By Alesha Cadet
Tribune Features Reporter
It’s the wellness trend that is sweeping the globe and it has officially touched down in the Bahamas. The ketogenic diet, or keto for short, was last year’s most searched diet on Google. Celebrities like Halle Berry, the Kardashians and LeBron James have been singing its praises on social media. It’s the latest “it” diet, the new “sexy” way to drop the pounds and lose the inches. And even though it’s been around for 100 years (mainly to treat people with epilepsy), it’s just now been rediscovered and being pushed into the spotlight.
Keto is a low-carb, high-fat diet. According to the Mayo Clinic, following the diet means eating fewer than 50 grammes of carbs a day — less than four slices of bread’s worth. Getting the most of your calories from fat forces your body to use different energy pathways. Instead of carbs for energy, the body burns fat, entering a state called ketosis.
Here in the Bahamas, there is one woman who is particularly associated this this new diet trend: the Bahama Gal Keto herself, Ashley Noel.
“My health and wellness journey has been a life-long one. I have always struggled with my weight, even as a child. Most diets didn’t work for me; either I didn’t lose enough weight to motivate me to continue or they were not sustainable long term. Keto was the answer I was looking for. The weight seemed to melt away with minimal effort, and I have been able to stick with this way of life for almost four years,” she told Tribune Health.
Though she never would have thought so in the past, she has developed a genuine passion for health and wellness. She also loves having the ability to assist people in making better food choices and following the keto lifestyle.
Bahama Gal Keto offers coaching services, a daily meal service, and two very dynamic social media pages where she offers advice and suggestions for those curious about the keto way of life.’
“For all our lives we’ve been told to avoid foods like butter and bacon and cheese because they will lead to heart disease and high blood pressure. Turns out it’s the way that these foods react with the high levels of carbs we consume that is the culprit,” she said.
Keto, she said, has to ability to make people feel good all around, as they notice an increase in energy, better mental focus and a host of other health benefits. If followed correctly, Ashley believes keto can have a very positive impact on Bahamians’ lives.
“People are absolutely blown away that weight loss is something so easily attainable after they’ve struggled for so long. Carbohydrates are making us sick. They’re killing us as Bahamians, literally. Even if you feel like a keto diet isn’t for you, reducing your carb intake and replacing it with healthy vegetables is always a better option. Your heart will thank you, and you may lose a bit of weight in the process,” said Ashley.
When speaking of food options for the summer, Ashley said regardless of whatever diet you follow, salads are the way to go as the temperatures heat up, as they are quick to make, refreshing and light.
“No one wants to make the whole house hot turning on the oven. I always encourage my clients to get creative with salads. Use different proteins, add fun veggies or even berries, experiment with different cheeses like feta or goat cheese, and top it all off with a low-sugar, high-fat dressing like ranch or Caesar. Don’t get stuck just eating lettuce and tomatoes every day. There are so many other vegetables to try,” said Ashley.
While nutritionists and doctors agree that keto will help you burn fat stores, they warn it’s not a diet for everyone, as it is very restrictive, and in some cases, should be medically monitored. People have seen amazing results following the keto plan, but the Mayo Clinic, for example, warns that the high level of unhealthy saturated fat — combined with limits on nutrient-rich fruits, veggies and grains could a concern for long-term heart health. They added that very low-carb diets also tend to have higher rates of side effects, including constipation, headaches, bad breath and more.
For more information about Bahama Gal Keto, contact 395-7825 or visit her Facebook at ‘Bahama Gal Keto’.