Saturday, April 27, 2019

Enjoy some salad days

A medical alarm forced professional Vinoj Kumar to make changes in his diet. Now he, along with his wife Dr. Geetha P, and family friend Athira Sasidharan have started an online store, ‘EatGreen’ at Kochi that sells only salads 

Photos: Geetha P (left) and Athira Sasidharan; Vinoj Kumar; the Mediterranean chicken salad

By Shevlin Sebastian

One day, Vinoj Kumar, the Kochi-based founder of EatGreen, got a call. It was from  Dr Sajy V. Kuruttukulam, the chief cardiologist of the Medical Trust Hospital. He gave Vinoj the good news. The 65-year-old patient who had been eating his salad meals for a fortnight had experienced some quick benefits: his blood sugar, which was at 200, had come down to 90. A diabetic, his daily insulin intake was reduced from
160 units to 90 units.

Dr Sajy asked Vinoj to come to the hospital. So the latter went and briefed him about the salads. “He said he was very satisfied with the menu and would recommend it to his patients,” says Vinoj.

Dr Sajy also gave a suggestion: to make a salad for diabetic patients called ‘Sunset Salad’. “We have started the research,” says Vinoj. By ‘we’, he meant his wife Geetha P, who is a former physics teacher and has a doctorate on the subject.

The couple, along with their friend Athira Sasidharan, started their online salad store called ‘EatGreen’ on January 23. Five years ago, they got interested in health foods when Vinoj unexpectedly got a heart ailment at age 29, while working in a multinational firm. He felt he needed to make changes in his diet.

The duo concluded that salads would be the best replacement. They have around 15 varieties of vegetarian and non-vegetarian salads. In vegetarian salads, for example, the Finicky Pickery item, at 188 calories, has red cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, cucumber, carrots, croutons, mango, parsley, sesame seeds and sweet and spicy mango dressing. The other vegetarian salads include Santa Fe, Brussel Sprouts + Herbs, Spicy Thai Salad and the Mediterranean Quinoa Chickpeas Bowl.

Quinoa, which we import from Latin America, and is boiled, is a fibre-rich food which is high in protein and minerals,” says Vinoj. “Plus, it is gluten-free, and has plenty of fibre, magnesium, vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various antioxidants.”

However, the Mediterranean chicken salad is the most popular item. The prices range from Rs 170 and go up to Rs 340. In non-vegetarian salads, there is the Salmon Green Salad, Sweet Egg Valley, the Shrimp Spinner and the Nicoise Tuna Salad. “In Kerala, non-vegetarian items are more popular than vegetarian,” says Vinoj.  

Asked whether salads can replace a rice-based meal, Geetha says, “We have designed it in such a way that it meets all your calorie needs: 280 grams will fill you up. There are good and bad calories. From 20 grams of sugar, you will gain 80 calories. But if you have one egg, you will get the same number of calories. But the healthier option is the egg.” (Incidentally, a Malayali meal has about 600-700 calories).  

All vegetables have good calories but the way it is made is important. “If we deep-fry it, too much oil gets into the vegetables,” says Geetha. “When the oil is heated it turns to some other chemical form which is not good for our health. It will result in our cholesterol levels going up.”  

In EatGreen they are using extra virgin olive oils. “It has many powerful antioxidants, and lowers the risk of heart attacks and obesity,” says Vinoj. “It also reduces the chances of a stroke.”  

Meanwhile, when asked whether there are pesticides in the vegetables, Vinoj says, “We source fresh and hygienic vegetables from Ooty and Bengaluru. If the quality is not maintained we return it. For safety sake, we clean the vegetables using water mixed with vinegar.”  

Thus far, their clientele include doctors, engineers, members of the IT industry and harried moms. “Many mothers struggle to make their children eat vegetables,” says Geetha. “This is easily achieved through our salads.”

Finally, Vinoj says he is the best example of the impact of a salad diet. “My LDH cholesterol, the bad one, has come down from 160 to 100, in just a month,” he says with a smile. 

(The New Indian Express, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode)

No comments:

Post a Comment