A paediatrician runs a successful cookery channel on YouTube, while a dermatologist and surgeon launch a food subscription service
While doctors are super busy, we also know many of them pursue other passions — a certain Arthur Conan Doyle comes to mind. Dr Nithya Franklin follows in those illustrious footsteps. She launched a cookery channel, Dr Nithya’s Kitchen, on YouTube in April 2020.
Nithya, who works from 8am to 4pm at Vijaya Hospital, Chennai, and has a private practice from 6pm to 8pm, says, “Cooking has been my passion since I was a teenager. I make time for this. I shoot on days when I have few appointments or on Sundays.”
Growing up in Salem, dinner conversations always revolved around food. Nithya’s father encouraged her to try different cuisines. “I ended up collecting recipe books and documenting family recipes.” Even while studying Medicine, Nithya says she cooked on the weekends as a stressbuster.
Passion and a desire to document the recipes she collected over the years drove the 48-year-old paediatrician to launch her channel. Nithya started by uploading her hit recipes and then shifted to thematic videos.
“Most young mothers ask me about baby food. So I decided to provide informative videos on baby food and healthy snacks for toddlers. I also have a health food series, where I share recipes made using millets and a series on salads. In my videos, I provide scientific facts about every ingredient I use in a dish, as well as some historical trivia about it.”
Dermatologist Dr Karthik Raja and his friend, Dr Mohammad M, a general surgeon, launched Keto Kadai (6379780800) in December 2020. “The idea was to cater to fitness enthusiasts,” says Karthik, who did extensive research on various diets when he wanted to lose weight six years ago.
“I tried various diets, understanding the science behind it and how it helps reverse many illnesses. Being a medical practitioner, I began to prescribe a diet with medicines to my patients. Their feedback gave me the confidence to take it to the next level.”
No one size fits all
Karthik assesses Keto Kadai subscribers, (currently over the phone) and designs a diet pattern to suit them. “We do not give a standard diet. The diet for someone with Thyriod or PCOS issues is different from that for a diabetic.”
“I consulted Karthik three years ago and his diet plan worked well for me,” says Mohammad. “Over a period of time we became friends and during last year’s lockdown, we discussed launching a diet service and went ahead.”
Mohammad’s family has restaurants in many parts of the world and when they decided to shut down the restaurant in Chennai, Karthik and Mohammad opted to utilise the infrastructure and chefs for their venture. “All three meals are delivered by 8am,” Karthik says. “Those who need to take lunch to the office can do so and dinner can be refrigerated and microwaved.”
Mohammad works at Muthukumaran Medical College, Chennai, from 8am to 5pm and then oversees the kitchen ensuring hygiene and quality control. “Keto compliant meals require high quality ingredients such as cold pressed coconut oil, ghee, olive oil, fresh meat, paneer and cheese. We source our cheese from Kodai. Healthy, clean eating should be an everyday affair. As a medical practitioner, I find this involvement a fulfilling experience.”
“We decided to provide a diet service because we wanted to make life easy for those who wish to adapt to a healthier lifestyle,” say the doctors. “Apart from providing a healthy meal, we provided jobs for the staff of the restaurant that was shut down.”
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