While visiting health food stores can be quite a treat, it can end up being a drain on your time. So if at all you are slightly skewed towards the extremist spectrum in the health department, and you sorely need a breakfast of spirulina and porridge with goji berries at least twice a week, look at Health Rush (Healthrush.in), a Bangalore-based online health food store which claims “everything on this website is good for you”.
The product range
Health Rush, which was set up in November, stocks a range of products—the “widest”, it claims—under one roof, or domain address. The site lists products by category, brands and health concerns such as diabetes, pregnancy and heart ailments. The items are split across categories such as baby foods (solid milk-based organic supplements made with pulses and cereals), berries (prunes, cranberries, goji and raisins) and breakfast cereals (the supermarket variety such as Harvest Crunch). For a store which claims to provide healthy grocery items, it lists cereals which are loaded with sugar. For example, a 45g serving of Alpen “no sugar added” contains 158 kcal or 29.3g of carbohydrates. Also, while green tea-based concoctions, marketed by Sri Lankan brand Dilmah, are available, it does not stock herbal teas such as chamomile and rooibos.
Assorted goods: Health Rush offers a range of whole grains, nuts and seeds.
The site offers an impressive collection of grains, including quinoa (pronounced keenwah), a Latin American cereal similar in texture to Mediterranean couscous (missing on Health Rush) and brown rice, both very nice substitutes for plain rice, but rarely stocked at the local store.
The missing members
Any health food outlet would be incomplete without gym (whey protein shakes in different flavours), health and nutritional supplements, and the online store does not disappoint. In fact, the website claims wheatgrass powder, considered good for digestion, is its best-selling product.
Although many items would be fit for consumption by vegans or those who want to buy organic, these are not listed under a separate category. Which is surprising, given that most health stores nowadays recognize the plight of this set of fussy shoppers.
What is dubious, however, is the section marked “jams and spreads” which, when clicked with relish (excuse the pun), reveals a rather starved list of two items: peanut butter (reduced fat) and light mayonnaise. Mayonnaise, of course, is neither a jam nor a spread. And a jar of factory-made light mayonnaise is neither French nor Spanish. It is, in fact, a condiment, or a sauce, and is laced with synthetic stabilizers and emulsifiers.
And if you want organic chicory coffee, look under “green teas”, which is nearly double the price of any ordinary Indian brew at Rs87 for 50g.
That said, they have lined up a good variety of nuts and seeds (alfalfa, flax, sunflower and an omega seed mix) that can be added to salads, or sneaked into the flour for your roti—a really easy way of topping up on your intake of amino acids, vitamin E and fibre.
They also have healthier, slightly higher-end options for popular grocery items such as chips (opinion is divided on the health value of these too as a 28g worth—or seven pita chips—could deliver 110 calories). But this could be healthier than ones loaded with salt and, of course, there are guilt-free crackers to go with cheese and wine (millet dippers, anyone?).
You might also want to order something from the offering of flours such as bajra, jowar, soya flour, ragi and sattu, and learn what to do with them. Pastas, roasted snacks, unrefined sugars and the “sweet somethings” (not desserts but natural fruit bars), and what they call a digestive mix organic (the kind you get at the end of Indian restaurant meals with bills), are also available.
But while Health Rush does give you a good alternative to a bricks and mortar grocery store, it does not stock foods such as cheese, milk or meats. And if you are one of the more clued-in, organically inclined kind and want to know where your food has come from, where it was packaged and roughly how far it has travelled before arriving at your table, this website is not for you. Moreover, while the collection is “wide”, it is not exhaustive.
They do, however, promise quality, value and discounts, and if you don’t know your millets from your jowar, detailed information on each product along with recipes is available. They promise something more too—delivery within four-five days anywhere in the country—on the condition that their appointed courier service manages to find you when they come-a-calling. So five days could stretch to a week.
If you want to experiment with new ingredients and don’t mind spending that extra buck, you have one more place to try out.
Placing the order was a pleasure—you can fritter away time reading new recipes and dreaming up exotic menus or be quick and organized about the whole exercise. Just pop in your card and delivery details, which takes 5 minutes, and check out through a secure payment facility to end a fairly fun shopping session.
The delivery bit is a little complicated because you can only estimate the arrival time, and make sure you are at the right place at the right time. A flat rate of Rs25 per kilogram applies for delivery anywhere in India.