Quite often, people fall victim to lifestyle diseases largely due to ignorance. The high incidence of blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes is quite worrying. Fast and synthetic foods, especially bakery-made, have ruined the health of multitudes of people and are largely responsible for obesity in adults and children.
Maida, sugar, fat, synthetic colours and chemicals have dealt a body blow to general health. The trend so far has been to go for fast food that’s readily available everywhere. There are big-time diseases lurking in those packeted preserves. However, folks seem to be hooked to chappatis, parottas, curries, puffs, samosas, burgers, pistas and carbonated drinks, little aware of the perils in store for them.
Diet cafes are a fine proposition the state could mull over in this scenario. Diet cafes are those outlets were food is cooked in its natural form with everything right from fat to sugar to salt to spice added in moderate quantities. The basic concept of a diet cafe lies in incorporating the principles of no emulsifiers, artificial sweeteners, carbonated drinks, preservatives or colours.
There’s a great deal of potential for diet cafes in cities and institutions with the 'no fry, no bake' rule. At the same time, what’s served should leave folks asking for more. Breakfasts could be a filling meal to be washed down with natural, fresh juices. The same healthy stuff can be served for lunch and the evening meal.
So what constitutes healthy food? Anything that’s steamed is good for health, like for example, ada, kozhukkatta, idiappam, appam, vattayappam, ottada and even fried aval (rice flakes). These snacks are light on the tummy and easily digestible too. For a taste of sugar, fruits or their pulp can be added in. The protein can be had from sprouts, pulses and vegetable shavings.
Sundal, cooked with boiled Bengal gram, peanuts and vegetable shavings, salads with germinated green gram and vegetables, a bowl full of low-sweet fruits, kichidis, upma, pongal and other steamed items are to be specials in a diet café. Seasonal tubers and mushrooms can also be included on the menu. The best, fiber-rich nutrient combinations would be puttu and kadala, idli-dosa-chutney- sambar, appam-idiappam-egg curry, stew and vegetable curry. The urud dal is a high-on-health fermenting agent. Small grains added to the food cooked act as energy boosters. The ammiyaar dosa (made with grains, pulses), multigrain puttu, sprouted greens, puttu with vegetables and fruits, upuma and idli are the best and safest food diet cafes need to be equipped with.
Unpolished rice, rice with small grains, curries with organic and pesticide-free vegetables and fish and meat dishes low on salt content are a diet cafes’s safest bets.
Diet cafes are to be cleared and certified by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) before business can be set up. They are also to be cleared by the Pollution Control Board.
Just as any other food outlet, the ambience has to be attractive and the food compelling. If given a serious thought, diet cafes can be the safest routes to good health.