Tag Archives: Vegan

wellness by Darleen Sy

Start Something: Veganism

This 20-year-old made drastic changes to her life to make the world a safer place for animals

The first thing that ultimately comes into mind when you hear the word vegan is an image of a tie-dye wearing, kale-eating, off the grid hippie that stepped out from the 60s. Yes, we love our kale. And yes, our ideologies may somewhat be comparable to the flower power era. But today, vegans come in all shapes and sizes.vegan-1As a 20-year-old vegan, my lifestyle often comes as a surprise to most people I meet. “How can you be vegan?” they say. “Isn’t it hard?” Being vegan—as people commonly mistake it—is more than just a diet. It’s a lifestyle that attempts to exclude all forms of exploitation and cruelty to animals whether it be for food, clothes, entertainment, or other purposes. Yet some people choose to take on a plant-based diet for other reasons such as health, environment, and, most of the time, for all of the above. Making the switch from an omnivorous diet almost two years ago, however, was easier and less exciting than it sounds. If you told my younger self that I were to become a vegan in the future, I would have dismissed and laughed at you. And I would have joined my friends—who, up to this day, are dubious that a meat loving food enthusiast like me would give up more than half of my diet—in laughing at you. But after months of research, watching documentaries, visiting a slaughterhouse, and transitioning from a pescatarian to a vegetarian diet, I made the conscious decision to go vegan one day.vegan-2There’s no such thing as a perfect vegan. Having been one for almost two years now, discovering and learning new things is a never-ending process. Throughout those years, I began to realize that veganism is more than just the acai bowls and fitspiration goals. Here, I attempt to debunk and answer the common misconceptions about veganism that I, myself once also believed.

It’s hard to become a vegan.
Most of us were led to believe that eating animal products is normal. This is why eliminating them may seem such an intimidating prospect. However, our growing population has created an expansion in the food industry that makes accessing vegan options much easier. Many vegan communities today can also be found online which serves as a guide and support system to all sorts of issues. Manila Vegans, a Facebook group, also offers a 30-Day Challenge where you will be partnered with a mentor that can guide you through the process. A plus, the group organizes occasional veg-ups (vegan potlucks) where you can make tons of like-minded friends!

Vegans eat like rabbits.
While technically this is true, you’d be amazed by the things you can do with fruits and vegetables. In a world where bleeding burgers made from 100 percent vegan ingredients exists, you can indeed replicate anything and everything using plant-based ingredients. And did you know that you can make buffalo wings with cauliflower? Amazing, I know!

Being vegan is expensive.
The Philippines being a tropical country, has unlimited access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Although it is recommended for new vegans to start off by consuming mock meats and vegan alternatives for it to be “easier,” it isn’t necessary. You don’t need to spend a fortune buying processed vegan food as it can definitely break the bank. Having a diet that consists of whole foods however, is way more affordable and healthier. You’ll even find that replacing or removing meat with vegetables actually costs less especially when you’re dining out. But the point of veganism is not about mere restriction so treating yourself to vegan cheese and burgers once in a while is perfectly acceptable. At the end of the day, the key is moderation.

Photography by Kris Cuaresma

Darleen Sy
Darleen Sy is a freelance multimedia artist and aspiring creative director. An old soul at heart, she enjoys having long and deep philosophical conversations. If she's not cooking up vegan dishes, she's probably out exploring new things to do and places to visit. You can find her on Instagram at @darleensy.
food + drinks by Sam Potenciano

Here’s What’s Inside Manila’s First Healthy Snack Subscription Box

Raw Bites delivers handpicked mystery snacks from across the globe straight to your doorstep.

Snack time can be real dangerous territory, especially when juggling office hours tends to lead to bottoming out and mindlessly reaching for whatever crunchy, salty thing will tide you over ‘til the end of the day. For Raw Bites co-founders Gail Go and Jane Dee, finding a convenient, accessible way to provide clean workday fuel to the Metro became their top priority.

“We really wanted to be an importer of healthy snacks in the Philippines, but we didn’t want to just put up some grocery store,” co-founder Gail Go says. “We landed on the idea of the subscription model because it felt like a new, hip, and relevant way to reach our target market.” Raw Bites was conceived in the same vein as other popular subscription services before it, like L.A.’s Loot Crate (the heavily podcast-promoted start-up that delivers pop culture collectibles to your doorstep) and London’s Birchbox (which curates monthly themed boxes of sample sized beauty products).Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 4.25.07 PMBy the 28th of each month, Raw Bites subscribers get to place orders for either a regular (up to 10 snacks) or premium box (up to 15) that then gets shipped to their doorstep by the first week of the following month. Inside is a surprise assortment of curated snacks from different health food brands from all over the world. “First of all, we try everything, so the only things that make it into the box are products that we personally love and believe in,” Go shares. “We make sure we hit certain categories every month as well—like bars, cereals, crackers, and drinks.”

“We also want to do something that’s more holistic, so inside you won’t just find snacks, but also recipes and vouchers for fitness trials and even apparel discounts,” Dee adds. “We wanted to create the complete package to complement your healthy snacking habits.”

A few of the treats that await subscribers once they receive this month’s globally-sourced box: Pic’s Peanut Butter Slug (New Zealand), Rude Health’s Beetroot bar (UK), Take Root’s Dark Chocolate Brownie Bliss Balls (Philippines), and Raw Cocoa’s Coffee Chocolate with Mulberry bar (Poland). Go and Dee are happy to report that they try to squeeze in one locally-made snack into each order.

The first thing I reach for when I open up my box? A packet of Jealous Sweets Grizzly Bears—vegan, gluten-free gummies made with cane sugar and raspberry, pineapple, and blackcurrant juice—a far cry from the bag of jalapeno chips from Mini-Stop that I’d normally settle on, but tbh, just as satisfying.

Sam Potenciano
Sam Potenciano
Sam is the digital editor of L’Officiel Manila. Formerly the founding editor of The Neighborhood and the editor-in-chief of Candy magazine, she is also a columnist for The Philippine Star's Young Star section. Follow her on Instagram at @sampotenciano.
food + drinks by Emil Hofileña

Junk Has Never Been This Good

Honest Junk’s all natural, guilt-free snacks aim to make your favorite childhood treats healthier, tastier, and way more affordable.

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.HJ 2Thankfully, 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.HJ 3

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

Emil Hofileña
Emil is a staff writer at Rogue Media. He spends way too much time and money watching movies, crying to Hamilton, and fawning over Carly Rae Jepsen. He believes all stories are worth telling. Follow him on Youtube at youtube.com/cinemil and on Twitter at @EmilHofilena.