TBR Clean & Mean Routine for 2014: Get Fit and Lose Weight (Part 1)

Tuesday, 7 January 2014  |  Healthy Food + Recipes

I woke up on the first day of 2014 and, guess what, I was unafraid of the numbers on the weighing scale! Yeees!

You may be thinking: “What’s the big deal?”

First thing’s first, remove that scowl off your face. Di na uso ang Scrooge. Start the year with a smile.

Secondly, it’s a big deal for me because, for the first time in my adult life, I didn’t stress over my weight during the Holidays. Truth is, I usually gain 3 to 5 pounds during the Holidays and I spend the first quarter of each year working out to death to melt the fat off my jelly thighs.

But, this time, I was pretty confident that my weight was stable not just through Christmas but all throughout the entire 2013! What did I do differently? I finally made peace with food.

I would say 3 things helped me to maintain my weight and change my eating habits:

1) QUIT DIETING.

All my life I would go on periodic diets in futile attempts to drop a few pounds. I tried the Cabbage Soup diet, Skyflakes and Skim Milk for dinner diet, Nothing after 6pm diet, fasting on bread and water (like a true Catholic school girl LOL), and even diet pills. I would cancel out entire food groups—no carbs, no meat, no dessert—for weeks. I even tried Cheat Day Sundays last 2012, which only taught me to deprive myself all week and binge on weekends so much so that I’d wake up with a migraine on Mondays.  I lived many many years in fear of food thinking it was my biggest enemy. Worse, I would lose weight then gain it back…or even more.

In 2013, I didn’t diet AT ALL. But, before you think I could eat everything I wanted, it was more of just adopting a healthy lifestyle so that I didn’t feel like I was dieting.  I ate healthy food most of the time, but I allowed myself to eat junk—Cheetos, soda, brownies—once in a while and in moderation. (Hey, life is short and I believe we all should live it fully!)  By never feeling deprived, I realized that I rarely even craved for junk and, on the rare occasion that I did, I wouldn’t even devour the entire pack like I used to.

REMEMBER: It’s not about what you eat sometimes, but it’s about what you eat most of the time.

2) EAT CLEAN FOOD.

I had a paradigm shift with food. I stopped thinking about what I shouldn’t eat. I changed my focus on all the good, nutritious, delicious food that I could nourish my body with and those that could help fuel my running and triathlon. This is called “crowding out.” By filling myself with nutritious, wholesome food, I didn’t have much space for the junk.

REMEMBER: Food is fuel.

3) EXERCISE 4 TO 5X A WEEK.

I worked out 6 days a week with Monday as my only rest day. I would run 2-3 times a week, swim twice a week, bike twice a week. Earlier in the year, I would also do Bikram Yoga. After Ironman Cebu 70.3, I enjoyed my workouts immensely as I focused more on fitness rather than a particular race.

Working out isn’t about dropping pounds anymore (unless I overate the night before LOL). It has become a regular activity that is as routine as brushing my teeth and showering.

If you’re too busy to commit to 5x a week, then 3x will do.  Just make sure they are efficient workouts so as not to waste your precious time away from work or family.  Workouts should also be fun.

REMEMBER: Don’t think about it. Just do it.

So, in case you woke up this morning fearful of the numbers on that scale or fitting into your favorite jeans, don’t stress. You are not alone! That’s exactly why I shared my learnings above for you.  Just like you, I’m still a work in progress.  I also have a lot of healthy resolutions and goals for the New Year.  I’m also taking up a course on Holistic Nutrition and Wellness and I try to practice everything I learn to nourish my own body and mind.  I would say what I learned was one of the key factors that helped me adopt a healthier lifestyle…and also the fact that I’m aging haha.

In my next post, I’ll be launching my TBR Clean & Mean Routine for 2014.  It’s a plan I initially made on my own for myself.  But, I realized I could share it with all of you and invite you to join me on this.

It’s a very simple plan on how to live a healthier, happier life without over complicating matters.  (I hate diet plans that have you making baon fruits while everyone is eating normal restaurant fare or those that have you counting calories before you dig into dessert.)  I’ll be sharing with you weekly tips on how to eat well and live well and you have to agree to work on the tip for the entire week.  I’m hoping by the end of the entire program, you would have at least kept one of those tips and practiced it as a habit.  This is a plan that can get you to lose weight and get fit in a simple way without taking too much time or causing inconvenience with the rest of your life.

Are you game?  Watch out for it!

Jumping on the Juicing Bandwagon

Monday, 4 November 2013  |  Healthy Food + Recipes

Everyone seems to be juicing nowadays. I heard someone say that it’s the new milk tea in Manila. Not a week goes by that I don’t spot a glass of green, orange, or purple juice on social media. And, I hate to say it, because I’m not a big fan of fad diets (well, I’m not a fan of FADS or DIETS, for that matter), but I’ve joined the juicing bandwagon and I’m loving it.

It’s been two months now since I started juicing and I’ve been juicing like crazy for myself and the kids.  I’ve also been doing a lot of research on juicing and juicing recipes and here are some basics I’d like to share with you should you be interested:

CHOOSING A JUICER

You don’t need to purchase the most expensive juicers around to make your own fruit or veggie juice.  There are various brands available in the market.

Having said that, if you do want to invest in the best brands, I learned, after much research, that the top two brands to consider are Hurom or Breville.  Breville is endorsed by Joe the Juicer who visited Manila a couple of months ago, just about the time I was considering one (It was a sign! LOL).  One day, while I was on my knees praying to the high heavens for a juicer to fall from the sky, the hubby came home with a Breville in tow nonchalantly saying: It was on sale so I got one.  I stand corrected; it was fate!

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THE GOODNESS OF JUICING

Juicing has a lot of great benefits for the body.  It’s a good way to get nutrients from veggies and fruits into your system.  This works best for people who don’t normally eat a lot of veggies and fruits (or those who freak out once they are served some like my kids!)

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– Halloween “Treat” for myself and the kids made of apple, pineapple, and carrot –

Juicing advocates say that juicing is actually even better than eating veggies or fruit because all the nutrients are absorbed by your body almost immediately as opposed to eating the veggies or fruit which takes quite some time for your body to digest and your body only gets around 40% of the nutrients by that time.

Juicing is said to clear the body of toxins and hardened deposits in the body hence the bandwagon for detox diets through juicing.  Doctors say there is still no scientific proof for this though.

For me, I take a veggie juice the following ways:
1) as a meal replacement for dinner on those days when I feel bloated from overeating,
2) for extra nourishment on days when I feel a cold is coming or I feel weak,
3) as recovery during breakfast the day after a long run to replenish lost nutrients, or
4) as a healthy snack instead of junk food.

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– My Swiss-Chard Gutierrez Juice (hahaha!) made of apple, swiss chard, cucumber, lettuce, and lemon –

THE NOT SO GOOD SIDE OF JUICING

There’s a whole lot of good to juicing, but experts will tell you—and juicing advocates may disagree– that it is still better to EAT and not drink the veggies and fruits.  Juicing gets rid of the pulp from the fruit which has all the good fiber for your body.  You won’t feel as full drinking an apple rather than eating it.

If you want to lose weight, juicing is a restrictive diet that isn’t realistic nor sustainable.  I’m not a big believer in “diets” to begin with.  If you do lose weight on a juice diet, you eventually need to learn to to eat properly and exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Otherwise, any weight lost through a juice diet will just return.

DO’S & DON’TS ON JUICING

Here are some tips on juicing that I’ve learned from Nutrition School, research, and personal experience:

(1) DO use more veggies than fruit.  I limit fruit to 1 piece of either red apple (my fave), green apple, orange, pineapple, or any other fruit in season.  Some fruits are high in sugar and a large quantity may increase calories so you want to limit this especially if you wish to lose weight.  The rest of the drink is composed of veggies such as swiss chard (love this!), kangkong, spinach, cucumber, lettuce, carrots (not too much because this is high in sugar too), ginger, etc.  Add a twist of lemon for a punch.

(2) DON’T wait over 30 minutes to drink the juice.  Juice starts to oxidize beyond 30 minutes and you lose the live enzymes and vitamins in it.  I always drink my juice as soon as it’s made.

(3) DO experiment with veggies and fruits in season.  In the beginning, you will want to follow juice recipes online or in books.  But, you don’t need to!  Go to your local market and experiment with the freshest greens and fruits in season that you can get your hands on.

(4) DON’T try a Juice Diet while training for an A-race.  With juicing being the biggest fad diet nowadays, it’s best to consult a doctor before you try  a juice diet, especially if you’re currently training for a run or triathlon.  Juice diets are low in protein and may make you lose muscle mass.

(5) DO continue to eat your veggies and fruits.  Just because you’re drinking your green juice, it doesn’t mean you can eat less healthy food.  Continue to fill your plate with vegetables and fruits.

Quaker Challenge: Going for the Goal

Tuesday, 3 September 2013  |  Healthy Food + Recipes

This begins a series of posts under the Quaker Supermom Series about the quest that my kids and I have to achieve our new fitness and sports goal.

There are only three foods that I obsess over: peanut butter, salmon, and, oatmeal. If you asked me to eat just these three everyday for a month, I’d probably look you in the eye and reply: “Make it a year.” Rawr.

So, when Quaker Oats invited me to be a Quaker Supermom, I said “Yes!” like a giddy school girl. After all, how often do you get to endorse a brand that you’ve obsessed over since high school? (Yes, that’s how long this love affair with oatmeal has lasted.)

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– I’m a Quaker Supermom! Kulang nalang cape –

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– Couldn’t be happier to be with these other two Quaker Supermoms: my dearest sister, Janice Villanueva of the popular Mommy Mundo portal for all things mommy and Kris de Guzman of OC Mom in Manila

On top of that, Quaker Oats posed a challenge for the kids and myself. They asked me to target a goal for us and to try our best to achieve it. When they asked if I would accept, I replied with a grin: “When do we start?” Double rawr.

QUAKER GOAL

The Quaker Goal I came up with is this: For the kids and I to swim, bike, and run more together.

Sounds easy, right? Well, not exactly. Anton, my 12 year old, trains with Coach Norman for his triathlon sessions every Sunday. He only has time to train once a week because he has Debate Club and Painting Lessons on top of schoolwork. Meanwhile, Nia, my 8 year old, has adamantly refused to join her Kuya (although she relented once) for triathlon and only chooses to swim. She took Aqualogic classes with Total Immersion Coach Ria Mackay over summer, but we have yet to sign up for regular classes during this school year. Oh, we also need to teach her how to ride a bike.

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– Anton and Nia during one of Coach Norman’s trikids training sessions –

So, let me tell you, even The Bull Runner has got some serious work to do when it comes to living the active lifestyle on the home front. While I’m pretty serious with my own running and triathlon training and I always encourage my kids to be active in sports, I’m also the kind of mom who never believed in pushing my kids into sports or any other activities they aren’t interested in. Fitness should be something they want for themselves and, oh yes, it should also be loads of fun.

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– Bonding with the kiddos for an easy bike and run morning at Filinvest City –

The good news is: the kids are quite excited over this goal. It’s a challenge that they’re willing to take on as well. For me, it’s an awesome opportunity to get them outdoors and away from Minecraft and a great chance to bond with them, too.

THE PLAN

The Quaker Goal comes at the right time for me. Now that Ironman 70.3 Cebu is done and I’m on off-season mode, I’ll have more time to swim, bike, or run with the kids. The plan is to bring them out for an easy ride or run on weekends. Anton will continue his triathlon training on Sundays while Nia gets started on swim classes after school.

Can you please cheer us on and hope that we do get to accomplish this goal we’ve set for ourselves? I’ll be writing about our progression in the weeks to come! Stay tuned!

Make Your Own Healthy Desserts with Yonanas

One of the best gifts of running to me is that it taught me how to adopt a healthy lifestyle for myself and my family. Through the years, I learned about the importance of exercise, but, beyond that, I also learned about eating well not just to improve my performance, but to take care of my body and the rest of the family’s.

So, when Dole invited me to the launch of a new product that could make healthy desserts, I was curious.  After all, isn’t “healthy dessert” an oxymoron?

As I entered the Dole kitchen, I spotted the sleek machine on their kitchen counter, but I had no clue what it was capable of. Was it a blender? A yogurt maker? Ice cream machine?  It was called Yonanas.  (I shall resist the urge to use the line “Yes Yes Yo!” Gawd, that is so 80s!)

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WHAT IS YONANAS?

Dole Yonanas is a first-of-its-kind kitchen appliance that can transform frozen fruit into a dessert that looks and tastes like soft-serve ice cream.

With no addition of milk, cream, sugar, soy, yogurt or artificial sweeteners, yonanas can create healthy treats with zero fat and zero cholesterol and with lots of fiber, and minerals. It’s a great option for those who are lactose intolerant, diabetic, or those who are trying to lose weight or trying to eat healthy.

HOW DO I USE IT?

Dole Yonanas is easy to use. All you need are frozen overripe fruits (frozen for over 24 hours), turn on the yonanas maker, drop it into the machine, and you get a healthy indulgent dessert.  Seriously, that’s it!

As for the machine, it is as big as blender. The upper portion is removable so it can be stored easily. The components are easy to wash. And, best of all, it’s safe for even kids to use.

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– Demo of how easy it was to use Yonanas to make healthy desserts –

Dole taught us how to use the machine and I can’t count how many times I exclaimed “I want one!”  After the quick demo, we donned our own aprons and created our own Yonanas desserts! I made Yonanas Cookies & Cream, Yonanas Choco Chip Ice Cream Sandwich, and more.

Yonanas was so simple and easy to use. Best of all, we used nothing but bananas as our base and other fruits or treats (for the more indulgent recipes) for variety. The consistency of the dessert was a pleasant surprise; it truly was like a creamy ice cream with a healthy twist.

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– Looking like a real Yonanas expert! –

The machine comes with a recipe book. There’s so many desserts to try!  Here’s just some of them:

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– L to R: Mixed Berries Martini, Yonanas Strawberry, and Yonanas Tiramisu –

Before we left, we were treated to a special surprise: our own Dole Yonanas!  Yes yes YO!  (Gaaah, sorry, I couldn’t help it. Too happy I guess)

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– Thanks Dole! –

Nia and I spent almost every week of summer making desserts.  She was able to make her own desserts with little supervision.  That’s how safe it is for kids.  What I loved most about this? She got her dessert.  And, I got to give her healthy food that nourished her.  We both got to have our “cake” and eat it, too!

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MY TIPS ON USING YONANAS

1. Use very ripe bananas.  I wait until they turn black, slice them into two, then store them in the freezer so the kids can just get them at their convenience.

2. Have other fruits like frozen strawberries, blueberries, pineapples, and mangoes on hand for variety.

3. Yes, Oreos and Chocolate Chip cookies come in handy too when the kids want some treats with their bananas.

4. Teach the kids once and allow them to do it on their own.  Get creative.

5.  Serve this for dessert or as a mid-day snack.  It’s very filling so it can spoil your or your kids’ appetite if you have it close to mealtime.

HOW MUCH IS IT?

Retail price: P 2,950. There’s a 1-year limited warranty from date of purchase. Call 810-2601.

WHERE IS IT AVAILABLE?

SM Supermarket
SM Hypermarket
Robinsons Supermarket
Robinsons Houseware
Handyman
True Value
Ansons
Landmark
Shopwise
Rustans
Cash & Carry
Makati Supermart
Unimart
Foodah (Cebu)
SM & Robinsons (Davao)
Rustans/Truevalue/Handyman (CDO)

FOR MORE INFO:

Website: www.yonanas..com.ph
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/DoleFreshPhilippines

Beat Sports Fatigue with Enervon Activ

Tuesday, 11 December 2012  |  Healthy Food + Recipes

As runners and triathletes, we are constantly testing our limits and training hard to improve our performance.  There are times, however, when we overtrain and push so hard that we experience exhaustion and fail to train or race the way we planned.  This is called sports fatigue.

Boo to sports fatigue!  I’ve experienced this quite a number of times already in races that I’ve trained so hard for.  You wake up excited for a race that you hope to PR in, but, during the race, something goes wrong: your legs feel like lead, you tire out too early in the game, and nothing—not gels, music, or a push from a pacer—can make you move as fast as you hoped for.  Perhaps you trained too hard the past week, you lacked sleep because of a looming work deadline, or the kids kept you up.  Whatever the reason, you’re bummed out and you can’t figure out how to avoid this again in the next race.

What to do?  Well, first, you probably have to follow a good program.  Get advice from a coach who can help you peak in time for the race, not before or after.  It’s not always about pushing yourself hard during every workout.  Second, eat and sleep properly at least a week before race day.  Lastly, try taking supplements that can provide you with energy.

Enervon Activ is a new product from Unilab Active Health which helps athletes beat sports fatigue.  Together with popular race organizer and runner Coach Rio de la Cruz and triathlon couple and coaches Dan and Ani Brown,  I’m happy to spread the word about Enervon Active to runners and athletes.  See our video below.

Website: http://www.enervonactiv.ph/