What started as a diet plan by a dermatologist to move towards a healthier lifestyle now caters to 150 clients in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Dr Karthik Raja, 30, got together with Dr Mohammed M, 35, to simplify and source raw materials for these diets to help others lead a healthy lifestyle too.
While diets such as Keto or Paleo focus on increasing fat and protein consumption and reducing the intake of carbohydrates and sugars, they are proven ineffective unless they’re followed to the T.
However, key ingredients in these diets such as almond flour, an alternative to regular flour, are not easily found.
This is what pushed the two doctors from Chennai to launch a healthy meal service called ‘Keto Kadai’.
“The cloud-kitchen was officially launched in December 2020, and we have over 100 people who have subscribed to the meal plans. Our food is not 100 per cent Keto. It is based on a Paleo diet to achieve Ketosis. This means the fats and proteins are derived from natural substances such as animal fat and includes consumption of natural sugars from fruits rather than using substitutes,” Dr Karthik tells The Better India.
A self-improvement plan
Dr Karthik, a dermatologist with over 10 years of experience runs a clinic in the city and teaches at a University in Chennai. Five years ago, he started following a strict diet to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
He says, “I focussed on a Paleo diet to achieve Ketosis because I did not want to follow an authentic Keto-based diet to allow for more natural ingredients in my diet. After doing a basic health checkup, I figured out the meals I would eat and prepared a plan for myself. Within a few months of keeping up with my diet, I noticed a drastic change in my body, skin, and overall health. My blood sugar and blood pressure levels were stabilised and I felt energetic throughout the day.”
On seeing positive results for himself, he further suggested that his mother and sister follow the same. While it was initially hard for them to follow a strict diet and avoid their regular food like rice or roti, Dr Karthik ensured he regularly altered their weekly meals plans so that they would have a variety of dishes to eat.
Soon, he started prescribing meal plans to his friends, and some clients who would visit his clinic.
“Before I prescribed a meal plan, I would ask them to take a blood test to check their sugar, thyroid, and other important vitals. Based on that I would chart out a meal plan,” says Karthik, adding that his clients would follow the diet for a few months but switched back to regular meals as they couldn’t cook regularly.
This gave him the idea to serve cooked meals. But, he did not have experience with cooking or experimenting with recipes so Dr Karthik roped in his friend, Dr Mohammed, who is a practising general physician and a self-taught chef.
Innovating a menu
Dr Mohammed learned cooking by watching his mother in the kitchen. Apart from that, he comes from a family of restaurateurs and knows the basics of setting up a restaurant or a cloud kitchen.
“For one month we spent time innovating on dishes, finding suitable packaging, and testing the quality of food after several hours. Since we planned to deliver all three meals for a day in the morning, we had to ensure that the reheated dishes did not spoil and tasted good too,” says Dr Mohammed, adding that this was done with the help of a professional chef.
By the end of December 2020, the duo finalised on 50 varieties of dishes and officially launched Keto Kadai. The food options include Indian dishes like egg or paneer-based curries and Continental dishes like salads, omelettes and more.
Initially the meals were served to friends and clients who were already receiving meal plans from Dr Karthik. However, through word-of-mouth, more people started to take consultations and place orders.
Till date, they have catered to 150 clients, 100 of whom have subscribed for regular meal deliveries. While some have noticed weight loss, over health improvement, some clients have noticed their sugar and blood pressure get controlled.
Ananthi Rajiah (30) is a resident of Chennai who has been working with an IT company for the last eight years. In 2017, she switched to a Keto-friendly diet because she wanted to lose a few kilos.
“Upon a friend’s recommendation, I consulted Dr Karthik. But when I got my blood test done, we noticed my sugar levels were too high for a 26-year-old and that I was pre-diabetic. However, within one month of following a strict diet and eliminating sugar and carbohydrates, I lost up to 5 kilos and my sugar level was back to normal. When Keto Kadai was started, it made work easier as I did not have to cook meals regularly,” says Ananthi, adding that she has lost a total of 14 kilos with this meal plan and has not yet recorded a day with high sugar.
Edited by Yoshita Rao