I’m a big lover of all things goreng (Indonesian for fried), and someone who regularly skips breakfast and alternates between greasy (but delicious) nasi campur and tacos every day for lunch. So, not exactly the picture of health.
But — tied up at home with a hand injury, unable to drive to a scooter or work out too hard for fear of busting some stitches, and getting every meal brought to me by the delivery app Go-Food, well, it seemed like a good time to try a nutrition plan. I looked into my options, and decided on Motion Cafe’s “Motion Meals”, which delivers healthy meals that have been personalized for you by a nutritionist. Convenience. Health. Both things that I needed.
Turns out this kind of service is unique to Bali at the moment. It comes from the Motion empire, the ever-growing wellness enterprises of health and fitness guru Melanie Bomba, who started it all six years ago just by baking protein bars and making soups for herself in Bali. Both of those products quickly took off and became hot in demand.
Most people familiar with Bali will also know the brand for Motion Fitness, her elite gym in Seminyak; Motion Getaway, the retreats arm; or Avocado Cafe, one of the most buzzed about health cafes in Bali, now renamed Motion Cafe.
So, back to Motion Meals. Here’s how it works: You choose your plan based on your goal — whether it’s power fuel, body shaping (amen), detox, or contains special dietary restrictions or requirements like paleo, low glycemic index foods, alkaline, hormonal balance, the list goes on. All meals are prepared in the Motion Food kitchen, freshly made on the daily, with organic ingredients and no refined sugar. Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free options are available upon request.
Six-day meal plans from their menu run IDR1.9 million (US$135), or you can do a totally customized menu to meet whatever your needs — that one costs IDR2.1 million (US$149) for six days. Meals for the day are delivered as you like, to your accommodation or workplace right after they’re cooked in the morning. Delivery is free for the Seminyak and Canggu areas, but for those living out of zone (like us Bukit-dwellers), there is a IDR50k (US$3.55) daily surcharge depending on your distance.
I opted for the Skinny Protein Diet, a plan with a higher protein intake with a description that caught my attention: “helps to keep you satisfied and hunger free, as well as keeping you energized while you lose weight”. Well, SIGN ME UP!
Before I ordered, Motion texted me the menu, which broke down all the details of each day’s meals. Three meals a day and two snacks. High in protein, minimal carbs. Breakfast for each day was a three-egg-white omelet, with rotating fillings like salmon, asparagus, and mushroom. Snacks are always 12 almonds. Not 10. Not 11. Twelve, and a green slim juice.
The juice was light and fresh and almost seemed like water (the flavor? I’d say “health”) — but in a good way. When I asked Motion’s F&B manager and right-hand nutritionist Clementine Bergerot for the recipe, mum was the word.
“Sorry, secret. I can’t reveal it. It’s a unique creation of the owner and super effective,” she told me.
As the only hot meal — which I would reheat on my stove right after delivery — the omelets were probably the highlight of each day, a ready-made breakfast that was both filling and tasty. I was into it. Especially the spinach and mushroom one.
Lunch rotated between different variations of chia seed puddings with a boiled egg on the side, and chicken strips (boiled and lean) with a hefty side of spinach. I’m not much of a chia seed pudding fan (except maybe the mango one from Bukit Cafe), so I definitely preferred chicken strip and spinach days over pudding days.
Dinner was the most challenging meal, at least for someone not used to dieting. It consisted of a mega protein shake, with vanilla, chocolate, and cinnamon flavors on rotation. Motion uses a 23-gram scoop of Whey Isolate Protein Powder for their shakes.
For optimum results, they recommend that you order their weekly package of six consecutive days (kitchen’s closed on Sundays), and of course you would expect to see even better results if you went past the six days and extended the diet into a multiple-week stint — but that’s not a cheap option, and you’ve gotta be hella committed to do that.
I made it to three days before I texted Bergerot to up me to something a little more substantial.
Perhaps I dove into the deep end too fast, but there was something just too mind-boggling about only having a protein shake for dinner. It was hard to tell the difference between “I need more food” and “I want more food to enjoy the end of my day, goddammit”. On days that I went on evening jogs, there was no question: I was going to bed hungry. It was a kind of existence that I was not ready to live.
So, all it took was a text to Bergerot — I couldn’t quite stave off the hunger, I need something to chew on, etc. — and she swiftly switched me over to the Shredding Diet for the last two days. They require 24 hours advanced notice to coordinate with their kitchen for orders, though, so I had to push through one extra day on the Skinny Protein Diet because I texted them too late on the third night.
“There’s no point to pay for something and be hungry,” Motion’s F&B manager Clementine Bergeron told me last week when I met her for a coffee to debrief on the experience and learn more about the Motion Meals operation.
“I know we’re not cheap — just tell us what you like, and we’ll adjust the plan.”
When I asked her if it was common that people would get themselves into diets that they couldn’t handle, Bergerot gently explained no, because people know what they’re signing up for since they share diet menus with their clients during the ordering process. My bad for not knowing my limits well enough.
The Shredding Diet was sweet relief for me, designed specifically for crossfitters who want to maximize fat burning and eat much heartier. Still high protein, but with some welcome low complex carbs and fat in the mix.
Breakfast, as with the skinny protein diet, was an omelet, but this time with spinach and tomato relish, plus the green slim juice. The post-breakfast snack was upped to a more generous 25 almonds.
Lunch was a more filling salad of mixed vegetables and chicken strips that came with a flavorful coconut-based dressing, while the post-lunch snack was lemon-peppermint juice, which reminded me of iced tea.
Dinner came in soup form and, taste-wise, was my favorite meal of the whole six-day experience. Referred to as the “magic soup” that was passed down to Bomba by her grandmother, the ingredients include a mix of veggies, like antioxidant-rich cabbage and onion. The detoxifying soup had no added salt, yet packed a strong flavor punch, thanks to the mixed veggies undergoing a lengthy slow cooking process. The soup is so magical that Motion Meals even has a soup detoxifying diet on offer as one of their diet plans.
Meal Plan Takeaways:
-You would think having so many meals delivered out would churn out a lot of rubbish, but Motion uses Avani eco-friendly products and they’re also happy to use customers’ own glass or reusable containers. Plans for efficient bento-boxes are in development.
-You’re better off if you live in Seminyak or Canggu (where the majority of the meal plan customers live anyway) because you won’t have to pay the surcharge, which does become expensive. Plus, the food will be fresher. It’s a long way from Canggu to Bukit, so of course my protein shakes were always melted and needed to be chucked in the freezer for a bit.
-It’s convenient to not have to plan your meals, cook, or shop for ingredients (especially harder to find organic ones), but the inconvenient thing is having to always be home and ready in the morning to receive the delivery — so forget sleeping in, or your AM surf or yoga sesh. Not a big deal if you’re only doing it for a few days or you always have people at your place who can receive the delivery for you.
-A benefit of doing the plan is that it gets you into good eating habits, eating at regular intervals. After my plan ended, I was motivated to finally try meal prepping myself because I finally had that realization that I will eat healthier (and a more controlled amount) if the food is all ready come meal time.
-Unless you’re also doing intense, heavy workouts while undergoing this meal plan, I don’t think you’re going to see tons of weight loss, but that’s how it works. For that, you’d need to make serious lifestyle changes, and results will be more evident after some time.
-If you have a question or concern, just ask. Bergerot and Bomba are both passionate and responsive. While clients are generally a ratio of 60-40, women to men, they are especially concerned with building up women’s confidence, because when you eat better, you feel better. If you’re really not sure about what your goals are, there’s an option to do “1-2-1 nutrition and fitness consultations” with Bomba that will include dietary analysis, and food and exercise guidance for developing better habits.
Motion Meals subscriptions are available through Motion Fitness’s website.
Editor’s Note: this review is based on the personal experience of Coconuts Bali’s editorial contributor, who signed up and paid for the 6-day meal plan on her own dime.