Abirami S Shakthivel has an intimate relationship with food. As a former weightlifter and now a mother, she has experienced first-hand the effect of diet on one’s overall well-being. And she is determined to share the tips she has picked up about healthy eating through her Tiruchi-based cloud kitchen K Noms, which specialises in customised low-calorie diet menus and snacks.
“I was a weightlifter in college, so I did have a basic understanding of fitness and diet early on. But things changed after I graduated and became busy trying to develop my career. When I suffered a miscarriage six months after my marriage, my weight shot up to 120 kilograms. This is when I started researching my problematic relationship with food,” says Abirami.
In 2016, she started noticing the effects of low-calorie diets, and also how commercially prepared food plays fast and loose with nutrition.
“Switching over to a low-calorie menu that I used to prepare myself, I was able to bring my weight down to 87 kilograms. My husband Shakthivel joined me soon, as he felt the dishes were tastier,” she smiles.
During her second pregnancy, she resumed having ‘regular’ food, as her doctor advised her against going in for ‘fancy diets’ for the sake of the unborn child. “But my weight went up again, as I was diagnosed with carbohydrate and gluten intolerance, which was causing water retention. I went back to the low-carb diet soon,” she recalls.
With no low-carb food suppliers in Tiruchi, Abirami decided to cook for herself, even though her medical condition was precarious.
Later, the experience of running a low-fat dessert service helped her to look deeper into the market for healthy food options locally. After much trial and error, and with financial support from the Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PMFME) scheme of the Ministry of Food Processing Industry, Abirami decided to establish K Noms, a low-calorie diet food cloud kitchen in August 2023.
“It is meant for people who want to consume nutritionally balanced food. We buy our ingredients on the day of the preparation, and close orders by 7pm, because we do not believe in serving food late into the night. One has to practise what one preaches, after all,” says Abirami.
The kitchen offers door delivery even though it is also available on food aggregator apps.
Food for thought
The online menu is a curated sections according to customers’ requirements. ‘Seoul Street’ offers Korean dishes such as Japchae Stir Fried Glass Noodles, Makguksu (Noodle Salad), Kimchi Fried Rice, while ‘K Noms’ has options such as Grilled Chicken Salad, and a variety of soups. Standard Indian meals are also on offer. ‘Food2bFit’ focusses on low-carb dishes.
A flexible meal subscription service helps those who want to eat healthy in the long term. “Paneer, tofu and chicken are on the menu for now; we give fish on occasion, if a customer requests it ,” says Abirami.
A professional chef, assistant and certified nutritionist form the K Noms team, along with Abirami, who also cooks. Abirami’s husband helps her to procure spices and other ingredients directly from farms. Nutritional information about each dish is provided on the website, to make it easier for calorie-conscious customers.
“Diet food doesn’t need to be boring. We expect the maximum benefit from any dining experience when spending money. But I feel we must look at the quality, rather than quantity of what we are getting,” says Abirami.