Many diets have come and gone, but it seems ketogenic is among the few that’s here to stay. More popularly known as keto, this diet has gotten a lot of people hooked, as proven by the many options in the market, restaurants included.
On a ketogenic diet, the body gets fuel by burning fat, which is great for losing weight and getting healthy, since there is less hunger and more alertness and energy.
Clara Day Hererra, co-founder of Keto Vegetarian PH, borrows words from American life coach Tony Robbins to better explain the keto diet. “When you use carbohydrates as source of energy, it’s like using paper to make fire,” she says. “It will burn right away and deplete fast, too. Using protein, on the other hand, is like wood, which will last longer but will also die eventually. Fats are like coal, they will take awhile to light up, but will last you the longest time.”
Acknowledging the value and benefits of keto, Herrera, with friend Kath Buendia, started offering low-carb, no-sugar and no-meat meals. Their keto vegetarian delivery program started in 2017 and though there were a lot of skeptics, they’ve been doing good for almost two years, with over 250 clients, which is impressive for a company with a niche market.
“What we have is a premium brand. It’s not cheap. We use organic vegetables, so it was a hard sell. But by word of mouth and the promotion of influencers, it grew,” says Buendia.
“People got surprised that it’s not all salad or soup. Many of our clients are not vegetarians,” adds Herrera. “We’re not forcing people to be strictly vegetarian, but to just be more aware and conscious of what they eat. Be flexitarians and inspire them to lessen their meat consumption.”
Apart from having sustained energy, the keto lifestyle also affords people to sleep better and have a healthier gut. Keto vegetarian is no different—it still follows the daily macronutrient requirements of 60-80 g fat and 20-30 g net carbs per day. The only difference is, it relies on vegetarian items like coconut oil, avocados and nuts for fat.
Coming up with veggie dishes wasn’t really a challenge for Keto Vegetarian PH, since Herrera has been a vegan most of her life, and she has a trove of recipes and experience.
She loves copying the flavors and textures of familiar fare like moussaka and meatballs. Her lasagna, made with mushrooms and eggplant and topped with five types of cheeses, is just as satisfying, but more rewarding than the traditional version.
The cheesy pimiento on keto bread makes for a delicious anytime-of-day snack.
What’s great is that they don’t repeat dishes in two or three months. Even better, the ladies are very approachable. Clients can ask them questions any time.
Keto Vegetarian PH; tel. 0927-0366661; visit www.cognitoforms.com/ketovegetarianph.
Keto ‘pancit palabok’
Broken-hearted, John Pe Benito, who was then overweight and living abroad, wanted to look good again. He tried different diets, including calorie-counted meals. Nothing worked, until he learned about keto. He lost 20 kg in a month.
In 2017, he returned to Manila and put up his Keto Living PH. To date, he has over 400 loyal clients who order dishes like keto pancit palabok, lugaw, chicken inasal and king burger.
Keto Living PH, tel. 7018569 or visit www.ketolivingphlifestyle.com.
In December 2017, Paleo Manila added and introduced its Keto-Paleo meal plans, which focus on the macronutrients required by the keto principle, and also consider the micros using all-natural paleo ingredients that have only the good fats. Some of their dishes include menemen or Turkish-style scrambled eggs, poached chicken with herbs, and pork nori rolls.
Paleo Manila, www.paleomanila.com.
Gourmet Gypsy, run by restaurateurs who are on the keto diet themselves, offers dishes like Paella Valenciana, made with saffron cauliflower rice topped with chicken and chorizo; seafood laksa made with a rich coconut curry and shirataki noodles; and Indian butter chicken with gravy and yogurt sauce.
Gourmet Gypsy, 25 Don A. Roces Ave., Diliman, QC.
The Rabbit Hole Café, which used to serve classic comfort food, ventured into keto when owner Leilan’s daughter tried the diet and asked her to recreate the classic cloud bread to appease her cravings sans the guilt.
This led to more kitchen experiments that resulted in a line of keto cakes such as brazo de mercedes, chocolate mousse, and avocado cheesecake.
The Rabbit Hole, Techzone Bldg., 190 Gil Puyat Ave. Makati, tel. 7726807; The Podium at Corner Market ADB Ave. Mandaluyong, tel. 0942-8579018, 0998-9528659, 6389781.
No-sugar cakes, breads
Baker Carmela Carating has been running her home-based business since September 2017 so she can share her keto pastries like keto choco chip cookies, chocolate cupcakes, matcha loaf, pistachio silvanas, and red velvet doughnuts to friends.
“I have been struggling with my weight loss and I also happened to have diabetes,” she says. “I wanted to try the diet to lower my blood sugar level because I am a lover of desserts.”
Dulce Bakery by Mela, tel. 0917-8960701
Homemade baked goods
The Little Spatula, a 4-year-old home-based bakery, started offering keto-friendly pastries and breads only last year, after being continually asked to make goodies based on the diet. Its menu includes muffins, cookies and breads that are either whole grain, paleo, keto-friendly and vegan. As substitute for sugar, it uses a blend of stevia and erythritol.
The Little Spatula, tel. 0917-8826255