Dr. Achyuthan Eswar - June 16 2021

Food Order Online - Alarming Facts that The Industry isn't Telling You & How It has been Affecting Your Health All These Years

In the last decade, the way we consume food has transformed in India. While there was a fair share of eating out in the last couple of decades - the roadside chaats frequented by youngsters, the occasional visit to the Sagars by families, and perhaps a special occasion meal or two at a fancier restaurant. On most days, it was all about home-cooked food.

The game changed with the advent of food delivery apps that literally brought food to your fingertips! Now you could open your app - order food you craved for and almost instantly have it delivered to your doorstep. This saw a huge spike in food businesses and cloud kitchens,  mushrooming everywhere to meet the newfound demand. An innovative idea whose time had come.

The convenience of ordering food online means that you eat outside food often, and more often than not, it is unhealthy. Now, with the lockdown, even more so. Stress eating, boredom, managing too many commitments have led to many of you to put on weight. Some of you reached out to me to help control Diabetes, High BP, and other chronic conditions that were getting out of hand because of excessive ordering in of unhealthy foods.

"But I have no time to cook everyday, I work all day and have to manage the household as well"

"Ordering in is convenient for me, it allows me to have time for myself and not stress out"

Whatever your reasons maybe - lack of time, convenience, no desire to cook, etc., - you can now make healthy choices while still getting all the benefits of ordering in. Be it meals, condiments, snacks, sweets, cakes, cookies, breakfast jars etc., we've got it all.Ordering in is a game that's here to stay, we're just changing the players with Sampoorna Ahara.

"Mentoring Sampoorna Ahara has been one of the most challenging and satisfying achievements of my life. Dynamic and volatile thanks to the perishables and health of those partaking the food, it requires attention to the last detail in a demanding manner!"

- Radha Eswar, Founder, The Fractal Entrepreneurship Foundation

Stories From the Past - Taking You Back in Time to a Vastly Different Foodscape

As far back as I can remember, food was what my grannies supervised and prepared! Grandads brought in the ingredients from kirana shops and were victimised by wayside grandchildren who would cling on to them like leeches to go along to the kirana shops. The only things available as extra bites in the shops were ballimittais or kamarkattus. On the savoury side, we could persuade our grandads to sometimes walk over to the kadalai anna's shop having its beautiful red baskets of cane coated with cow dung and red natural dyes, topped with hillocks of crisply roasted peanuts, channa, fried gram and puffed rice. A little cajoling, and in our hands would land a mounted cone of roasted peanuts. No plastics were known then and paper packages were only done with newspapers and banana leaves, even with food on train - in fact, the railway food menu even had images of a plat of idli on a banana leaf! As an aside, please learn that we used to collect torn bus tickets to make origami dolls for play!

Every day had a "vayikki" done by grandmoms that usually was a pakoda or bajji of sorts with chakklis and cheedais added in during festivals; or some sinfully sumptuous sweets like barfis and mysore paks done in the midst of flurried daughters-in-law wondering if the "padam of the paagu," was right, while the all-important mothers-in-law would kindly suggest to convert the failed lot into halwas and to never breathe a word about having tried first to make barfis of them, to the more discerning eaters of the family. We kids would just lick the katori clean, be it halwa or barfi.

"From there, today I am a busy grandma trying desperately to feed hungry grandchildren healthy snacks and meals. My self worth in the eyes of my grandson is as high as my opinion of my grandmas was with the single difference that all food comes from Sampoorna Ahara! :)

Should the Food Industry still remain so blind-sighted to the impact of food on health? While plant-based industries are rising in numbers, the existing hardliners still continue to cough up the same unhealthy wares. The sad thing is that many of us are either unaware or will refuse to learn thanks to the 2 inch appendage in the mouth and a brain that is easy to be fooled by most unmindful food entrepreneurs.

-  Radha Eswar, Founder, The Fractal Entrepreneurship Foundation

Apart from us having an emotional and social attachment to food, some foods are also highly addictive physiologically and the food industry has taken advantage of it. Salt, Fat, and Sugar. The three ingredients that are ever present in almost everything we buy outside and eat. These foods have not only been tied to a range of chronic diseases. Most of the fat used is either animal fat, dairy - milk, milk powder, milk solids, paneer, cheese, ghee, cream, etc., or processed foods like oil or dalda. Same with sugar - refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, honey, jaggery, coconut sugar have all found to spike blood sugar levels. Excessive salt consumption has also been linked with higher disease risk and most of the food we buy and eat are all higher in salt than perhaps even the recommended daily limit!

This is why people seem to not demand or consider the actual quality of food with respect to health, because it is literally addictive and well-presented with the use of bright colours, textures, shapes and enticing smells. This combined with technology that has helped to create not one mobile app, but so many apps for food lovers touted as best for iPhone and androids users, that the spread of info about unhealthy food that looks and tastes good is unbridled!

On observing the Food Delivery System and online food sale in Bangalore and other big cities of India, you can see the change, literally! Udupi hotels turn into Darshinis which later gave way to smart little food joints that are now your choice of restaurants on food delivery apps who are their food partners. This change in the landscape of outside food has also changed the way you eat food at home. The sweet and snacks you buy. The ready-to-eat food. Even simple condiments are all geared towards giving you the best tasting (high salt, sugar and fat) food. Everyone is competing with junk food because eating it often has literally changed your taste buds.

Not only this, the competition is to give the best tasting food at the lowest price! It is no wonder that the ingredients used are in line with this! Just type, "cheap food delivery near me," and google brings up umpteen options for the time-strapped hungry consumer at prices "you just can't believe". Even train travelers could order their food-on-seat for their food on the train!

Food Order Online Trends

The food ordering market, I could see, was expected to rise at the rate of 30 per cent with the user base going up by 10 per cent every year, bringing in nearly Rs. 1334 bn by 2024!

Startling Safety Revelations - Surprising Reasons Why You Just Can't Stop Eating All the Unhealthy Junk Today

A startling fact I found was that India only brought in a Food Safety and Standards guidelines as late as 2006, with the advent of food production on scale. This, too, became mandatory only in 2011. This means that up until very recently the food you and I were eating could have been adulterated! In addition to using ingredients that are known to be disease causing, like animal and processed foods, we could have been consuming food color, additives, and preservatives that were perhaps not even tested. Not to mention the hygiene standards (or lack of thereof) in the unregulated market.

Even so, owing to addictive ingredients, colourful presentation and enticing advertisements, these foods continue to be glorified. They are associated with celebrations, festive occasions, and all things fun, these unhealthy foods are glorified beyond reason and delivery platforms fall head over heels in partnering with these joints owing to demand.

On the other hand, healthy food and food safe for consumption is looked upon as food for "patients," or "fussy moms," and not necessarily as the norm, certainly not associated with a food order partner. Often anyone choosing to eat healthy is ridiculed and labelled boring. This makes the already difficult journey to leading a healthy lifestyle even harder. Social pressures are as hard to deal with as are physiological cravings.

"As a mentor, the ball had to roll then, to mentor a startup that truly produced healthy food and entered the highly competitive food delivery service industry. One that only produces the healthiest foods without preservatives. A model where food preparation had to be done within 2 to 3 hours and delivered fresh. One that also played by the rules of a social enterprise, empowering ordinary food assistants to become great Whole Food Plant Based chefs turned into stake holders of potential food cooperatives!"

- Radha Eswar, Founder, The Fractal Entrepreneurship Foundation

Overcoming All Challenges Like a Pro- Taking You Through Sampoorna Ahara's Journey Over The Last 2 Years Now

One of the many challenges that we had to overcome at Sampoorna Ahara was ensuring that the food that was cooked fresh two times a day, stayed fresh as we delivered them across the city. Since we didn't use a single drop of oil, and used only a tiny quantity of miso paste (a healthy salt substitute), the risk of food spoiling was high.

We had a challenge even within this challenge! This was the number of dishes and ingredients that we needed to use to ensure a nutritionally complete, healthy wholesome whole food plant based meal. And, you guessed it, we had another challenge within this one, this was that we chose to use reusable steel boxes to deliver food. This meant that we had to create our own delivery chain, plan reverse logistics all while catering to a wider part of the city than some of the leading food delivery initiatives!

This meant that we had to not only make everything from scratch, but also a larger variety of dishes, AND still ensure that it stayed fresh WHILE also solving for delivery ourselves!

The enormous complexity of delivering on time, across delivery location, all while also managing full operations and training people from scratch is a remarkable achievement. One which we are all proud of! Going forward, the ultimate solution would be to open centers in strategic locations across the city and be a hyperlocal initiative.

We now retain both the nutritional value as well as reduce the duration of food delivery across the city! After all, planning and ensuring timely delivery of quality food, at the right temperature, packed well, form the hallmark of a good food delivery service!

Another challenge we faced was that we needed a two day notice for booking or cancelling meals. This is vastly different from most other food delivery services, whether you order from your favourite restaurant or food ordering service like Pizza Hut, Dominoes or any other food delivery app from your choice of restaurants, the quick food delivery riders try to reach you within 30 minutes to an hour. We said two days!

You see, owing to the high fiber in every ingredient we use, our food needs to be consumed fresh - because fiber ferments. Fiber also enhances gut health, is crucial to keep blood sugar levels stable and has a majority of phytonutrients bound to it which have multitudes of health benefits.

We were also determined to reduce food wastage, which is rampant in the food industry, to a bare minimum. In keeping with these principles my team and I decided to only have options for pre-booking meals. while the downside is that we don't cater to immediate needs, the upside is a huge immeasurable health benefit!

Right from the get go, we had to have several payment options. In the highly digitised world that we live Sampoorna Ahara needed to keep up with the times and solve for. After some research, we settled for  payment solutions with the least issues and greater utilities. While this is not the most ideal solution for us, it is serving its purpose until better things come along.

"I want a lot more than just a regular payment solutions app for customers and payment to merchants in an app for food. I want to incorporate reward systems back and forth between customers, other fractal ventures like Sampoorna Ahara and entrepreneurs to create an advanced payment solutions app"

- Radha Eswar, Founder, The Fractal Entrepreneurship Foundation

Organic Food Is not Just for Celebrities - Sourcing Local, Seasonal & Chemical-Free Produce All Year Around

When I was researching how cloud kitchens and restaurants work in terms of ingredient supply, I found that most of them had a fixed menu, with a limited number of only the most popular fresh produce. My team and I also wanted to work with chemical-free, local and seasonal ingredients as far as possible. One of the main reasons that most others did not source chemical-free ingredients was the seasonal availability of certain fruits and veggies. This didn't fit their bill of a fixed menu, where they would need a steady supply of specific fruits and veggies all year round.

I quickly realised that we had to have a seasonal ever-changing menu. Only then could we adapt to inconsistencies of sourcing from farmers growing chemical-free, local and seasonal produce. Moreover, it's much healthier this way. Local and seasonal produce grown using natural farming methods is often much healthier and so is including a wide array of whole plant foods!

For this and several other reasons (of which I will write a separate blog) the perfect partner for us was our sister initiative, another Fractal Social Enterprise, Farm Fresh Bangalore - a CSA initiative that works with farmers to procure local, seasonal, chemical-free produce and directly supply it to subscribers. We either get produce delivered to our kitchen or pick-up supplies using our own delivery fleet. This has been a blessing especially during lockdowns.

Eat Your Way To Health Starting Today - Bringing Doctor Designed Meals That Heal To Your Doorstep Every Single Day

Another area where my team and I really took a deep dive and researched was the variety and nutritional content of the meals offered by other cloud kitchens, food aggregators, food delivery startups, and subscription services. As a Lifestyle Physician, I wanted to ensure that we provide complete nutrition in addition to the healthiest plant-based meals. Quickly a pattern emerged. Most of them were grain heavy meals with a focus on familiar and popular dishes made using the regular unhealthy ingredients. Even those labelled "healthy foods" were going down the same path.

The supply was only to cater to the food ordering market, but our goal was to also bring an understanding of what truly healthy food is and help transform your lifestyle.

I realised right away that our offerings would not compete with the general market, as there was absolutely no focus of health and neither would our prices. Processed ingredients are much cheaper than whole plant ingredients. Think of oil versus nuts or a grain-heavy meal versus a fruit, vegetable and legume-heavy meal, not only is the latter healthier in both examples, but also more expensive.

Not forgetting all the while that the slight premium we may spend on food saves us the crush debt of disease!

What is generally a part of unhealthy meal subscriptions?

  • Polished Rice
  • Dal with oil
  • Sabji with oil
  • Roti with oil
  • Pickle with high salt and oil
  • Dairy curds

What is generally a part of healthy meal subscriptions?

A wholesome, complete, well-designed meal made with premium ingredients, checking off everyone of Dr. Greger's Daily Dozen (a list of ingredients that we must including everyday, in specific quantities, for optimal health and lowered risk against lifestyle diseases).

  • Fruits
  • Veg Salad
  • Sabji
  • Dal
  • Greens
  • Whole Grains
  • Vitamin B12 fortified Flaxseed Sweet made with nuts and dates
  • Every meal also has amla, cruciferous vegetables, fresh in-house nut butter, specific spices and herbs
  • Every meal is oil-free, maida/white-rice- free, vegan, sugar/jaggery/honey-free

As you can see, every meal from Sampoorna Ahara is planned to the tee. Delicious food, as healthy as it is tasty food, a wide variety of food that will get you healthier with each bite!

Transform Your Life One Meal At a Time - The Ultimate Guide to the all the Healthiest Foods in Town

The best place to order food online is a healthy yet tasty delivery service like Sampoorna Ahara. Where every ingredient used, every meal made is planned to give you complete nutrition. Where evidence based nutrition takes precedence over convenience or cost.

However, this is easier said than done. The first hurdle is to help people resensitise their taste buds. The regular Indian diet is high in both salt and sugar. So when you eat the first meal or even cake from Sampoorna Ahara, you will find it to be bland and only mildly sweet. This is a tough challenge to overcome. However, when you eat completely low-salt and sugar free meals every single day, your taste buds actually start waking up. This means that over time, you will start tasting flavours that you couldn't earlier, your "normal" salt food will taste too salty and natural sweeteners will suddenly be delicious! It's an amazing transformation!

On a business front, this means that Sampoorna Ahara is competing in a market where food is literally addictive. Mobile food apps and their food riders who could offer just about any food you craved to your doorstep. Food quality is way down on priority in the face of addictive food.

I hope that reading this and learning about how ingredients affect you, helps you make more conscious choices going forward!

Fresh Online Food Delivery to Your Location - Reaching Healthy Meals to as Many of You All as Possible Now

In my research, I found that most food delivery services, in fact any food app only caters to a 5 km radius. My team and I wanted Sampoorna Ahara to cover as much ground as possible from the get go. This was a monumental task for a bootstrapped start-up, a social enterprise to take up. As I mentioned earlier, our decision to use reusable boxes meant that we had to solve for delivery ourselves. Additionally, now we were also looking to reach most if not all parts of Bengaluru.

Our long-term plan is to set up multiple centers across the city to solve for this in the most cost effective way, but until such time, a single center had to deliver beyond its capacity. In our first month of operations we saw that we were getting orders from delivery locations that were over 30 km from our kitchen! Now only was the distance huge and costs heavy, we also had to get food to them on time! We would have delivery agents travelling over 80 to 90 km at a stretch. This was unsustainable for us, so we took the difficult decision to cut down to a more manageable radius of delivery. Until we scale up enough to open multiple centers each of which are in a central location in the side of town they operate, we continue to deliver long distances.

You are All Our Ambassadors - Building a Community of Health Forward, Conscious Consumer Base Hand-in-hand with You

At Sampoorna Ahara, our customers are not just customers, they are ambassadors. They are a handful of conscious people who have taken steps to transform their lives. Customers are at the center of Sampoorna Ahara, we cook dishes that they like, go to great lengths to customise food as per their preferences and have even cooked separately when some of our long-term customers have been unwell. They support us through thick and thin, know that we always lend a ear and also benefit from our wholesome meals enormously. We have had people lose weight, reduce medication, get their blood work back on track, recover faster from injuries, build immunity and more!

Our long-time customers help us with feedback on new goodies before we launch them, we take their requests for new products and meal types, they talk about us to friends and family. We went out of our way to educate our customers, calls explaining the benefits of intact whole grains over rotis for diabetics or why it's important to eat fruits or how starting your meal with fruits is actually a good practice.

This relationship building has given us a community that is health focused, supportive of social venture, and environmentally conscious.

Nutrition, Covid-19 & Co-morbidities - Stuffing Your Face with Junk? Stop Before it's Too Late

The importance of eating healthy, especially now has take center stage and rightly so!

The stress of the situation, lack of the normalcy that you are used to and boredom from staying at home all the time have all contributed to the worsening of your overall health. Binge eating and comfort eating have contributed massively to weight gain and even obesity in some. Both children and adults alike have turned to junk and sugary foods to find solace. This in turn is causing you to gain weight like never before and is also worsening existing co-morbidities like Diabetes, High BP, Heart Disease, etc.

Over the last year especially I have helped so many of you lose your 'lockdown weight' with meals designed to also meet your nutritional requirements. Many of you have not only lost your lockdown weight, but have gone further towards your ideal weight range.

At this time, more than any other, I urge you all to make deliberate shifts in your lifestyle - eat better, move more and practice relaxation. Give your body and mind the tools required to stay healthy and God forbid, fight Covid-19 as well.

A Whole Food Plant Based Diet has been associated with prevention, better management and potentially reversing chronic lifestyle diseases. These include Diabetes, Hypertension, Heart Disease, Obesity, Asthma, and many others. These are also listed as co-morbidities that make recovering from Covid-19 so much harder.

Nutrition also plays a key role in improving immunity and keeping your overall health at its peak. Make a conscious shift today!

Although the pandemic brought with it a new set of challenges, supporting everyone who is working from home and with an aim to help people build immunity, the Sampoorna Ahara team has been working hard to cook healthy and safe Whole Food Plant Based meals & snacks and deliver it to your homes everyday.

Here is a list of the precautions we are exercising:

1. Bare essential staff are present at the kitchen at any time

2. Before entering the premises, body temperature of staff is taken

3. Any person coming into the kitchen washes their hands and arms with soap before touching anything

4. All tiffin boxes and reusable packaging are being re-soaped and wiped down with a clean towel as soon as you return them

5. Kitchen surfaces are also disinfected and cleaned multiple times a day

6. All kitchen personnel are following WHO guidelines while preparing the dishes. Food is packed immediately after cooking

7. All fruits and vegetables are being washed thoroughly prior to usage

8. Kitchen staff and deliveries team are being advised on social isolation practices outside of the kitchen space. (most staff live next to or very near the kitchen)

9. Our drivers sanitize their hands before and after completing each delivery to reduce potential risk even further

10. Any staff who show sign of sickness are supported with paid leave for testing and isolation

"I want a lot more than just a regular payment solutions app for customers and payment to merchants in an app for food. I want to incorporate reward systems back and forth between customers, other fractal ventures like Sampoorna Ahara and entrepreneurs to create an advanced payment solutions app"

- Radha Eswar, Founder, The Fractal Entrepreneurship Foundation

Whole Food Plant Based Recipes - Sampoorna Ahara - Healthy Food, Food Delivery, Food Order Online, Healthy Snacks, Healthy Breakfast, Sourdough Breads, Sugar-free Desserts
Whole Food Plant Based Recipes - Sampoorna Ahara - Healthy Food, Food Delivery, Food Order Online, Healthy Snacks, Healthy Breakfast, Sourdough Breads, Sugar-free Desserts
Whole Food Plant Based Recipes - Sampoorna Ahara - Healthy Food, Food Delivery, Food Order Online, Healthy Snacks, Healthy Breakfast, Sourdough Breads, Sugar-free Desserts
Whole Food Plant Based Recipes - Sampoorna Ahara - Healthy Food, Food Delivery, Food Order Online, Healthy Snacks, Healthy Breakfast, Sourdough Breads, Sugar-free Desserts
Whole Food Plant Based Recipes - Sampoorna Ahara - Healthy Food, Food Delivery, Food Order Online, Healthy Snacks, Healthy Breakfast, Sourdough Breads, Sugar-free Desserts

Whole Food Plant Based Recipes

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