Friday, September 21, 2012

Health Food

Growing up as a very sickly kid, it was inevitable for me to be forced into a healthy lifestyle. My mother was the one who influenced me into taking supplements and I eventually had to start exercising by the time I was in 5th grade. It was in high school when I got into dance, and I delved into more athletic forms of physical activity after that. 

I became a vegan last 2008, completely eliminating all forms of animal byproducts in my diet, but then I found it too much of a task to instruct our cook about what I wanted her to prepare during each meal. It's also hard to be picky when you live with carnivores, so I eventually became a vegetarian until 2012 (veganism is a strict lifestyle, you can't even let your kitchen tools touch meat, etc.). I decided to add fish back into my diet just this year after moving into my own place and getting into more intense exercises. I'm planning to get back into vegetarianism when I get the hang of cooking for myself.

After crossing out so many things out of the "normal" diet, supplements play a big role in keeping your energy levels high and your hormones balanced. I always make it a point to take my vitamin C plus a multivitamin just because I know I can't get sick and I need to be active all the time. Added a Hair, Skin & Nails supplement just because I'm growing out my hair and I'm scared of my thick mane becoming a huge dry mess after all the coloring. A lot of people kept warning me that my hair would rebel against me once I grow it out because I kept shaving it and dyeing it last year. So far I'm happy that it's still in its Asian hair status- straight and full. 

I also get asked a lot about skin care routine. I can't stress how awful my skin used to be back in grade school and high school. My eczema was so bad that I skipped a year of cheerleading since I couldn't take how sweating burned my skin and I didn't want to expose my allergies. I used to wear foundation because my forehead was a huge zit colony. Even if I tried all sorts of pimple-fighting potions, my skin would still react. I can blame puberty for that problem, but I think my poor diet also contributed to it. My mom was a great cook (all my friends can attest to that) and a nutrition nazi, but I used to be such a carnivore even if I loved my veggies. I never knew that our meat now's loaded with hormones and chemicals because of what they're fed. 

I usually take photos of what I eat with my phone so I'm posting some of the things I've prepared on my own... I just want to show you what I know contributes a lot to my skin being clear and less oily even if I hardly sleep on weekdays and I wear makeup almost everyday... 

Take note, switching to a more veg-filled diet will clean out your taste buds. Meat and hormones numb them, that's why a lot of people who are used to junk don't appreciate healthy foods as much. I can't stress how much I CRAVE for veggies on a daily basis. I haven't been tempted to eat meat ever since I became a vegetarian. 

I never cook my veggies using oil. I just steam them or use a bit of water with lots of spices and drain the water right after. I love having tons of squash and I mix it with other greens when I'm too lazy to think of other things to cook. Add a bit of oyster sauce and drizzle it with hot sauce if you want more flavor. 

I had this for lunch today. It's just a cup of quinoa mixed with steamed broccoli and shiitake mushrooms. I cooked the salmon with a tablespoon of garlic-infused olive oil. Sometimes I use a teaspoon of olive butter to cook my salmon, but I make sure to use MAGIC salmon seasoning to give it tons of flavor. My sister hates salmon but she loved my recipe when she tried it last week. My mom even copied my recipe/technique after sampling this dish! YAY! 

Most of the time I just mix in all the veggies in my fridge and pair it with Norwegian salmon.

Bean sprouts with some other veg, paired with fish nuggets and shrimp balls when I'm extra lazy. 

My packed lunch for when I'm in a hurry- steamed broccoli with oyster sauce and salmon cooked in olive butter- done in 5 minutes.

On some days I also have cream dory or just whatever fish I can purchase from the grocery. I make sure I prepare something colorful and flavorful each day so I don't get bored. Eating out so easy if you're a vegetarian as well! Basically I try to eat clean to keep my skin clear and to avoid feeling bloated... What I'm trying to stress is that you can still eat well even if you're a lazy cook like me or if you're always in a hurry! Plan before you go to bed or add little things to your grocery list each day so you end up with a complete list by the end of the week. Good food is BRAIN FOOD. I like knowing what's in my meals because I'm always so paranoid about getting food poisoning or allergies.  

I also have a new favorite shop for all my supplements...

They're the exclusive distributors of Sundown Naturals in the Philippines

I love this stuff! Pei Pa Koa is the Chinese medicine that I always take when I have the flu or when I've lost my voice and I need to sing... It's seriously amazing. I'm glad I don't have to look for a Chinese pharmacy now to get my supply.

Might get this once I consume all my protein shake mix. I think what sells it is Jillian's photo in front (her 30-minute killer workouts are amazing) and the 100-calorie count. I usually have protein shakes in the morning when I'm in a hurry and can't be bothered to cook breakfast. NEVER leave the house with an empty stomach, you'll regret it! It's supposed to break the fast and you'll just slow down your metabolism if you starve yourself for a longer period of time. 

Green tea is a great thing to drink to speed up your metabolism. If you're too lazy to brew some each day, get these instead. 

More stuff for marathoners/athletes.

Many thanks to Raf for showing me around the store! They're opening a branch in Glorietta soon, but for now you can visit Health Food at the following branches:

Park Square 1 Ayala Center Makati City

Space 262 A 2nd Floor Market Market
Bonifacio Global City

All Terra Cyclery
3rd Floor Sports Loop Robinsons Galleria
Corner Edsa and Ortigas Quezon City

Don't forget to add them on Facebook and Twitter.

Health is wealth and you deserve to feel good and look good. Bad skin, a bad diet and a sedentary lifestyle will just leave you feeling awful and moody. You only look as good as you feel, and you won't be able to give 100% of yourself to others if you don't make good choices when it comes to nutrition. Hope you get inspired to make healthier choices after this post!


Anonymous said...

Hi Raleene,

Can you share what spices you use to go with your veggies? :) I used to strongly dislike veggies when I was a kid. I then realized that I don't really hate them but how they're cooked at home. The soggy, overcooked, soy sauce + garlic combo. :(

Now we're trying lemons, salad dressings or cumin to add more variety. Or puree them into soup. Hope you can share your favorite ways to cook veggies! :)

Raleene said...

@FL- I use a lot of chili powder, pepper, oyster sauce and sprinkle lots of the Magic Salmon Seasoning and Salt-free seasoning by Chef Paul (

Maria said...

I did feel inspired to make healthier choices! I used to eat mostly veggies when I lived alone. Ever since I moved back home it's been mostly meat. Eep. So this is a great reminder!!