MANY can concur with me that our diet options and eating habits have changed the world over and people are increasingly becoming health conscious by the day. We are living in the era of Banting, dieting and massive workouts just to lose weight and at least stay healthy. French Lawyer and politician Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, in 1826 in one of his manuscripts wrote, “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.” Meaning a person is a vivid reflection of what he/she eats or puts inside their bodies.
By Michael Gwarisa
In this era of junk foods, one has to be very selective and wary when it comes to outlets or restaurants to enjoy a meal from. One such place which has made waves around town for serving some of the trendiest, yet healthy cuisines is Yanaya, a modern day, purely healthy food bar in Zimbabwe whose Chef driven meals are plant based, sugar and additives free.
Out of curiosity, I had to pay them a visit this week to get a feel of their uniquely made dishes. As I was getting my hands sanitized and temperature checked in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on COVID-19 prevention, I couldn’t help but notice the sparkling clean environment and the refreshing, contagious, shiny, welcoming and beaming smiles from the waiters and cashiers behind the counter.
Located in the second floor at Joina City in Harare, the green artificial vines blended well with the white background at Yanaya’s entrance tells a story of a natural and organic food adventure awaiting inside. The interior’s most prominent features are the green vines and extra bright lights and a bold chalk like inscription written Yanaya on the right. Opposite to the inscription is the Yanaya Booth which is also adorned in the green and organic colors and is meant to give guests a calming experiencing and a brief escape from the busy world.
Having been established on July, 12 2019, Yanaya has already taken the market by storm and is very popular amongst young people and diet fanatics. The food, (that is the fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds) is served in its rawest form. The food bar has a sitting capacity of 60 at any given time.
Yanaya was founded by a youthful young lady, Nyaradzo Dhilwayo after she had spent at least five years as a vegan whilst she was studying outside of the country. Upon returning, she couldn’t find anywhere she could go out to eat because there isn’t anyone serving vegetarian or the vegan dishes around. She would struggle since she would only eat fries and Calslaw. Yanaya’s reception in the market has been overwhelming especially amongst the young and those who are already making steps to ensure that they lead healthy lifestyles.
The Yanaya Smoothies come if different forms and they are seasonal depending on the type of fruits available at any given time. The ingredients for the smoothies are choicely selected with the aim of addressing specific health issues. The Baobab and Banana smoothie has this thick, creamy and smooth texture. The popping of China seeds on the tongue, leaves this indelible orgasmic sensation in the mouth as the smoothie slithers its way down into the tummy, leaving one with a sense of everlasting satisfaction. Even though you can still taste the Baobab flavor, its tanginess combined with the sweet striking Banana taste, creates this intimate Ying and Yang kind of perfect combination.
We have put together our foods in a way that it addresses a need somehow. When you look at our smoothies, we have Detox smoothies, we have immune booster smoothies, we have Doctor Beat smoothie that will add blood in your system, we have smoothies that have Ginger.
“We work with a dietician, when we were structuring our menus, we did that working with a nutritionist. Once we were done working with the nutritionist, we then took our meals to a dietician to say can you certify our meals. All our meals are dietician certain certified.”
The Bunless Chicken Burger looks more like perfect layers of Strata, well put together one on top of the other, except that every layer has been somehow arranged with gratifying and well selected vegetables and fat free ground chicken formed into a patty, cooked on a grill and served. The top is a layer of Cheese, with a thick but fat free chicken patty enveloped in fresh layers of Lettuce with sprinkles of Barley, which is grain in its rawest format, then followed by Tomatoes, Onion, Cheese, eggplant, Cucumbers, egg, sweet Potato and meat.
“Because we want to inspire a healthy lifestyle, your wheat now comes super refined. So the bun will just turn into cholesterol when it gets into your body, so we want to feed you something that’s going to be of an advantage when it gets into your body. Everything that we selected for our Bunless burger is feeding something within your body, it’s an advantage,” said Nyari.
Over the one year period, Yanaya has already expanded and opened another Branch at Arundel Village and plans to open two more branches before the year ends are at an advanced staged. They also want to push their product into retail targeting people that are lactose intolerant whose systems cannot digest milk or dairy products.
“We want to push non dairy products on the market and we are currently working on that for our short-term goals. We are leaving at a time where people should be conscious about what they put into their bodies.
“We should be conscious about what we are putting in our bodies and what sort of effect it is having in our bodies because that impacts your holistic view, perception on life and how you are going to carry on.”