Rice and potatoes get the cold shoulder, with author Radha Thomas penning a book that has the low-carb cauliflower as its star
A colleague has been on the Atkins diet for several weeks. The kilos are dropping, amid talk of meals revolving around bacon and chicken steaks, but I’m not convinced. I like my carbs too much to cut them out of my diet, though my bathroom scales would state otherwise. That’s when I hear of jazz musician-cum-author Radha Thomas’ new book, The Cauliflower Diet. The ‘white’ that she encourages us to eat has just 26 g of carbohydrates (per 500 g) and is gluten free. It can also be turned into, wait for it, bisibelabath, pizza, steak or sushi!
Power of white
“I’ve always been trying to lose weight and I’ve been on some diet or other—mostly Atkins. But after a while all that meat just gets to you,” begins Thomas, recalling how, around five years ago, she had stumbled upon a recipe for cauliflower rice, which set her on a new path. “I started experimenting, making paella, thayir sadam and biryani,” she smiles. “Mine is not a diet book—it’s a diet/health/taste book. The health fraternity agrees that it is carbs—which convert to sugar, and then fat—that is the killer, not the number of calories you eat. This helps you cut down your intake,” she adds.
Good and bad
The book has 42 recipes that range from Chinese and continental to Indian—each created and perfected in Thomas’ kitchen. “Though I don’t have a background in nutrition, for the last 20 years, I’ve been working as a journalist and business development person (executive VP at Explocity, the Bengaluru-based media company), and my beat was health. So I’ve written a lot on it and, for the book, I did plenty of research and spoke to experts.”
But even as I consider picking up a few kilos of cauliflower—encouraged by Thomas telling me she dropped 18 kg in seven months—I must ask: what about the diet’s less-appealing side (cauliflower is known to cause flatulence and is a no-no for people with thyroid issues). “If you eat too much of rajma, you will not be pleasant to be around. It’s all about moderation,” laughs Thomas, stating that she has dedicated an entire chapter to the negatives. However, she adds that her book is for “the 90 per cent of people who don’t have thyroid problems, but suffer from diabetes or heart disease”.
As I end my chat—Thomas is on her way to the US, where she is working on new collaborations with jazz artistes—she tells me dinner will be seasoned cauliflower rice with chicken in a tomato gravy. Ah, where is my shopping bag?
Rs 299. Published by Penguin Random House, the book will be on shelves from March 10.
—Surya Praphulla Kumar