Superfood solutions at your doorstep

  • Chefs Mohit Savargaonkar (left) and Harsh Dixit of 6 Pack Meals
  • A salad at Yoga Cafe: Salad leaves, peppers, tomatoes, beetroot, olives, beans, sesame seeds and tofu with a strawberry sauce
  • A healhty, gourmet TLC Kitchen meal

Struggling to whip up healthy meals day after day? Leave it to the professionals

  • The juices are made fresh every morning and delivered to clients’ homes, allowing them to consume six different juices over the course of the day to replace all their meals and snacks.

Losing weight isn’t a piece of cake, literally or figuratively. If there were a magic potion to stay slim, the world would have one less weighty problem to deal with. Alas, it doesn’t exist, and all we have is reams of information on how it is possible to achieve the seemingly impossible. And if that information isn’t complex enough, it is becoming increasingly conflicting. From fat being the enemy of good health and banished from the plates of anyone on a diet, it is now to be embraced wholeheartedly. Contrary to earlier beliefs, the fats contained in egg yolk, butter, coconut and avocado are staunch allies in your quest for fitness; not only are they beneficial to health, but they also help you lose weight. These days, the one to be banished toot sweet is sugar. Much like Brexit, however, it has a complex relationship with its peers making its complete extrication difficult, since ‘hidden’ sugar exists in most processed food and many natural ones, too.

Today, with so much accessible information on health and fitness, it would be hard to find an educated person who does not know that one needs to exercise and eat a balanced diet—with the right combination of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals—to be fit and healthy. Clearly, however, it is easier said than done. “Gorging on high-calorific food is hard wired into our genes,” says Yuval Noah Harari, in his bestseller Sapiens:A Brief History of Humankind. “It’s a puzzle why we binge on the sweetest and greasiest food we can find, until we consider the eating habits of our forager forebears. In the savannahs and forests they inhabited, high-calorie sweets were extremely rare and food, in general, was in short supply. A typical forager 30,000 years ago had access to only one type of sweet food: ripe fruit. If a Stone Age woman came across a tree groaning with figs, the most sensible thing to do was to eat as many of them as she could on the spot, before the local baboon band picked the tree bare. Today, we may be living in high-rise apartments with overstuffed refrigerators, but our DNA still thinks we are in the savannah.”

six-pack-meal A dish at 6 Pack Meals: Matcha eggs and oats porridge with seasonal and Gogi berries and stevia pancake syrup

This ‘gorging theory’, says Harari, is widely accepted. It probably explains why you cannot help eating four gulab jamuns at a time, followed by large gulps of chilled Coke. Blame it on your ancestors! Besides inheriting bad genes, man has to also contend with 21st century realities. With today’s busy lifestyles, it is hard to plan healthy, nutritious and flavoursome meals at timely intervals, day in, day out. You have healthy recipe apps on your phone, but let us be honest, how many have you actually tried? Admit it, your interest flagged the moment you saw the number of New Age ingredients, ones you would not easily find at your local grocery store: quinoa, kale, almond butter, chia seeds and acai berry, to name a few. So after promising yourself that morning, that you would eat only fresh, unprocessed, healthy, home-cooked, nutritious food all day, what you most likely did was to come home from work absolutely ravenous and gorge on the first packet of chips or biscuits you could lay your hands on. Fret not, you are not alone. Like many others, you simply did not have the energy to cook yourself a healthy meal. Or the time to find a healthy recipe to give your cook.

But what if you didn’t have to lift a finger? What if a delicious, healthy and nutritious juice, smoothie, salad or meal was delivered to your doorstep at the right time, each and every day? It may not be a magic potion, but it is certainly a tasty, healthy solution!

tarini-kapur Tarani Kapur

Today, across India, a number of enterprising individuals provide freshly cooked, calorie-controlled, nutritious daily meals and drinks at your doorstep, making maintaining a healthy diet a less tedious affair. If you want to get the body of your dreams, look no further than 6 Pack Meals, Mumbai’s premier gourmet meal delivery service. “Mumbai is experiencing a major gastronomical turnaround,” says chef and co-founder Mohit Savargaonkar, who started the company with chef Harsh Dixit in June 2014. “Mumbaikars are leaning towards the nutrition aspect of health. With less disposable time and high disposable income, they don’t mind paying for tailor-made convenience and ‘meal prep’ as it helps sustain nutrition levels and achieve fitness goals. With more consciousness comes an educated, but confused crowd to serve to. It’s challenging.”

6 Pack Meals delivers delicious and nutritious daily meals to Mumbai’s fit and fabulous. It looks after every client individually, and allergies, deficiencies, likes and dislikes are taken into consideration when designing each menu. “The meals are a combination of different protein, carbohydrate and fat sources, combined together to achieve desirable macro-nutrient levels,” says Mohit. “Actors Ranveer Singh, Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Aditya Roy Kapur, Jacqueline Fernandes and many other fitness enthusiasts from Bollywood are clients of 6 Pack Meals. Their physiques undoubtedly speak for their consistency and hard work.” There are two daily meal plans on offer: a four-meal and a six-meal. A monthly four-meal plan costs ₹80,000, while a six-meal one costs ₹1,00,000.

strawberry-smoothie Grow’s ultra-low carb strawberry smoothie

In December 2013, textile designer Tarani Kapur started TLC Kitchen (Tarani’s Low Calorie Kitchen) after finding she was ‘always on a diet’. She ran a successful garment export company with her husband and would come home from work exhausted, to her two young children. She also sometimes lacked domestic help, which meant she had to cook and look after the children. “I realised there were so many others out there who faced a similar situation,” said Tarani. She then fulfilled her ‘dream’; to deliver gourmet, healthy, satisfying meals to people. “I thought, ‘Why should one only eat salads and boiled food as diet food? Why not make gourmet, great-tasting food, minus the extra calories?’” says Tarani. TLC’s meals are portion-controlled, preservative-free and crafted by a nutritionist and chef. “TLC Kitchen is not a one-meal-deal, as good health cannot be achieved by eating one meal alone,” says Tarani. “Our USP is that we offer a lifestyle change; meals to help people reach their health goals. It is challenging to make people understand what we offer. People find it easy to spend ₹10,000 on a family meal, but difficult to spend ₹15,000 on a month’s supply of healthy meals.”

Yoga Cafe is another enterprise in Delhi that delivers healthy meals to clients, especially to those with food intolerances and allergies. “Yoga Cafe came about with our perceived need for healthy meals to be supplied to people leading busy and sedentary lives,” says Sheetal Madan, who started the small health food cafe with her sister Mona in 2013. They deliver a variety of daily meal plans and also supply personalised gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, grain-free or sugar-free meals. “A lot of people wanted meals which lead to weight loss, but our firm belief is that we don’t cater specifically to weight loss,” says Sheetal. “A natural outcome of eating healthy is weight optimisation, which is weight loss in most cases. It is a by-product.” Besides having a loyal customer base, there is an increasing demand for their meals, which are priced around ₹350.

relish-salad A drink and salad by Relish

Yashodhara and Abhiram Bajoria are happy customers of Yoga Cafe. “While I have always battled my weight and tried to eat healthy, more often than not the foodie in me overpowers my will, and my efforts are in vain,” says Yashodhara, who is in the process of setting up an online accounting startup. “Last year, however, when my husband, Abhiram, decided to shed some pounds, it became easier for us to work together as a couple, towards a common goal. After being enthused initially to find healthy recipes on Pintrest and source exotic ingredients, I was soon ‘acai-ed’ and ‘quinoa-ed’ out, and thinking of new and interesting meal options became a painful daily chore. There had to be a more sustainable way of executing healthy everyday meals, I thought. That’s when we came across Yoga Cafe, which took the burden away from sourcing and cooking, thereby making that elusive fancy, healthy meal, a delicious reality. Having an option like Yoga Cafe made sure we stayed on course for longer period of time.”

xerxes-bodhanwala Chefkraft’s head chef Xerxes Bodhanwala

In March, Stanford graduate Jyotsna Pattabiraman used her experience working with various venture-backed startups in Silicon Valley and India, to start Grow, a mobile app that serves as a comprehensive health companion, offering expert advice as well as therapeutic and functional food. “I started Grow because of my own health struggles and seeing them reflected in my friends’ struggles as well,” says Jyotsna. “People who were relatively active and ate healthy were still struggling to manage their health.” Grow’s food products include fresh food delivered in Bengaluru, as well as packaged food shipped across India. “Through our mobile app, Grow Fit, which has about 1,00,000 users, we’ve learned that Indians are eating diets that are encumbered by excess sugar and refined grains,” says Jyotsna. “Unhealthy carbs appear to comprise over 80 per cent of our consumption, while proteins and fats have little to no presence on our plates. Grow realised that we have to re-invent Indian food, especially vegetarian Indian food, to include more protein, fat and fibre. We use quinoa, amaranth, chia seeds, millets, flax, whey, psyllium husk and other ingredients to formulate food that help Indians prevent lifestyle disease.”

salad-company A main dish from A Salad Company

All of Grow’s food are low-carb. Sugars, honey, jaggery, dates and most fruits are avoided. It offers two programmes: Lean Machine: an ultralow carb programme derived from a than a week and remarkable results in four weeks. A nutritionist and doctor supervises the programme closely. An average meal costs ₹300. Grow’s clients are seeing results. “Within the first month and a half of being on Grow’s Lean Machine diet, I lost 7kg,” says Murugendra Chugateri, 43. “Grow’s doctor was very patient and understanding of my needs. Using medical data, he carved out a lowcarb programme for me and regularly follows up.” A new client, Reshma Parsupathi, 39, says: “It has been a week since I’ve been on Grow’s Lean Machine diet. The food is delivered promptly every day, so there’s no headache of having to cook healthy food yourself. There is frequent followup by the doctor and nutritionist. I already feel lighter and am confident of shedding the excess weight in the coming weeks.”

Bengaluru-based gourmet food company ChefKraft, too, delivers nutritious food curated by expert chefs under a division called Nutrigourmet. “PHD Bangalore, a nutritional and lifestyle company, provides us expert advice on nutrition,” says Chefkraft’s cofounder Mohit Mital. “The definition of health is changing in India. Consumers prefer having ingredients that are natural, organic and sustainable and want freshly made, healthy and delicious food.” The company offers a weekly salad plan and main dish plan ranging between ₹1,150 and ₹1,400.

A few years ago, Chennai-based Sreevarshini Baskaran quit her job as an IT professional to take care of her family. “During this period, my lifestyle was sedentary and I began putting on weight,” says Sreevarshini. “I looked for a health-food delivery service that would give me a variety of food every day, but I couldn’t find one in Chennai. So I thought, ‘Why not start one myself ?’ I was sure there were many others like me who wanted healthy food that was not deep-fried, and without preservatives, refined sugar, flour or MSG, delivered every day to their home or office.”

fresh-pressery Juices by Fresh Pressery

In January, she started A Salad Company. “Although our food is healthy food and not ‘diet’ food, people have lost weight as it is portion-controlled,” says Sreevarshini. “Our goal is to make dishes for a healthy lifestyle rather than short-term weight loss.” The menus change every day; a meal consists of either a wholesome salad or a main dish and costs ₹150.

In January 2015, former IT professional Ganesh Krishnan and his wife Soumya, started Relish Nutrition in Chennai, after spending many years abroad. Relish is a brand of nutritional beverages and premium salad meals. Ganesh and Soumya maintain an organic lifestyle at home and aim to do the same with their products. “All our products are made using a selectively curated variety of natural ingredients, made fresh every day and door-delivered to homes and offices, as well as transported to retail shelves,” says Soumya. “Our products contain no preservatives, no added sugar, no artificial colours or flavours. Our prime focus is health and nourishment where we aim to give the consumer overall, lasting, sustainable health benefits over a period of time.”

Relish’s juices are made using cold press technology, which means they are extracted by applying tremendous pressure and no heat. The hydraulic pressure ensures that the juices maintain all of their essential vitamins, enzymes, proteins and minerals without their being exposed to oxidation. “The most popular of our programmes, ‘21 Days to a Green Habit’ ensures that, with a kilo or more of vegetables and greens in a single bottle, a drink a day can lead to an exponential rise in nutrient intake and give the body an opportunity to build immunity and go disease-free over a period of time,” says Soumya. “We make our own almond nut milk with no additives, while still keeping the calorie count very low. Our smoothies are perfectly healthy and wholesome meal replacements. They are packed with fruit, nuts, and a variety of mixed seeds, making them super healthy and filling. Our salads bring you one step closer to simpler, lighter eating and are a hassle-free solution to having a healthy meal a day.”

raw-pressery Juices by Raw Pressery

Their Eat Clean, Get Lite package is exclusively for those individuals looking for healthier meals, with an added benefit of weight loss. The programme consists of five different drinks: an assortment of cold pressed juices, a smoothie, and an almond nut milk. Each of these drinks, in combination with two healthy vegetarian salads a day, are designed to give your body an abundant dose of nutrition to stay healthy. Their salads and drinks are freshly prepared and delivered to the home or office.

Clearly, juicing is all the rage. Two companies—both launched in 2014—show you how to do it right. Founded in 2014, Fresh Pressery is one of Bengaluru’s most widely recognised health food start-up brands. The company sells cold pressed juices from its health cafes and delivers cleanse packages and healthy supplements in the form of drinks and smoothies. Returning to India after many years abroad, founder Rishaad Vazirally had struggled to maintain his weight and stay fit. He soon realised it was due to the lack of convenient, healthy options for people with busy lives. “You are simply what you eat,” says Rishaad. “To feel your best, you must ensure you are eating the right food for your body.”

Coming from a prominent pharmaceutical business family, Rishaad believes in using stringent scientific processes and testing methods to ensure that quality is never compromised. “Fresh Pressery now has around 30 people doing a juice cleanse every day,” says Rishaad. “The juices are made fresh every morning and delivered to clients’ homes, allowing them to consume six different juices over the course of the day to replace all their meals and snacks. The drinks are 400ml each and contain a kilogram of vegetables and fruit, the juice of which is extracted using cold press technology.” Cleanses can be done from one to seven days, and the benefits include a complete reset of one’s digestive system, better sleeping patterns, more energy, possible weight loss and greater mental clarity. A one-day cleanse costs ₹1,500.

gluten-cake Eat-A-Whey’s Gluten, grain and dairy-free gooey chocolate cake

Raw Pressery, started by Mumbai-based Anuj Rakyan, sources its fresh fruits and vegetables from farms across the country. Its produce is juiced daily at its 25,000-square-foot pressery in Panvel, which produces 1,00,000 litres of juice a month and delivers to homes, offices, hotels and other institutions across Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Gurugram and Bengaluru. The juice contains no added preservatives, colours, sugar or chemicals or water. Cold pressurisation helps keep the juices fresh and the company uses air cargo to deliver its juices to customers in various cities. It has 16 nutritious blends and its products are available at premium retail outlets as well as online. Customers can log on to website and choose from various cleanses, bundles and subscription packages which are delivered to their doorstep each morning.

Raw Presserie has a fan in raw chef and digital strategist Sonalee Tomar. “In January, I resolved to start each month with a juice fast and I’m proud to say I’ve surprised myself by sticking to this one; here goes July with a three-day cleanse by Raw Pressery,” says Sonalee. “This is enough juice, literally and figuratively, to keep you going for days. I tested it by working out intensely while on this cleanse, in preparation for a mountaineering summit. Their delivery method and quantity of juice make for a perfect advanced cleanse, with complete meal replacement.”

ankita-chawla Ankita Chawla

Does a healthy meal or drink deserve a sweet ending? It would defeat the purpose, wouldn’t it? Not if you are in Mumbai though, where you can have your healthy cake and eat it, too.

Twenty-five-year-old Ankita Chawla, CEO and founder of Eat-AWhey, started baking healthy desserts to satisfy her sweet tooth, while still achieving her weight-loss goals. “I was fed up with being on a diet,” says Ankita. “I would not eat desserts for a while and then gorge on a plateful of desserts instead of just eating a bite to satiate my taste buds. This would make me feel terribly guilty, and I knew I needed a cure! Having lost 25kg, I decided to enter the kitchen and cook, simply because I wanted to eat dessert and not feel guilty about it.” She began experimenting with recipes, and after three years of trial and error, was given the stamp of approval from family and friends. “I knew that it was time to share my passion for healthy food with the world,” says Ankita, who launched Eat-A-Whey in July 2014, at the age of 23. She does not use rice flour, sorghum or millet flours in her desserts. Instead, she uses gluten and aspartame-free whey protein powder, almond and coconut flour, coconut oil, unfiltered honey and the highest grade of dry fruits.

Celebrity trainer Richard Lovatt endorses Ankita’s desserts. “Working with Ankita has been an absolute revelation for me and my clients,” says Lovatt. “She’s allowed me to offer them a wide range of alternative desserts that still fits the health bill category.” TV power couple Anita Hassanandani and Rohit Reddy, too, are fans. “Both of us are complete foodies and have a sweet tooth,” says Anita. “In the past, we have had to consciously stay away from desserts since we are constantly looking to stay fit. Then we came across Eat-A-Whey. With meticulously calorie-counted recipes, Ankita manages a fine balance between great macros and fantastic taste. We love to order our meetha from Eat-A-Whey!”

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The Week

Topics : #food | #lifestyle

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