Thursday, August 20, 2015

From the Kitchen of the Sexy Chef To Mine.

I wasn't very healthy when I was much younger. I took for granted being skinny and relied on my naturally fast metabolism to stay that way even though I was consuming so much processed food, fat, sodium, and refined sugars. Don't get me wrong though, I welcome a plateful of salad or a healthy dish on my plate, but since I didn't have a lot of time and I didn't know any better, I think there was a higher ratio of  unhealthy to healthy food. Since I was tired all the time, I wasn't very keen into exercising, and also took it for granted. I was also smoking then. Although my proportions wouldn't show it, my skin doesn't lie about my horrible health habits.

Me in all my unhealthy glory, 2007

Sallow pasty skin with blotchiness, puffy eyes, spots, and let's not get started with the haven't-eaten-in-days waif look. I was also getting sick very often, memorizing the times I would have a cold or fever. In fact, in a few weeks after this photo was taken, I would be experiencing a cold from temperature change or allergies or what not.  These were the days I was still working in an office. Being a makeup artist didn't change it either even though it was a fun job. It was a more physically demanding job and my work didn't end when I got home since I would be washing my brushes and sanitizing and organizing my equipment. Lugging all the heavy bags while commuting also needed a lot of strength. I've quit smoking at that time already, since it was a very expensive habit (not to mention it wouldn't do my body good as well). Since I didn't know what to prepare then and didn't have time to, I would have no choice but eat a lot of "crew food" which most of the time consist of fast food or pizza. Imagine doing weddings every week and eating fried chicken and rice or burger and fries. It's not very good. Because of poor nutrition in a physically demanding job, my sickness patterns were still there. I was also experiencing tummy problems as well.

I'm glad pole happened a few months after that so I was introduced to a fitness routine that I would grow to love. I was also prescribed a diet by a nutritionist I worked with having seen my eating habits and analyzed why I was getting sick and made me notice that I was in fact, consuming a lot of sugar, which may take a toll on my body when I get older. Pole opened me to other forms of fitness and I became more conscious of how and what I was eating as well. It eventually opening the door for me to become a yoga teacher. I also got exposed to a lot of people who encourage to eat clean. Social media nowadays helps because I see a lot of hashtags and Instagram accounts promoting good food and nutrition and even sharing very easy DIY recipes. I made transitions from full vegetarian to pescetarian and then went back to consuming meat for training purposes. When I got sick last February, my body did a reset so I had to go back to a cleaner eating pattern for a time then incorporate my regular food on occasion, just so I stay a bit "normal". I also strictly went off alcohol around that time (it was bad for my flexibility anyway). I started preparing meals at home as opposed to dinners out which saved me a lot of money, making the extra effort of waking up early to cook worth it, for not having a bloated feeling and the urge to throw up.

I did find myself though getting into a food rut having to eat the same kind of food all the time. It was either salmon or tuna, steamed broccoli or spinach and quinoa or brown/black rice three times a day varying it with salad, soup, pasta, or oatmeal.  It was good for my body, but I'm somehow running out of ideas. I would Google recipes online but since most of these recipes are made by chefs from another country, some of the ingredients were not readily available or are expensive here. 

The Sexy Chef isn't new to me and I've heard about them years ago and they are popular among many celebrities in maintaining a sexy figure for their job. The Sexy Chef is a healthy food delivery service owned by sisters Rachel Alejandro and Barni Alejandro- Rennebeck. Rachel is an actress and a singer and Barni is a chef. They both eat healthy and both love good food. They also have trim waistlines and a healthy glow in their skin even without a lot of makeup. Years ago, they launched a cookbook which shares yummy and healthy recipes that you can make yourself. 

image source

I bought their second book, Eat Clean Love a few days ago and I have been cooking their recipes at home.

If you look at my Instagram, my #bambikittycooks hashtag photos of my recipes are very diverse, from the very sinful truffled eggs benedict to a very healthy massaged kale salad. I still do not have a specific diet to follow but I like eating real food, as much as possible. I actually prefer making my own food than buying it, save for salads, which I have outside, when it's easy to have them fresh, Eat Clean, Love has recipes to make real food that's as real as it can get - avoiding a lot of processed and canned and a lot of chemicals. It doesn't scrimp on flavor though and a lot of nutrients. I'm glad I got a cookbook in front of me because it makes me focus on my meal planning more. Plus points too on being a local cookbook. I prefer actually buying local cookbooks than imported ones because they give ingredients that are readily available here in Manila. Most of the ingredients can be found in the market or your local grocery. You'll find a few ones being sold in health food stores, but nothing too rare or exotic. 

The first meal I made, Shrimp and Quinoa fried "rice" is packed with color and nutrients. At first, I had to get used to the fact that it needed a bit more saltiness, but I guess that's the point anyway, to take in less sodium. A squeeze of lemon does the flavor trick quite nicely.

Breakfast should never be skipped. It's a very old saying and it holds true. I apply this rule up to now. I must have my breakfast, and the shortcut that is brunch does not count.  My breakfast is filling but not to the point that I would have a hard time getting up. Without breakfast, I get migraines, feel dizzy, and sometimes I don't get to function properly.  It gives me enough fuel for my workout  I love the breakfast selection because the recipes are very easy and it's fast. Perfect for those who need to rush for work in the morning.

Mashed avocado with feta cheese and olives is packed with so much flavor - a mix of tart, salty, creamy, and a hint of spice from the red pepper flakes. I had this with my green smoothie (yes that's actually green smoothie) that taste like chocolate shake. The smoothie can be introduced to children and they wouldn't know it's got romaine lettuce and spinach leaves. 
For those with some time, brown rice champorado can be made for rainy day weekends. I find traditional champorado too sweet for my taste, or probably because all I see are those made from mixes. This one is made from scratch - with brown rice, low-fat milk, cocoa powder, and coconut sugar made mellow with cinnamon and swirled with coconut milk. 

 I'm a sucker for pasta and these two pasta recipes are great for lunch or dinner. It took me quite a while to get used to whole wheat pasta  but there's hardly any difference when the sauce is mixed in.

had this for a nice, light dinner with a mug of warm calamansi juice and honey
 The cashew cream sauce makes no difference with heavy cream in terms of texture and creaminess except the former doesn't make me run to the bathroom in minutes. Plus, the yummy smell of basil lingered when I made this pasta last night. 

I don't eat munggo at all and I hate munggo with a passion but I am open to consuming lentils, This lentil bolognese pasta is a good and filling dinner or lunch that I can take as baon whenever I would have a shoot, instead of eating pizza or hamburgers. 

There's so much more food in the recipe book and there's even a section to make healthy food for children. Fruits and veggies come in all forms - not just a salad but in desserts and main dishes. Each recipe that I made does not scrimp on flavor, texture, and aesthetic value, so going healthy doesn't necessarily mean eating bland food, mush, or strictly raw greens. There's beef, chicken, seafood, and pork. There's wholewheat bread, pasta, and coconut sugar, There's sweet, salty, spicy, tangy, and savory. There are healthified versions of popular favorites. The best part too is that ingredients can be sourced locally. I can go to the mall and I can find every ingredient in the book there.  There are so many creative ways to add nutrients to the diet. I found ways to incorporate vegetables in my diet aside from salads, soups, and juicing. Since I can't take a lot of dairy, I needed to find other source of calcium other than supplements. This book shows me that there are a lot of other calcium sources other than milk such as soy milk, chia seeds, spinach, etc. 

It's also a great gift for someone you know who would love to go DIY on healthy food at home. In fact, I purchased another one as a birthday gift for my friend Jinky, who loves to eat and eat healthy as much as I do.

photo from Jinky's Facebook account

 Just like me, Jinky is a makeup artist who does pole dancing. She's also a Zumba teacher and group exercise instructor. I know she would love this book because the recipes would be giving us the right nutrition to fuel our bodies for our work and would complement our healthy lifestyle in our own practice as well being fitness instructors. The recipes are fun to make and even be great to share for friends and family, even for those who have never tried to eat clean before.

I chose to eat healthy not because I need to walk the talk, being a yoga instructor and a pole dancer. I learned the hard way that I need to make this lifestyle change, and I'm glad I was able to arrest it before things got too late. This book supplemented my need for more healthy recipes that are easy to do and at the same time have ingredients that are easily available at our local groceries and markets. This book will not guarantee you the abs of a pole champion in a month, If you're already into the whole health lifestyle, this can give you more recipes to add to your menu to supplement your needs. If you're just starting to learn how to cook, get this too. What better way than to start cooking food that is right for your body, right? 

 Looking back at my 2007 unhealthy picture, compare that with more recent photos of mine, older but with a much better lifestyle.

with Dr, Kit, a few weeks after Yin Yoga Teacher Training

taken last Monday at Sonya's Garden. If I did this pose years ago, I would've injured myself. Yay for #flexifirst goals. 

I still indulge on pizza, steak, popcorn, fries, and cake, but I have this once in a while, and at a lesser fraction than my healthier real food choices. I no longer go to all-you-can-eat buffets and I haven't noticed it but I haven't had white rice for like weeks now. Maybe it's my body telling me that I don't need them anymore. Ten years of kicking the habit, I haven't missed cigarettes one bit. My flexibility and hydration has been better in just months after detoxifying alcohol in my system. Although red wine may be good for the heart, there are so much better heart-healthy sources like oatmeal and fruits. My skin looks and feels much better than my 2007 skin. And my energy channels are much better now. With five years in adapting a healthier lifestyle, and the healthy habits picking up more as the years go by. The Sexy Chef cookbook added more recipes to my database of healthy food that included recipes for people on-the-go, so we get a balanced diet no matter what your lifestyle is.

1 comment:

Helen Blas said...

I love this post. I saw the book at National and contemplated on getting it, since the cookbooks or food magazine I bought before I don't really get to use. Good job on cooking the recipes! :D And you do look better now, with a healthy glow!