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Healthy, wealthy and wise. But healthy first.

This is my bike. Behind it is Emily's.

One of the things I wanted to focus on when I decided to take a short break from working was my health.

I don't think I've ever been in worse shape in my entire life. A sedentary lifestyle, work stress, poor eating habits, and suppressing many feelings have all led to my being my unhealthiest self ever.

It's not even about looks at all. It's about ensuring that I will be able to do the things I love to do, like travel (trekking in Batad, anyone?) and write (ugh, brain fog) for as long as I live.

So, when I got back from the States (where, I have to confess, like many visiting Filipinos, I ate too much) and after I got over my jet lag (it took me two weeks!), I dragged myself out of bed and made a pact with one of my best friends, Emily, to get healthier or die trying.

We're on our third Wednesday now of walking in the morning.

We've designed Wednesdays to be the day we'd touch base with our progress. We're accountability partners, each other's reminder that we made commitments to ourselves and we should keep those commitments. So far, it's been working for me.

I didn't suddenly turn into a health freak, but regularly talking to a friend about my health goal has helped me be more consistent in my actions.

On our first Wednesday together, Emily and I also bought secondhand folding bikes. Em doesn't know how to ride a bike, and I've promised to teach her. I'm quite thrilled with my bike. While I don't see myself biking long distances, I'm looking forward to at least biking around the village, running errands, and visiting my nieces.

So far, I've ridden it up and down our street. It's taking me some time to muster up enough courage to go on the main roads, but I don't even have a helmet yet, so that's okay.

I've also started taking smoothies for breakfast. It's supposed to, first, help me transition to a more plant-based diet, and, second, give me a palatable way to take in turmeric and virgin coconut oil. I tried making a turmeric mango smoothie and a turmeric ginger smoothie with some avocado.

I'm happy with this steel straw, too.

Lastly, I've also been learning to cook with more vegetables. A few weeks ago, I watched the film Forks Over Knives and was convinced to make my diet more plant-based. I'm still not sure if I will ever turn vegetarian, but I've been feeling better eating more raw and plant-based food.

My first attempt at pinakbet.

I've found that when I prepare my own food, eating healthier is easier and becomes habitual. I also teach myself to come up with flavors I crave so I can whip up my own substitutes. Today, for example, I was craving chips. I looked up some recipes online and tried making my own microwave sweet potato chips, replacing the spices with ground cumin and chili powder.

I shared a picture on Instagram, but I'm so pleased with how it turned out, here's the picture again:

Goodbye, Lay's! I think.

The next recipe I really want to master is laing. Coconut cream is really wonderful when you're trying to cut down on the consumption of meat. It's fatty enough to make you feel you're still eating a rich dish.

So far, I've lost five pounds. It's not much, but it's progress. I'll keep you posted.

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