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A note from the editor: eating right in the pandemic

Our cover story this week looks at the protein deficiency in urban India—and the new brands that are trying to fill the gap

Mumbai-based Burrow’s salted caramel with bits of chocolate and shortbread.

Over the past year of huddling at home, most of us at Lounge have spent too much either on stationery or ice cream, or both, and as the number of covid-19 cases rises again, it seems we are likely to repeat the pattern. We have a story on the rise of home-made ice-cream brands, churned in the kitchens of chefs, packed in small batches, that took off during the pandemic. More people have taken to eating local and natural in the past year, and as our story points out, these boutique brands are hoping to benefit from this switch at a time when most hospitality businesses face greater dine-in restrictions.

Ice cream is a treat, of course, but eating right has been a running theme in our lives for the last few months. Our cover story looks at protein deficiency in urban India—despite its 70% non-vegetarian population and high intake of dairy, about 80% of Indians don’t have enough protein in their daily diet—and the new brands that are trying to fill the gap. No, it’s not about soy chunks and nuggets but a whole new range of products that can be adapted easily to Indian food habits. Food science has come a long way since the 1980s, when blocks of indeterminate taste and colour were force-fed to us as protein supplements. Sustainable, plant-based protein alternatives made from soy, peas and more come in far more flexible forms that slip well into Indian recipes. A number of young nutrition companies are taking bets on tempeh and other soy and plant-based alternatives that can be moulded into a tikki, a burger, a kebab or tossed into gravies. Changing food habits is always hard—more so with Indians, whose food cultures are bewilderingly diverse—but companies are sensing an opportunity.

This issue also has an interview with actor Kabir Bedi, a charismatic 1980s actor known as much for his work as for his flamboyant lifestyle. One of the earliest actors to make the crossover from Bollywood to Italian cinema and then Hollywood, he tells Lounge quite frankly that his relationships have been fraught, his working life full of ups and downs, and that his new memoir is a tell-all.

Write to the Lounge editor @shalinimb

Also Read: The boom in nutrition

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