A combination of late working hours, erratic eating patterns and online ordering wreaked havoc on K Sai Santhosh’s health and he started on a weight loss journey to shed those extra pounds.
However, it was after he embarked on this that he realised the confusing maze the Internet becomes for one looking to eat healthy. Searching for recipes using keywords can be a frustrating experience, purely because of the number of options the Internet offers you, most of which might not suit your needs.
“An average Indian’s food choices are based on taste and cost while health is an after-thought. This is an inefficient process of choosing food, and the result is poor nutrition and wellness,” says Santhosh.
“We have to sift through a lot of information to find a simple recipe that makes use of available ingredients and also has a balanced nutritional level. We started WA2COOK to change the way people search for recipes,” he says.
Using his personal understanding of nutrition, healthy and balanced eating as the starting point, Santhosh and his friend Karthikeyan Palanisamy launched WA2COOK in 2018. The app lets a user search for recipes by ingredients, allergies, nutrition, cuisines, courses, time required and chefs/blogs. Users can also use the ‘Smart Search’ to skip filters by directly asking “WA2COOK with chicken under 400-cal for lunch.”
How does this work?
An AI-based system transforms online text recipes into smart entities that represent culinary, dietary, nutrition data and so on. It considers the role of each ingredient, the nutrition derived from it as well as the cooking workflow. A hands-free cooking assistant guides users through each step in the recipe over text, voice or video.”
Special connect with Bengaluru
Santhosh and his team term Bengaluru the “best place for tech startups to bootstrap, network and grow.”
“Much before we started WA2COOK, we came to Bengaluru for a mentorship and networking event at Nasscom 10,000 Startups Warehouse. The energy at the event was unbelievable. From then to getting incubated at Nasscom, the journey has been surreal,” says Santhosh.
Healthy eating apps galore
A simple Google search throws up so many options for healthy apps that we abandoned our idea of making a listicle of the best ones — too many choices, too little times. Here are some apps that have been in the news lately.
Among the top five Indian apps that made it to Google Play Store’s ‘Best of 2018’ list, ‘Recipe Book’, it curates recipes across cuisines like Indian, Korean, Italian, Mexican, Thai, Malaysian, Arabian and German. A search facility lets you find Indian and global recipes and save them for offline and online use. It also lets users follow international chefs, food critics and food blogs via curated feeds.
Started by celebrity dietician Nmami Agarwal, who has been associated with Gautam Gambhir and Manushi Chillar, the app aims to simplify food and nutrition for everyone. It offers customized diet plans based on a person’s lifestyle, medical history, health goals, and fitness levels.
As part of the ‘Fit India Movement’, GOQii is working to enable Indians to lead a more active lifestyle. Apart from workout sessions, exercise trackers, health quizzes, video games and much more, the app also has details about healthy food, recipes and snacking options.
The Shilpa Shetty app
Actor and health and fitness expert Shilpa Shetty launched the app to help people achieve their desired goals in ‘simple and soulful’ ways. Along with diet plans (Shilpa is a big fan of homemade food), it offers bespoke target-based programmes and yoga routines and aims to make people aware of food and nutrition; specifically what to eat and drink and why.
Ranveer Brar App
The app has more than a thousand recipes personally curated by celebrity chef Ranveer Brar, a culmination of his 20 plus years of experience. Among other aspects, it aims to be a holistic food guide for people wanting to eat healthily and stick to a regular nutritional regimen.