The Tiny Chia Seed

The funny thing about adulthood is that sometimes, childish fears come back to haunt us…comically. I remember that as a child, one of my greatest fears was swallowing the seed of any fruit. Somehow I had believed in the idea that seeds grow when planted—and thst they could grow anywhere.

So one day, I happened to swallow a seed. I don’t remember if it was a lanzones seed or a santol seed, but I remember it was summer, and all the fruits were in season, and I had swallowed a seed. I was terrified. I imagined a tree growing out of me and taking root in my belly, its leaves branching out from my limbs and orifices. I was a child, after all, and the thought of becomig half-tree half-human terrified me. In hindsight, I should have been glad.

Today, though, nuts and seeds are a regular part of my diet. One tiny seed in particular, has caught my interest: the chia seed.

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I’ve heard about chia seeds for some time now, but I never realized how versatile and easy to prepare this nutrient-rich food is. For a month now, I have experimented with different ways of using chia: as a drink, as a pudding, or sprinkled on top of my breakfast yogurt and fruit parfait.

The recipes I share are recipes I have tweaked from various blogs.

Coconut Chia Fresca

coconut water (fresh) from one coconut
1 teaspoon calamansi or lemon juice
1 tablespoon chia seeds

Almond or Cashew Milk Chia Pudding

half a cup almond milk (homemade is best)
one tablespoon chia seeds

For both recipes, it is best to mix chia thoroughly, then wait 15-30 minutes before eating or drinking, to allow the chia seeds to absorb the fluids and form a gel.

Enjoy!

Unending love; Amazing grace

I missed my lola (grandmother) terribly yesterday.

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one of my favorite photos of lola, which I captured right at her moment of pure joy

One of the songs we sang in church was the song my brothers and I chose to sing for her, during her posthumous birthday celebration, a mere three days after she passed away in November.

I missed my lola so much because even though she lived far away from us, she represented a huge part of my history, the only remaining link I had to my lolo (grandfather) and their collective memories of decades past. I also missed my lola because it is April and two weeks from today, she would have been at my graduation (or at least I would have given her my medal.)

As tears ran down my cheeks, what comforted me was the same song that drew me to tears:


My chains are gone, I’ve been set free
My God my Saviour has ransomed me.
And like a flood, Your mercy reigns;
Unending love, amazing grace.

How beautiful it is to know that someone you love has a personal relationship with Jesus and has received him as Lord and Saviour before they breathed their last breath. My lola is far from being the perfect mother or grandmother, or even wife. She admits to her faults, one of them being her temper. But I too am aware that during her sunset years, she openly chose to follow Jesus’ teachings. My lola clearly had a relationship with Jesus, her Saviour.

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Scripture from the New Living Translation of the Bible. Graphics from K-Love Radio.

As I tearfully sang this song today, I felt grateful. My lola is free of her chains, of the toil and earthly sorrow. She is now with Jesus in Paradise. I miss her, but I know that she is with Him. She has been ransomed and set free. Now forever with her Saviour.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, Who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.
Will be forever mine.
You are forever mine.

The Story of Happy

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Rosa, my sparkly pink bike named after my late grandmother

Oftentimes we are not aware of the ripples of happiness that our positivity brings. Take this story, for example.

Back in November 2013, while in deeop conversation with my brother over the things that we want in life, we both agreed that there was nothing else we really wanted. We have everything we need and there are few things we really want. I told him the only thing I wanted was a bike. He knew I had been wanting this for a while: a pink or red Japanese bike with curved handlebars, a little basket, and a little girl helmet for when I was leisurely taking my bike for a sunny ride outdoors. In December, for my birthday, he surprised me with one.

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Surprise!

Ever since, I have been riding my bike as often as I could. I would do my groceries with her. I would go to the nearby mall, or go to my bank, or even my neighborhood spa, all on my bike. Recently, with the help of seasoned biker friends, I took my bike (or she took me) 17 kilometers around the city, from my home to Makati’s central business district. Riding my pink bike makes me happy. And I have a quaint brown-leather helmet to match.

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With Sir Potch and Sir Arnel, bike buddies.

But who knew that my little pink girl-bike was also making someone else happy?! Yesterday, my friend Eula tagged me in an illustration made by her little sister.

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Happy is a journey by The Story of Happy

I almost squealed with excitement! It looked exactly like how I would imagine my bike and I to be illustrated, helmet, pink sunset and all! Then, Eula revealed something to me: my bike was her sister’s inspiration for their theme in The Story of Happy.

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I’m so delighted to know that my being happy has caused this little ripple of happiness. I am sharing it with you.You never know how many ripples of happiness your own happiness brings.

Sports brands are not the point

I always feel a sense or irritation disappointment when, after finding out that I am into some kind of physical activity or sport, be it running, hiking, or biking, people ask, ” What brand (insert sports equipment here) do you have?”

On a very personal level, I engage in sports not because I’m sporty (I still feel like a girly girl), not because I dream of becoming a professional althlete, but because the sport makes me happy and my body healthy.

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My point exactly. (grabbed from facebook)

I took up running because after my first 5k run, the high was just something I had to have again. For someone who used to be hugely sedentary and cerebral, a 5k was such a feat. For that first run, I wore my old running shoes, a pair of jogging pants, and the race t-shirt I got from the then-cheap php250 ($6) registration fee.

Of course, in my succeeding runs, I decided to get new shoes which I broke in, new running skorts, etc. But my consideration for buying these gear, was not the brand, but my comfort, wearability, and durability. I felt more comfortable running in skorts as they covered my butt (yup, I want them covered!), and although many of my running friends swear by one or two brands, my feet personally weren’t comfortable with those shoe brands, so I shopped around for my own. It was not the brand or the name of the shoe that was important. It was comfort that meant more to me.

Other people though, rave about sports gear technology. New research that will make you run faster, that will trace your hearbeat and laps and gps locations, that will give you more mileage, will make you feel lighter, that you will have to pay an extra good deal of money for. Which is all good, really—if you are a professional althlete and all those technological thingies will really make a millisecond difference to your time and performance. But for me, I run (and bike) only for the joy of it, not to win races and accummulate medals. The millisecond difference will only be wasted on my non-professional, enthusiast-only run or bike.

So I go for comfort, safety, durability, and practicality, regardless of brand.

The other day, someone asked me: What brand of bike do you have? Is it titanium?”

I really don’t know what brand I have (it’s a Japanese bike that’s a gift from my brother), and I’m quite sure my heavy sparkly-pink Rosa isn’t made of titanium frames. But surely, a slow, beginner, weekend and errands rider like me will waste good money on a titanium bike so light if I can’t even speed up enough to go beyond the sixth gear on my current one. I shall reserve titanium bikes and hyper-techno running shoes and all their lovely brandedness for the professionals.

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me and my sparkly-pink Rosa

After all, a long-time running friend once told me,

“Expensive shoes help, but it’s not the shoes that will run for you. Your feet will still do the running.”

And as long as my feet (and legs and butt) are comfortable, as long as my sports equipment and gear allow me to love my active, healthy lifestyle, I will not be asking people about their “brands.”

We engage in sports not to show off expensive brands, not to flaunt our lifestlye. We engage in sports in order to be happy; to feel positive; and to be physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually fit. Sports brands are not the point. They never were.

Riding in the van with one boy

One of my favorite moments with this one boy is riding in the van with him. The boy I am referring to is my daddy.

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daddy in the van

Riding to work with dad at the wheel is like listening to a history lesson in full color and with accompanying soundtrack. His constant companions (at the wheel or at home while reading a book) include Simon and Garfunkel, Ray Connif, Matt Monro, Don Mc Lean, Cosby Stills Nash and Young, The Lettermen, and the Beatles. With their music playing in the background, dad would recall various moments in history that pertain to each song, each era, and he would replay little-known facts and explain well-curated lessons he learned in life. Even the songs and the music we listen to become lessons in life for his little dreamer princess. Of all these lessons, the best lesson that I have learned from my daddy is on how to be happy.

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image grabbed from facebook

He is in fact the happiest, most optimistic, positive person I know. He loves telling stories and I realize that even though dad never picked up a storybook to read to me as a child, his many real-life stories have helped me to see the world through his eyes.

Music being his only other interest next to food and reading, dad often tells of how he learned to play the harmonica. He didn’t learn it from some fancy music school or as a course in college. No. He learned how to play the harmonica on his own in order to entertain himself while he used to wait in line for his water pails to fill up at the local watering hole in his native Surigao. Among the many pearls of value that I learned from this often-told story are initiative, self-reliance, contentment, and self-motivation. Early on, dad had mega doses of these all on his own.

Another story that dad often recalls with fits of laughter is how his prankster brother, Uncle Baby used to scare him as he washed dishes in their dirty kitchen at night. One time, he was so scared that he ran out of the kitchen and out of sight…leaving the now-confused Uncle Baby to wash the dishes for him. It is during these funny recollections that I most enjoy hearing daddy laugh. Usually, he breaks into fits of laughter even before he delivers the punchline. Yes, daddy sure has a way to relieve himself of troubles and stress through his own comic-relief. It is through stories like these that I learned not to take myself too seriously. There is humor in everything, as long as you are able to laugh at yourself.

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Daddy making a wish on his 59th birthday

During family gatherings or at times when the family is enjoying a little too much ‘luxury’, dad would sometimes share how, as a child, his only dream was to drink a bottle of sweet, syrupy Coke. He grew up in a household headed by a simple government health inspector, and, although their family owned land, there were lots of mouths to feed and some of the things my brothers and I then-considered “needs” were luxuries to their family. I remember dad telling us how he used to go to school hungry and in mis-matched slippers, or how he used to sell ice drop, eventually finding ingenious ways to sell even the melted ones in order to earn money for his elementary school needs. Such was dad’s persistence and creativity.

Riding with dad to work is always a pleasant memory. My alonetime with him while driving allows me a glimpse of the dreams my dad continues to dream of, especially now that he is turning sixty. He’s long had his bottle of sweet Coca-Cola, for sure. From his humble tales of being a janitor in high school, he worked to finish college as a National State Scholar and earned himself an MBA from the Asian Institute of Management afterwards. He graduated with Distinction, an honor equivalent to a cum laude. Long gone are the days when dad used to hang around outside their neighbor’s window to watch TV. Dad now has other, grander dreams, not only for himself, but for his now-adult children. For us. For me.

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dreaming with daddy as we welcomed 2014 in Tagaytay

I remember how, dad would accompany me, a fresh graduate, over breakfast a McDonald’s so I could wait out my initial fear of the corporate world each morning before logging in at 9am. I wasn’t used to logging in 9 hours a day, 5 days a week, as UP only had a four-day schedule and my classes allowed me much free time. This he patiently did until I had gotten used to the daily work routine. I suppose it is these moments with dad, these moments of listening to his dreams, at once simple and grand, that allowed me to absorb most of his outlook.

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two optimists being silly

His is an outlook that seems to never dim. Through all the hardships I’ve seen my daddy go though —from unreasonable bosses to unscrupulous business partners, from losing his parents to losing some of his siblings, through his children’s various heartbreaks (yes,mwe’ve gone through them, too) and struggles—his spirit has never dimmed. During the darkest of moments, when money was scarce and bills seemed to be growing on trees, I saw how his outlook shone brighter, how his strength of spirit withstood these obstacles. And this is why I love my daddy: because he always finds the good in every circumstance, in every person. Growing up, I will always remember how daddy found the best parts of me, even when I felt that others had already beat him to it.

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Dad's toughness is in his optimism

How can one not love my daddy? Everywhere we go, he exudes a certain charisma. He draws people in by humbling himself, by remembering their name and what makes them feel important. This goes for people of all kinds, all professions, all social statuses. Whether he is meeting an executive, a president, a janitor, a security guard, or a mailman, daddy would treat everyone with the same unbiased compassion. My daddy remembers them and they remember my daddy. He is so sure of his identity that he is able to help others define their own.


Wherever he goes, he brings with him the quiet, assured confidence of a man not made by his inheritance or by his riches, by his titles, his cars or gadgets. He exhibits no need for any form of status symbol, and I have always been proud to know that. His quiet, self-made assurance comes from his deep wellspring of love for people and his understanding of himself. And the deepest wellspring of all his optimism, his sense of self and accomplishment, is God.

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my daddy enjoying the simple things in life

Happy 60th birthday, dearest Daniel. The best years are upon you.

I love you because you are a dreamer, a doer, a believer, and a thinker. And when I am around you, I need no one else to show me the greatness I cannot see for myself. My future husband has a lot to live up to.

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grabbed from facebook

An Alopecia Story

You’re likely wondering: “How else can a person like her not be positive? She has everything in life including a good family, expanding work opportunities, two degrees under her belt, good health, free time and vacation time, close friends, and very few worries. How else can she not be positive?” Well, I’m not flawless; nobody is. I have Alopecia.

Alopecia is a rare and generally harmless condition where hair on different parts of the body stops growing. Mine has stopped growing in large areas of my scalp. My doctor used to say that alopecia is a genetic disorder, and cannot really be explained. My parents and my brothers all have full heads of hair, so it is beyond explanation why mine has stopped growing, Some alopecia is caused by stress or sickness and can be reversed, but mine is the disorder itself where my hair refuses to grow, despite many medicines, supplements, solutions, herbs that I have tried for decades. Some studies show that some women with alopecia suddenly grow their hair back during pregnancy, but of course, I have yet to see that happen to me (get pregnant). Alopecia is also an auto-immune disease where the reason why hair stops growing is because my body thinks that my hair is a foreign, harmful object, and thus attacks it before it can even grow.

Other than the loss of my hair, I am perfectly healthy, so I really have nothing to complain about. I was diagnosed with alopecia as a teenager, about fifteen years old, but back then, my hair was just thinning out unexplainably. My parents took me to various doctors. We had many medicines and tests. People gave suggestions. My hair continued to thin out and stop growing entirely.

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circa 2008, with my hair pulled back. Derma advised me to go short, but still, the thinning shows. The smile doesn't fade, though!

In 2010, a few months after I decided to wear real-hair wigs as much of my hair had already stopped growing, I finally decided to shave the remaining hair off.

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In church, with mom and my friends, Ate Mila and Ate Gerlyn from NextGen

There was no point in having patches of hair and baldness. I had been wanting to shave it all off for a while anyway, and I wanted to do it for myself, as a sign of courage. My yougest brother encouraged and strengthened me. When I came out in public bald, some people applauded my courage, some were uncomfortable with it, but mostly, I was just happy to have done it, to be free from hair that refused to grow anyway.

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Letting it go, even before Elsa sang about it!

After a few months going around as a skinhead, I decided that I and many of my close friends had been used to it enough and I returned to wearing my human hair wig. Going bald was one of the most liberating experiences in my life, but I needed hair to keep warm, to protect my head, and also to keep people from staring at me and making me an easy target when I travel alone.

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At UP Technohub, having my first photo op with my new hair. This photo got a lot of likes.

I have been wearing my wigs since 2010. They are quite expensive, but very comfortable. I sometimes even forget that I am actually wearing real, human-hair wigs and not hair that grows on its own, from my scalp.

I rarely talk about my condition. Before I began wearing my wigs, only those close to me looked beyond my thinning hair and chose not to talk about it. I always felt that people who looked beyond my hair and accepted me as a healthy, intelligent individual were the ones worth talking to. It was I who broached the topic with the people who didn’t nose around, didn’t ask rude questions. I would choose to tell them my story as i am now telling you.

On the other hand, I learned early on that the curious and the tongue-waggers would always ask questions and pretend to want to help me with my condition. I often secretly rolled my eyes at them, always avoided their questions and curious stares. You wouldn’t stare at a person who has lost his leg, wouldn’t ask someone how he became blind. In fact, it is just rude to stare and to ask questions that do not concern you. It should be the same for people with alopecia. I have learned that the best way to help someone with alopecia or any physical condition at all, is to accept them without prejudice.

I am quite a positive person, really, and for the longest time, it was my family who was hurt more by my alopecia than I was. I used to have a full, healthy head of hair, but after puberty, things changed and I had to find ways to accept it. Most of all, my family had to find ways. We have tried many “miracle cures”, drugs, pills, herbs, lotions, potions. Truth be told, (genetic) alopecia has no real cure except for acceptance, a healthy diet, and a positive outlook. Hair is really just cosmetic, aside from something that protects your scalp and keeps your head warm.

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Look at me with lots of hair. I really love braids. I still do.

My parents wish I had more hair (for my sake), and my brothers, both of whom have full, healthy heads of hair, all wish the condition had gone to them instead as bald men, or men in skinheads are generally more accepted by society. But no, the condition is on me, a woman. I have no hair, or very little of it, and society lauds a woman who has long, shiny, healthy hair. But I despair not. In fact, my family tends to forget nowadays that I am now completely bald. It is a funny thing, really. I make jokes about it. Better to accept it than to mope around negatively. It’s just hair anyway. Despite popular belief that a healthy head of hair signals health, my having alopecia does not render me unhealthy. I still have a healthy body, an active mind, and my limbs, my organs are complete. Some people have it worse and if they can still be positive, why can’t I?

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After a run at Luneta Park, one of the many runs I would take to inspire my friends and family to be fit.

I still don’t talk about it though, just like I wouldn’t dwell on things I cannot change, but my alopecia is not a secret. I just feel that only those who do not ask deserve to know why I am bald, why I believe I am stronger than most people, and the real reasons why I am so positive. This is one of them.

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Swimming hair-free and getting a scalp massage as a skinhead? Just two of the 'perks' of alopecia.

Alopecia is an illness, yes, but it is quite harmless, both for myself and for those I love.

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2014. Longer hair! ^_^

I could have had something worse, but I believe God allowed me this because my spirit can handle it. I have dealt with alopecia most of my life, and I am quite happy, thankful, and hopeful in spite of my lack of hair. As I hope you have noticed, I have never allowed my condition to affect my relationships, my work, and my productivity, my faith in God. In fact, ever since I was diagnosed, I’ve always felt that this verse was meant for me: Luke 12:7

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Counted! So God knows that my hair has stopped growing, too!

All my close friends, family, and even those who have loved me (and whom I have loved) know about my condition. I am loved and accepted beyond belief, and for that, I am thankful. Alopecia or not, I can become the person I truly am.

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Amen.

The Best Place in the Sun

I’ve posted and re-posted this before, in another blog, in another platform, but this bears re-posting over and over again. It is a reminder of my father’s love and his faith. It is a reminder for me when I seek sunshine out of the bleakness of the (metaphorical) daily grind. It is a testament and a prayer. Cheers to finding my place in the sunshine!

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Gulugod Baboy, Batangas, 2014

That is your assignment: to find your best place in the sun. I said “best place,” not “best man.” The latter is the byproduct of the former. -Daniel T. Saracin, June 2006

The journey of a thousand steps ends in a piece of paper

Last week, I received a piece of paper in the mail.

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I was so excited about it that all I could say was, “Wow” and “Wow.” Yes, that’s what I said to the delivery man, after he told me that the parcel was from a school, my university. The parcel was from UP.

While the paper came with a host of other documents (my transcript, and official certificate of graduation, a translation of my undergraduate diploma), it was my graduate diploma I couldn’t help looking at. Five months after successfully defending my master’s thesis and four months after having been declared by the Board of Regents as a graduate, I have been cleared and I finally hold proof in my hands. There it was, my name in stylized cursive letters and my brand new spanking degree printed under it. Master of Arts. I am a master.

I chuckle at the thought, as it makes me feel like a Kung-Fu Ninja in some old Chinese film. I also chuckle at the thought because I don’t feel any different from my previous degree-less, un-mastered self. I am still the same person to my family, my friends, those I love. I am still me. And yet something in me swells with pride as I stare at that paper, because that paper is a reminder of the journey that led me to this moment when I hold the degree in my hand.

That paper reminds me of the many trips I had to take across the city, from Paranaque to Makati to UP Diliman and back. It reminds me of how, tired as I was, I would take naps in the MRT, in the van going home. It reminds me of the times when my now-deceased granny would contribute to my tuition, and of how I would save some of my hard-earned money, not for a vacation, but for a whole semester in school. It reminds me of the hours I spent reading academic, sometimes difficult-to-understand books and papers, and the evenings and early morning hours spent retreating into my thoughts, writing new papers, exploring new ideas in an attempt to submit academic requirements. It reminds me of the many fears I have had to overcome and of the times I would feel so tired, feel so inept, and then ask myself, “Why am I doing this?”

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Dr. Seuss said it right!

It reminds me of the people who would give me encouragement, the ones who tried their best to understand my erratic schedules, the ones who supported me emotionally, and who kept praying for me. It reminds me of the joy I found in discovery, in new ideas, in challenging what I thought I knew. It reminds me of coffee breaks shared with new friends, of discussions with my professors, of learning how to adjust and apply theories in real life. It reminds me of the many little celebrations after each semester of schooling and the weekend mini-breaks that brought me back to reality. It reminds me of the miles I have run, of the prayers I have whispered, and of the things I have asked God for that He has granted me . It reminds me of my initial decision to leave my full-time desk job and embrace the uncertainty of a tenure-less life in the academe, and the freedom from a bundy-clock. It reminds me of the various opportunities given me to teach in new places, to write for new books, to train new students, to meet new people, to explore new places.

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Yes, the journey of a thousand steps ends in a simple piece of paper, but that piece of paper reminds me of the joy of my sacrifice and the many blessings that came with it. And it is not the paper, not the degree that has changed me. Cliche as it would seem, it was the journey that changed me and only I know just how much.

Grain-Free, Low Carb, Cauliflower Crust Pizza

As a kid, I used to hate cauliflower. It was up there on the list with my most-hated vegetables of all time: broccoli, bitter gourd (ampalaya), and cauliflower. Apparently, my hatred for these vegetables was only in my head, as the more I ate of them, the more I realized how tasty they actually were. Now, these three veggies are a staple.

A few weeks ago, my running friend, Reylynne, began posting photos of a grain-free, low carb pizza. I was intrigued. Then I found out that the crust was made primarily of cauliflower, a vegetable that has now become one of my favorites.

After some googling, I found out that cauliflower has been used for quite a number of recipes that call for a low-carb substitute to either rice (grains), or bread, both of which I have been trying to avoid to cut down on my bad carbs.

But you see, I love pizza. How I hate the conflict my brain and tastebuds get into when my dad or my brothers suggest a pizza night. Pizza, with all the veggie toppings is a feast for the tastebuds. But just a decadent slice will send my low-carb efforts into the trash bin and my waistline into extra large.

This recipe, inspired by two or more recipes from the net, is a breakthrough. Not only does it satisfy my high-fiber, low carb requirements, it passed my very picky bosses’ (otherwise known as my brothers) tastes!

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I can't believe how tasty this healthy pizza is!

Ingredients and instructions for the crust:

1 and 1/2 cups cauliflower, grated though a food processor
2 whole eggs
1/2 cup grated cheese
herbs and spices to taste (basil, marjoram, clove, pepper, salt)

In a covered microwaveable container, place grated cauliflower, leaving a hole in the middle for even cooking.
Microwave for 7-8 minutes or until tender.
Mix in eggs and cheese, and sprinkle spices according to taste.
In an oven-toaster pan sprayed with olive oil, pat down the mixture evenly.
Bake for 15 minutes on high or until brown and crust begins to form.

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The crust is ready for its toppings!

Ingredients and instructions for toppings:

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Chilli corned tuna. I wanted beef, actually, but fresh meat wasn't available at the local meat shop. A blessing in disguise!

onions, sliced into rings
olive oil
mushrooms, sliced
bell peppers, sliced
(other vegetables of choice)
chilli corned tuna or cooked meat of choice
chilli sauce or tomato sauce

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I love onions and bell peppers. High in antioxidants, too!

When prepared crust is browned, remove from oven and top with chilli sauce or tomato sauce.
Top with meat, then with vegetables.
Drizzle with olive oil and bake 15 minutes on high.

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Sliced button mushrooms.

Serves 8 slices.

Packing Lunches

Today is going to be quite a long day. Six hours in the classroom equals an exhausted little teacher.

So instead of buying processed, unhealthy, nutrient-lacking foods from the nearest convenience store, I pack my own lunch. Yes, I pack my own lunch. Sometimes, I even pack my own snacks, too.

Some Filipinos look down on packing lunches. I know this because I’ve had someone almost disdainfully ask me, “You bring your lunch?” while looking at my little black lunch bag. However, I don’t mind them. They might think that bringing one’s homemade lunch to work is cheap and un-classy, but I think otherwise. The lunches I bring to work are ten times healthier than the quick lunches I would ever get from a school cafeteria, fastfood chain, or convenience store. And they are just sooooo tasty. It saves me the hassle of having to decide what to eat and having to line up behind a mob of hurried and harried corporate folks as well.

Which brings me to today’s lunch bag contents: whole wheat coconut pancakes and an avocado almond-milk smoothie! I might even add a few pieces of my caveman bars , as a mid-afternoon snack. =)

For my avocado smoothie, I bottled up my usual liter of almond milk, leaving about 250 ml in the blender. I added one ripe avocado to the blender. To make it a little more sweet, I added a tablespoon of raw honey from mom’s pantry.

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can't wait to fill up with this creamy smoothie!

For my pancakes, I used one package whole wheat pancake mix, added 1 and 1/2 cups coconut flour, two eggs, about three tablespoons soaked flaxseed meal (used as an egg-replacement), one cup water, and about four tablespoons olive oil.

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one of the best-tasting pancakes I've ever had, hehehe

My brother, who usually avoids my healthy food, liked this fiber-rich, healthy pancake too. So much that my pancakes, well, they sold like pancakes!

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look at all those grains packed into my pancakes