Talwalkars, one of the leading chains of gyms in India, is getting into the food business. When my aunt from Hubli came to visit she brought with her a bunch of Talwalkar’s ready to eat meals aptly named, “REDUCE.” Neatly packaged, the foods had the timing of when to eat it written on it by her gym trainer. I was impressed by the packaging and the appetizing photos on the cover.
It appeared to be a replication of the US based Nutrisystem. In the Nutrisystem plan you must eat and buy only their food for all you meals. The total calorie count is low and if you stick to only their food you will lose weight. There are various plans but on average the cost is about $200 per month which is quite reasonable to spend on the majority of your meals in the US. Since Talwalkar’s is test marketing the product they have not set a price for the packaged foods as yet.
Dal tadka, Mexican salad, Western salad, clear soup, and sweet corn chicken soup are a few of the foods that my aunt brought with her. I would not call them gourmet or particularly very tasty but they are not bad either. The quantities of the product are very less and that is the real trick of weight loss. Let’s take the salad for example. It is meant to be an 11am snack. My point is that if you ate this quantity of any food, even chewda or 3-4 bakarwadis it is really ok. The problem arises when we eat more than this. The health aspect is another factor. Chewda and bakarwadi are not healthy foods. Is Talwalkar’s Mexican salad healthy—debatable. My opinion is that any vegetable sitting in a box for an extended amount of time cannot be too healthy. The expiration date was September 2012. Can corn or rajma, which are in the Mexican salad, be good for so long? Yes – with lots of preservatives! Of course consuming this food moderation once in a while is ok but being on a meal plan with only Talwalkar snacks for the long-term is not practical. Not only is it not healthy, it is unappetizing. The company is in the process of widening their food offerings but it will take quite a while for them to satisfy the Indian palate.
I recommend trying the Talwalkar food diet to be conscious of what a portion size should be – you will be amazed that you will actually be full with such little food. It will take time to train your stomach of course, so be patient. I do plan to try it when it is made available in Pune. A company spokesperson has commented that the Pune rollout will take place in about 6 months.