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[Kitchen 143] Have a healthy 2022 with the right mindset – and these vegan treats!

Michelle Aventajado

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[Kitchen 143] Have a healthy 2022 with the right mindset – and these vegan treats!
A healthy diet needs to be supported by other conscientious decisions that have little to do with food

MANILA, Philippines – Everyone is doing their best to boost immunity. I saw this post recently on Instagram: “If you don’t have any friends with COVID, then you don’t have any friends.” I felt both happy and sad when I came across this satirical take on the recent surge in cases here in the Philippines, because yes, I am thankful I have friends, and yes, many of them have been affected by what we are assuming is the newest variant of this dreaded virus. The virus has changed the way we shop for food, the way we hold our meetings, and of course, it has also shifted the way we eat and take care of ourselves as well.

FILLING SALAD. The big kids in our family know that putting everything in one pot or one bowl is my favorite way to feed the family. This includes making a one pot wonder pasta dish, or in this case a bowl of salad that has a ton of veggies and lettuce from Future Fresh, with Italian Salami and California Cheese. Photo by Michelle Aventajado.

Health is wealth.
You are what you eat.
You can heal your body with food.

We know what this means as we spend more time in the kitchen. Shifting our mindset and the way we consume our food can have a wonderfully positive effect on how we feel and is only one part of living a life of wellness.

So where do we start? Michelle Williams from Martha’s Café in Belize City sums it up simply by saying that a healthy diet needs to be supported by other conscientious decisions that have little to do with food. 


Starting your day with quiet time can center your thoughts and set the tone for the day. Meditation reduces stress and anxiety, while balancing emotional health, thereby increasing focus and fostering creativity. Quiet time can also include sitting with your tea and a good book, studying verse, and even listening to music.

SUPER SCOOPS. Healthier non dairy alternatives from The Superfood Grocer offer a wide variety of options for those people who are new to the vegan lifestyle. Photo by Michelle Aventajado.

Any form of movement is not only beneficial physically, it boosts those happy hormones we know as endorphins. Of course, getting your heart rate up can reduce your risk for heart disease, help control weight, and can tone and improve muscle definition. With the proliferation of different exercise channels on YouTube, and the availability of virtual classes for yoga, spinning, and even pilates, it is even easier to make the a healthier choice to move your body.

Live an attitude of gratitude

Shifting your perspective to being thankful is a key indicator that can improve sleep and reduce stress. Ain’t nothing better than counting your blessings, especially during these uncertain times! Counting our blessings is a muscle that needs to be flexed often. Consider starting or ending your day with the different things that you can list and be thankful for. Better yet, invest in a gratitude journal and keep it by your bedside.

Counting my blessings includes being thankful for the ability to share parts of what I love here in the column, and also on the show with people I can learn from. Earlier this week, I was even reminded that we can think about our FOOD differently and shift from a mindset of LACK to a mindset of ABUNDANCE. Chatting with Mirabai this week reminded me of a few things, but I think my biggest take away is exactly that.

SPIRALIZER. Investing in kitchen equipment that makes food prep fun pays off in more ways than one. I picked up this Spiralizer from Vitanutrition years ago. The kids are still intrigued by spiralized veggies and Gelli super loves Zoodles (Zucchini noodles) with pesto. Photo by Michelle Aventajado.

Living a healthy life is more than just preparing healthy food.

But if you want to start with some easy recipes, here are three that are I really enjoy!

WAFFLES. Making these waffles with the vegan alternative of 1 tbsp chia mixed in with 2 tbsp water adds to the health benefits of Matcha. If you would rather have the egg, you can do that too! Photo by Michelle Aventajado.
Vegan matcha waffles
[Kitchen 143] Have a healthy 2022 with the right mindset – and these vegan treats!


  • ½ c coconut cream with 1 Tbsp vinegar to curdle
  • 1 ½ c  organic almond milk
  • ¼ c coconut sugar
  • ½ c desiccated coconut
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1Tbsp matcha powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ c coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp chia soaked in 2 Tbsp water


  • Add all dry ingredients and mix together.
  • Add all wet ingredients and whisk together
  • Let sit for a few minutes while the waffle maker warms up.
  • Spray the waffle maker with coconut oil 
  • Serve with Cashew Maple Cream and fresh fruit.
Fruit smoothie bowl for 2
[Kitchen 143] Have a healthy 2022 with the right mindset – and these vegan treats!


  • 4 pcs frozen ripe Saba
  • 1 c frozen strawberries
  • A splash of Koita Soy milk
  • 1 tsp Maca powder
  • 1 tsp Camu Camu powder
  • Assorted Toppings
  • Assorted Fresh Fruit


  • Blend all frozen fruits and Soy milk in the Vitamix blender
  • Add Maca and Camu Camu
  • Decorate with the toppings of your choice
HORCHATA. This easy to make, Mexican inspired drink is great to start the day too! You can add two shots of espresso if the mood comes over you, and get your day going quickly. I found it super easy to use Koita Rice Milk for this recipe as it is readily available in most supermarkets. Photo by Michelle Aventajado.
Dirty horchata


  • 2 c rice milk
  • 1 Tbsp coco sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 1 shot of espresso


  • Combine milk coco sugar, almond extract and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil.
  • Let cool.
  • Pour over ice, add a shot of espresso and sprinkle cinnamon
[Kitchen 143] Have a healthy 2022 with the right mindset – and these vegan treats!

Through my conversation with Mirabai, I realized we both have something in common. We both really love breakfast. Truth be told, I have been known to serve breakfast any time of day, and as you can see from my choice of recipes, obviously I had this in mind.

If you would like to look for more inspiration and healthy breakfast ideas, check out and pick up her e-recipe book “Breakfast Person.” –

Healthier 2022 for you? Find vegan go-tos on GrabFood using these promo codes.

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Michelle Aventajado

Michelle Aventajado is a Filipina American striving for an ever-elusive balance in everything she does. Advocating for individuals with IDD through Best Buddies Philippines, sharing her parenting journey with her daughter's extra chromosome through Momma 'N Manila, and churning out love of home and hearth through Kitchen 143 are just some of the things that fuel her passion and serve her God-given purpose.