(Read Part One, Part Two, and Part Three)
Achievement unlocked By now it’s been about a month since Mrs. Buena has absolved us of our diet and permitted us to graze free. At our last session, she weighed us and measured us, so she could compare our weight and measurements from four months ago. I lost 17 pounds and 12 inches, 3 of those from my waist. Oneal lost 15 pounds and 13 inches, 6 of those from his waist alone. (I”ll post the exact weight and inch loss for me and Oneal soon.) Continue reading
Originally posted on: ‘2012-06-08 07:44:12’, ‘2012-06-07 23:44:12’, ‘(Read Part One) Step 2: The Food Plan Before you start on any plan, you have to identify your targets. For our build, age and family medical history (heart disease and cancer in both our families, diabetes in mine), Mrs. Buena decided we could afford to lose 20 to 25 pounds each, and that we could achieve this in two months. She designed a diet plan that specified the amounts of vegetables, fruits, starch, milk, meat and sugar we were allowed per day. The diet plan followed a scheme designed by the American Diabetes Association called the Exchange List. [Links: Diabetes diet guide on MayoClinic.com | University of Arkansas PDF of Exchange List Foods] To make sure we were following the Exchange List, Mrs. Buena gave us notebooks in which we could track all our food intake. Continue reading
Originally posted on: ‘2012-06-02 17:28:38’, ‘2012-06-02 09:28:38’
Oneal and I like to eat. I think that’s probably what led to our weight gain last year. We like trying new foods, checking out new restaurants, figuring out recipes. When we eat out, we’re not necessarily looking for fancy, expensive or exotic food. We like good food at reasonable prices. We like food we can share. We like good service. Bearing all that in mind, we put together a list of all the restaurants we’ve been going to for the past few years. These places have never disappointed in terms of food, and some of them have other perks like great service, good drinks or awesome prices. Check it out! Rej and Oneal’s Top Ten Restaurants, in no particular order:
- Max’s Restaurant:It may have been two or three years ago when I noticed that all Max’s restaurants have such good service. The staff at all branches are always smiling, and they’re so helpful and attentive. I hate inattentive waiters/waitresses, and we get pretty upset when other unpleasant things occur: they forget our order, they get it wrong, they don’t follow instructions (no ice, or please remove the onions). At Max’s Chicken, we’ve always enjoyed great service.Of course, the chicken is always good, and the other food is really delicious too. The breakfast meals and the chicken meals are worth their price, but a la carte dishes tend to be overpriced and have small servings. I think the only a la carte food worth the price is the seafood kare-kare. [Menu | Branches]
- Mexicali– We’ve always liked Mexicali. We like Mexican food–I make salsa that’s pretty popular at parties, and my mom loves making tacos.¬† Thanks to our friend Nabs, I also learned to make simple quesadillas. But I have a long way to go before I can make burritos and enchiladas. So in the meantime, Mexicali! So far we’ve eaten at the branches in Megamall, SM Mall of Asia and Robinson’s Galleria, and the food has always been good. We’ve tried the different burritos, enchiladas, rice meals, quesadillas, sopa de ajo and chicken salad, and they’ve all been good! One of the nice things about Mexicali is that most of the dishes have lots of vegetables, so it was pretty good for our diet.Another thing we appreciated was the vegetarian versions of their burritos,¬† quesadillas and enchiladas, are just as flavorful as the meat versions. And Mexicali has, to my recollection, always had large servings, so I think that’s a good deal. [Menu | Branches]
- Tsoko.nut Batirol – I can’t remember when I first discovered Tsoko.nut. But I do know that they have really awesome fruit juice and rice meals. I’ve had the chicken roll, the embotido, the callos, the coco liempo, and the rellenong bangus, and they’re all good! My favorite drink is the dalandan salabat twist; unfortunately it’s only available in a 1.5 liter carafe, so we rarely order it.¬† The coffee’s good too! [Menu | Branches]
- Life Coffee and Tea– This is a restaurant in SM Supercenter Pasig. A quick Google search turned up two other branches, but we haven’t been there so we’re not sure if the quality or even the menu is the same. The one in Pasig is pretty good. They serve pasta, pizza, paninis, rice meals, coffee and tea drinks, and fruit smoothies. I like their rice meals because I can never finish them. Every time I order I only eat half and bring the rest home. The pasta is good but the servings aren’t that big, and the varieties are a little predictable. The teas are nice, though I never got to try the yogurt teas. The hot coffee drinks are quite nice. Oneal and I used to go to Life Coffee and Tea for brunch on weekends, when we’d wake up late and be too lazy to cook. [Menu | Branches]
- Big Sky Mind – Where everybody knows your name! Big Sky Mind feels less like a bar you’d review for a magazine, and more like a friend’s house where you go to drink and chill. Except occasionally there are bands, fundraising activities, pirates and stormtroopers, book sales and art exhibits. Big Sky Mind is frequented by musicians, artists, writers, geeks and all sorts of creative crazy people, and it’s even more fun if you’re there fairly often and people doknow your name. We don’t drink beer–actually, Oneal doesn’t drink at all–so I usually order cocktails. The Malibog is a favorite among our friends, and it’s always funny to hear the bartender yell “Malibog Rej!” when I order it. It has (I think) pineapple juice, rum, and I don’t know what else. It is teh shiznit. The White Russian is nice too. If you’re a semi-regular, the bartenders will remember what you like: Dante usually gets a Tennessee Sour, and they already know to make a Malibog as soon as the geek girls walk in. And oh I miss the food! Oneal and I love the garlic chicken–we used to order an extra cup of rice to go with it. The kesong puti with salsa is one of my favorites. [Facebook]
- Aling Nena’s – As far as I know, the only branch is in Cubao, and it’s been around since the 60s. The bibingka is quite popular, and they also offer other classic Pinoy treats as puto. But we go there for the cheap merienda buffet! For Php 75 per head, you get a lovely feast that can include any or all of the following: dinuguan, okoy, lumpiang togue, kutsinta, different kinds of suman and puto, pancit, arroz caldo, goto, and so much other goodness. The bibingka is not part of the buffet, but you can order it separately for only Php 150 (I think). The buffet does not include drinks either. I forget if they only have the buffet is on weekdays. [Philippines Board]
- Mien San – Many thanks to our friend Raffy for introducing us to this haven of cheap Chinese food. I know they have an extensive menu but every time we go there, I end up ordering the same thing: spicy wanton, seaweed, steam kutchay dumpling, steam shrimp dumpling, century egg with tofu, mushroom fish fillet, yang chow fried rice. There’s no ambiance to speak of, and I’ve heard it said that the waitresses will ignore you if you’re not Chinese. I’ve never had trouble ordering though, so maybe it was just a disgruntled diner. But cheap! And yummy! ‘Nuff said. [Menu | Branches]
- Caf√© Mediterranean ‚Äì We love Caf√© Med! It‚Äôs a little pricy, but the food is always good. I love the gyros and the kebabs, and I love any place that serves good lamb. The lentil soup, soup au pistou and roasted vegetable soup are happily hearty. I‚Äôve never tried the pastas or the paninis‚ÄîI always feel like I can make the same thing at home, so why should I pay for it? I‚Äôve only tried the Quattro Formaggi Pizza, and that was a happy choice. The large plates are also pretty awesome, and rightly named: Oneal and I could share one. Oh and I love the rice pilaf! I also really like the d√©cor. Every time we go to any branch I remember how much I want to visit Greece. I think if we ever remodel our house, I will make it look like Caf√© Med. [Menu | Branches]
- Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf ‚Äì CBTL will always be close to our hearts. It was in the Greenbelt 3 branch that Oneal and I had our first date, back when I thought he would just stay in the friend zone and he thought I had such a warm smile. I had never been to CBTL before that night, but I have loved it ever since. I don‚Äôt think I‚Äôve ever tried anything there that I didn‚Äôt like‚Äîcoffee, tea, tea latte, non-coffee drink, pastry, salad, breakfast. It‚Äôs all pretty awesome. Like most coffee shops, it‚Äôs a little pricy, but I‚Äôd still rather pay for that than go to Starbucks. One of my favorite cakes is the turtle pie, but everything else is pretty yummy too. I collected the postcards they used to give away. I think I have 90% of the entire collection. At Christmas, they do the usual stamp card promo, and for the first two or three years they gave away notebooks with nice art. Last Christmas they were giving away planners like Starbucks, so I didn‚Äôt bother anymore. But I still took the stamp card because each branch supports a different charitable organization, and I like that. [Menu | Branches]
- Pakibalot Paciteria, Teacher‚Äôs Village – Again with the cheap food! This place sells the best pancit I have ever had. When we eat there, I always order the lomi guisado, to which you can add lechon. We usually get the Shanghai fried rice, lumpiang shanghai, and chopsuey (to which you can also add lechon!). A few times we‚Äôve also had a chorizo omelette, lechon kawali and steamed tilapia. The food is so filling, and it‚Äôs freshly cooked and so yummy. A number of times I‚Äôve brought home food from there, and Oneal likes the pancit too.
Disclaimer: None of these restaurants have given us free food, or asked us to endorse or review them. Other people may not have had as pleasant an experience with these establishments as we have. — rej
Originally posted on: ‘2012-06-02 17:46:43’, ‘2012-06-02 09:46:43’, ‘(Read Part One) (Read Part Two) Step 3: Resilience, Determination and all those words that mean you’re suffering The good thing about this diet was that we never felt deprived. A lot of diets completely forbid starch (at least for a while), some meats, all sugar, and so on. Mrs Buena placed very few such restrictions on us, and even told us, “You can have chocolate, or sweets, just be sure to make up for it by having more fruits and vegetables the rest of the day.” That seemed fair. But there was a down side too. It was tough adjusting to the reduced portions of meat and starch. It was tiresome to keep eating fruits and vegetables. It was misery to cut out potato chips from my repertoire of snack options! Our friends and relatives will attest to our over-enthusiastic appetites. When we were in Las Vegas in 2007, I was able to eat as much steak and burgers as Ron, Oneal’s brother. Sometimes at dinner, I could eat more than Oneal. Oneal could finish a bag of Chocnut in one sitting, and needed no help eating sans rival or chocolate cake. Despite this capacity for carnage, Oneal and I were not gluttons. If we had cake, we usually only shared a slice. We weren’t fond of ice cream, so we had no problem cutting that out. And Oneal liked vegetables when I cooked them. Step 4: The Hook When you’re trying something new, you usually need some form of encouragement to keep you going. If you’re learning a new language, the ability to hold a conversation without having to refer to a dictionary would be a big step. If you’re trying to build a house, the first wall you put up will feel like a big achievement. With this diet, we felt like big winners every time we stepped on the scale in Mrs Buena’s clinic. A loss of a pound or two would be cause for celebration; more than that and we would be giddy with excitement, resolved to eat even better the next day. Even more encouraging was the fact that we could now fit into our smaller clothes! For the first time in years, Oneal was able to wear his jeans from college (even more amazing is the fact that he still had them, and they looked brand new). Clothes that used to be unflatteringly tight on me were now loose and better-fitting. And both of us had trouble keeping our pants on–because they were so loose (akala niyo kung ano?) and our belts weren’t tight enough. But the best encouragement was the amazement of our friends: “Wow, you lost weight!” “Looking good!” “Is it just me or are you thinner?” “Whatever you’re doing, it’s working really well! Keep it up!” Comments like those were more effective than happy pills and sugar. (Read Part Four)’, ‘Diet Without Deprivation, part 3’
Originally posted on: ‘2011-08-25 14:13:16’, ‘2011-08-25 06:13:16’
The Philippine Outpost at our wedding
At our wedding, we had 12 troopers in attendance: 10 white troopers, one Imperial officer, and Darth Vader. Two other members of the Philippine Outpost, Noel and Paolo, weren’t able to bring their armor, but they did help wrangle the troopers. The guys of the Outpost escorted me and Oneal as we made our big entrance into the reception as man and wife. First the members of the entourage were called and they went down the stairs into Coral Tree Garden. Everyone, from the principal sponsors to the flower girls, was introduced, and they walked into the reception to the sound of applause and cheers. But that was nothing compared to the cheers when the stormtroopers marched in. So many people crowded around the red carpet to take pictures that there was barely any room to walk! It was so exciting. We‚Äôre so happy that the troopers were able to make our wedding so memorable. The guests were so thrilled! Some of them had never seen the stormtroopers before, and were scrambling to have their pictures taken. there was much regret that many guests did not stay till the end
Originally posted on: 2011-06-02 02:06:52′, ‘2011-06-01 18:06:52’
‘It was the Kaffir Lime dressing that did it. We bought a bottle at Mercato in the Fort, sold by Comida Rica. It sat in the fridge for a few weeks before we were able to try it. Because we had quite a lot of mangoes from our annual Holy Week sojourn to Zambales, I decided to try the dressing with a mango salad, Thai-style. We loved it so much that we inflicted it on our families on Mother”s Day, and so we ran out. Not to be defeated, I decided to try and replicate the dressing. I found a recipe that seemed to have the right ingredients, and played it by ear. Luckily, I got the flavor close enough, and Oneal insists it tastes better than the Comida Rica dressing.
We brought the dressing and the salad to Karen”s for Sunday lunch, and it was quite a hit! So we”re sharing it now with everyone. Enjoy!
- Arugula ‚Äì Chop off the stalks and trim the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Try to get baby arugula, also called rocket, if you want to avoid the bitter taste of older leaves. Or do away with arugula together, and find other leaves that suit your taste.
- Basil ‚Äì Plucked from the stalks. Trim the bigger leaves into bite-sized pieces.
- Carrots ‚Äì Peeled and julienned
- Coriander (Wansuy) ‚Äì Plucked from the stalks
- Cucumber ‚Äì Peeled and julienned, seeds removed if you prefer
- Mangoes – Peeled and diced
- Mint ‚Äì Plucked from the stalks. Trim the bigger leaves into bite-sized pieces.
- Mixed greens ‚Äì Trim the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
- Brown sugar ‚Äì 1 tbsp
- Chili powder ‚Äì ¬Ω tsp
- Dried kaffir leaves ‚Äì 5 leaves, crushed
- Lemon juice ‚Äì From 1 lemon
- Patis ‚Äì 1 tbsp
- Sweet chili sauce ‚Äì 4 tbsp
- Warm water ‚Äì ¬º cup
- Optional: Dried garlic chips
Salad Directions: Toss salad ingredients in a large bowl. Toss well for a pretty distribution of color.
Dressing Directions: Mix sweet chili sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice, patis and water in a bowl. Add chili powder and dried kaffir leaves.¬†Optional: Crush garlic chips and mix into dressing. This will make the dressing spicier. Serve dressing alongside salad and a bowl of extra mint leaves.’
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