It’s awesome when your dietician is also an excellent baker, and Kanupriya Khanna’s patients are among those favoured by such fortune. The New Delhi-based dietician and nutritionist created Karamele, a bakery brand that specialises in vegan, gluten-free products, ranging from cookies and cakes prepared with alternative flours to vegan ice-creams and eggless cheesecakes. But to go back to the beginning, Khanna, 44, says that the seeds for Karamele were planted from a very young age.
“I was brought up in a family that was very conscious of what we ate. My maternal grandfather was diabetic and so followed a very strict diet, while my paternal grandfather made sure that the whole family grew up exercising regularly and eating conscientiously. Despite being from a Marwari family, we rarely had fried foods, and everything was prepared in the cleanest, healthiest way.” It was this that led Khanna on her path to becoming a dietician, and going to King’s College, London for her masters.
This was when fate pressed the second lever. “My mother was diagnosed with IBS while I was in London, and at that time (2000-01) no one in India had heard of glutenfree and alternative flours, never mind quinoa. So I started doing my own research and scouring the markets for gluten and dairy alternatives and looking up and creating my own recipes for baked goodies,” she recalls. She continued working in her field, coming back to work at some of the country's leading healthcare institutions in her native Mumbai and then Delhi, shifting to the capital after her marriage.
She worked with top doctors and nutrition experts, serving as Chief Dietician at Fortis La Femme. Her expertise started with nutrition for diabetics, before she moved on to focussing on renal patients and ultimately zeroing in mother and child health. “My own kids were born with food allergies, something that is becoming common these days. I knew the magic of nutrition, but the love of a mother pushed my boundaries. I worked tirelessly to create wholesome eggless recipes that were easy to digest, great for the gut and free of refined sugar, flour, and preservatives.
With every recipe that my children gobbled up was born a new Karamele product. As a dietician I understand that dietary needs vary, and taste buds of children and adults can be very different. So, the Karamele range can satisfy all age groups in a family.” Khanna’s products are all prepared in-house, with the baker and dietician saying she doesn’t keep anything overnight.
“Of course, because these are free from all starches, gums, preservatives and refined sugar and flours, they have lower shelf life and so it’s always fresh. A few items like granola, which can travel well, can be shipped pan-India.” Khanna is most proud of Karamele’s range of gluten-free vegan breads that are high in protein, noting that it took 10 months for her to craft and perfect the recipe. “My family is always my first test subjects and critics and I don’t tell them how I’ve baked the bread until after they’ve eaten. So it was lovely that they couldn’t tell the difference, and were pleasantly surprised when they found out,” signs off Khanna.
IN A NUTSHELL
New Delhi-based dietician and nutritionist Kanupriya Khanna, created Karamele that specialises in vegan, gluten-free products, ranging from cookies and cakes from alternative flours to vegan ice-creams and eggless cheesecakes.