“I want to show people that you can celebrate food by eating tasty yet healthy alternatives with as much gusto!” says Pallavi.
I have always had a soft spot for cakes; given a choice, I can eat them for breakfast, lunch, and possibly even dinner.
While that is not a very good idea, what if you could substitute every ingredient that makes a cake unhealthy—like maida, butter and sugar—with healthy ingredients like gluten-free coconut flour, natural almond butter and wild forest raw honey?
I do believe that this one step will single-handedly reduce the guilt of eating an entire cake.
Want to eat without feeling the guilt? Check out Nutty Yogi’s range of healthy and organic food!
Pallavi Gupta agrees with me. “No one should have to compromise on the taste and the quantity of food. Using healthy alternatives for things you love eating is a great way to eat without feeling guilty,” she declares.
The 42-year-old is the founder of Nutty Yogi, a Bengaluru food startup that is striving to make healthy and organic alternatives accessible to the masses. Its products and ingredients are inspired by traditional food eaten across the country, and are sourced from different regions in India.
From a restaurateur to startup founder
Food has always played an important role in Pallavi’s life. Before she founded Nutty Yogi, she ran a restaurant in Bengaluru called, ‘Mast Kalandar,’ for nearly 10 years where she served home-style Indian food.
So, why did she feel the need to open Nutty Yogi?
“I was diagnosed with Lupus in 2012 and the doctor advised me to follow a diet that was gluten-free, sugar-free and dairy-free,” recalls Pallavi.
Lupus is a chronic auto-immune disease where one’s immune system becomes hyperactive and ends up attacking normal, healthy tissue. This results in fatigue, prolonged fever, rashes, sores, and inflammation of body parts.
There is no cure for lupus but the treatments that are available currently focus on minimising the flare ups and the symptoms. Changes in diet is one of the lifestyle modifications that doctors suggest.
Thus, this period marked the beginning of Pallavi’s quest in researching and discovering healthy alternatives that were healthy, organic and tasty. However, much to her disappointment, Pallavi couldn’t really find good-quality healthy alternatives in the market.
“What I did then was speak to elders in my family where I asked them about ingredients they used in traditional recipes. I found that most of the ingredients they used in the olden times like flour were actually processed at home and did not come out of a packet,” she explains.
Pallavi was then motivated to travel across the country and take a peek into several kitchens to understand the diverse eating habits of people. This period of research is what laid the foundation for Nutty Yogi.
“I travelled for almost 1.5 years, and during this time, I was able to discover indigenous, healthy and nutritious ingredients. I also witnessed the manner in which these were manufactured organically without any kind of adulteration. This helped us also establish associations with cooperatives who we now source these items from,” she explains.
Today, Nutty Yogi sources ingredients from co-operatives in six states. “All our apple products are prepared in orchards in Shimla while all our coconut products like the coconut sugar and the oils are prepared in Kerala. Snacks like khakras come from a village in Gujarat near Rajkot,” says the founder.
Also on offer are power-packed breakfast options like the seeds and berries muesli, cinnamon apple pie muesli, and the berry blast muesli. There is also an interesting range of pickles like the natural jackfruit pickle, natural amla pickle, raw turmeric pickle, garlic gandhiali pickle, natural amla pickle, sweet lemon pickle, lotus stem pickle among several others. All of these have been prepared by women in the Pilibhit district in Uttar Pradesh.
“Our gluten-free flour is our best-selling product, followed by the roasted snacks and breakfast items,” informs Pallavi, adding that currently, Nutty Yogi has a range of 150+ healthy products and 50,000 units of their products are sold every month!
Nutty Yogi’s yummilicious alternatives
Most of us think that healthy food will not excite our tastebuds. But, that is far from the truth. Just ask Runjhun Jain, a homemaker from Ghaziabad.
“I am someone who is always looking for healthy alternatives when it comes to cooking in the kitchen. Be it the oils, the type of flour or the snacks that one eats at intervals,” says the 44-year-old.
Runjhun was casually scrolling through her Instagram feed one fine afternoon when she came across some Nutty Yogi products. “I was intrigued, and decided to purchase some snacks. They were a hit at home, and since then, Nutty Yogi products have become a regular part of my shopping list and pantry,” she says.
Runjhun is a huge fan of Nutty Yogi’s cold-pressed coconut oil and the mustard oil. She has also bought their range of attas that include the multi-millet atta and the methi atta. Other attas on offer include black chana atta and gluten-free everyday atta.
In the snacks category, Runjhun says that the mini-khakras are a great alternative to crackers and she even serves them at parties.
“I also really love baking cakes and was looking for healthier alternatives. I saw that Nutty Yogi has gluten-free coconut flour and natural coconut sugar. I substituted flour and sugar for these and the results were brilliant. There was a lovely nutty taste to the cake and everyone loved it,” says Runjhun.
Overcoming hurdles for a brighter future
Leaving aside the appreciation for their products, the journey has not really been a bed of roses. There are quite a few challenges that Pallavi recalls.
“There are a lot of spurious products in the market that are not 100% organic as they claim to be and I discovered this when I was looking for product myself. I did not want Nutty Yogi to follow the same route and we have been extremely careful in choosing who we source our items from,” she says.
Pallavi adds that his process however, can be an extremely exhaustive as you need time to find the right people but she didn’t mind it because compromising on quality wasn’t an option for her.
Another challenge she talks about is the human tendency for the need for quick fixes. “Most people who look at healthy products also expect it to work miracles and show results immediately. This is not how it works. One needs to follow a healthy lifestyle for months and even years to see results,” she says.
In the future, Pallavi wants to take Nutty Yogi’s products to other countries, to prove that traditional ingredients can work wonders.
“Like I said before, consuming food should not be intermingled with guilt. I want to show people that you can celebrate food by eating tasty yet healthy alternatives with as much gusto!” she signs off.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)