Weight Loss Physician Tro Kalayjian & NoodleHub Proprietor Jack Sitti Enthusiastic About Zoodles
Like many of his patients, Dr. Tro Kalayjian is able to maintain a healthy weight—after many years of being morbidly obese—by following a low-carb diet. A recurring challenge he and his patients both face is finding healthy menu options compatible with their diets when they dine out. Kalayjian recently developed a plan to help, right here in New York’s Hudson Valley.
Kalayjian has a vision of educating restaurant owners about low-carb and keto diets, and encouraging them to add menu items suitable for those who follow these diets.
Last week, the first results of Kalayjian’s efforts materialized when NoodleHub, a Thai restaurant located just two doors from Kalayjian’s medical weight loss and direct primary care practice in Tappan, NY, anounced it has added keto-friendly dishes to its menu.
NoodleHub proprietor and chef Jack Sitti showed some of his new menu items last Friday, as diners looked on and a photographer captured images of the low-carb fare. Each selection featured NoodleHub’s zoodles—Sitti’s original zucchini noodle recipe—in place of the higher carb noodles that typically go into the dishes.
“Before we opened the restaurant, we thought about making zucchini noodles available for our customers,” said Sitti, 26, who opened his doors for business this past July. “After talking with Tro, and realizing how many people could benefit, we decided to officially add these selections to our menu.”
The early feedback Sitti has received has been overwhelmingly positive. “Everyone who has tried our zoodles has loved them,” Sitti said. “They love the crisp freshness of our homemade zoodles, stir-fried with our homemade Thai sauces and fresh-cut veggies. It’s a perfect combination for anyone on a keto or low-carb diet, or for those who just want another option besides rice noodles or mung bean starch vermicelli crystal noodles.”
The first menu selection showed off by Sitti was his Gang Jeud soup, with zoodles instead of the vermicelli crystal noodles that are typically used in the soup. The rich vegetable broth is seasoned with gluten-free soy sauce and white pepper, and features onions, carrots, celery, and bean sprouts. A bowl of this soup contains just three net carbs. The Gang Jeud soup can be fortified with one or more servings of protein. Options include tofu, chicken, pork, beef, or shrimp.
The next selection out of the kitchen was the Pad Khi Mao. The low-carb version of this dish contains zoodles, sweet basil, red and green bell peppers, mixed vegetables, chili paste and homemade brown sauce with no added sugar. The Pad Khi Mao can be ordered with one or more proteins (tofu, chicken, pork, beef, or shrimp) and contains 21 net carbs.
The final low-carb selection was the Pad Woon Sen, consisting of zoodles, ginger, mixed vegetables, scallion, and homemade brown sauce. Egg is included when ordered with a protein (tofu, chicken, pork, beef, or shrimp). The Pad Woon Sen contains 10 net carbs.
Prior to opening NoodleHub, Sitti spent two years living on his girlfriend’s family farm near Syracuse NY. “We grew a lot of what we ate there, from pasture-raised, grass-fed beef, to free-range chickens and eggs,” said Sitti. “The veggies we ate were watered with spring water from an underground aquifer, so no chlorine, fluoride, or any other modern chemicals. What we ate had often been handpicked that day in the garden.”
Sitti would season the fresh foods with Thai spices and Thai sauces that he made from scratch. “For those two years I felt great and wanted to share that wholesome feeling with the rest of the community of southern Rockland NY where I grew up.”
Sitti sources as much of his restaurant’s produce as possible from local farmers. “Not only does this support the local community, the farmers, and their families, but we also know exactly where our produce is coming from,” said Sitti. “Food don’t have to be flown in or trucked in from the other side of the country, and this helps to reduce fossil fuel consumption, and also provides our customers with some of the freshest produce around.”
NoodleHub is located in the Stateline Plaza, 80 Route 303, Tappan, NY. The phone number is 845-512-9379. Business hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. Learn more about NoodleHub in this article by LoHud Restaurant Critic Jeanne Muchnick.
Kalayjian firmly believes restaurants that offer healthy options that taste great will be rewarded with grateful customers. “Just last week I drove my family more than 20 minutes each way to get keto-crust pizza,” said Kalayjian, who added it was definitely worth the drive. “There is definitely a demand for this—I’m hoping we can succeed in getting restaurant owners to increase the supply.”
Kalayjian is already in talks with several other Rockland restaurant owners interested in adding low-carb and keto friendly items to their menus. “Our plan is to compile a web-based list of restaurants our patients can refer to when they are planning to eat out. I hate when I hear that one of my patients experienced a setback simply because they couldn’t find a good menu option when they dined out.
“Offering good low-carb options that taste delicious is not rocket science,” Kalayjian said. “I’m happy if I can help make a difference in this area, and I’ll be even happier when I’m trying to decide where to take my family out for a meal.”
Before Kalayjian opened his medical weight loss and direct primary care practice, he had vowed to devote his career to helping people struggling with obesity and metabolic disease. Four years ago Kalayjian weighed 350 pounds and just thinking about exercise made his joints ache.
Kalayjian didn’t learn of the benefits of low-carb eating until he went back to the medical literature for some heavy reading. Once he discovered how low-carb worked, he lost 150 pounds and has had no difficulty keeping the weight off. Last December, he ran a 5k race in just 19:01, placing first in his age group, as documented in this LoHud article.
Restaurant owners interested in letting Kalayjian know about their low-carb or keto menu offerings can send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.