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Health is wealth, or so the pandemic has taught us rather harshly.

As we face another year with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) still around, it’s imperative to continue watching out for our well-being, even if that means giving up the so-called “quaran-treats,” or indulgent food trends during the lockdown.

Enter Lo’Kal Bulacan, an online bakeshop that’s making it possible to enjoy healthier alternatives to usually calorie-heavy and sugary desserts like banana bread.

Made guilt-free and, as the bakeshop’s name indicates, low-calorie, Lo’Kal’s take on the well-loved treat comes in three flavors: Classic BB (127 kCal/slice), P120; Choco Bits BB (150 kCal/slice), P150; and Double Choco BB (145 kCal/slice), P160.

Every banana bread that reaches customers is a result of months-long trial and error, as well as the teamwork of one whole family. Lo’Kal, like many lockdown-born online businesses, operates at home.

“My sister and I really wanted to have a pastry and coffee shop as we are both foodies and we love to bake,” Alexandria San Juan, co-founder of Lo’Kal, tells MB Life. “It was only in March last year when we decided to venture into an online baking business to earn extra income as my sister lost her job because of the pandemic.”

Alexandria’s sister and fellow Lo’Kal founder, Daryll, is a registered nutritionist-dietician and continues to put her expertise into practice through their “passion project-turned-business.”

“I spent weeks recipe testing, researching and calculating ingredients, to modify our banana bread and make it healthier,” she shares, adding that they have partnered with a banana vendor from a nearby local market for their essential ingredient. “It was not a walk in the park, but when we finally introduced it to family and friends, and later customers, the rest, as they say, is history.”

From July last year until the recently-concluded holidays, Daryll says they have been overwhelmed with orders and good feedback.

As if the low-calorie banana bread couldn’t be any better, the bakeshop completes the Lo’Kal experience with a complimentary nutrition consultation with none other than Daryll herself. Each banana bread (packaged in a plant-based box, by the way) comes with a QR code which, when scanned, jumpstarts the nutrition assessment.

“We will ask [them] questions about their weight and their food choices. From there, we could check their body mass index (BMI) and weight status, then give suggestions on diet or eating habits to further improve their health,” Daryll explains. “Though simple, these tips will help highlight the importance of healthy eating, especially now when there is a global pandemic.”

As of writing, Lo’Kal is already offering another healthy dessert, their 100% plant-based oatmeal cookies. This year, Daryll and the rest of the team also hopes to launch more guilt-free goodies, like brewed coffee using locally sourced or grown beans, as well as low-calorie lunch meals, perfect “for those who want to start their journey to a healthier lifestyle.”

Lo’Kal Bulacan is open to take orders and answer further inquiries via Facebook and Instagram, with deliveries within Bulacan (Saturdays) and Manila (Sundays).

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