If there’s one thing I enjoy doing, it’s grocery shopping. It must stem from my “gatherer” roots (sorry, inside joke: Carlos and I always kid around that we are cave people–him being the hunter, and me the gatherer). I love making lists and coming up with meal ideas (though I don’t like implementing them after a long day of work) and of course, along with that is buying the best ingredients at smart prices. I usually go to two to three grocery stores to get to buy everything we need for our household, and if I’m following a recipe, I’ll need to go to specialty stores to get certain ingredients. I don’t really mind these extra trips, as long as I get what I need to make a hearty meal. I like having a well-stocked pantry at all times. Which is why I am always on the lookout for the new grocery and food stores. If it will make my life easier, I am there!
I have to admit, I haven’t really explored the whole organic/vegan/gluten-free lifestyle. Coming from my parents’ house, I just ate whatever was at home without questioning where the food came from. If it’s good, then I will eat it. But since getting married, I’ve begun to take our food choices seriously. I mean, we now need to allot money for emergency hospital bills, and it isn’t cheap. And if one of us gets sick, it really affects us because my husband and I really share the responsibilities at home and most of the time, we can only depend on each other. Needless to say, our health is something we both take seriously. We don’t take it for granted, which is why we try to eat healthy and live an active lifestyle. We really push each other to mind our lifestyle choices, because we want to stay healthy and fit especially since we want to start a family soon.
Now, Healthy Options has always been one of my favorite places to shop. I usually buy our vitamins here, and I like to check out their beauty section, because they carry chemical-free products. These are good alternatives to your usual products because these are made from natural ingredients. I have to admit though, for a long time those were the only things I would buy at Healthy Options, because again, I didn’t really know much about healthy food. I thought eating fruits and veggies are healthy, and having a balanced diet of seafood, chicken, beef and pork is healthy. Avoid fried food, eating junk food and chocolates in moderation and drinking plenty of water–that’s healthy. But these days there are SO MANY more things to consider. There are things like antibiotics in our meat, pesticide in our fruits and veggies, chemicals in canned and packaged food, mercury in our fish and even more chemicals in our seafood. Things like gluten (apparently there are a lot of us who are allergic to it), too much salt and sugar, preservatives, additives and even more chemicals–these can all be dangerous to us when eaten on a daily basis. I never really had to think about these things, and yes, I get it also when people say, just eat what you want to eat and stop obsessing about these things. A part of me doesn’t care about all these alarming ingredients in my food, but a bigger part of me really wants to be healthy.
And so I checked out Healthy Options’ biggest store to date. It actually looks like a grocery store, and they now offer sooooo many more choices than they did before. Of course, I am taking baby steps with this whole healthy eating thing, so I decided, I might as well start with my snacks. This is a big deal for me, because I love to eat every two hours and it’s always some sort of snack (chips, chocolates–anything crunchy and/or sweet is my favorite). So I bought a whole bunch of healthy snacks from Healthy Options, thinking they probably taste the same and wont make a difference. But let me tell you, IT MAKES A HUGE DIFFERENCE. Huge. I noticed after eating sweets (like their Yum Earth Organics Gummy Bears or Newman’s Own Fig Newmans) my throat didn’t hurt from it being too sweet, nor did I feel bloated or sluggish. Same with the fruit juices I bought (Lakewood Acai Berry Juice and Cadia Organic Grape Juice)–they were naturally sweet and light, and again I didn’t get that itchy throat feeling I’d get when I drink something too sweet. These had little to no added sugar in it, which was so good compared to all these other food that are packed with sugar (so unhealthy). I picked up a lot of nuts, like sunflower and pumpkin seeds, which are great additions to your salad or if you need to snack on something crunchy. And for our meals, I got the yummiest couscous mix (the brand is Casbah) that Carlos and I ate instead of the usual white rice. We also got this awesome Carne Asada marinade that went so well with beef tenderloin (even better when grilled). It was so good!!! I am actually planning my next trip to Healthy Options and I now know what to buy.
I am far from being converted, but I have to say it made a big, big difference. I can’t say how happy I am am to be able to discover all these healthy food alternatives. This is great because we do need options for our food, and if we could eat better and healthier, then we must do it. I mean, we owe it to ourselves to be healthy. We only have one body after all, and it is much cheaper to spend on healthy food than a crazy hospital bill later on in our lives. We have to invest in ourselves so we live better, happier lives. Check out the biggest Healthy Options store at Glorietta 2, Ayala Center, Makati. It is so worth the trip!!!