This baker from Chennai helps you fight cancer with cupcakes!

Senthil Kumar wants to change the way patients eat. His brand Wholesome Rhapsody doesn’t categorise sections based on flavour, but instead specific to illness

Sonali Shenoy Published :  09th November 2018 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  09th November 2018 12:00 AM
Cupcakes for cancer, Chennai

Senthil Kumar

Now you can buy cupcakes that help you fight cancer. And it’s all thanks to Chennai-based Senthil Kumar, who believes that everybody should be able to get a serving of dessert. 

The 32-year-old was a researcher at the Adyar Cancer Institute and previously went to Curtan University in Perth, Australia to work on brain cancer stem cell research, when his experiments in the kitchen began. And the reaction he has now come to expect when he tells a patient is usually one of disbelief.  “‘Are you serious?’ That’s the question I get asked all the time,” he shares with us, as we chat over a taste of one of his delicious and moist Carotenoid (carrot, papaya, turmeric) cupcakes with a carrot cream cheese frosting. 

 

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Better batter  
Unlike most menus that categorise based on flavour, Senthil’s brand Wholesome Rhapsody lets one choose a dessert based on cancer type. In other words, recipes are refined to heighten cancer-fighting properties based on the specific needs of your illness — breast, lung, prostate and so forth. Like soymilk and flaxseed (which have plant-based estrogen) for instance, that largely help fight prostate cancer. “When the level of estrogen goes up, the level of androgen goes down, which helps reduce the growth of prostate cancer cells,” he explains. 

Although, if you are curious like we were, about the what goes into the making of a ‘disease-friendly dessert’ as Senthil likes to call it — here are some of the common, but key ingredients. The batter usually includes foxtail millets and oats (high fibre, low glycemic index), turmeric (includes circumin with cancer-fighting properties) and orange juice (reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, adds moisture to the cake).

 

 

Our picks
Carotenoid Cake with carrot cream cheese and caramelised walnuts
(fruits with yellow and orange pigments have cancer-fighting properties) 

Estrogen Enchantress Cake 
(good for prostate cancer in men and hormonal imbalance in women) 

Cavemen’s Diet-tribe Brownie 
(made with almond and Stevia — this option is good for diabetics. Since the ingredients are flour-free, vegan, gluten-free, low-glycemic and rich in cancer-fighting  flavonoids, it can be consumed by people in different disease spectrums as long as they are not allergic to nuts)
 

 

Estrogen in a jar
It is heartening to gather from the looks of the titles on the desserts such as the Sapota date cupcake or God’s Own Cookie that his ingredients are locally sourced and entirely seasonal. Senthil also gave us a taste of the decadent and melt-in-the-mouth chocolate Estrogen Enchantress Cake in a jar. Quite an inspired name, we have to say!

Cookbook research
So now you know where to go, when a friend with a serious illness and restricted diet, has a birthday coming up. All of Senthil’s orders can be customised to need and his research on rarer forms of cancer like thymus gland cancer continue. As for what’s next, the hope is to get patients and their families to be able to create disease-friendly treats for themselves. “I plan to have a cookbook out in 2019 with diets for every possible cancer,” Senthil signs off. 

Cupcakes are Rs 95 and a one kg cakes (vegan and gluten-free) start at Rs 1,650. 

sonali@newindianexpress.com | @brightasunshine

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