Sunday, December 15, 2013

What is Ram Ban & BMI

Out of 1.27 billion population in India, almost 84% follow Hinduism, with 12% following Islam and the rest following Christianity, Sikhism and other religions. One of our sacred scripture is Ramayan or Ramcharit manas alongside various Vedas, Upnishads and Bhagwad Geeta.

Ramayan is a story of a king Dashrath with 4 sons, the oldest being Ram. Ram, the crowned prince, is epitome of all goods you can think of for all times. He conquers and kills 'Ravana' , the king of demons, representing the epicenter of all evils with his Ban (means arrow).

So we in India use Ram Ban as a cure for all ills or evil. Is obesity or overweight prevalence a evil?

You can read as much as you can about obesity or overweight prevalence here in the US. More details at our website under 'Why Indian Food' and the attached 'appendix.'

The US is ranked 9th in the world with 74% overweight prevalence among its 300m population and with no offence intended, the US is not in good company. In comparison, 2 most populous nations in the world ~ China (1.35B) has 28%  overweight prevalence with 148th rank and India (1.27B) having 16%  overweight prevalence at 176th rank.

Unfortunately lot of analysts argue about the poverty in India playing a role for such low rate of overweight prevalence as 30% of population don't have access to the proper food. But the truth is otherwise. This 16% overweight prevalence is also due to the mushrooming of multi-national fast food chains in the big Indian cities and with neo rich and the upper middle class in India opting for the fast foods. Just for example ~ Domino's Pizza has the 3rd highest numbers of stores ~ 600 in India after US (5000) and Britain (720) and this has happened during the last 5-6 years. But even if we take-out 30% poor population out of count, the rate would still be 23% way below the US.

I would suggest one more thing. Just look around you and you would have many Indians or Chinese with you in the schools or the colleges or at the work place. How many of them are visibly obese or overweight? Trust me, for us Indians, our food plays a major role in keeping us healthy given the fact that we Indians don't do work-out much.

Let me sign off today with Body Mass Index (BMI) chart and its importance in the whole debate.
BMI formulas for both English units and metric units:
Metric Units: BMI = Weight (kg) / (Height (m) x Height (m))
English Units: BMI = [Weight (lb) / (Height (in) x Height (in))] x 703
Example : Someone who is 5'6" (5 * 12 + 6" = 66") and weights 160 lb has a BMI of BMI Calculation = [160 / (66 x 66)] x 703 = 25.8 <== This person is Overweight.
o A BMI of less than 18 means you are under weight.
o A BMI of less than 18.5 indicates you are thin for your height.
o A BMI between 18.6 and 24.9 indicates you are healthy.
o A BMI between 25 and 29.9 suggests you are overweight.
o A BMI of 30 or greater indicates obesity.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


Let me start with some introductions. 'Nirmal' is an Indian restaurant located in Ypsilanti, MI almost equidistant from 2 famous universities in MI - University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Eastern Michigan University (EMU), Ypsilanti. We started in Oct 2009 after taking over an exiting Indian restaurant named 'Temptations' with a big dream ~ to make the first Indian food chain in the world. We have food chains for all types of cuisine from Chinese to Mexican to Italian but not Indian. Not even in India. Some may argue we have some brands now in India with 40-50 restaurants but compare this with Panda express (1200 stores) or Chipotle (6000 stores) in the US or even 600 stores for Domino's Pizza in India. Incidentally 'Temptations' is located just 4-5 blocks down the first Domino's Pizza store in Ypsilanti, MI which started way back in 1969.

Another coincidence ~this whole thing started brewing during my project work in 2007 at Domino's HQ in Ann Arbor, MI. I was pursuing MBA at Ross School of Business at University of Michigan and I have had MAP project at Domino's, a famous component of Ross MBA program. While visiting Domino's stores to see their operations and accompanying drivers to deliver pizzas to the customers, I got fascinated by Domino's history. Starting with a store near EMU, in 40 years, Domino's has 8000 stores. At this point I was just wondering why us Indians don't have a food chain?

Can history repeat itself with all the coincidences?