On the second floor, above Earth Origins Marketplace in Westgate Alabang, is a cafe that serves delicious, healthy and organic meals. Earth Origins Cafe has quickly become a favorite of mine, and it’s not unusual to see me there with family or friends, eating, laughing, and having fun. Why do I keep coming back to this place? Here are 5 reasons.
1. They open early.
Any place that I can run to for some quiet time after the craziness otherwise known as morning preps and school drop off, gets a great big YASSS from me. The cafe opens at 8:30, which means I can sneak in for a quick breakfast, a nice dose of fresh juice, or even just a hot cup of organic, locally-grown coffee before I face the rest of my day.
Speaking of breakfast, Earth Origins does this amazingly. There are sausage platters, organic eggs, homemade breads, and smoothie bowls. You can get pancakes. You can get Kesong puti. And you can indulge without the guilt. Some of the best breakfast plates I’ve had here are the Organic Bratwurst, the Chicken Pattie on Homemade Camote Pandesal, and the Chicken Sausage.
I love having breakfast at Earth Origins, especially with my girlfriends. We can sit there all morning, and just talk, and eat, and eat, and talk. It’s really a fantastic way to start the day.
3. You can buy your favorite things from the cafe at the marketplace downstairs.
Confession: I have been known to hoard sausages from the Earth Origins freezer because I liked them so much when I had them at the Cafe. I think it’s wonderfully convenient that I can take home the things that I like (like the pork chops, organic chicken for roasting, veggies, and lots of other things,) and make them at home whenever cravings hit.
4. The lunch and dinner options are just as fantastic as their breakfast menu.
When at Earth Origins Cafe, you must try the Korean Style Fried Cauliflower and the Organic Grilled Pork Chop. TRUST ME. Also on top of my list of favorites are the Bleu Cheese Burger, the Crabstick and Mango Wrap (their Probiotic Keffir Sauce is amazeballs), and the Protein Boost Salad (I love that Summer Herb Vinaigrette, which you can buy from the marketplace also!)
I’m the kind of person who asks a lot of questions, and likes to interact with people in a store. The staff at Earth Origins has always been so nice to me, answering my questions and helping me out when there’s something I can’t find. One time, I even left a bag of red rice behind, and I didn’t realize it until I got home. Total Mombrain! When I came back few days later, they gave me my forgotten bag of rice, and even joked that I should really remember to take it home this time. That is certainly my idea of great service!
If you haven’t tried Earth Origins yet, I really think you should! I’ve gone there with my boys, and they both enjoyed. I’ve had lunch there with my mom who isn’t a fan of health food (sorry, mommy) and she happily enjoyed everything we ordered. My friend, Camille, actually came back a few days after we had breakfast there, so that she could try something else from their menu. I really love this place, and I’m glad I’ve been able to share it with people that matter to me, too.
A friend once asked me when and where I do my grocery shopping. My short answer was, “On many different days, and in many different places.”
I know, this does not sound convenient at all. But I’m rather particular when it comes to groceries, so I prefer to get certain things from certain places. The challenge, usually, is working the different shopping trips into my (already complicated) weekly schedule. But I’d rather do that than work with produce and products that I don’t really like. Makes sense?
One of the newer places I’ve started going to is Earth Origins Marketplace + Cafe in Westgate, Alabang. I’ve just started switching some of our fridge and pantry items to organic and free-range, and Earth Origins has proven to be an ideal one stop shop for the things that I need.
Why the change? Basically, it’s for numerous health reasons. My joints are upset that I’ve been holding on to all this baby weight for the last twelve years, for starters. And then there’s the issue of our fussy skin and the never-ending eczema problem we have to deal with at home. I’m also slightly freaked out over how often we get news of family or friends getting sick or passing away.
Improving the way we eat is one of the best ways I can think of to address all of these. Food can heal, you know? I really believe that. And, even if I grew up in a doctor’s house, I don’t believe in the whole, “May gamot para dyan” mentality. Neither does my family, actually. We understand that prevention is much better than having to find a cure. And so, here I am, trying to put that into practice.
Okay, back to Earth Origins. I first read about this store online, back when the only branch they had was in Greenhills. And then, at last November’s Mothers Who Brunch event, I found out that they opened a store in Alabang.
Some people have asked me about this wondrous place, since (as you’ll see on my Instagram) I’m there A LOT. I come to Earth Origins to eat and to shop. I’ll be writing about the cafe soon, but for this post, I’d like to focus on the marketplace. I’m a firm believer that wellness begins at home, and whenever I have the chance to shop at Earth Origins, it makes it easier for me to transform our home into a healthier one.
Like I said earlier, you can get almost everything you need at Earth Origins. They have fruits. They have veggies. They have rice, and other grains like Adlai. You can buy meat, poultry, and eggs there, too, along with wild-caught fish and seafood. For breakfast, they have organic sausages and bacon. There’s a wide selection of snacks and drinks in the store, and even sauces, condiments, and spices. Guys, they even have all-natural home cleaners and personal care products. And organic wine. Yaaaasss WINE!
When you shop at Earth Origins, you can be sure that you are taking home products that are:
Organic and all-natural
Free of chemical fertilizers and pesticides
Hormone-free and antibiotic-free
And responsibly grown and raised
Everything here is pure, simple, and ideal for those who wish to live and be better. Promoting a healthy lifestyle through healthy eating is really what this place is all about. It’s truly what I need and want in my life right now.
I know that I’m not exactly the poster child for healthy living, but I am trying. Small, sustainable steps towards positive change, that’s what I’m after. And I think I’ve been doing okay so far.
I thought I’d end this post by sharing some of my favorite things from Earth Origins. Obviously I haven’t been able to try everything from their shelves yet, so I’m sure that I still have a lot of fantastic products to discover beyond these. Like the organic wine. Lol.
Let’s be honest, organic produce is a little more expensive than the typical veggies you can get at the market or grocery store. But, for me, some things just have to be bought organic. Lettuce is one of them because you eat it raw, and the leaves are exposed to any fertilizers and pesticides used when they’re grown.
Earth Origins has an awesome selection of lettuce, and other salad veggies like kale, red cabbage, beets, carrots, and cherry tomatoes. Trust me when I tell you that they are pretty affordable for organic produce. Bonus: They have an awesome selection of bottled homemade salad dressings too. The Summer Herb Vinaigrette is my favorite.
Come in the morning if you want to try their bottled cold-pressed juices. These disappear pretty quickly. There are three kinds – Red, Orange and Green. I don’t actually remember what’s in each one, but I know the Red juice has beets and apple, the Orange has citrus fruits, and the Green contains Kale. Sorry, kulang info! But I can tell you that they each offer unique health benefits, so there.
Amala Natural Laundry Powder and Fruit & Vegetable Wash
These two, I really cannot live without. I’ve written about my eczema issues before, and how commercial laundry detergent is really bad for my skin. I love that I’ve found an option that is gentle, and smells amazing, too. The scent reminds me of clean baby clothes, actually.
As for the fruit and vegetable wash, I use this on the non-organic produce that I buy. I’d truly like to believe that this makes a difference, and that a lot of the harmful chemicals and dirt that might be in my fruits and veggies get washed away when I use this product.
Organic Sausages and Bacon
I love breakfast, and I love having sausages for breakfast. Bacon, I can actually live without, but not sausages. My boys, they love bacon, and they love that I’ve started buying it again. I’m so happy that Earth Origins has a nice selection of organic breakfast meats. It makes me feel a lot less guilty about our indulgent weekend breakfasts at home.
I don’t buy chicken from the market because I feel uncomfortable about the way they are stored and displayed there. Usually, I go for trusted chicken brands in the supermarket. I recently got some free-range chicken thighs from the Earth Origins freezer, though, and I have to say I’m happy with it. I really think free-range chicken tastes better, which is why I like to use it for dishes that don’t require a lot of seasoning, like simple roasts.
I’m already looking forward to my next Earth Origins shopping trip because, as I said, there are still a lot of things left for me to discover there. I’ve never been so enthusiastic about overhauling our food at home, which is a very good sign. I hope I can keep this going!
Do you guys shop organic, too? Where do you get your stuff from, and what do you buy?
I know, I know, I know, 35 is not old. But believe me when I tell you that there are days when I feel old. This morning, for instance. I woke up with really sore leg muscles from nonstop jumping with my goddaughter, Luna. Not to mention, my right knee has been clicking lately, my back achey, and my plantar fasciitis is back with a vengeance. Ugh.
When asked what I can do about my aches and clicks, our trusty family doctor had only one piece of advice: Lose some weight. Yes. Okay. Yes. Fine.
No, I won’t be jumping on the Keto bandwagon or going Bulletproof anytime soon. I know myself well enough to understand that the only thing that will work for me is a sustainable and permanent lifestyle change involving more balanced meals, more whole foods, and a lot less snacking and fastfood.
The change has to be slow but steady. It has to be something I will actually enjoy learning about and doing, something I can do constantly without feeling kawawa, and something that does not involve elimination or deprivation. And it has to start from me, at home.
The first step was an assessment of my fridge and pantry. While I’ve successfully kept our canned and processed items at a minimum, I realized that we could use a little extra fresh produce. Of course, if I buy more that means I need to cook, serve, and eat more of these fruits and veggies. They don’t last forever, after all, and there’s nothing more frustrating than having to throw away forgotten food. I hate it when that happens, actually. It makes me feel like some sort of failure. OA, but true.
So, after assessing came meal planning, budgeting and shopping. Now, many people think that eating healthy is expensive, but it really isn’t, especially when you’re cooking most of your meals at home. I’ve been able to see that for myself. It’s just a matter of choosing ingredients wisely, making the most of what you have, and knowing where to go to buy what you need at great prices.
Most of the time, you will find me food shopping at the wet market or palengke. There are some things that I can’t bring myself to buy there, though, and some things that I just can’t find there. Lettuce, for example. I feel like you should always, always get organic lettuce. Same goes for veggies and fruits eaten raw and unpeeled. Chicken and eggs, too. Free-range is the way.
I first found out about Earth Origins at last November’s Mothers Who Brunch event. They generously provided the delicious veggies that were served during the event, plus more goodies for us to take home. After that, I found myself coming back several times to eat, and each time I was there I would browse through the shelves, chillers, and freezers of interesting produce and products.
Eventually, I fell in love with the place. When I did, I knew it was the start of something new for me. The start of something good, dare I say. Change is coming to my diet, yes it is. Slowly but surely, it is.
This past week was officially the beginning. You can see by my Instagram posts that I’ve been trying very hard to serve and eat vegetables with every meal. For some extra encouragement, I picked up a couple of bags of fresh goodies from Earth Origins last Wednesday.
So far, here’s what I’ve been able to make with my haul: Three bright, colorful salads. A crisp and tangy cucumber side salad. And a really, really, super yummy baked chicken and chorizo lunch that the boys absolutely loved. Oh, and we’ve had organic bacon and bratwurst for breakfast, too, also from Earth Origins. Winning!
I still have several fresh ingredients in my fridge that I will be cooking up in the next few days, plus a pack of chia seeds for my homemade granola. I’ve pretty much immersed myself into this – Researching, experimenting, cooking, and eating. It’s been fun (and yummy!) so far.
The boys are happy with what we’ve been eating, thank goodness. And I feel like we’re all feeling good after a week of eating more fresh, organic food. Hopefully my joints and legs also start feeling better soon. I think I’m extra motivated to keep going because I’m not just doing this for me. More importantly, I’m doing this for them, too. Food is my love language, after all, and this kind of food is loaded with oh so much love.
Because of certain, unforeseen issues that have been springing up, I find myself having to make a conscious effort to break up with one of the greatest loves of my life – bread.
Lol. Ang drama diba? But seriously, my life and pantry are in for a big change.
Our family doctor (aka my dad) advised us to try shifting to a gluten free diet, in the hopes that this will help cure Little MrC’s never-ending rashes. Because the seasons are changing again, rash-y days are here for us both, and it’s as ugly as it is uncomfortable.
I grew up dealing with the same skin issues that my kid is going through now, so I know how hard it is not to scratch all the itchy bits. Scratching makes things worse, though, obviously. So it’s really a struggle. For a while, when I was younger, I became dependent on my steroid ointment, and I really don’t want the kiddo to end up the same way. It’s both bad for you and expensive in the long run kasi.
So, our best bet right now is this diet shift. We are going gluten free (GF). It’s worth a try. Plus, abstaining from gluten is supposed to help with other things, too, like bloating, migraines and low energy levels, so this sounds like a good change to make.
Honestly though, I don’t see us making a 100%, no turning back transition, for practical reasons. But I will do as much as I can to limit gluten in our meals from now on. Starting with bread.
Oh, my bread and pastry-loving heart. Breakfast buffets are never gonna be the same. But, on the upside, because I bake, I hope to eventually make GF bread myself at home. Super huge challenge, I know, but I’m up for it. Also, in a few weeks, I feel like I’ll be able to call myself a puto-making expert. Lol.
A photo posted by MrsC | Patricia Cuyugan (@mrspcuyugan) on
I’m still a little clueless as to how this is gonna go, so I’m holding off on posting any meal plans until I have things figured out. It is daunting, but I’m lucky that I have friends who already are gluten free, and are super willing to answer my questions. There also are countless resources online for recipes, hacks, tips and tricks. Thank God for the interwebs.
It’s gonna be worth it. It’s gonna be worth it. It’s gonna be worth it. Yes, I still have to keep reminding myself, because a life without cake, ensaymadas, doughnuts and sandwich bread is my idea of a sad life. But hey, if it’s for the good of the kiddo, I’m all-in. Isipin ko nalang, the results could make me far happier than bread has ever had. Right?
Wish me luck, guys. And follow along on our gluten free journey! I’ll be using the hashtag #theglutenfreeproject on IG.
Anyone out there living a gluten free life? Please send me links to your favorite GF websites and social media accounts so I can follow them!