The Diabetes Focus team experienced a lunch at Clenergy Kitchen. We give you the low-down on this guilt-free eatery. Plus, Tammy Jardine, shares her perspective as a dietitian and having diabetes.
It’s always pleasurable to go and sit down in a restaurant and socialise with friends while enjoying good food together. Upon entering the clean and simplistic restaurant, we were welcomed by the friendly and charming owner, Abdulla Miya, and his staff.
As you sit down, the array of health foods, supplements and vitamins catch your eye and you know you just must inspect what is on offer in the display after lunch. You are more than likely to walk out having purchased your favourite health snack.
Abdulla shared his vision with us and his passion was apparent and so the excitement built-up to taste the food. It’s clear that this isn’t only about making a profit, but rather this is about offering solutions to consumers who still want to enjoy the treat of eating out but also to know what they are putting in their body won’t aggravate any allergies or health issues.
As we are left to choose our meals from the menu, the start of a wonderful food journey commences. By the end of the meal, our tummies are full and the conversation is all about how good things tasted and the good impression of the overall experience. Plus, we even got to meet the head chef. That is always a bonus!
Clenergy started with an ambitious dream of Abdulla Miya. Since he is insulin resistant, he found it hard to find restaurants that offered meals that would comply with his health concerns. So, he set aside his career of marketing and advertising and after six months, Clenergy Kitchen – guilt-free eatery was opened in November 2019.
What makes Clenergy different?
Clenergy provides customers with a truly safe place to enjoy the pleasures of delicious food without having to compromise their health.
They have set out on a journey to provide guilt-free meals that break the paradigm of what is generally expected of healthy food. Clenergy’s goal is to provide restaurant meals, fast food favourites and decadent desserts that consumers crave, in a much more beneficial way. The Keto and Banting way.
The menu is completely wheat-free, low carb and sugar-free. While all the meals are sugar-free and low carbs. This means that anyone wanting to lose weight or who has diabetes can enjoy all Clenergy meals.
A brand that you can trust
Their healthy food only earns a spot on their menu after it has met the requirement of being decadently delicious. Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures and at Clenergy, they don’t compromise on that at all. But more importantly, the goal is to create a brand that customers can trust.
They guarantee that all their foods are wheat-free, low-carb and sugar-free (no added refined sugar). This means that all meals are Keto and Banting friendly. Standing by these three key values allows customers to lower their sugar intake. How? Refined sugars are found in many foods, desserts, drinks, sauces and condiments, but by taking the sugar out, they reduce your sucrose intake.
However, high carbs, such as wheat, maize, rice, and potatoes, also convert to sugar once inside the body. So, this way they reduce your intake holistically as well. This allows consumers to avoid sugar related ailments without compromising on their food’s taste and while still being able to satisfy their cravings.
What is on offer?
Not only is Clenergy a sit-down restaurant but you can order take aways from the local menu as well as a variety of 24 frozen meals. They also offer various meal plans that can be delivered in Gauteng, Cape Town, Durban and regional areas.
Meal plans offered:
- Premium Keto/Banting
- Weight loss
- Premium weight loss
- Body Building
To find out more about these meal plans and delivery visit clenergy.co.za
The vision doesn’t stop here, Abdulla aims to open more Clenergy franchises across South Africa. He also has a bigger dream of suppling hospitals with healthy meal options. We wish him and his team great success!
A Type 1 dietitian’s perspective
On walking into Clenergy, I was extremely aware of the sugar-free, healthy food marketing which was new and refreshing and I already felt positive that the foods would most likely be high in fibre and made with clean, low processed ingredients.
When the owner, Abdulla Miya, started to share his story and talking about low carbs, I must admit that I had my reservations and even wondered whether he thought that only sugar contributed to total carbs since the menu included toasted sandwiches, pizza, burgers and pasta. I decided to put my scepticism aside and base my review subjectively on taste and objectively on how the meal affected my blood glucose.
Obstacles of testing
I admitted to myself that this was probably not the best day to review a restaurant meal by blood glucose since I had eaten a big slice of red velvet cake that morning at 11am to celebrate my husband’s birthday.
I thought I had injected enough insulin for the piece of cake and checked my blood glucose before I left home. It was 13,9 – yikes! I decided not to inject more insulin and to test before eating at the restaurant and give insulin then.
As fate would have it, I left my meter and the insulin on the kitchen table (what can I say – life happens) and therefore did not test or inject any insulin before the meal.
Choosing what to eat
At the restaurant, I scrolled through the menu thinking about what I would order if I could eat anything I wanted without thinking about the effect it would have on my blood glucose. I chose the Arabiatta Pumpkin Pasta with Chicken. It’s a tomato and chilli based sauce on pasta made from pumpkin spaghetti (spirals of pumpkin).
The pasta was a little harder than original pasta but still delicious and satisfying. The portion was filling. I did share some in exchange for a taste of the other meals that were ordered around the table. The Toasted Chicken Sandwich was loaded with chicken but the bread was a little too oily for me. It took a bit of coaxing to get over the green base of the pizza, but once I got over that the zucchini pizza was super tasty.
The burgers had big meaty patties and generous amount of topping but the roll was a little spongy. Certainly, all the meals were flavourful and totally acceptable alternatives to the carb-rich originals.
I didn’t stop there. My sweet tooth was pleading to try the beautifully displayed and irresistibly tempting dessert options. We chose the Chocolate Torte and Cheese Cake to share between us. The cakes were rich and didn’t disappoint, with very little aftertaste from the sugar substitutes.
Testing blood glucose after meal
I left for home certain that my blood glucose would have sky-rocketed from the feast I’d enjoyed and especially because my last blood glucose reading was high and I had not injected any insulin for what I had eaten at the restaurant.
To my surprise, my blood glucose had dropped from the high teens to 10,2. I had purposely not corrected with insulin when I got home since I wanted to see if the meal would spike me later. It did not. My blood glucose dropped even further to 8,3 before dinner (about six hours after the restaurant meal).
Frozen ready meals
I also purchased three frozen ready meals to try at home. I wanted to try the Arabiatta Pasta again to see if it would be as good at home. The portion was smaller than the restaurant portion but still as tasty. I also tried the Coconut Fish Bake and the Spinach Lasagne. All were delicious.
The nett carbs (total carbs minus fibre) of these frozen meals were listed as follows:
- Arabiatta Pasta (300g) 0g net carbs
- Spinach Lasagne (300g) 14.5g net carbs
- Coconut Fish Bake (300g) 15.9g net carbs
Every person can tolerate different amounts of carbs. I did give insulin for the carbs in the lasagne and the fish bake based on my individual carb ratio and my blood glucose did not spike. I estimate that I had to give a third of the amount of insulin I would have had to give if the meals were not carb reduced and used original rice and pasta. Usually if I have a meal with rice or pasta, I feel lethargic and bloated but I felt really good after eating these carb-reduced meals and extremely satisfied as they have lots of flavour.
Note for people with diabetes:
The only way to identify your tolerance for carbs is to test before the meal and two hours’ post meal. Ideally two hours post the meal, your blood glucose should rise no more than 2mmol/L more than it was before your meal.
For me, the Clenergy options were well-tolerated. So, why not try them for yourself?
MEET THE EXPERT
Tammy Jardine is a qualified diabetes educator and a registered dietitian. Living with diabetes for over 15 years means that she knows first-hand how difficult it can be to achieve and maintain optimal blood glucose control with good lifestyle habits. She believes that diabetes affects every person differently and takes the time to understand how it’s affecting the individual and to help them manage it effectively. With more than 20 years of experience working as a dietitian in the UK and SA, she has a passion for helping people live a better and happier life with good food. Tammy currently works from Wilgeheuwel hospital. Email: [email protected]
Clenergy is situated at 51 Greenfield Road, Greenside, Jhb.
Opening hours: Monday – Thursday (9:00 – 17:00). Friday – Sunday (9:00-20:00).