Day 11: #100HappyDays
Bride Talk over Tofu

Chowking Pork Tofu

Chowking Pork Tofu

Breakfast after Palm Sunday Mass was at Chowking with my high school classmate Jen. I always bump into her during morning Mass so we decided to catch up and talk about our weddings this morning.

It’s really amazing how God helps us at every stage of life. 🙂 A fellow bride who studied in the same school and got exposed in the same things would know…

 

The Order of French Vinaigrette

***

3 parts Olive Oil

1 part Balsamic Vinegar

a pinch of salt

a pinch of pepper

genuine French moutarde

***

This is a big leap for me, considering what a complete kitchen klutz I am. Now, I am actually posting a simple set of ingredients that I remembered, something that I imagine doing someday for me and my future family. This dark-colored concoction spiced up the salads I have grown accustomed to eating recently.

After my moment of health epiphany, I realized that I can no longer afford to have sloppy or careless eating habits. The inches taken out of my waistline and the energy to do some cardio workout is just an add-on to the general feeling of well-being that I feel at this time. It was a natural instinct; it was not a mad rush to be something else just to please people. It was something I did because I wanted to do it for myself, genuinely. No one had to push me to go to the elliptical trainer or to cut back on rice. It was a natural consequence of the will to overhaul my toxic lifestyle.

It’s really simple to create a French vinaigrette for a vegetable salad. You mix the ingredients in a bowl and pour it on your salad. It’s not even cooking; it’s just putting things together. But the trick is that, according to my ultra-reliable French source, it has to be mixed precisely in that order. Otherwise, you will not have a recipe for vinaigrette but a recipe for disaster.

In a way, it was just about food but somehow I managed to link it to a reflection of life. That when I do not put together my affairs, my skills, and my life goals in the right order, no matter how good or promising they seem by themselves, it will not be palatable to the world or at least to the people that I am with.

This 2014, I took a lot of risks that I had personally not foreseen. I did not even make those risks out of my volition. The Universe basically ejected me out of my comfort zone in numerous circumstances. The most logical thing to do was abandon and surrender to the changes being introduced, and be in a position to later whole-heartedly embrace and deal with these changes. The massive changes have been hard to write down, in fact. But perhaps I have somehow warmed up to the idea of simplicity, order and discipline contributing to a holistic life balance, with no single element or aspect of life overpowering another.

I find myself becoming more accepting and less frantic, more centered and less all over the place, and practically convinced about who I am, what I want, what I do not want, what I have to do, and what I have to stop doing. It has no price tag, no flashy job title, and no handsome paycheck. It’s just this sturdy albeit intangible knowledge of what needs to be done in my life at this phase and it’s solidly very encouraging and enlightening to have at this point.

It’s a very delicate process of purging things that are not necessary to make room for the best things, the things that money cannot buy and the things that do not come out of a drug store shelf but contribute to a peaceful sleep and a very healthy mindset. It’s not an easy process.

I have long been in the habit of people-pleasing for the wrong reasons. This time, I am able to stand as an adult and tell an adult NO when it cannot be done. It takes a while to really strip one’s self of the bullshit that other people throw at us until we see it for what it really is. And the harder part is to strip ourselves of the bullshit that we place in our very own selves.

After all these years, I realize with ironic delight that all the happiness of the world comes from SIMPLICITY. That the simple life is really the best. And that no matter how I try to complicate matters, it’s really fairly simple if I just learn to hack through the code of this life to optimize it for full performance. It’s like in web development where less can be more, and in food where you can have a cataclysmic experience if you use even few ingredients just as long as you do it right.

From those days of not having enough cash for a meal and subsisting on fishballs for my survival as a struggling college student, I found myself accumulating a stash of things when I started working after my licensure exam. It was a very unhealthy lifestyle where there was a ladder that leads to emptiness.

Fortunately, I was finally, finally, able to get back that optimal version of myself that I was afraid to have buried permanently in the graveyard of unbalanced professional ambition. I cut back and went to the basics. I sought silence and put away all useless chatter to seek what it is that needs to be done to get back in shape and deal with life with the proper balanced perspective.

I found myself getting rid of things I do not need and really becoming more strict in defining real needs from undisciplined wants or created needs.

And in place of the complications people bestow on people my age, I have learned to relish simple moments like the rising of the sun over the city landscape from a high place, the sweet smell of shampoo when I wash my hair, the pleasure-pain of stretching my hamstrings and my core during an evening workout (I actually have the TIME to do that now!!!), the nuggets of wisdom that come from just about anywhere, and just this unspeakable RHYTHM to my life that I practically lost for a few years in a mad pursuit of something that I cannot really carry with me when I die.

And this rhythm was finally achieved with a free vegetable salad avec French vinaigrette… <3

Saladdict

I am now a salad aficionado.

I was the biggest food junkie until I had a health epiphany last month. I got infected with the varicella chickenpox virus because of my ultra-low immune system. A dozen hospital trips later for various reasons, I decided to make some changes with my lifestyle to make sure that I stay healthier and at least prevent additional health problems if I cannot reverse the consequences of 20+ years of not minding what I eat.

And one of the happiest surprises that it brought is a penchant for all things green and leafy. I have become a true-blue salad fan.

A nearby Mini Stop branch has a salad bar every morning. I buy my breakfast from there and I try to search for healthy options when I am out and about. I have some misgivings about their salad dressing but the fresh fruits and veggies, according to the staff there, are delivered fresh every morning. I like that. Somebody recently taught me how to make French vinaigrette so anything with fruits and veggies topped with the French vinaigrette tastes absolutely divine.

Actually, it’s not very easy to find nutritious food here in Metro Manila. I even have a theory that this region penalizes you for eating healthy because the organic food is ultra-expensive compared to regular fast food. It’s really annoying but if I do not find anything good, I either eat bad/passable food in very very small servings or just skip eating altogether.

It’s been almost 4 or 5 days since I last ate a cup of rice. Often, I had to do it at home because family members won’t adjust their cooking to this new preference. Or I have to do it if I am meeting other people so that they won’t feel weirded out about my new food preferences.

Nothing beats preparing from the raw farm-fresh ingredients. But I am not always in a silent retreat. For that very reason, I am most compelled to just make do with the resources available to me. Right now, I just finished off Nestle strawberry yogurt, a slice of ripe mango, tiny slices of a banana and half an orange. Tonight, I’m craving for radish cake. <3

I wish I started eating healthy when I was younger. But then, it’s still good to have tasted both. I can really compare the state of my mind and body when I am just properly satiated and not bloated by stress eating. It’s nice to have a suitable rhythm to the body.