Friday, July 26, 2013

Comfort food for a rainy Friday

Spinach and Cheese Tortilla-which (PhP 185)
Muscovado-sweetened Cafe Americano 12 oz. (Php 85)
It's easy to fall into a state of melancholy in this kind of weather, on a plan-less Friday evening. The rains have caused shuttle queues to criss-cross so I decided to have a quiet dinner at ECHOStore to practice mindful eating.

I chose a vegetarian bestseller, Spinach and Cheese Tortilla-which (PhP 175), and partnered it with a warm cup of Cafe Americano that's sweetened by muscovado.

I miss Krissy and I think about all my loved ones. I guess this is the advantage of having some time to yourself - you realize that your love is always, always alive. :-)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

GK and Sustainable Consumerism

I share the sentiments of Ms. Rina Jimenez-David regarding the superbly planned and well-packaged social enterprises, which Gawad Kalinga has given birth to.


Happy reading! J


At Large

Best of both worlds

By Rina Jimenez-David
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Even before Anna Meloto-Wilk, cofounder (with sister Camille) of Gandang Kalikasan Inc., the “mother company” behind the Human Nature line of health and beauty products, got in touch with me, I was already a customer of its organic and natural body care line.

About a year ago, I was in Shopwise Libis looking to replenish my stash of toiletries that I keep handy for traveling. This was when I stumbled on a stand-alone shelf for Human Nature products, and, liking the attractive packaging and come-on that Human Nature was “pro-Philippines, pro-poor and pro-environment,” I decided to pick up travel-size containers of its body lotion, feminine wash and “balancing” face wash. I haven’t had reason to regret my decision since.

Before then, I would spot some Human Nature items on the shelves of EchoStore, managed by friends Chit Juan, Reena Francisco and Jeannie Javelosa. The venture likewise markets organic and all-natural products which they source from communities and creative entrepreneurs around the country, but gives “value added” services by conducting workshops on product design and packaging, among others, to the women they work with.

Likewise, the Human Nature stores along Commonwealth, Quezon City (its flagship), and 25 other outlets nationwide (aside from their network of dealers) also carry other products, not necessarily of the same line of makeup and toiletries, but having the same DNA mix of corporate social responsibility and sustainable consumerism. Among these products are the “Theo and Philo” chocolate bars made from native cacao beans and attractively packaged in wrappers that mimic Philippine weaves. There’s also “Furry Kind,” a natural pet care brand (created by Human Nature global ambassador Rachel Grant, an actress and model) that has won over my son and his wife, who swear that the “tangerine treat” Cocomutt Shampoo has made their two dogs smell delectably sweet.

And then there are “Jessica Saging” and “Manny Pakwan,” names given to plush toy pillows that are, says Anna, “safe and nontoxic,” created by a visiting Frenchman, handmade by community women in Bulacan, and come together with storybooks that seek to teach young readers the virtues of a healthy diet.

* * *

Anna and I are having lunch at the Enchanted Farm Café. This is a small unpretentious eatery located above the flagship store that serves dishes and products produced by the 40 families living and working in the “Enchanted Farm,” a training and demonstration project of Gawad Kalinga in Bulacan.

For many years now, Gawad Kalinga, recognized by the Ramon Magsaysay Awards for its social development thrust centered on affordable housing, has helped create communities around the country for the previously homeless and landless, the “poorest of the poor.” The Enchanted Farm, which sits on a parcel of land donated by one family, provides more than just housing for the community. It also houses small garden plots for the residents, livelihood projects, and training and exposure programs for volunteers who come from all over the world.

Today, says Anna, one would be hard put to find an idle family in any one of the “GK” communities. With the goal of creating self-sustaining lifestyles, especially in terms of food production, GK villages are ringed with vegetable plots and animal lots that use sustainable and renewable technology and products. “We use no chemical fertilizers nor pesticides,” Anna declares proudly.

The Enchanted Farm Café is a showcase of this food philosophy, offering rice meals, salads, pastas and desserts that use the products grown on the farm and prepared by members of the community. Why, the food is even served on wooden dishes and bowls, and when I comment that they are using plastic utensils, Anna gently informs me that the spoon and fork are made from starch and, therefore, environmentally sustainable. Oops, my bad!

There is a whole story, even, on the “Bayani Brew,” an iced-tea mix whose formulation was created by one of the “nanay” or mothers in a GK community. The “brew” makes use of natural flavor enhancers like lemon grass, pandan leaves, and duhat leaves. “It was all her doing. We only gave our inputs on standardization and packaging,” says Anna.

The Bayani Brew in the café is served in used glass containers (mayonnaise jars, actually), but bottles of the brew are likewise on sale at Human Nature stores. And believe me, the brew is so good, I had two glasses over lunch!

* * *

Are Human Nature and Echostore—among others—harbingers of a trend in which marketing imperatives are tempered by social conscience? I myself think it’s a melding of the best of both worlds. Consumers find and get what they want, and are even guaranteed that the products they buy and use are healthy, safe, and effective—and do no harm to the environment.

At the same time, they shell out cash with the full knowledge that they are not just meeting their needs but also helping everyone involved in Human Nature—the management, sure, but also their employees and the producers, including the farmers who grow, sustain and harvest the organic products that go into every bottle, spray, jar, makeup case and plush toy.

It is social commitment with a smile, an exchange that demands no anger, denunciation, politics or exploitation. Maybe I’ve grown soft in my impending senior years, but you know what, sometimes it’s nice to help without needing to get mad at anyone!

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Goldilocks Go Lite Sugar-Free Mamon

When I think of Goldilocks, I am reminded of growing up to all their sweet-tasting breads and pastries. They made perfect baons/snacks and pasalubongs.

As an alternative to Goldilocks Fluffy Mamon (PhP 20), the Go Lite Sugar-Free Mamon (PhP 29) uses sucralose (Splenda), which is a safer sugar substitute than aspartame according to the Bureau of Food and Drugs Administration (BFAD) and (United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA).

According to No Sugar Added, an article written by Tina Arceo-Dumlao of the Inquirer, a teaspoon of white sugar contains 120 calories as compared to Splenda's zero.

The sugar-free mamon tastes just as mildfully sweet and feels just as soft in the mouth as the fluffy mamon.

Happy snacking! :-)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Be Organic's Argan Oil Hair Products

(From Be Organic Bath & Body's Page)
Dubbed as Morocco's liquid gold and beauty elixir, argan oil has been hailed by women around the world for its cosmetic wonders.

Benefits of argan oil include skin protection from UV rays, stress, and other environmental factors that can cause dryness and aging. It is an effective cleanser and moisturizer - not only for the face and the body, by also for the hair.

I got attracted by Be Organic Bath and Body's display of argan oil hair products in Echo Store. Being a Forest Magic Gugo shampoo user, I was perpetually on the lookout for a natural conditioner that can complement its hair saving effect. Now guess what? I think I've found the one.

Be Organic's argan oil conditioner is made of argan oil, which is naturally rich in anti-oxidants and essential fatty acids such as Vitamin E and squalene; jojoba oil, which treats coarse and frizzy hair as well as moisturizes the scalp; silk protein, which strengthens the hair; and panthenol, which helps hair growth.

A 250 ml bottle of Be Organic's argan oil conditioner costs PhP 350 at Echo Store. I felt its instant magic as soon as I used it. My hair felt softer and smoother without the eeky grime. And it smells oh so naturally nice!

You may visit Be Organic's Facebook page at:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Green and Well Booths at the 2013 LCF CSR Expo

The annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Expo exhibits of the League of Corporate Foundations have increasingly become a venue for non-profits to showcase eco-products that are mostly produced by social enterprises. I took photos of *some interesting booths and thought of sharing them here at Green and Well.

Please click the names of the exhibitors to be directed to their websites or contact info.

East-West Seed Foundation, the CSR arm of a East-West Seed Philippines, is our technical partner for the Oh My Gulay! School Vegetable Garden Project.  Through their community workers, students from our adopted schools learn to appreciate the value of eating healthy as they become involved in planting, maintaining and harvesting veggies.

Nutrition Center of the Philippines, the CSR arm of Philippines Nutri-Foods Corporation, promotes good nutrition in schools through health education.

Blue Watershed seeks to sustain the reforestation activities at Marikna Watershed - whose denudation caused the massive floods of Tropical Storm Ondoy - by empowering the local community to produce their own natural products. Doing this secures the livelihood of the community and ensures that they will not go back to destructive activities such as logging. Blue Watershed is organized by the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation through the support of Coca-Cola Foundation and PLDT-Smart Foundation.

Roxas Foundation markets these local products that will make awesome gifts to  balilbayans, foreign guests and our closest friends.

Caritas Novaliches sells all these interesting goods: handmade purses, preserved goods and soaps and ointments.

Peace and Equity Foundation sells all these healthy goods from Got Heart Foundation. Interested green and well buyers may visit their stores on E. Abada St., Loyola Heights, QC and Katipunan Ave., White Plains side.

The Manila Doctors Hospital also rendered free medical and first aid services of which, I was a beneficiary.

On a personal note, the CSR Expo is always a great time to catch up with my colleagues and friends in the development sector. It's also the time to meet like-minded folks for possible project tie ups.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Echo Store's Vegetable Pancit Canton

I bought Echo Store's vegetable instant noodles for my daughter's baon today. It tastes good and so natural plus, it's easy to prepare.

A pack of six costs PhP 175. It includes malunggay, squash, carrot, spinach, saluyot and soybean.

Monday, July 8, 2013

From The Sexy Chef - PhP 1,500-1,750 for Mon-Fri Healthy Lunch & Dinner Deliveries

The Sexy Chef delivers light and nutritious meals that are perfect to every health-conscious working women and men. The Health Bar menu offers affordable yet mouth-watering dishes for as low as PhP 1,500 a week - inclusive of lunch and dinner. (Only PhP 150 per meal!) 
"Each meal is prepared using only the freshest, most wholesome ingredients that are sugarfree,lowfat,rich in lean protein and high in fiber."
The Sexy Chef
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The Sexy Chef's HEALTH BAR MENU has an amazing variety of rice bowls, pasta dishes, wraps, sandwiches, salads and soup that you can mix and match to make up your Monday-Friday healthy eating habit. 
It's easy and affordable to be slim and feel great with our Health Bar 5 DAY PACKAGE! 
Get your officemates to join you in your quest for a healthier lifestyle.



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Good Breakfast

Tuna pandesal (PhP 35) and latté (PhP 40) in biodegradable packaging at my favorite green and well convenience store.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Heroic Eating

A good read:

"When deciding what food to eat, parents must ask themselves the goodness that they are doing not just for the family, but also for the rest of society.

Will their choices really bring health to the family? Will their choices not harm the ability of the food producers in the countrysides to provide nourishment for their own families? Parents must ask these questions the next time they queue up the fastfood counter."

#buylocal #GROWchallenge


Bananas, avocados, apples, oranges, pears and mangoes
Green mangoes (yum!), dalanghitas and rambutans
I woke up to these yummy delights. Thanks to my sister who must have bought (and carried) all of these! :-)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Today's Reflection: Place Your Life Before God

From a friend in faith:

If you preach, just preach God's Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don't take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don't get bossy; if you're put in charge, don't manipulate; if you're called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don't let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.

Romans 12: 6-8 (The Message)