more information about Factor 75, check out their blog and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Holiday Running Challenge.

Last year, I posted a Winter Running Challenge with the goal of running 100 miles in ten weeks, ending on New Years Eve 2013. I squeaked by with just over 100 miles, with my final run on the last day of the year. Ten miles per week may not seem like a lot, but 2013 was the first year I managed to run consistently over the winter months. Many of those miles were run on a treadmill, and there were weeks when I ran considerably less than average due to vacation, sickness, and busy nights.

My struggle every winter is getting the miles in and enjoying it. I love to run outside and it's tough for me to stay motivated in an overheated gym, waiting in line for a treadmill. Heading home after work and drinking hot cider generally sounds much more appealing.

This year I'm pushing the weekly average mileage slightly higher. Since I focused on training for the Hot Chocolate 15k up until last week, I decided to try something different - a shorter time period for the challenge, and more focus on motivation. What motivates you to run, practice yoga, or complete whatever fitness activity is your jam? I'm going to focus on one thing each week that's motivating - and stock up on better outdoor running gear so I can jog outside when feasible {I'm giving the Polar Vortex a side eye right now}.


I'll post an update every Monday on progress from the previous week. Comment if you'd like to join on your own challenge this season!