Fresh Face Program: Day 2

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Salmon, Tuna, you and I will bond for the longest time.

We all know the benefits of oily fish in the body, hence the abundance of it in the diet. Salmon would be the best choice of course, especially good salmon from Alaska, which is hard to find here. However, if you don't like the taste of salmon, any good oily fish could be substituted like tuna, mackarel, trout, or sardines. Tuna mostly was my choice because it's readily available and of course, it's cheaper.

I prefer my tuna pan-seared lightly with garlic and olive oil with a little spice of my choice. Sometimes, it's fresh basil or dried thyme, depending on whatever I feel that day. This day, I take a break from the fish for breakfast and have omelette instead as my protein source. The omelette recipe called for 3 egg whites and 1 yolk. Again, i cooked this only with extra virgin olive oil. Whole wheat bread was becoming more appetizing and had I not supposed to have a whole wheat bread limit, I would have eaten another slice or two. For butter though, I made sure that I only use unsalted butter and if I want more butter, I should compromise by lessening the cheese.

Since I had my tuna prepared beforehand, it was time to keep my carb source handy for lunch. For carb source, I opted for a small bowl of whole wheat pasta, which is another discovery for me. Whole wheat pasta had much more bite to it than the white pasta and it's quite firmer. Of course I didn't make it a bland pasta but looked for a healthy but yummy version by cooking it in light olive oil and garlic, adding in some black olives and a bit of herbs and spices. I've realized too that I have yet to add salt to the food I prepare, which I try not to.

I was about to go to a party that time, and I was glad though that there were food I could eat there, particularly chicken breast, fish, and steamed brocolli and cauliflower, which were my veggie sources come lunchtime. I threw in raw carrots to my veggie mix, but I had to make sure that my protein intake was more than my carbs.

Remember how we get sleepy after a heavy meal? It's actually the carbs acting up. Increasing my protein gave me enough energy for me to still be up on my toes to play with the kids and run around and still interact with guests during siesta time. Again, this I do feeling full without any feeling of throwing up. Come my 4:00 p.m. snack time of dark chocolate and fruit (I chose strawberries this time with blueberries in yogurt, since I wanted a calcium source), I wasn't wolfing my dairy like the plague. My dinner was lighter than usual, and I noticed elimination of carbs from wheat or rice and I just paired my tuna with a light salad of greens.

Realizing that I'm halfway through the program, I'm glad I was able to sustain the lifestyle and habit of being hydrated and steering away from the cake, flan, and coffee. During this time, I am currently experiencing cough and colds and I had a tissue box with me all the time. When colds had me at my most sluggish moment, I wasn't all groggy during the day, and save for blowing my nose and coughing, I was able to go on with my normal activities. Once I saw the pattern, I saw how I could finally adapt this system to my lifestyle once I'm out of the program and back to my regular eating habits.

So now, my diet is quite strict, but what happens when I don't bring my stuff with me? My dinner on day 3 would be an example.

Fresh Face Program Day 1

Monday, November 22, 2010

Let me welcome my day one with a hearty breakfast:That's salmon that I lightly cooked with olive oil and garlic then drizzled with lemon juice from one lemon slice, two slices of whole wheat bread toasted, and slices of local queso de bola. This diet certainly got me experiencing new things - first was finding ways of making the food exciting so as I do not stick to tasteless stuff that would make me count the days I'm in this diet while keeping within the food limit required. Second was then, facing my fear of the kitchen since cooking apparently isn't my forte or have the patience to do so. Like I said earlier, this isn't an easy diet because you really have to make the time and effort for it. But as they say, no pain no gain.

As I mentioned earlier, announcing that i'll be going through a diet program got a lot of reactions, most of them being in the negative, and more negative when I expressed my desire to progress to the 30-day program in time for my wedding and keep the lifestyle probably for life. The first one mainly was why I was in it when I'm thin already to begin with and have a relatively normal body mass index. Actually, think of it this way, I'm not after losing weight. Losing weight would just be a secondary result, since I'll be flushing out the junk and bad stuff down the toilet, literally as I poop. The main goal I have (aside from the fact that I'm curious) is to live healthy.

Lesson to be learned: living healthy doesn't necessarily mean starving myself. The diet actually has large portions of food. The food choices are very good actually - tuna, salmon, broccoli, spinach, veggies, and even allows rich foods like unsalted butter, egg, and dark chocolate. I even had cheese too. Surprisingly, I didn't run to the next bathroom upon eating good cheese, like our native queso de bola.

To note the difference, I took a picture of me pre-diet and also took my measurements and weighed myself, and these numbers I list down

Weight: 110 pounds
Chest: 31 inches
Waist: 24-1/2 inches
Hips: 35-1/2 inches
Thighs: 19 inches

Breakfast alone made me discover that whole wheat bread is best enjoyed toasted and eaten lightly spread with olive oil or good-quality unsalted butter. I'm discovering too why queso de bola is becoming such a favorite and I got appreciative of its taste. I prefer my fish lightly seared and cooked, then lightly seasoned. I'm glad I'm allowed garlic too, since they made my canned fish more fun.

There is a downside too, though. When I'm out, the normal tendency though is to run to the next stall to have something to eat. Since the four-day diet is quite stricter than the 30-day, I've had the effort of preparing foods and even bringing my own little microwave-safe dishes of certain foods - cooking my salmon and tuna in batches while steaming and blanching my veggies and packing them in labeled containers. OC... :P

Lunch was quite heavy for me on the greens side, calling for a serving or two of Salad Nicoise and large morsels of tuna. The greens and veggies come in lunch and dinner for me while my breakfast is heavier on protein. I saw that this program had a relatively different food pyramid, calling for a higher ratio of protein than carbohydrates, and most of my carbs come from whole wheat.

By 4 pm I should be snacking, so my snack of choice was a large red apple (I'm starting to feel like Snow White, except I'm not fond of ivory skin) and two dark chocolates. EJ told me that dark chocolate has a lot of good effects in the body. By this time, I'm quite used to dark chocolate already, with Meiji black chocolate being the brand of choice, practically since it's cheaper than other brands and it's less on the bitter side that could gag you. On times when I feel hunger pangs though, I drink water (I'm supposed to drink water every hour at least) or have a tiny square of dark chocolate, which I always carry with me.

Come dinner time, I had an order of tuna sashimi and steamed spinach, which I ate while watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. As the moviegoers were snacking on nachos and popcorn, I was spearing down a bowlful of spinach down me. I sure missed the taste of popcorn and was thinking of ways to actually justify me buying popcorn by saying it's air popped, but I gotta keep within limits.

So far, I think I'm doing well. Tomorrow, I get my carb dose from whole wheat pasta as well, and here comes broccoli and other veggies. :) Oh yes, in case you're asking, I still work out with this diet, doing a combination of yoga and Pilates.

The Start of My Fresh Face Program

Friday, November 19, 2010

I'm glad I have a job that gets me to learn things besides makeup and beauty. I was hired for a project by a health and wellness company to do makeup for a coaching program that they have. This is my second time to work with them actually and I've had a good experience of meeting new people and picking up a thing or two to learn before I go.

I met nutritionist Dr. Claude Chauchard this week, since he was the coach to be filmed for the week. He specializes on anti-ageing and slimming, so I thought the program would be all about skin care and all that. During the filming, I was able to pick up the words "pomme" and "fromage" (French words for apple and cheese, respectively) and I thought to myself, "What are food terminologies doing in an anti-ageing session?" So while doing retouches and during shoot downtimes, I asked Dr. Chauchard about why food terminologies were included in the program. He does specialize also in slimming and anti-ageing and this was a program that targets you from the inside out, so in short, being healthy first. It was quite interesting as we both were chatting and quite interestingly, he was giving me advice on what foods are good and what practices should be avoided. Yesterday, he gave me one of his books, which had his 30-day age-preventive diet program.

I asked him too if he could sign the book for me and I'm glad he did.

I have no qualms about eating healthy food and vegetables. In fact, I'm quite fond of healthy food. However, I don't know how to really go about it. Plus, with my lifestyle and lack of time to actually take time to cook and all, I sometimes end up ordering oil-ladden takeout food or just rushing to the nearest fast food joint for fries and burgers. I guess this book tells me this is how to start it. As I have an open mind to different food styles and tastes, fast foods included, I guess I should keep an open mind too to foods and diet programs that could help improve the quality of my life. So why not try it right? After all, I have nothing to lose (except probably a few pounds and inches).

Normally, I get reactions like, "You don't need to diet! You're thin already!" In fact, I just got like quite a handful of reactions when I got home with a grocery bag full of vegetables, fruits, tuna, salmon, and whole-wheat bread. However, I didn't think of it na lang as dieting. I thought of it as a new eating adventure, just like going to a new restaurant. Aside from the 30-day program the book has, it has a 4-day trial program that claims to improve not just our skin and the cells of our face but also our metabolism. I guess it's just to see how we react or fare first before we go through the 30-day program.

Come to think of it, I've been evaluating how I eat lately and I go to a fast food joint approximately 5 times a week, sometimes even twice a day. It's not that I want to, sometimes I'm left with no choice. Seeing what I put inside my body I've realized that quite a number of it is actually junk, and these junk foods aren't called junk without a reason. They destroy you from the inside. Not only that, it would reflect on how we look. I've noticed that if I've had too much chips or chicharon, I bloat horribly. I remember the last time I had a super bundat meal full of grease, fat, and salt. I felt full yes, but it wasn't the kind of full that I want. It was the kind of fullness that had me bursting at the seams. I honestly didn't like it and I felt like throwing up. Too much of the bad stuff reflects on my skin as well. I've noticed too that I get all oily and sometimes pimply with all the junk too. Water too is also one thing I sometimes neglect. I've once been admitted for dehydration and I haven't learned from that still. During the course of time, I learned that when I'm hungry, I'm not really hungry but I could be thirsty.

Okay, so back to the program. I'm now starting on the 4-day program and I'd like to blog it as well to share everyone my own experience as well as to encourage me to go on as well. It's also to evaluate too how I'm doing. I've asked some of my friends, Fritz and EJ if they'd like to join me as well so I get male opinions too.

Before I started the program, I read the menu. The program starts on the evening before Day 1 and ends lunch on day 4. So one day is sort of broken into two. Before I started though, I eased in slowly into the habit so as not to shock my instant-everything system. First thing was getting used to the taste of dark chocolate. I'm really into the milky sweet chocolate I'd wolf down so the bitterness of cocoa was something new to me. Also, the diet required me to drink a large glass of water first thing upon waking and ideally for every hour. Since I'm not heavy on drinking water, most especially plain water, I started easing myself on that too.

Food choices were relatively easy. The protein sources were mostly oily fish like tuna and salmon. I'm fond of seafood and I'd definitely prefer sashimi over a plate of lechon any day. Vegetables and fruits I have no problem either, more on fruits though, as I gag at the thought of eating an orange in whole form. I'm glad I could juice the orange, as I prefer taking my oranges in juice form rather than fruit, as the fruit skin annoys me. I'd then have to get used to cheese though, in little amounts and the texture of whole wheat bread, which I find quite dry and mealy than white bread. But then, it's just for 4 days. Let's see what happens.

Of course, this diet would mean a lot of effort. I need to make time for this. When I got home from work a while ago, I still had to get out the pots and pans and prepare the food and then still I had to clean up before I went to bed. When I'm outside and mealtime comes, it's not anymore just going to the nearest food place. I have to be careful in where I eat, what I eat, and how I eat. I'd have to monitor as well when I'm about to drink water, my snack, and even thinking of varieties on how to spice up and keep the menu interesting yet still staying within the diet rules. But hey, it's fun, at least it's something new. Now back to my diet proper shall we?

I started this evening when I got home since the four-day diet would start on the evening before day 1. The menu calls for 1 cup of vegetables and 8.75 ounces of salmon (or any other oily fish) with olive oil and lemon juice. I should eat the meal between 7-8 p.m. so I had to make sure I got home at that time. I chose tuna for my protein source, and cooked one can with garlic and extra virgin olive oil and squeezed some lemon juice to taste. I had blanched green beans for my veggies, and whoop-de-do I finally blanched them perfectly.

It felt quite weird at first that I was eating this without rice. After the meal, I didn't feel like a boulder was placed inside my stomach. I was full but not full to the point of throwing up, despite that I kept drinking water. This one I like, since I really don't like the feeling of a heavy stomach at night, especially since I'm just about to wind down and go to bed.

And speaking of bed, it's time to hit the sack. Doctor requires at least 8-10 hours of sleep each night. I'll see you tomorrow for day one!

We Eat and We Love It

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Proof that there are models who do not go on starvation diets.

Yeoh and his model friends pigging out at one event last night. We didn't know that we filled an entire cocktail table with food. Favorite quote for the night: Wooooowwww leche flan. Ayyyyy cheesecake pala. Hahaha I love my friends.

Sweet Treats from Dessert Barn

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

[Disclaimer: Products provided for review]
I met up with Twinkle yesterday for coffee after I picked up a few items at Ortigas. I told her I'll just grab a quick bite and satisfy my fast food cravings then I'll dash off to the MRT to meet up with her in Glorietta. She texted. "Surely, Don't forget to leave some room for dessert!" As soon as the MRT reached the Ayala station, I hauled my bags, took the stairs instead of squeezing through the elevator and met up with Twinkle where she presented me with two boxes, which were her bestselling cakes.

The first time I met Twinkle, she was my client at MAC and I encouraged her to take the plunge for red lipstick. She was one of those clients you would want to have often and we ended up making chika while doing her makeover. The second was at a food event and she shares too her fondness for sweets. I then knew that she also bakes. She has a baking business that she fondly calls Dessert Barn that fuels her passion for baking, which are among her many other passions.

After a bit of chat, she showed me the first cake, which, I was reassured wasn't fruitcake.

Bananalicious cakes with [top] cranberries and roasted walnuts and [bottom] roasted walnuts. Php 350 for a 6-inch cake and Php 500 for a 9-inch cake

She calls this cake bananalicious cake, which she describes the cake as literally "half banana and half cake." For every 1 cup of batter, she's got 1 cup of bananas thrown in. The natural sweetness makes it less migraine-causing than cakes overloaded with sugar and grease, so not only does it taste good, but it's also healthy.

The icing on top, I asked if it was made of cream cheese. She said it was snow glaze, the same glaze used in donuts. The one I tasted was the one with cranberries and roasted walnuts and she also has another bananalicious cake with just the walnuts, for those who aren't cranberry fans. I actually like cranberries, and this brings me memories of turkey and Thanksgiving, making it a perfect Holiday giveaway. The dried cranberries are less tart though, and go well with the sweetness of the snow glaze. I had to give in to a slice though, and wedged a teaspoon at the edges. Usually, edges are hard though, with the tenderness and moistness of the cake concentrated on the middle. The Bananalicious cake, however, had a uniform moistness and consistency through and through. Even kids wouldn't gag at this cake. My 10-year-old nephew at first was apprehensive to try this out since he thought it was just banana cake. However, after a tiny sliver of this, he asked for seconds and had another slice for breakfast the following morning. When cakes get dry and mealy by the third day absorbing whatever flavors and odors the refridgerator has, this one was still true to its flavor, of course I kept it inside the cardboard box.
After that, I sipped some peppermint tea to cleanse my palate in tune for the next cake, which I assume would be a hit among everyone with a sweet tooth but also those who want to indulge in a guilty pleasure once in a while, the Amnesia cake, a four-layer moist chocolate cake with chocolate filling with dark chocolate fudge encapsulated with an Oreo cookie crust.
Amnesia cake, so good that you'll forget your name. Php 480 for a 6-inch cake and Php 958 for an 8-inch cake.

I asked Twinkle why it was called Amnesia cake. The name was actually from her brother, who said that this cake is so good, you're going to forget your name. I chuckled a bit at the description. When I took a bite, I was quite surprised. Normally, I thought a chocolate overload like this would be too sweet that I'd be getting a sugar overload but it was quite a surprise, really, that the sweetness was mild and mellow. The reason for this was that Twinkle uses dark chocolate for the recipe, which is healthier. You get to taste and enjoy the chocolateness without the bitterness. The texture and genuine chocolate flavor are in one delicious compromise. The fudge was also rich, which added to the melt-in-the-mouth texture of the soft chocolate cake layers.

The Amnesia cake travels well when frozen. If you're taking this with you as pasalubong or baon when you go abroad, you could tell Twinkle ahead of time and she would give you instructions on how this could stay fresh up to your next destination. This makes a great pasalubong as well for your loved ones abroad when you fly off to visit them. This was an easy sell to the kids, though and they didn't think twice when I said chocolate and enjoyed their slices even though I told them after they got their second slice that it was dark chocolate. Normally, kids don't like dark chocolate because it's bitter but this one was sweet enough for them to go halfway the 6-inch cake in minutes. If you've got more of a sweet tooth that you can't handle, try a scoop of vanilla ice cream too. Too sweet? Then have a cup of espresso or tea.

Aside from these cakes, another bestseller is the Red Velvet cupcakes (iLOVu), which you could order per dozen (a dozen costs Php540). The Red Velvet cupcake is for the romantics who love the rich taste of red velvet cakes and cream cheese. Twinkle adds another touch by dusting some cocoa on top and adding a rosebud.

Dessert Barn also has cupcakes for giveaways and desserts during Christmas parties or Christmas dinners. To order, you could send a PM at Dessert Barn's Facebook page or if you want to sample their treats, Dessert Barn would be at Our Awesome Plante's Ultimate Taste Test 5.0 this Friday at 7:00 p.m. at the NBC Tent. In the meantime, you could check out Dessert Barn at or Facebook page.You could order too by texting or calling 0927-2697252

*Pictures taken from Dessert Barn's website.