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Food For Your Soul

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A meal service that offers well-balanced and appetising meals, SoulCare has been around for quite a while now. Dev Goswami speaks to founder
Mridula Agarwal, who talks about Mumbai’s food habits and healthy eating

Meal services are good business and several people start them simply because they care about the quality of food that people are eating. However, Mridula Agarwal’s story is a little different. Like most people who went to college away from home, she has experienced the “notoriety of mess food,” as she puts it, first hand. And, she was one of the unlucky few who actually experienced the direct effects of such an unhealthy diet. “I became malnourished and it started to show on my skin, hair, stamina and strength,” she tells us.

While she was aware of the importance of eating healthy, she didn’t give it much thought, entering the corporate world immediately after her MBA. That was a true eye-opener. “The long hours and work pressure make you compromise on your health and on what you eat. People order meals because they don’t have the time and energy to cook,” she says. This was when she decided to start SoulCare — a five-year-old hospitality brand best known for healthy meals ensure nutritional balance. We speak to her to find out more.

Your meals follow a set calorie plan. Are you worried about what your clients will think of calories? After all, not all calories are bad, right?
That’s a good question, and unfortunately, this is the most common mistake that people make. Calories are fuel for our bodies. To maintain a healthy, disease-free and regenerative body, you need to consume a sufficient amount of calories, depending on your age, gender, working conditions and activity level. People tend to forget these facts and think that more calories means more fat, which is not true. Our meals are designed to give you around 650-750 calories per meal, along with a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals. They are light, filling, nutritious and homely preparations. Needless to say, we do not add any colour, soda, MSG or other additives meals. So yes, calories are good, as long as they are nutritive instead of empty.

What are some common misconceptions you’ve come across? 
One common misconception is that low-calorie food is limited to salads and soups, and these won’t fulfill your protein, carbohydrate and fat requirements. Another misconception is that you should follow a zero-oil or zero-fat diet. This can be damaging in the long run. Your body needs fat to maintain its temperature, carry out nervous activities, transport and aid in the absorption and utilisation of vitamins and minerals. Fats also allow you to perceive different flavours, ensuring that you are satisfied with your meal. There are various studies that show that you need about 40% of your daily calorie requirement as fats. The point is to consume more invisible fats — the kind found in nuts, seeds and vegetables — instead of saturated animal fats that are found in ghee, butter and lard.

What are your future plans for SoulCare?
We have been offering healthy, home-cooked and delectable food for five years. We have also started a division called SoulCuisine — Taste of Celebration, which offers food for special occasions. We wish to celebrate events with food and ensure that it’s healthy.

The best of SoulCare
Mridula tells us what SoulCare dishes have proven to be the most popular.

  • Dahi Kadi Pakoda.
  • Choley Masala.
  • Bharwan baby baingan.
  • Karele ki subzi.
  • Bharwan. capsicum.
  • Bharwan Parwal.
  • Gattey nu Kadhi.
  • Gattey nu saag.
  • Sindhi Kadhi.
  • Mixed Vegetable Kichdi.
  • Hariyali Kofta.
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