By Catherine Kenwell and Gay Ainsworth

While Barrie Olive Oil doesn’t endorse any particular diet over a healthy lifestyle in general, our staff are keen to try and follow what they deem to be healthy diets and lifestyles. In this series, we’re sharing their approaches to health through food and what works for them.

We decided to start the series with the ketogenic diet, or ‘keto’ as it’s often called, because many of our customers ask us about incorporating the ‘keto’ approach into their diets. Our newest staff member, Gay, has been eating ‘keto’ diet since September 2017, following a year of health challenges.

“Last year was hard on me physically and mentally, so I decided that 2018 (the year I turn 60) was going to be all about my health,” Gay explained. “Friends had been talking about it and it was recommended to one for pre-surgery preparation. So I decided to try it.”

Originally, the ketogenic diet was created to treat patients—mostly children—suffering from epilepsy. Doctors prescribed a diet with four times the fat as protein and carbs (by weight of food). When starches and carbs are eliminated, the liver converts fats into fatty acids and ketone bodies. These ketone bodies take the place of the glucose from carbs as an energy source. Ketosis is the metabolic state when the body almost exclusively uses fat for fuel when carbohydrates are restricted or unavailable.

Because the keto diet is low in carbs and sugars, it can potentially ease the symptoms of diabetes and high blood pressure. Of course, as with any diet, do your research and check with your doctor before beginning.

Gay is up for the challenge of the keto lifestyle. “If you currently follow a ketogenic diet, you may be using a percentage ratio that ranges anywhere from 65% to 85% fat,” said Gay. “The challenge with ketogenic meal planning, in my experience, has been to get sufficient grams of fat without exceeding the allotted grams of protein.

“I currently eat 133 grams of fat, 75 grams of protein and 20 grams of carbs each day. As a result, oils and fats become hugely important to me when I create my daily and weekly meal plans.”

While it’s important to eat a lot of fat, you want to ensure that you’re eating the right kind—including meat, fish, dairy and nuts. High-quality extra-virgin olive oil can play a key role in your daily ketogenic meal plan. It’s delicious on salads and in cooking, and an excellent EVOO like we offer at Barrie Olive Oil can be used in cooking, roasting and grilling at up to 450 degrees.

“EVOO is an essential part of the keto diet,” explained Gay. “I use it on salad, with a tablespoon of one of our delicious balsamics, I use it in cooking, frying, marinating, and I will just drink a tablespoon of it if I need to increase my fat intake. And yes, it’s that light and fresh!”

One question our customers ask is, “Can I have balsamic vinegar on the keto diet?”

“I definitely use balsamic,” Gay answered. “It brings incredible flavour to the foods I eat. I use it in salads, stews, vegetables, eggs, marinades…just about everything. I don’t overuse it, but I don’t have to—because just a little offers an amazing flavor.”

Gay has also noticed some other changes to her overall health since starting keto. “I’ve lost 40 pounds since September, My skin in incredibly soft, and I have no plaque on my teeth. My energy is consistent, I’m building muscle like never before, and I’m off all my medication. No brain fog, and I have mental clarity!”

Please Note: Barrie Olive Oil Co. Inc. does not endorse the use of any particular diet, and the content we provide is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health-care provider.

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