Health Cafe, a charming hole in the wall eatery in Kanjhikuzhy, Kottayam, is a place with a purpose. Unlike most restaurants, Health Cafe's objective isn't just to make and serve delicious food. It promotes and sells healthy, tasty food, that if eaten on a regular basis will lead to a fitter, happier lifestyle.
Health Cafe is owned and run by Mr Jikku Chandy, a native of Kottayam and a certified dietician from the International Sports Sciences Association. 'After finishing college in Chennai and working in Public Relations for a few years I started thinking about the lifestyle of everyday people. What do people do to become fit and healthy?' It was this question that lead him to ISSA where he developed a passion for fitness and health.
At Health Cafe, we ordered a Nicoise salad which consisted of olives, egg whites, green beans, bell peppers and chicken strips. Seasoned with salt and pepper and full of different textures from the various elements, it makes for a tasty beginning to the meal.
The club Sandwich was small but filling, with a paste of egg, chicken, onions, tomatoes and cabbage, spread out on toasted bread. We also sampled the chicken roll and washed the meal down with cold coffee which was light and frothy. The food was excellent but took a long time to prepare, despite the fact that we had pre ordered.
However, Health Cafe is not just a place to relax and eat good food. The restaurant provides customers with the unique option to choose tailor made diets and make lifestyle changes through a membership plan. 'Most people these days lead busy lives with work and family and though they want to eat healthy, it is hard for them to get specific meals made for them at home. That is where I step in. If a customer makes a membership plan with health cafe they get 5-6 meals a day from my menu for healthy eating.' Says Mr Chandy.
When asked about what exactly consists of a healthy meal, Mr Chandy has a lot to say. 'There are a lot of mistakes that people make in the way they eat. For example, water should not be consumed at least an hour before or after food but most people have a glass of water with each meal. Just following this simple rule can cure 70% of digestion problems. For a major meal such as lunch or dinner, half the plate should be filled with vegetables, the other half with Meat or egg or other protein. It is an urban myths that to lose weight one must cut out all carbohydrates from their diet. This is not true. A balanced diet has a certain amount of carbs, but one should not go overboard.'
He does state that it isn't just about the food. 'Living a healthy life has 50% to do with the food you consume and 50% with exercise and fitness. A combination of this will lead to an overall increase in the quality of life.'
It has only been a year since the creation of this restaurant but Mr Chandy's passion and determination will hopefully make a big name out of Health Cafe.