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Practice Self-love Through A Plant-Based Diet, Just Like Juana Yupangco of Mesa ni Misis

Self-love is not just about that weekly trip to the spa or the salon; sometimes, it’s about the things that you put in your body.

Different people have different definitions of self-love. And for many, they have grand concepts of what self-love entails—a weekend staycation, a road trip to the mountains, a whole day of pampering. But for busy moms like Juana Manahan-Yupangco, it’s in the little moments that she finds her self-love meter recharged.

Juana talks to Tricia Centenera on the latest episode of Talk with Tricia to talk about how she practices self-love and self-care three times a day—in the form of food.

“A lot of people think that self-love or self-care is manicure or pedicure once a week, but for me, I found a way of doing it everyday, three times a day,” Juana answers when asked how she manages to practice self-love despite her busy schedule. “For me, it’s about food. Food is a really big part of my life especially because now, I have my non-profit Mesa ni Misis.”

Mesa ni Misis is a fairly new initiative by Juana, who wants an avenue to share her love for plant-based food.

“The idea stemmed from my frustration that healthy cooking was costing me so much. Many of the recipes I would find online required fresh ingredients that are not readily available in the Philippines, and if they are, come at a high price,” says Juana on her website, “[When] I started introducing local vegetables to my kids…I also noticed my food bill go down, the more I bought local vegetables and that they were readily available all year round.

Image from @juanayupangco
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This is why when you open the website, you’ll be greeted with easy-to-prepare recipes that are budget-friendly and super healthy. The dishes focus on using local ingredients and crops, and are largely plant-based. It has also become a project for Juana to touch base with other misis all over the Philippines who are struggling to create healthy and delicious food for their families.

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“This is the reason Mesa Ni Misis exists. To love local food, grow local food, nourish our families with what has been so bountifully given to us, that in turn helps the people who grow our food. Eating local helps our countrymen, our environment—and ultimately ourselves as our food becomes our healer,” adds Juana.

Juana firmly believes that “What you eat gives you the right vibrations.” That’s why she focuses on creating high-vibration food that gives you good energy that comes from the plants. It’s also her way to lessen the toxins she puts in her body since a lot of the fast food and processed food that we love to eat right now are full of chemicals and toxins that are not as good for the body.

Eating plant-based may not be easy at the start, but Juana says that you can start eating once a week, until you feel comfortable living it everyday. Tricia also noticed that since Juana started her plant-based diet, her skin has become more beautiful and glowing.

Image from @juanayupangco

Connected with the earth

But eating well is not 100 percent of the equation. Balance a good diet with good routines and activities to experience the full benefits of the plant-based lifestyle.

Juana compliments her plant-based lifestyle by staying connected to the earth as much as she can. She uses an earthing mat, which is meant to replicate direct contact with the earth when one doesn’t have time to go out and explore nature. “The mat draws the ions from the earth to ground you. It’s a charge, it’s a grounding charge. I sleep with that, I put that under my feet,” explains Juana.

Exercise is also a big part of maintaining a healthy body. And while Juana admits she has given up on running since she gave birth, she tries to continue committed to her regular exercise through swimming and pilates. “It’s about taking it easier on your body. Listen to your body.”

Image from @juanayupangco
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On shopping for produce

Since at the core of Juana’s plant-based lifestyle is using local crops and produce, she shares a special hack on Talk with Tricia for when you’re shopping for and storing your greens.

Usually, fruits and vegetables come in plastic wraps or packaging. Even those that are displayed in the supermarket would need to be bagged before weighing. Instead, Juana uses produce bags that you can use to buy fruits and vegetables. So when you buy your leafy greens, put them in the bag, and keep them in the fridge inside the bag. This way, they’ll stay fresh for a week because the bags soak up the water unlike the plastic packaging.

The produce bags are also made by women weavers in a co-op in La Union so you’re not just helping yourself, but giving them a livelihood, as well.

At the end of the day, self-love is a lot about the little things that keep your body healthy and happy. It’s also about sharing that love to others, so they can, in turn, share that love to more people, too.

If you haven’t yet, watch the full episode of Talk with Tricia with Juana Yupangco below:

Catch fresh episodes of Talk with Tricia every Saturday, 8 p.m., here on Metro.Style’s website, Facebook, YouTube, IGTV, and iWant.