If we’re being honest, growing up loving food can be kind of a tragedy. As kids, the only things we ever had to worry about in terms of food were whether or not it tasted good, and how much of it we could have. Teachers, doctors, and Halloween houses even encouraged us by rewarding our good behavior with more sweets. Sure, our parents had to sit us down and make us take our vegetables and medicine, but for the most part, childhood was the time to eat all you could.
It’s all fine and dandy until you start getting older; you learn that your body needs more greens and less treats, you realize that you have to start paying for your own food, and you discover that your favorite snacks and desserts are full of that horrible thing called calories. Suddenly, that perpetually hungry kid you once were is now a perpetually hungry adult living on a budget and living on a diet.Thankfully, local healthy eating brand Honest Junk understands your pain. Celine Gabriel-Lim and Tina Lagdameo, the ladies responsible for the brand’s conception, know how much a price tag can make or break a purchase, and how today’s food industry often treats taste and healthiness as mutually exclusive. So Honest Junk aims to prove that you can, in fact, get the best of all worlds through products that are affordable, guilt-free, and most importantly, downright delicious.
The first of Honest Junk’s offerings is their Zooper Animal Cookies. Available in Malunggay, Cinammon, Green Tea, and (this writer’s favorite) Coco Chia, the cookies come in all the familiar shapes you might remember from your childhood, but are 100% vegan and made with coconut sugar and coconut oil. You wouldn’t believe us if you tasted them yourself, though. The four flavors are at the forefront of each bite, with a lingering aftertaste that assures you’ll be digging in for more. Expect to run out of cookies fast.
But expect to be tempted even more by Honest Junk’s addictive second snack, the Super Gummies. Free of dairy, gluten, nuts, fat, and low in sugar and sodium, these bear-shaped chewables are loaded with nutrients and natural fruit flavors: Pink Guava Strawberry + Malunggay, Mandarin + Mangosteen, Calamansi + Malunggay, and Mangosteen + Malunggay, They taste far less sinful than regular gummy bears — the sweetness never overwhelming the taste of fruit. This means no scrunched up faces, and more handfuls to be had.
However, perhaps the most unique thing that sets Honest Junk apart from other brands is its fun and confident voice. Celine and Tina emphasized that they do not want their products to come off as judgmental. Having experienced cheat days themselves, they don’t want to guilt trip their customers into eating healthy. Instead, what Honest Junk aims to provide is a healthy option that’s affordable and energized by a sense of wonder. This can be seen all the way from their social media presence (their Facebook page is overflowing with enthusiasm) down to their packaging, which is covered in colorful scribbles reminiscent of kiddie doodles.
There’s a lot of nostalgia that comes with snacking on Honest Junk’s products. They’re designed to bring you back to a more carefree time in your life when you could eat whatever you wanted, but they also satisfy all the health and budget requirements you’ve developed as an adult. In this way, Celine, Tina, and the rest of their team have really crossed generational gaps; it’s pretty easy to imagine both young kids and older foodies sharing from the same pack of gummies or cookies. Honest Junk is here to let us know that maybe growing up doesn’t have to be such a tragedy after all.
Photography by Renzo Navarro
Art Direction by Mags Ocampo