Well, hello again!

I was surprised with myself when I realised I wasn’t very interested to write about the tiniest details of my pregnancy…or anything much about it. I guess it was one of those things that I just wanted to savour and relish and “live”.

But now that my baby is turning two months next week, I guess it’s the best time to write at least something or else I’ll just forget! So here are five things:

1. It was a relatively uneventful pregnancy, praise God. But that first trimester dizziness was crazy. What was crazier though was the moment I hit my second trimester, it disappeared instantly! Was it all mental?
2. BabyCenter app and Mom blogs were suddenly the first websites I checked out in the morning…or early morning.
3. YES! I could park on the disabled parking slot! Just rubbed my belly at the guard and he’d give me priority!!
4. It was the most awkward feeling when my belly would move on its own in public thanks to the baby stretching. I never got used to it. And his hiccups!
5. Sleep was the best gift my baby gave me during the last trimester. That goes to show how easy he was to carry around.

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Baby Shower by Family and Friends
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It was great to have an excuse for a reunion aside from Christmas parties and dinners!! haha
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My awesome Mom and cousin, Jei, who planned everything!
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Safari-themed Baby Shower from ICA friends!

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Preparing for Life After Cohen

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I’m about a month away from graduating from my Cohen program (woohoo!!!!). I’ve been so thankful not only for the loss of the weight but also for the habits I’ve developed and knowledge I’ve gained while on the program but I know the real battle is still up ahead — when I’m maintaining my weight out in the real food world. I’ve been on the hunt for helpful advise to make my post-Cohen food life still as healthy and intelligent as possible so I picked up Tosca Reno’s book (The Eat-Clean Diet Recharged) at the Dallas airport on the way home from our trip.

I loved it! Okay, so Tosca can come across obnoxious at times but I loved the principles she put out in her book. Most of them reaffirms Cohen principles, too! I guess healthy eating can be founded on these basic tenets:

1. Drink lots of water (Minimum of 2 and try not to go beyond 3 liters)
I invested in a 22oz bpa/bps-free glass bottle to help me consume more water and keep track of it as well. As long as I refill my bottle 4 times – I know I’ve had enough water for the day. Putting a cap on how much water we drink and how fast we drink it is just as important as drinking enough water since washing away electrolytes (called water intoxication) can be just as bad for our body. Read what livestrong has to say about it here.

2. Eat more fruits and vegetables! Limit starchy complex carbs!

I enjoy discovering new fruits and vegetables now. I’m excited to be able to eat avocados, berries, broccoli, kale, malunggay and other superfoods that were non Cohen compliant.

3. Try to schedule regular meal times, eating small but often

Apparently, our body really needs to follow a schedule in order to regulate our blood sugar levels. Having a stable blood sugar level throughout the day helps curb hunger pangs and cravings. When our meals are too far apart, our blood sugar crashes and then after eating, our blood sugar spikes. A spike in our blood’s sugar levels make us feel weak and want to eat more! Eating more often and regularly (3-hour pattern for example), keeps our sugar levels stable all throughout the day.

This seems contrary to Cohen principles which make us space out our meals every 5 hours so that we don’t mix our proteins, but since snacks are allowed every 2.5 hours, I think eating small but often can still be done during Cohen!

4. Sleep!

It was a major discovery for me to learn that we burn fat most efficiently while we’re sleeping! Who knew! Apparently, once we sleep and around 7-8 hours after our last meal, if our liver is working right, we will burn 60% of our calories from fatty acids and 40% from glucose — all stored fat and not our muscles! Amazing!

5. Shop the Perimeter of the Supermarket

All the good stuff that our body really needs are located around the perimeter of the supermarket — fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood and meats. Everything in the center of the supermarket — we need to put our eat-clean-and-healthy game face on so that we can resist all the sugar and starch-laden temptations!! Limit shopping time in the middle aisles and stroll longer through the fresh sections of our favorite supermarkets!

New Morning Ritual: Oil Pulling

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I’ve been working from home this whole week due to some minor but inconvenient medical situation. With all that time on my hands, I’ve finally gotten around to trying oil pulling. I first read about it in Indigo Baby’s website (my go-to shop when I have to buy gifts for baby showers). They were selling a product called Gargoyle Oil Pulling Tonic and while I didn’t end up buying that particular brand, I did pick this other one when I stopped over at Sesou Nature Source for my argan oil shampoo. It’s been stuck in my bathroom cabinet until I read about FabAfterForty giving oil pulling a try. My gums have been feeling sensitive of late too so I thought it was high time to give it a go.

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic remedy for oral health and detoxification. It involves the use of pure oils as agents for pulling harmful bacteria, fungus and other organisms out of the mouth, teeth, gums and even throat.

How It’s Done:
1. Take one tablespoon of the cold pressed virgin coconut oil (or sesame oil or any high quality organic oil) into the mouth while stomach is empty.
2. Slowly swish the oil around the mouth. This should be done for 15-20 minutes so it’s best to do something else while oil pulling to help pass the time.
3. Apparently, the oils mix with the saliva, turning it into a thin, white liquid. This is where the magic happens as the lipids in the oils begin to pull out toxins from the saliva of the mouth. After a while, that one tablespoon of oil starts to feel like a whole mouthful and the texture becomes more like water than oil. Careful not to swallow the oil!!
4. After 20 minutes, spit out the oil. Apparently, this has become so toxic, it’s best to spit into your trash or a bag instead of the sink. You also don’t want to clog your drains either especially if you use coconut oil which has a tendency to solidify when cold. Not likely to happen in our tropical weather, but best to be safe!
5. I usually wash my mouth with salted water to make sure I remove all the oil in my mouth but some find this unnecessary.

My gums have been thanking me ever since I oil pulled! My lips feel a lot more moisturized too. Some of the reading available online make oil pulling like some magic cure-all. I doubt it is, but what it can do for my oral health is enough to convince me to keep this up!

Home Reno #1: Under the Stairs

We’ve been living in our condo for more than a year already but until now, we still have white blank rooms and spaces that have yet to be bought furniture for and decorated. For the longest time , I’ve been staring at this part of our home under the stairs, trying to figure out how to make it functional.

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I think my most googled words the past couple of months was “clever ideas for under stairs space” hahaha

Some of the design inspirations I dog-eared

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Finally, I found a design that spoke to me and made sense in our small home.

The inspiration
The inspiration

Here are the progress shots and final outcome on the last day of the workers!

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Time to scour around for the perfect shelf accessories!

Cooking for ze huzband!

One of the major adjustments I’ve had to do after getting married, is getting used to the idea that I now have to cook for my family. Remember when I became so stressed about trying a few Jamie Oliver recipes?

Well, my stress level has gone down significantly and thru our first year, I’ve managed to cook most of the Filipino classic recipes with success: adobo, sinigang, nilagang baka, sinangag with tocino, chopseuy. I’ve also tried out a few Japanese, Italian and Chinese recipes. All that time I spent playing kitchen with mom actually subconsciously gave me some useful skillz around ze kitchen. Of course, I’m not at the level of my mother-in-law who has the patience to do this, without using a food processor:

My mother-in-law's grilled fish
My mother-in-law’s steamed fish

But baby steps, right? Here are some of my efforts!

Spinach Fritatta & Lasangna
Spinach Fritatta & Lasangna
Seafood Clamchowder, Grilled Squash and salad from Cafe by the Ruins that I copied several times at home
Seafood Clamchowder, Grilled Squash with Cinnamon and salad from Cafe by the Ruins that I copied several times at home

I don’t really get to take much photos of what I cook, but if I had this as my kitchen, I would probably take a whole lot more! hahaha

None of those stainless steel kitchens! Warm stone is just lovely!!
None of those stainless steel kitchs. Warm stone is just lovely!!

I’m still working on broadening my culinary skills. I’m so thankful to all the cooks out there who share their recipes and tricks and tips! Here are some of my favorite go-to websites:

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The Cohen Lifestyle

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The Cohen’s Lifestyle Program is a rapid weight loss and wellness program through nutrition. It is individually prescribed based on your unique blood profile. It uses food to correct the imbalance of hormones that cause weight gain triggering the body’s natural ability to burn fat rapidly and safely.

I’m actually on my second month on this lifestyle!! Somersaults! Now, four more to go! hahaha They insist on saying the Cohen Lifestyle, not Diet, and I think they’re right since it takes huge commitment to do it. It’s no wonder Cohen is thought of more as a “last straw, final chance” alternative to losing weight. Ever since I got on it, I can’t afford to do spur of the moment lunch or dinner outs with Drew or my friends. Uhm, correction, I can’t do restaurant food at all!! I have to cook everything myself so I constantly find myself in the supermarket to buy my vegetables and proteins. And then, throughout each and every single day, I always have to be mindful of every single rule they ask us to follow. Not to mention the huge financial investment required to get into the program! To be honest, the thought of how much money we had to spend on this is what keeps me from resisting any temptation to be disobedient to the rules! hahaha Well, fine, seeing the results in my body helps keep me motivated, too!

I’ve been reading a lot about other people’s journey on this program and I’ve realized the truth of them insisting that it should be a lifestyle change and not just a diet change. The goal is to lose the weight but the real achievement is in mastering the Cohen principle to really transform my food life. I saw this awesome video of Erwan Heussaff’s (I’m such a fan of his) and actually, the principles aren’t too different from Cohen’s.

Definitely the fact that Cohen makes me lose weight so fast is a real come-on. But beyond that, I really loved the idea of making food your medicine. I like how Jamie Oliver (another one I’m such a huge fan of) puts it. He says food is what makes up your cells and muscles, is what gives you strength for any human activity. It’s so elementary but there seemed to be such a disconnect between what I put into my mouth and where I think my body is getting its strength. It’s definitely time for a Food Revolution!!

Style Mine, Emily!!!

Because all the cool kids seem to trek to 10A Alabama, I wanted to see what to fuss was all about. I’m so thankful Drew is patient to go with me to these things even though I have a gazillion pending home projects that I still haven’t done anything about:

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10A Alabama is kitschy enough to inspire you. Everything is well-styled like Heima and Bungalow 300 but like the two other stores, the selection is really limited. Definitely well curated, but limited.

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I’m obsessed obsessed obsessed with Emily Henderson’s show on Lifestyle network and I am just amazed at the options and variety available in the US market. I love seeing the stores she visits to find the home accessories she needs. The options seem endless!

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I want to share the obsession! Emily’s website here and photos of Emily’s styling from here.