Tag Archives: healthy food

Gaia Cafe and Crafts in Sagada

This post is uber delayed, I know! I was going through my Sagada trip album recently and remembered how beautiful that place is. The views are breathtaking and, for the food lover, there are so many good eats. Gaia Cafe and Crafts is one of our best finds.

Gaia Cafe Sagada panoramic view of Sagada mountains

Right after our morning of cave exploration, my sis, niece and I decided to go for healthy food at Gaia Cafe and Crafts, as recommended by a co-parent in my kids’ school.

Gaia Cafe was recently named as one of the most picturesque cafes in the country, with amazing views of terrace farms below and pine trees all around. It was a refreshing sight, especially after that strenuous Sumaguing and Lumiang Cave exploration! (I don’t think I will ever do that again.)

A bit of showbiz trivia: the movie That Thing Called Tadhana shot some scenes at Gaia. 😛

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Healthy Options: Brown Rice Fettuccine recipe

Some time ago, I received a pack of Cadia Brown Rice Fettuccine and a bottle of Lucini Rustic Tomato Vodka Sauce from Healthy Options.

Healthy Options brown rice fettuccine and Lucini tomato vodka sauce

Having been on brown rice since late 2009, my family knows the benefits of  this healthy grain over white rice. Brown rice is rich in fiber, minerals (such as iron), and potassium. It’s also a low glycemic index (GI) carbohydrate, which means you don’t get a glucose spike (sugar high, baby!) in the blood, therefore lesser hunger pangs and cravings. For those who cannot live without white rice, consuming healthy grains in other forms will definitely benefit their diets.

Brown Rice Fettuccine with vodka tomato sauce recipe

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Healthy lunch cooking demo with Nadine Tengco

Like most mommies, I try to give my kids yummy and nutritious school lunches most of the time. But my two girls are growing up, and their taste buds are becoming more discriminating – demanding could be a fitter term. They easily get bored with their school lunches so I need to vary the menu. So when I got invited to a cooking demo with Nadine Tengco, health guru and nutritionist, I couldn’t pass up.

Last week I watched Chef Bruce Lim whip up an easy but delish Asian Stir-fried pasta dish. A few weeks back, there was a Korean cooking demo at the girls’ school where I learned how to make Korean seafood rice roll and authentic Chap Chae (which I’ve yet to blog about, by the way).

So last Friday, I went to a cooking demo with Ms. Nadine Tengco on healthy lunch box recipes at SM North Edsa Active Fun.

Healthy lunch cooking demo with Nadine Tengco Soyami Chips

Nadine Tengco, a US-certified nutritionist, is the fitness nutritionist of the TV show Pinoy Biggest Loser. She advocates eating – yes, eating –  instead of reducing food intake to lose weight. (Hmmm, I like her a lot na!)

Friday’s cooking demo with Nadine Tengco was all about healthy school lunch boxes. Nadine showed us how to prepare healthy snacks that kids can bring to school and actually eat (not give away to classmates, hehe) using Soyami Chips.

Healthy lunch cooking demo with Nadine Tengco Apples Morales Soyami Chips
Top: Ms. Apples Morales of Soyami and Active Fun assists Ms. Nadine Tengco during the cooking demo. Bottom (photo courtesy of Soyami Marketing): The mommy bloggers pose with Apple.

Adding soya is an excellent way of improving the nutritional value of a meal. It helps to decrease fat and cholesterol, while increasing fiber content. Soyami Chips are MSG-free, GMO-free, transfat-free, and made from 100% soya. So adding Soyami to our kids’ school lunches is an easy and yummy way of making their meals more nutritious.

Healthy lunch recipes cooking demo with Nadine Tengco
Sneaky Mac n’ Cheese, Sneaky Tuna Nuggets make sneaky-healthy school snacks.

Here are the recipes.

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Healthy living starts at home

Since I got myself into working for the Philippine Online Chronicle’s Health and Wellness channel, Ive been very busy. Yes, no doubt about that. But no, that’s not the point I want to make.

Again, again, again…

Since I got myself into working for the Philippine Online Chronicle’s Health and Wellness channel,I’ve become more and more inspired to live healthily. The article on organic eating inspired me one day to buy organic eggs.

My son, Nate, has skin asthma and is allergic to a whooooole lot of food, including eggs. I learned from the article that organic eggs have no antibiotics, synthetic hormones, have higher Omega-3 fatty acids, and thus may not be as allergenic as ordinary eggs.

Surprisingly and to my amazement, Nate did not break into a rash with the organic eggs! So we’re definitely sticking to them. So far, for my family: brown rice, check! Organic eggs, check! No beef, check!

I’d like to slowly move towards semi-vegetarianism, or pescetarianism. But with kids to feed (one of them allergic to fish), I am sure I can only do it gradually. On my last supermarket trip, I bought more chicken breast than the legs that I usually buy, more fish, and just a kilo of pork! So far, my family has not noticed that we have not had a fatty pork dish all week! And Nate isn’t allergic to chicken breast anymore!

Now if only I can convince hub to quit smoking and use an e-cigarette instead…

That is the real challenge, because Hub is the most hard-headed person I know. Tsk, tsk. But that is for another story for another blog post.

Cooking Brown Rice in Rice Cooker

how to cook brown rice

In an effort to observe a healthier diet, my family has gone back to eating brown rice. Compared to its white counterpart, brown rice is full of the good stuff – vitamins and trace minerals essential in fighting cancers and other diseases. It’s also a low glycemic index food, meaning it belongs to the good carbs gang.

I think brown rice is an acquired taste. The kids, especially, always don’t find it easy adjusting to the coarser texture and earthy taste. When cooked with too little water, the grains turn out tough. So we cook ours with a little more water and a little bit longer.

We use rice cooker to cook brown rice. The rice is rinsed with cold water once. Then water is measured with 1:2 ratio. That is, for each cup of brown rice, use 2 cups of cold water. After rice boils and all the water is absorbed, I keep the lid on for about 15 minutes more to let the rice continue cooking. This makes the brown rice fluffier when served.

Other sites suggest soaking brown rice in cold water thirty minutes before cooking. While others say using broth instead of plain water for cooking will result to more appetizing brown rice. I haven’t tried either yet. I have a feeling the first suggestion will shorten cooking time, which right now lasts about 30 minutes for me (on the rice cooker). And the second suggestion will be welcomed by the kids!

I’ll let you know if I do try them out.

My kids, by the way, have gotten the hang of eating brown rice again. It took about a week or so of resistance manifested in half-finished bowls. Persistence, persistence. 😉

Check out the benefits of brown rice in my fitness blog.