While the idea of healthy eating isn’t new, the diet plans are becoming increasingly sophisticated, thanks to the availability of more healthy options on the market, like plant-based meats and the ketogenic — or commonly known as keto — diet. The latter hinges on the basic rule of a low-carb, high fat (LCHF) food plan that puts one’s body’s into metabolic state of ketosis. Starved of carbohydrates and sugar, the body begins to use fat for fuel, breaking it into compounds called ketones, an alternative energy source.
The origins of the keto diet date far back, where it began as a form of epilepsy treatment. Today, however, most people rely on the keto diet for weight loss, or to cope with diabetes, as it maintains glucose levels at a low but healthy level. In Singapore, the keto diet is fast gaining popularity. Spearheading this movement is Seriously Keto. Touted as a “ketogenic hub”, the store is a bakery and lifestyle brand for the keto-conscious.
The brainchild behind it is Indonesian-born Janti Brasali. The mother of three tells us that she’s always had a connection with food, cooking, and baking. “I practically grew up in the kitchen, watching my dad cook,” she says. Seriously Keto isn’t her first foray into the food industry; she has a string of food and beverage brands under her belt. In 1993, Brasali first opened Italian restaurant Il Punto with a one-michelin star chef from Milan. After its closure in 1998, she went on to open Japanese fast food chain Hoka Hoka Bento, which has sprouted from three outlets to 150 today, and expanded high-end supermarket Ranch99 into 34 outlets across Indonesia.
This isn’t Brasali’s first keto venture either; she opened Garam Lada in Jakarta in 2018 with made-to-order bakes that curb the sweet tooth of her clientele who struggle with weight issues and diabetes. Here in Singapore, Brasali combines her F&B know how with her keto baking experience.
For Brasali, there weren’t particular health issues or trigger points that led her to embrace the keto lifestyle. Brasali yearned to create delicious food that could still fit into her diet that targets weight loss. “In the beginning, I was creating these treats for myself and for my family, but I realised that this is something I really want to share with as many people as possible. I want people to be able to enjoy sweets and satisfy their cravings without having to feel guilty about breaking their diets,” she says.
Despite what naysayers may think, Brasali describes the keto diet as “lenient”.
“I was tired of having all of these diets with so many restrictions…all it took was some creativity in the kitchen along with so many amazing sugar replacements.”
Once just an online store, Brasali wanted to open a brick and mortar outlet to aid her clients who struggle with the displays of the average bakery or cafe. “I wanted to create a space where people who are on diet don’t have to be afraid to drool over the baked goods because now they can enjoy them guilt-free too.”
As we enter the bakery, we were dazzled by how bright and cheery it was. Pick up a healthy cupcake or two with flavours such as Pandan-Monium and keto-friendly kaya frosting, as well as a light Red Velvet cake with dark cocoa and cream cheese. Those who love bread but not the calories that come with it ought to try the egg white-only KetoBun with keto-friendly kaya, peanut butter, and condensed milk spreads. Savouries are available too, with garlic pretzels, ricotta spinach quiche and rosemary loafs. Brasali’s keto-friendly bakes are made with Swerve (a natural sweetener), almond flour, French butter, psyllium husk and Philadelphia cream cheese.
Seriously Keto, 32 Seah Street.
All photos are credited to Seriously Keto