Total Fitness: Build Up Your Diet With Antioxidant-rich Foods

Total Fitness Magazine January-February 2011

Antioxidants are substances or nutrients in our foods that prevent or slow the damage to our body caused by what is known as ‘free radicals’ which are thought to be damaging to cells and tissues.  Health problems such as heart disease, macular degeneration, diabetes, cancer are among those said to be  contributed by the oxidative damage that occurs during energy conversion from molecules to fuel. In a recent study conducted by health researchers in London , it has been proven that five (5) servings of fruits and vegetables actually reduce the risk of stroke by a whopping 25 percent!  Aside from this, antioxidants are also said to slow down the process of aging. This is why antioxidants have also found their way in various over-the-counter health and beauty products .

But why depend solely on manufactured health supplements when you can obtain antioxidants from a healthy combination of whole, real foods?

To start off, here are some fruits and vegetables proven to have healthy doses of antioxidants:

  • Berries. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries and blackberries are all antioxidant-rich foods. Berries are full of fibre, minerals and vitamins, and loaded with healing antioxidants. Blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are rich in antioxidants that can help prevent cancer and heart disease. Strawberries, raspberries and blackberries contain ellagic acid, a plant compound that combats carcinogens . Additional antioxidant-rich choices include apples, cherries, pears, plums, tomatoes, kiwi, mango and papaya. The antioxidants found in these fruits include vitamin C, beta-carotene, and lycopene among others.

          Yummy food tips: Add raspberries to your bowl of cereals or stir into your favourite vanilla              yogurt. You may also add whole blueberries to salads with a little honey, balsamic vinegar and              black pepper to taste.

  • Whole grains. Make sure your favourite morning bowl of cereal is made from whole-grain as this particular variety is an excellent source of Vitamin E – a potent antioxidant that plays a role in preventing cancer. In addition, the antioxidants present in grains can boost immunity, slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, treat and possibly prevent arthritis, prevent sunburn and treat male infertility.

         Yummy food tips: Try adding chopped parsley and scallions to a serving of cooked bulgur                 wheat or add raisins, dried apricots and minced basil to a serving of brown rice.

  • Tea. One of the world’s most favourite beverages has been shown to prevent a number of degenerative diseases  and significantly reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke and other diseases. Good news to all black tea lovers:  Though it was originally thought that green tea had more antioxidants than your favourite black, recent studies suggest that they are equally beneficial.

         Yummy food tips: Try poach salmon in an infusion of green tea and ginger or boil soba                       noodles in green tea and toss with sesame seeds and a dash of toasted sesame oil.

  • Greens. According to a research done by the Cleveland Clinic, green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and collard greens contain antioxidants called carotenoids.  Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, sweet potatoes, artichokes and red and white potatoes with peels are also high in antioxidants. Legumes such as kidney beans, lentils, black beans and red beans are all high in antioxidant vitamin E.

Lastly, and this may come as a surprise to most, dark chocolate is also said be rich in antioxidants, containing more of the protective substances per serving than most fruits and vegetables, according to the Mayo Clinic.

**For full stories, grab a copy of Total Fitness January to February 2011 issue in bookstores and newsstands near you.

Food Trip: HOOTERS Manila

Faveyummytrops:  Secret ramen place or Hooters for lunch?

Vicky: Woooshooo. If I didn’t know (you) any better,  I’d say you prolly just want to ogle Hooters boobies!  But hey, why not? I may want to see them boobies too. Hooters it shall be!

If only I were a 'D'. Wait a minute, I am a D. D for Diyosa. Can I get an amen?!?

Located at the Mall of Asia, this local franchise of world famous Hooters – purveyor of the American concept of commercial sexuality combined with the ‘wholesomeness’ of girls-next-door – opened its doors to the public sometime in 2008, much to the consternation of the waning band of conservative Filipinos.

My friend told me that he found both the girls and the service rather unremarkable, the first time he and a guy friend went for a visit. He was curious to see how things have changed since. I was Curious George twice over as it was my first time to go there. What did I tell you? I have become a bore.  But thanks to my dear friend, I am now looking at a possible resurrected social life – at least in the gastronomy department.

Vicky,  meet my friends carbs and sugar.  They’re the sweetest.

Oh, hi there carbs and sugar. You both look delicious enough to eat. Oh look, I AM EATING YOU!

When we arrived at Hooters, there were already a few customers in the joint and they were mostly foreign expatriates.  When he saw the two Hooters girls on shift, he remarked about the ‘improvement’. While still very much a far cry from what a typical Hooters girl looks like, the local counterparts, he said, were no longer as forgettable-looking as the ones before. Looking at the girls, I can only imagine how ‘bad’ the predecessors were. Juice ko po.

Now let’s talk food, which was after all what we came for. We ordered chicken quesadilla, grilled chicken caesar’s salad, and fish and chips. I give all three dishes a satisfactory rating. I’m no expert on food but I know bad/yucky when I taste one and the ones we got were certainly not in that category plus they’re reasonably priced.



Before leaving the joint, my friend suggested I have my picture taken with the two Hooters girls. Well, why not? I won’t buy those souvenir shirts but a photo would be good.


Who's the Hooters girl now?!?


Scoreboard: Vicky = 1 ; Hooters girl = 0.5

On what basis, you dare ask?  (a.) Size of waist – Mine’s 23 inches, I’m sorry but that’s life. (b.) Arms, legs, and thighs – You be the judge. (c.) Face – Hmmm, maybe she has the upper hand.  But she’s a sweetheart so I’m giving her .05.


I’m totally kidding, you guys!  Sense of humor much!


Total Fitness: Holiday Bingeing

While I spent the holiday season stuffing my face with sinfully delicious Thai food and an assortment of sweet delights, I seem not to have put on weight. And that's because I made it a point to hit the gym whenever I can and I walked around a lot in Bangkok. Good job!

Filipinos love to eat. The way we celebrate birthdays, fiestas, and the smorgasbord of gastronomic feast served during Noche Buena and Media Noche are reflective of the kind of appetite we have for food. Luckily, we seem to be managing our weight better than, say, the Americans or Australians, who are reported to be struggling more with weight not only during the holidays but generally all throughout the year.  Because of the plethora of food choices available for us in malls, the supermarkets, and now even via delivery, it is pretty challenging for anyone to stick to a healthy eating plan. Thankfully, we now also have access to multiple sports and fitness activities which equally make it easy for those of us in the habit of occasional bingeing to shed the excess.

But sometimes, especially during Christmas season when there’s always company parties, family dinners, friendly get-togethers to go to, we end up putting our fitness agenda on hold thinking ‘it’s just for two weeks anyway and we can always slave away in the gym once the exhilaration of the partying settles.’  I should know. I’m guilty as charged.

So, if like me, you tend to eat more and exercise a lot less during the holidays, how about we follow these holiday survival tips and curb the compulsion to overconsume?


  • Do NOT avoid fat altogether. Eating moderate amounts of fat during the holidays will satiate the appetite and prevent overeating of carbs (about 35-65 grams per day will be sufficient for most people.)
  • Do not skip meals or completely deprive yourself of your favorite food thinkinking this is ultimately what’s best. It is NOT. Hunger and low sugar levels can lead to overeating. Moderate consumption is the key. You can still enjoy your favorite dish but do so in reasonable amount.
  • Dispose of ‘trigger’ foods or ‘comfort’ foods around the house. Store chocolate chips and sugar-laden treats in colored canisters (the clear ones are a big no-no, especially if they’re the first ones you see when you step into the kitchen!) and hide them at the very back of the cupboard.
  • Avoid going to parties on an empty stomach. Before leaving the house, have a glass of protein shake or a protein bar so you won’t be in a major bingeing mode when you come face-to-face with the buffet.
  • Drink loads of water everyday and especially during the day of a majoy party celebration when you’re sure there is going to be food served nonstop.

**For full stories, grab a copy of Total Fitness December 2010 issue in bookstores and newsstands near you.


Favorite Items no. 5 and 6: Twistix and Manila Scramble

Manila Scramble

Yes, I am Pinay through and through. Manila Scramble can very well attest to that. Okay, so maybe what we see in the malls everywhere is a far cry from the scramble most of us grew up slurping during recess at school. For those of you who don’t know what scramble is, it’s just shaved ice mixed with food coloring and sugar, topped with milk (skimmed mostly). Manila Scramble took it a notch higher by giving you an array of toppings to choose from – rice crispies, mini marshmallows, and some cereal-looking oddities. Personally, I just like my scramble with lots of milk even though the kind they use probably goes against my health requirements.


Another recent discovery which Noel and I have been eyeing these past few days is Twistix – this little yellow and red food cart at the cinema level of Robinsons Galleria (I reckon there’s about a hundred of them scattered in malls all over the Metro) which sells potato crisps cut up in slinky-type fashion. So after days of telling each other ‘Let’s try that nga after lunch next time, Che!’, Noel and I finally made a stop at Twistix and I got me a small-sized serving.  Also because I was totally unhappy with my Burger King lunch. Yesterday’s lunch was a failure as well. Whatever happened to great lunches, I wonder. Anyway, going back to Twistix. It’s really nothing fancy, except maybe for it’s cutesy spiral shape. You can choose from different flavors – cheese, sour cream, barbecue, tomato catsup. The small serving costs P45.

Twistix-ed and lovin' it!

I only got the small serving but it certainly looks a lot more than my tummy can handle.

Getting Twistix-ed with Noel.