21 Day #HealthyAroma Challenge Results

I recently completed the #healthyaroma challenge and I must say, I feel great. For 21 straight days, I ate 2 meals from Aroma Espresso Bar each day. My diet consisted of high protein, low carb meals and my goal was to improve my lifestyle through healthy eating and exercise. For the third meal of each day, I tried my best to eat mindfully at food events or cooked healthy high protein, low carb meals. The #healthyaroma challenge was very successful as I was able to lose 13 lbs in 21 days. During this time, I also started an exercise program of cardio and strength training 3-4 days a week, including some pickup basketball. Check out the before and after pictures below. Pretty siginificant changes over the 21 days! Keep in mind that before the challenge, I had just gained some weight from a trip to Asia where I ate an insane amount of delicious food.

Day 1
Day 13
Day 21- lost a total of 13 lbs!
I approached my friends at Aroma Espresso Bar because I knew Aroma had a wide variety of healthy food options including a great selection of salads that would help me achieve my goal. One of the hardest parts about going on a healthy eating diet is meal prep and leaving this part to Aroma made it much easier. They have locations all around Toronto from downtown all the way to Vaughan and Markham, which was convenient for me as I spend my time travelling all over the city for food events and work as a physiotherapist. I was able to visit 14 different Aroma’s in the 21 days. I tried many different healthy items from their menu, including all 11 of their Salads, the Aroma Power Breakfast, Organic Oatmeal, Muesli and their Breakfast on the Go. Nutritional information for each menu item is available on their website which made it easy to help track what I was eating. There were a few items I enjoyed so much that they became a staple in my #healthyaroma diet. Here are my top 5 favourite healthy food items at Aroma Espresso Bar:
  1. Aroma Hash- An all day Mediterranean style breakfast option with chicken, turkey and potato hash on top of arugula with a sunny side up egg on top of fresh in store baked bread. All of this sits on a layer of yogurt, sprinkled with za’atar spices and served with syrup and lemon olive oil dressing. You get a little bit of everything and the syrup tastes great but is optional if you want to be super healthy!
  2. Aroma All-Day Power Breakfast- This was my go to item whenever I had the time to sit down and eat at the Aroma locations. The All-Day Power Breakfast is served with 2 eggs (any style), mixed greens, chopped tomato and cucumber salad, shredded carrots, a scoop of cream cheese, a scoop of feta, a scoop of avocado spread, 5 olives and your choice of fresh baked bread (I opted out of the bread almost every time to stick to my low carb, high protein diet) 
  3. Warm Chickpea Salad- This was definitely my favourite salad from Aroma. A salad loaded with chickpeas, tomato, cucumber, red onion, parsley, hardboiled egg, garlic croutons (I skipped the croutons during this challenge). It is served with a lemon olive oil dressing and tahini. The tahini, which is basically ground sesame paste really compliments this salad.
  4. Freekeh Salad- This is one of the newer salads on their menu and incorporates many healthy ingredients. The Freekeh salad is Aroma’s most colourful salad and consists of freekeh (a super grain), black quinoa, sprouted brown rice, organic baby kale, tomato, cucumber, carrot, pickle, red onion, parsely, za’atara seasoning and a scoop of labneh cheese (a thick, creamy Mediterranean yogurt based cheese). It is served with their lemon olive oil dressing. I loved the variety of ingredients, especially the labneh cheese and pickles that add a lot of flavour to the salad. Each of these salads contains 7.4 grams of fibre! 
  5. Aroma Special Salad- I really enjoyed eating the Aroma Special Salad as a post workout meal. It’s a protein packed salad with mixed greens, tomato, cucumber, red onion, hardboiled egg, olives and your choice of flaked albacore tuna or feta cheese. Tastes best if you get half tuna and half feta! It’s also served with a low fat balsamic dressing. 
Customization! Added Smoked Salmon to the Aroma
Special Salad!

There are lots of excellent healthy food options at Aroma Espresso Bar and customization is also available. You can substitute or add items to your meal like chicken, steak, tuna, cheese, avocado, or smoked salmon. Although I focused mainly on their salads, they also have a nice selection of sandwiches and soups. Throughout the diet, I skipped all of their delicious baked pastries but those alfajore cookies were super tempting every time I stepped into an Aroma store. It was not easy for someone like me to get through these 21 days. I love food a lot and am fortunate enough to be able to attend many food events and tastings where I did cheat a few times. The first few days were especially difficult as I had to fight cravings for snacking, but it did get easier and results were very encouraging. The real challenge will be to continue this healthy eating and active lifestyle. I lost 13 lbs and overall I feel more energetic and stronger. Aside from losing weight, I hope that this can help me kick start a healthier lifestyle long term and inspire anyone else to do the same. Special thanks to Loren from Aroma who helped make this happen! I had lots of fun sharing this project on Instagram and Snapchat and thanks to everyone who followed and especially those who supported!