First Class

For executives wanting to eat healthy, choices abound

/ 12:10 AM January 17, 2016

After all the bingeing over the holidays, it’s time to meet those New Year’s resolutions and eat healthy.

Follow the lead of Supreme Court Justice Marvic Leonen who—after realizing that over half of his colleagues are either diabetic or with using a pacemaker (given that they are holders of senior citizen cards—has changed his lifestyle to one committed to healthy eating and regular exercise. (He may become the first Supreme Court Ironman Justice this year. Ironwoman Amanda Carpo, you may have a new recruit for your legal triathletes squad.)


But there is no need to go to extremes and make yourself an ironman. The health documentary featuring nutrition expert Dr. Michael Roizen says that the most important thing is to do at least 30 minutes of walking every day to prevent the accumulation of subcutaneous fat. It is this kind of fat that leads to heart disease.

Other studies show that if your goal is to lose weight, 80 percent of your efforts must focus on diet and just 20 percent on exercise. That is why sometimes although you do extensive workouts, you feel as if you don’t lost weight.


Healthy, not hungry

Eating healthy, though, is not necessarily about eating less. It is about eating the right food.

That is the advocacy at Earth Kitchen. The restaurant’s commitment is laid out on the first page of its menu: “By increasing demand for organic and natural products, we hope to sustain the livelihood of marginalized communities and encourage more farmers to produce good, clean, and healthy food—no use of GMOs, chemical, synthetic fertilizers, and other harmful inputs like chemical urea, herbicides and pesticides.”

This is a philosophy that is shared by other “healthy” restaurants such as Grace Park of Margarita Fores, Green Pastures of Robbie Goco, Kitchen 1B of Marivic Diaz-Lim, Wholesome Table of Bianca Araneta and Echo Cafe of Chit Juan, Jeannie Javelosa and Reena Francisco. The admirable thing about these restaurants is that they go out of their way to seek local produce to give local farmers a market for their products. So these restaurants not only help the consumers by giving them the freshest organic ingredients, they also help various farming communities around the country by giving them sustained business.

The organic effect

The biggest benefit for myself (being unable to commit to eating healthy) would be the flavors of the organic products. Eating something fresh from the farm is like looking at a photo whose colors have not faded; the flavors really come alive.

For instance, compare the lettuce of the pomelo salad at Earth Kitchen with those at other restaurants. You will not only taste but also feel the difference. Just like with an organic egg or coffee from good beans, it makes you feel more energized.


The same can be said of Earth Kitchen’s arugula. Generously poured on the bulgogi beef tacos, these leaves are scorchingly bitter like Miss Colombia.

At Wholesome Table, the beef stroganoff is from grass-fed cows while the porkchop is from nitrate-free pigs. It’s true: animals that eat better taste better.

Love local

Margarita Fores—who adorably said she felt like Miss Universe when she was declared Asia’s best female chef for 2016 by the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants organization just this week—is really kind of like Miss Philippines, traveling the country looking for local produce to promote. At Grace Park, they just held an Ivatan festival after an inspired trip to Batanes (although as far back as 10 years ago, Fores was already an advocate of promoting local products, my first interview with her being for a Diwal festival after Roxas City lifted the diwal harvest ban). They also use unique Filipino ingredients like adlai, a product promoted heavily by Agriculture Undersecretary Berna Romulo-Puyat as an alternative to rice.

Eat all you can

At all these restaurants, the servings are big enough to share.

At Earth Kitchen, the mushroom spring rolls are not at all the size of those Chowking lumpia rolls but the size of a small fist, with six chunky pieces stacked like a little tower. True to the restaurant’s name, it is an earthly indulgence, with equal bursts of umami and greens, catering to the Filipino palate with the lime hoisin sauce that comes with it.

At all these restos, they spread the good news that you don’t need to starve yourself to be true to your New Year’s resolution of eating healthy. You just need to choose the right kind of food. And they have already done the homework for us. All we have to do is eat.

Earth Kitchen Katipunan Ave., Plains, Quezon City. No reservations necessary. Call  5779138. Major credit cards accepted. Wheelchair access difficult (it’s on the ground floor but there are steps to the door and the swinging door might be tight for a wheelchair).

More in margauxlicious.com. For food updates follow @margauxsalcedo on Instagram, Twitter.

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TAGS: dining, Earth Kitchen, food, Health, Margarita Fores, Marvic Leonen
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