One woman from Charlottetown, NL makes big changes for the better with a goal to help others do the same
Mel Simmonds and her husband Brad had everything they could want – except for good health. “In 2018 I was at my heaviest, well on my way to 450lbs… medication I was on caused weight gain, high blood pressure and very high anxiety levels,” Mel Simmonds said.
More medication was prescribed but she knew there had to be a better and a more natural way.
“I decided to do research based on the information my doctor gave me. She said I was unable to process carbs and sugars in the same way as a regular healthy person may do so with this tidbit of information and my handy dandy Google, I stumbled across Ketogenic lifestyle.” She began to learn how to redevelop her family’s fav Newfoundland cultured-based recipes into no added sugar, low carb and low sodium meals.
“I have been involved in the food industry since high school…and I am a very creative person so it comes very natural to me to be a rock star in the kitchen. When my family started seeing all the delicious foods I was eating they weren’t long to jump on the keto bandwagon and join me on my journey.” She lost 110lbs in a year and didn’t crave a thing.
“Whatever I wanted I was easily able to transform into a wonderful delicious new keto approved creation.” She kept things as simple as possible, she added.
Joining the journey
“My aim when starting was to make this as simple and easy as possible because I knew if it was anything but, my mental wellness would not allow me to continue it. When friends and family saw the amazing transformation that was happening, there were lots of questions.”
“My inbox on Facebook was being bombarded with inquiries so I figured the easiest way to do this was to build a Facebook group (Keto Newf). There I could post about my journey, answer questions and give support to my friends and family. To my shock, people from all over the world started jumping in my inbox and asking to join my journey.”
The group grew. “I had spiked some interest in people who wanted to be healthier, just like me,” she said.
By 2019 she had lost another 220lbs and her family’s total weight loss was nearing 500lbs. “We were doing fantastic and the dish creations now were simply amazing. Not only Newfoundland cultured foods but I was learning to recreate foods from all over the world.”
Then, in Feb 2020, one of her closest and dearest friends, Roxanne Weinhebour, also the former owner of Chapman’s Bakery, encouraged her to start selling some of her dishes. “By the time I figured out how I was going to take orders and get it to those local people who needed it, the winter was in full swing and then the pandemic hit. I knew now, more than ever, that I needed to get these health foods out to people as being stuck in the house would make us more unhealthy,” she said.
Spreading the word
She packed up her family, the food and even the family dog and headed out on to the TCH to do safe drop offs along the way from St. John’s to GFW. “It didn’t take long before the word spread. I had people filling up my inbox saying how much of an inspiration I was to them, and that I was helping to get them through the pandemic. Mission accomplished,” she said.
But there was more to do, she added, and the Keto Newf brand keeps growing. Another thing growing is the couple’s love of music.
“Brad Simmonds Country Music (their Facebook group) has grown in popularity and Brad calls me his Wifager because I am his wife and manager. I am also his song writer, promotions specialist, booking agent, publisher and distributor,” she shared.
Husband Brad is an easy listening country music performer, Simmonds added, and with two original songs that have been released, their music is being heard all over the world on all major streaming platforms. –
“Brad has always been into music since he was five and got his first guitar. Brad and I met in 2012 and I found his musical abilities and fantastic deep-based vocals very exciting and it is one of the things that made me fall in love with him. I moved to his very small rural community of Charlottetown, NL so there were no real opportunity to showcase his talent.” They married in 2015 and began livestreaming their music on Facebook.
“We had a fan group and streamed virtual concerts. In 2018 I decided to help make his dreams come true and I wrote a letter to Santa. I asked him to help me by surprising Brad with one of the things he wanted the most because I wanted help in making his dream come true.”
The gift? Recording studio time to help make their dreams come true..
Brad and Mel focus on their future while still helping others, sharing their contacts and knowledge with anyone who needs help musically or health-wise. Being a friend to all has become their passion and their mission.
For more visit Keto Newf – sites.google.com/view/ketonewf/home.
The Shed – Powerhouse (sites.google.com/view/theshed-powerhouse/home).
Brad Simmonds Country Music Artist (sites.google.com/view/bradsimmonds/home)