How to Get BACK in Shape After the Holidays Part 2

Want to improve your SHAPE, i.e., lose body fat and retain muscle mass?

Diet + Resistance exercise is the best strategy compared to diet alone or Diet + Endurance exercise, according to a meta-analysis of 66 studies! [1]

Last week we talked about getting back to a healthier diet after the holidays through nutrition, now let me share with you my handy set of exercise tips to help you get back in SHAPE:

S – Spice it up

  • If you are getting bored of your exercise routine, spice things up a little by incorporating something new. For example, you can try listening to music (or a new playlist if you already do) or do your exercise in a different (bit still safe) place with a different view. What’s important is you don’t let boredom stop you from achieving consistency.

H – Hindrances won’t stop you

  • Hindrances won’t be hindrances if you are able to anticipate them. For example, if you plan on taking a jog outside, have a plan B in mind in case it’s going to rain. Your dog chewed your running shoe? (Happened to me once!) Then do yoga or pilates instead. There, no more excuses. 

A – Ask the right people

  • Yes, the answer to your sports and exercise nutrition-related question is just a few clicks away from the internet, but keep in mind that not all information you get are correct, safe and right for you. Dietitians are specialists in food in relation to health. They are legally regulated healthcare professionals so you can trust that you are getting sound nutrition advice based on latest scientific evidence when you ask a dietitian. And oh, some of us do exercise, too!

P – Progress

  • 5000 steps today? Set your mind to doing 6000 steps next week. Danced for 30 minutes? Next time try doing core exercises after your dance. Woke up at 8am today? Tomorrow try waking up 5 minutes earlier and a 5-minute yoga. Keep challenging yourself. Remember, progress is progress no matter how small.

E – Enjoy

  • No matter how effective your regimen is, if it doesn’t “spark joy” or worse, it makes you feel miserable, then you might have to look for another strategy. For example, high intensity exercises can be fun for some but if it makes you feel like throwing up or doesn’t make you look forward to your next exercise session, then it may not be for you. If you don’t enjoy it, there’s a good chance you will not be able to stick to it long enough to make it a habit.

Speaking of joy, one thing that sparks joy for us exercisers is the post-workout snack! So, to help you look forward to every workout, here is a post-workout smoothie that contains the right balance of carbohydrates, protein, and potassium to help you maximize recovery after a tiring resistance training session:

Potato Protein Smoothie

Wait, wait, wait. Potato in a post-exercise smoothie? Why though?

  • Most of us think that we only need protein in the form of protein powders/supplements post workout. But, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada and American College of Sports Medicine, a post-workout snack that contains both carbohydrates and protein can help you build more muscle mass compared to just having protein in your recovery snack [2]. So, let’s get back to my smoothie recipe, shall we? 😉


  • 1 tablespoon dehydrated potato granules
  • ½ piece frozen banana (add ice cubes if you forgot to freeze your banana)
  • ½ scoop or 15 grams protein powder (chocolate flavor)
  • 1 cup soy milk

Combine everything in a blender. Blend until smooth. Done!

Each serving contains:

  • 285 Calories
  • 41 grams Carbohydrates
  • 21 grams Protein
  • 2.3 grams Fiber
  • 454 mg Potassium
  • 25.3 mg Vitamin C
  • 7.6 grams Fat (11% of total calories)
  • 270 mg Sodium
  • 2.5 mg Cholesterol
  • 12.8 grams Sugar

Have fun getting in shape and enjoy your post-workout treat!

This post is sponsored by Potatoes USA-Philippines. All opinions are mine. References are cited below and values for nutrition information are based from the Philippine Food Composition Tables, USDA Food Data Central and product’s nutrition facts panel.


[1] Clark JE (2015). Diet, exercise or diet with exercise: comparing the effectiveness of treatment options for weight-loss and changes in fitness for adults (18–65 years old) who are overfat, or obese; systematic review and meta-analysis. J Diabetes Metab Disord. 2015; 14: 31. doi: 10.1186/s40200-015-0154-1.

[2] D. T. Thomas, K. A. Erdman and L. M. Burke, “Nutrition and Athletic Performance,” Medicine and science in sports and exercise, pp. 543-568, 2016. 

For potato recipes, visit

#potatonutrition #USPotatoPower #potatoesusaphl #potatopower

How to Get BACK in Shape After the Holidays Part 1

How to get B-A-C-K in shape after the holidays:

B – Begin with specific goals

  • Start by setting goals that you want to achieve in terms of your health or health behaviors. For example: “By the end of 2022, I will be cooking my own meals at least once a day during weekdays”. I prefer being specific with my goals because I realized that writing down “I will try to be healthy this year” just doesn’t work.

A – Take Action

  • Even if you have written the smartest goal, if you don’t take action, nothing will happen. So, as soon as you have visualized what you want to achieve, take the necessary action and commit to it. For example, if your goal is to eat better, plan your meals now and search for healthy recipes online, go to the grocery tomorrow and cook a healthy dinner. Write down your goals and strategies now AND take them into action as soon as you can.

C – Be Consistent

  • Similar to a quote by James Clear, getting in shape is not a once-in-a-lifetime transformation but rather a product of daily habits. So, taking action once is not enough. Cooking your meals for one day is not enough. Consistency is king as it helps you build habits, be it daily, thrice a week, weekly or monthly – as long as you do it on a strategically regular basis. For example, cook one meal a day for 4 days every week. Once a strategy becomes a habit, it will take less resistance for you to do it. Motivated or not, keep going.

K – Keep it simple

  • Speaking of resistance, one of the reasons why we stop doing what we started is because we later on realize that our strategies are too difficult, restrictive, expensive or time-consuming. So, as you start, keep your actions simple. For example, if your goal is to cook more often, then search for easy recipes that include minimal, affordable and available ingredients. This way, you’d feel that the benefits of a healthy habit outweigh the cost – time, money, effort – of doing it.

Speaking of affordable and available ingredients, I have been writing and talking a lot about potatoes because:

  1. Some of my posts are sponsored by Potatoes-USA-Philippines (shoutout and thank you @potatoesusaph) and
  2. My advocacy has always been about making good nutrition accessible to Filipinos and this makes potatoes fit into what I am passionate about. Potatoes are:

Affordable – their price hasn’t increased significantly during the pandemic

Available – they are always available in local markets, supermarkets, groceries and online, and

All-around – they can be boiled, fried, roasted, or baked. They can be made crunchy, soft or chunky.

They can be bought fresh, frozen, or dehydrated. They fit well into basic Pinoy dishes or American/Western dishes if you’re feeling extra.

So, to help you start 2022 towards the right direction,

Begin with setting specific goals, Act on them, be Consistent and Keep things simple.

Incorporate simple and nutritious ingredients such as potatoes in your meal preps as part of a healthy diet.

Remember, a healthy diet means:

Balanced – having the right mix of carbs, protein, fats, vitamins and minerals plus fiber

Moderation – because too much of a good thing can still be bad

Variety – aside from potatoes, don’t forget to include other nutritious starches, fruits, vegetables, protein foods and healthy fats and oils.

Let’s bring sexy (and strong) BACK this 2022.

Stay tuned for Part 2 😉

This post is sponsored by Potatoes USA Philippines. All opinions are mine.

For potato recipes, visit

#potatonutrition #USPotatoPower #potatoesusaphl #potatopower

Potato Recipe for Christmas Left-Overs

Creamy Holiday Potato Soup

You might already be looking forward to the holidays – the festive foods shared with the people we love.

But, after the festivities, here goes the inevitable Noche Buena leftovers that sometimes stay in the fridge for days. By then, we are too tired to cook another elaborate dish or umay na with Christmas foods.

Potatoes USA-Philippines sent me potato goodies to try and when I saw the dehydrated potato flakes, I had a lightbulb recipe moment – why not cook something that utilizes the leftovers and warm me up for these chilly days? And so, I came up with:

Creamy Holiday Potato Soup – a quick and easy potato soup that utilizes holiday food leftovers and a perfect post-celebration comfort food.

I have always been wanting to cook creamy potato soup, but I get discouraged by the extra step of blending the potatoes. With this recipe using dehydrated potatoes, it’s so surprisingly easy to make – no extra equipment needed, and I was done in about 20 minutes! 


Creamy Holiday Potato Soup

No of servings: 6


  • 2 cups dehydrated potato flakes
  • 2 slices Christmas ham, diced
  • 1 cup Queso de bola, grated
  • 1 cup Evaporated milk
  • ½ pc White onion, minced
  • 1 cube Chicken broth
  • 1 tsp Black pepper, ground 3 cups water


  1. Sauté diced ham and onion.
  2. Add water and boil. Add milk.
  3. Add potato flakes, cheese and ground pepper.
  4. Mix well for 3-5 minutes until thick, stirring constantly.
  5. Serve topped with ham bits and scallions. Enjoy while hot!

Each serving contains:

  • 224 Calories
  • 32.3 grams Carbohydrates
  • 9.6 grams Protein
  • 1.5 grams Fiber
  • 532 mg Potassium
  • 28.1 mg Vitamin C
  • 9.6 grams Fat (17% of total calories)
  • 575 mg Sodium
  • 28.2 mg Cholesterol
  • 1.3 grams Sugar

Kain po!

This post is sponsored by Potatoes USA-Philippines. All opinions are mine and values for nutrition information are based from the USDA Food Data Central.




Potato Fries Maki

I know we already enjoy potato fries as is and there are a million other ways to enjoy them, but one boring afternoon I thought of a more refreshing way of enjoying my fries. My love for Japanese food kicked in and Potato Fries Maki is born!

Potato Fries Maki by Grace Banal, RND

In my practice as a dietitian, the people I talk to often associate “fries” with an unhealthy diet because these are often deep fried in hydrogenated fats and sprinkled with lots of salt. But this doesn’t always have to be the case.

For example, this potato fries recipe I came up with has so much flavor in it but is not fried and no salt was added. The distinct potato flavor and crunch goes so well with the freshness and sweetness of mangoes and cucumber, the umami of crab sticks and seaweed and the creaminess of just a bit of Japanese mayo. Imagine enjoying fries together with fruit and vegetable as snack – best of both worlds, right? 😊

As a dietitian who create healthy meal plans for clients, potato fries are often requested and I always happily oblige. With a pinch of careful meal planning, a sprinkle of nutritious food ideas and a dash of creativity, potato fries can definitely belong to a nutritious diet.

Potato Fries Maki


300 grams frozen shoestring potato fries

2 pcs crab sticks

1/3 pc cucumber

1/2 pc ripe mango

3 Tbsp Japanese mayonnaise

18 pcs nori sheets


  1. Preheat oven to 475F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Arrange frozen fries in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper. No need to add salt.
  3. Bake for about 30 minutes or until crispy and golden brown (time varies depending on oven). Turn product halfway through baking time.
  4. While the fries are in the oven, cut cucumber, crab sticks, and mango into thin sticks or julienne strips. I prefer to pull thin strings of the crab sticks lengthways with my fingers (you can slice them into strips using a knife).
  5. Once the fries are baked and crispy, place about 3-4 pcs fries on top of the nori sheets and add the crab sticks, cucumber and mango on top.
  6. Top with Japanese mayo and wrap with the nori sheet.
  7. Optional: Sprinkle with sesame seeds or shrimp roe on top
  8. Serve and enjoy.
Potato Fries Maki by Grace Banal, RND

Each serving contains:

            18 grams Carbohydrates

            2.2 grams Protein

            1.7 grams Fiber

            257.6 mg Potassium

            12.8 mg Vitamin C

            9 grams Fat (23% of total calories)

74 mg Sodium

            4.7 mg Cholesterol

            2.7 g Sugar

Kain po!

This post is sponsored by Potatoes USA Philippines. All opinions are mine and values for nutrition information are based from the USDA Food Data Central.




Walang Time?

Pinoys spend an average of 4 hours and 15 minutes each day daw on SOCIAL MEDIA.

Wait. Akala ko WALA tayong TIME mag-exercise? Walang time Magluto?

Chismis time:

Early this year nagpa-survey ako and I asked a total of 126 respondents

“What makes it difficult for you to start/achieve your health goals?”

Atin-atin lang ito ha:

The second most popular answer is LACK OF TIME to prepare healthy foods. First is Lack of motivation/discipline.

Also, I often hear from my nutrition coaching clients that they are “too busy yet” to start or maintain a regular exercise routine.

I can relate to this kaya naisip ko, baka nga BUSY talaga tayo gawa ng madaming trabaho, studies and OTHER IMPORTANT matters.

But when I came across this statistics that Filipino adults spend, on the average, more than 4 hours EACH DAY on social media, naloka ako.

That was more than enough time to exercise and cook healthy foods combined.

Hindi pa kasama ang TV / Netflix / games dito ha.

Naisip ko baka OA lang ito at HINDI AKO GANITO (kalma lang Grace).

So, bilang defensive pero kritikal mag-isip, I tracked my own social media use using an app. Alam nyo anong nadiskubre ko?

Atin-atin lang ulit ito ha:

I was spending MORE THAN 3 FREAKIN HOURS on my phone. Wait what?

Akala ko “I’m too busy” kaya hindi na ako nakakapagwork-out nang madalas ngayon. Akala ko wala akong time.

(Insert Carlo Aquino: Akala mo lang wala, pero meron meron meron!)

Ramdam ko yung sampal ni Ate V!

Kaya ayun, natauhan ako at pinagde-delete ko ang mga social media apps sa phone ko (yes, kahit na may FB page ako, I can post naman sa laptop like I’m doing now).

True enough, after that I was able to DO MORE with LESS SOCIAL MEDIA.

Nakakapagbasa ako ng libro na dati wala akong time.

Nakakapaglaro more with my junakis na dati I’m too busy with work.

Nakakapagreply na sa mga nagmemessage sa akin lol na dati I kennat.

At higit sa lahat, I now have TIME na maglakad-lakad (exercise) at magmuni-muni (meditation) na dati akala ko “I don’t have time for that sh*t”.

I now have more time to do things that really matter.



Kung lagi mong sinasabi sa sarili mo na kaya ka hindi nakakapag-exercise or hindi nakakapagprepare ng healthy food ay DAHIL WALA KANG TIME…

Is that your final answer?

Baka kailangan mo lang tanungin ulit ang sarili mo bhie.


Should we eat potato with its skin on, or is it better peeled?

Whenever possible, I eat potatoes with the skin on. I prefer it this way because half of the fiber content of a potato is in its skin. This also eliminates the peeling step making food preparation faster. (I just make sure the skin is thoroughly cleaned, though). Also, the skin adds variety in texture to the dish, making it more interesting and satisfying.

Not all of the nutrients in potatoes are in the skin, though. Most of the potassium and vitamin C of the potato are contained in the flesh.

So don’t worry if you enjoy yours without the skin.

Clients always ask me for easy breakfast ideas, and I often include potatoes because they’re easy to prepare and give that energy boost in the morning. Here’s a sample menu:

Scrambled Eggs with Tomato

Seasoned Wedge Cut Fries from @potatoesusaphl

Hot chocolate / Tea / Coffee

A piece of fruit

Imagine you have potatoes baking in the oven while you are cooking the scrambled eggs. In just a few minutes you have a sumptuous and nutritious breakfast. Now you’re ready to start a great day.

Yup, potatoes – with or without skin – fit in a nutritious diet.

No time for breakfast? Say no more. 😊

Additional reading:

This post is sponsored by Potatoes USA Philippines. All opinions are mine and references are indicated above.

For more potato recipes, visit

#potatonutrition #USPotatoPower #potatoesusaphl #potatopower

Where do potatoes fit in the Pinggang Pinoy?

When it comes to eating healthy, one handy-dandy guide that we Filipinos can refer to is the Pinggang Pinoy. In this dietary guide, the plate is divided into 3 sections:

Carbohydrate-rich GO foods

Examples are rice, potatoes, kamote, saging na saba, noodles, pasta, breads

Protein-rich GROW foods

Examples are fish, chicken, beef, pork, eggs, beans, nuts

Fiber, vitamin, mineral and antioxidant-rich GLOW foods

Examples are vegetables and fruits

Since potatoes are in the same classification or section as rice, we can definitely have meals where we replace rice with potatoes.

For example, you can have Potatoes (GO) together with Roast Chicken (GROW) and Steamed/Roasted vegetables and Fresh Fruits (GLOW).

This is beneficial if you are looking into adding more variety to your diet in terms of flavor, texture and nutrients.

This is because potatoes with skin contain the following nutrients per 148-gram serving:

  • 110 Kcalories
  • 26 grams carbohydrates with 2 grams fiber
  • 3 grams Protein
  • 27 mg Vitamin C
  • 620 mg Potassium
  • 0.2 mg Vitamin B6 With zero fat, zero cholesterol and zero sodium

Therefore, potatoes fit in a nutritious diet.

For Filipinos, carbohydrate-rich GO foods don’t always have to be rice. There are a wide variety of carbohydrate-rich foods to choose from. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new combinations of GO, GROW and GLOW foods. This way, we can be more confident that we are getting all the nutrients we need in adequate amounts.

So, the next time you sit down for a meal, think of the Pinggang Pinoy guide and compare it with what’s on your plate.

Are your GO foods nutritious?

Are your GROW foods low in sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol?

Do you have enough GLOW foods?

If your answer is yes, yes, yes – then what else can I say – bon appetit and kain po!


This post is sponsored by Potatoes USA – Philippines. All opinions stated above are my own.

Exercise and A Well-Balanced Diet To A Healthier and Happier You

Whenever we’re feeling down or anxious, most of us don’t feel like exercising, right?

Sometimes, we’d rather stay in bed or think a lot about the things that are causing our emotions or anxieties.

But for me, these are the times when we need exercise the most.

This is because cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness are associated with improved physical health outcomes for people experiencing anxiety and depression. This has been shown in a 7-year prospective cohort study that examined associations between cardiorespiratory fitness and grip strength with the incidence of common mental disorders. In fact, low cardiorespiratory fitness and low grip strength were associated higher odds of experiencing common mental health symptoms in this study [1].

So, when anxiety and depression kicks in, I believe this is the time when we should get off the couch or bed, walk or run outside (following covid protocols of course) or do strength training activities at home and keep moving!

And if you do, pat yourself on the back and reward yourself after with a tasty post-workout treat:

Blueberry-Banana-Peanut Butter Ice Candy!

This is actually a left-over from a post-workout smoothie I made one time. I transferred the remaining smoothie into ice candy bags, placed them in the freezer and voila – I no longer have to prepare post-workout snacks each time I finish a workout session. This is perfect for hot and humid days (like everyday in the Philippines).

Here is the recipe for the smoothie which you can make into ice candy (or popsicles!) for future (and more exciting) snacking:

  • 1 cup Blueberries (Fresh or Fresh-frozen)
  • 1 cup Soy milk or any low fat milk
  • 1 pc Banana (sliced into banana coins)
  • 2 Tbsp Peanut butter
  1. Simply put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Transfer to ice candy bags, seal and place in the freezer until frozen.

Blueberries contain essential nutrients such as fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese as well as phytonutrients. Adding peanut butter and milk adds protein for better post-exercise recovery. Hence, this snack is a healthier twist to our usual sugary ice candy. Plus, it’s so easy and tasty that even my 4-year-old picky eater loved it!

Blueberries are delicious, simple, versatile and oh so pretty! Who wouldn’t feel happy nibbling on these cuties, right? Having a healthy and tasty post-exercise snack will surely make you look forward to your next workout session and therefore helps you make exercise a habit.

Exercise and a well-balanced diet contribute to a healthier and happier you. Say goodbye to pandemic blues and say YES to exercise and ENJOY a healthy and tasty snack after.

Whether you’re cooking, snacking, or pursuing healthy habits, blueberries bring back the pleasure and ease that help us to eat well and enjoy our food. Indeed, blueberries are infinitely snackable!

Fresh blueberries from the U.S. are available in stores near you and also offered by online fruit sellers. Get yours now while they’re in season!

Kain po! 😉

This is a sponsored post by USA Blueberries – Philippines (@usblueberriesphl on Facebook and Instagram). All opinions are mine, and references are indicated below:


[1] Kandola AA et al (2020). Individual and combined associations between cardiorespiratory fitness and grip strength with common mental disorders: a prospective cohort study in the UK Biobank. BMC Medicine. Accessed August 8, 2021.

For more information about blueberries:

Is it OK if I don’t eat enough fruits if I am taking multivitamin and mineral supplements?”

People often tell me,

“It’s OK if I don’t eat enough fruits because I am taking multivitamin and mineral supplements anyway.”

My usual response is:

“Supplements are NOT a substitute to healthy eating.”

This is because there are compounds and associated health benefits in fruits beyond vitamins and minerals that we cannot find in nutrition supplements.

Have you noticed that ripe fruits come in an array of greens, yellows, oranges, browns, reds, and purples? The bright colors of edible fruits are caused by the presence of pigment molecules that represent the phytonutrients in fruits.  

For example, the dark bluish-purple color of blueberries is produced by anthocyanin pigment molecules. In fact, blueberries are one of the richest sources of anthocyanins among common fruits (1). Anthocyanins doesn’t only give blueberries their beautiful color – they are also associated with certain health benefits.

In a double-blind, parallel randomized clinical trial that examined the effect of 6-month blueberry intake on insulin resistance and cardiometabolic function in 115 adults with metabolic syndrome, researchers concluded that daily consumption of 1 cup of blueberries resulted in clinically relevant improvements in endothelial function and systemic arterial stiffness in an at-risk population with metabolic syndrome (2).

 Aside from antioxidants, blueberries also contain four essential nutrients:

  • Fiber for heart health, feeling full, and keeping cholesterol in check.  Low fat diets rich in fiber-containing grain products, fruits, and vegetables including blueberries may reduce the risk of some types of cancer, a disease associated with many factors.
  • Vitamin C for a healthy immune system
  • Vitamin K for bone metabolism and regular blood clotting
  • Manganese for converting carbs, protein, and fats into energy

Unfortunately, nutrition supplements cannot mimic the beneficial effects of nutrients and antioxidants from fruits.

So I say again:

Nutrition supplements are NOT a substitute for healthy eating.

This is why, as a nutritionist-dietitian, I always encourage my family, friends, and sometimes strangers lol to eat at least 3-5 servings of fruits a day.

So, here are my

3 T’s to help you make a habit of eating fruits:


Always have fruits on the table – dining table, study table, coffee table, kitchen table, living room table – whatever table you have! Seeing fruits and having them within reach will surely keep you snacking on fruits and not on the salty-sugary kind of stuff.


Don’t be afraid of trying fruits you haven’t tried before. Try different fruits of different colors, textures, and flavors. You’ll never know – your new favorite fruit might be around the supermarket corner. Also, different fruits have different nutrient profiles so trying out every kind that nature offers is a good way of making sure that you’re not getting too much or too little of these nutrients.


Incorporate fruits into your breakfast and snack items. Here is an easy breakfast and snack idea that you will surely love.

Move over Avocado toast, here comes:

Roasted Blueberry Toasts

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1⁄4 cup honey, divided
  •  2 tablespoons olive oil
  •  1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  •  1 teaspoon lemon zest
  •  1 tablespoon lemon juice
  •  4 ounces low-fat cream cheese, softened
  •  4 slices sourdough bread, toasted
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. In a 2-quart baking dish, toss together blueberries, 3 tablespoons of honey, olive oil, thyme, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until blueberries start to burst and juices are bubbly and slightly thickened.
  2. Spread cream cheese over toast. Top with roasted blueberries and drizzle with remaining honey.

Try this, and if you do, please be warned that you will want more! I suggest you double the serving size and set aside some for snacking later in the day.

Blueberries are indeed delicious, beautiful, healthy, simple, and versatile. Whether you’re cooking, snacking, or pursuing healthy habits, blueberries bring back the pleasure and ease that help us to eat well and enjoy our food. Indeed, blueberries are infinitely snackable!

Nagutom ka ano? 😊

Fresh blueberries from the U.S. are available in stores near you and are also offered by online fruit sellers. Get yours now while they’re in season!

Kain po!

This is a sponsored post by USA Blueberries – Philippines (@usblueberriesphl on Facebook and Instagram).

All opinions are mine, and references are indicated below:


  1. Wu X, Beecher GR, Holden JM , Haytowitz DB, Gebhardt SE, Prior RL. Concentrations of anthocyanins in common foods in the United States and estimation of normal consumption. J Agric Food Chem. 2006;54:4069–75.
  2. Curtis PJ, van der Velpen V, Berends L, Jennings A, Feelisch M, Umpleby AM, Evans M, Fernandez BO, Meiss MS, Minnion Met al. . Blueberries improve biomarkers of cardiometabolic function in participants with metabolic syndrome—results from a 6-month, double-blind, randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2019;108:1535–45.

For more information about blueberries:

Cherries, Champorado and Cancer

Cancer runs in our family.

In fact, cancer is the second leading cause of death from lifestyle-related diseases in the Philippines [1][2][3]. Cancer doesn’t only impact our family’s health and well-being – it also ravages our financial stability.

But this doesn’t mean that we will just let cancer win over us. We have the capacity to defend ourselves from cancer. We have a better chance at fighting cancer if we equip our body with the nutrients and other bioactive compounds it needs to help keep cancer cells from growing.

We can do this by adding more foods into our diet that contain cancer and stress-fighting compounds.

For example, more research is suggesting that sweet cherries may possess cancer-fighting properties. Among other compounds, cherries contain ellagic acid and anthocyanins, which appear to be potent inhibitors to the growth of cancer cells.

  • In lab studies, the phenolic compounds of sweet cherries appear to inhibit breast cancer cell growth without toxicity to normal cells.
  • Sweet cherry extracts have been shown to inhibit proliferation of colon and breast cancer cells in several published studies
  • Sweet cherries contain perillyl alcohol – shown to be capable of inhibiting pancreatic, breast, liver, colon, skin and lung cancers – which raises the fruit’s anti-carcinogenic activity.

Aside from health scares, this pandemic has also brought us so much mental stress, right? The good news is that studies have shown that serotonin present in sweet cherries is an important neurotransmitter that reduces stress and improves mood.

With all the health scare and stress that we have gone through lately, we need all the stress-busting and cancer-fighting foods we can get!

So, I thought of elevating our family favorite Champorado to a stress- and cancer-fighting level:


Black Forest x Champorado!

It’s our usual Pinoy Champorado with added milk/cream and fresh sweet cherries! It reminds me of Black Forest cake but with less sugar, more fiber from rice and with stress- and cancer-fighting vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients from sweet cherries.

Cancer usually runs in the family. Yes, we can’t control our genetics but we have the power to enable our body to protect itself from lifestyle-related diseases.

Let’s exert more effort at getting enough of cancer and stress-fighting phytonutrients by eating colorful and flavorful fruits such as sweet cherries.

Super sweet Northwest Cherries are available only a few months a year, and they’re now offered by online fruit sellers and supermarkets.

You can also order your cherry boxes and support a cause at the same time! With Cherries For Charity, $1 worth of Northwest Cherries will be donated to our local medical front liners for every box purchased.

Click here to order:

For more cherry recipes, information about Sweet Cherries and references to health benefits mentioned:

Sweet cherry health benefits:

Cherry recipes:

Kain po! 😊

This post is sponsored by Northwest Cherries Philippines. All opinions are mine and references are indicated below.


[1] World Health Organization . World Health Organization-Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Country Profile. 2018.

[2] Non-communicable diseases.

[3] Angeles-Agdeppa I, Sun Y, Tanda KV (2020). Dietary pattern and nutrient intakes in association with non-communicable disease risk factors among Filipino adults: a cross-sectional study. Nutr. J.