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Saturday, March 20, 2010

How Iza changed her bad eating habits

Svelte Iza Calzado does not in any way look like the carefree girl who broke all the rules of healthy eating years ago.

“I was a couch potato,” she recalls those “sinful” days. “I didn’t have any sports. I ate and ate pizza for my midnight snack, doughnuts, candy, chocolate, name it!”

So when did the change of heart start?

It happened — but of course — when she was in her early teens and starting to get conscious about her figure.

“I was in second year high school,” says Iza. She started weaning herself away from the junk food she knew oh so well and switched to vegetables. She willed herself to go on a crash diet.

Iza has been red meat free for the past six years. She’s trying to go organic, too.

“It’s tough,” she admits. But Iza knows it’s the best way to go.

“A shorter life span can be traced back to what we put inside our mouth,” she reasons out.

Today, that slim figure is a product of eating fish, chicken and vegetables, push-ups, regular running, strength training for her arms and other healthy practices.

Iza also swears by herbal supplements and regularly sees a doctor who practices homeopathy.

The boxes of chocolate she gets as gifts remain unwrapped in their fancy containers. Iza recycles them by serving them to visitors or friends who come to her house.Last January, she had a one-hour cold laser treatment to clean her blood.“The procedure uses laser light to cleanse your system. I also had this oxygen chamber treatment that brings oxygen into your body and rids it of parasites, worms and others,” Iza goes on.

Healthy cooking
is a must at home.

“The way you cook your food is important,” she declares. “You may be eating vegetables, but if it’s buried in transfat, it’s useless.”

Her non-showbiz boyfriend helps Iza maintain her healthy lifestyle
. Himself an advocate of an alternative lifestyle, he sometimes asks Iza what her diet for the day is like.

Oh yes, she’s but human and admits to cheating on her diet once in a while. The little girl in her is still coaxing Iza to indulge a little once in a while.

At the presscon of her new show, Healthy Cravings (Saturdays, 11:30 a.m. on Q-11), Iza helped herself to a slice of cake for dessert.

Years ago, she would have just lounged on her favorite chair after a helping of chocolate cake or pancake. But not anymore today. Iza finds time to hit the gym and burn calories after enjoying her chocolate cake or any rich dessert.

Hosting Healthy Cravings with Chef Jeremy Favia of Fresh Choice Always (FCA) is therefore a welcome addition to her to-do list.

The show features the most flavorful healthy recipes and presents ways to be consistent with the diet, even when situations limit food choices. Iza and Jeremy show how you can eat healthy, even when you’re away from home — in school, the office, at a party, etc.

“It’s sad to see adobo, lechon, paksiw, crispy pata, liempo and the like as main party fare. Vegetables are merely side dishes,” observes Iza. She longs for the day when the tables are turned. Vegetables are the main event, while sinful dishes take the sidelines.

She may be all out for putting more vegetables on the table. But Iza is careful not to ram it down people’s throat.

“It’s not that I’m telling you to stop eating meat. It’s still your choice,” she clarifies. “But I would like to encourage more people to eat more vegetables.”

Thus, Healthy Cravings will show televiewers how to prepare vegetarian adobo, among other traditional local dishes. Chef Jeremy will guide people watching at home how to make healthy sinigang broth.

Three recipes — two main course dishes and one dessert — will emphasize nutrition and health.

Healthy Cravings may not convince all televiewers to go vegetarian. The show’s executives realize that. But if it opens minds and makes people ask questions about healthy eating, half the battle is won. If it helps small organic farmers by convincing people to buy their produce, so much the better.

Then Iza, Chef Jeremy, Chef Sau del Rosario and others who have a hand in the show, will feel rewarded. Then the show’s impact will stretch on and on, not just for a season or the here and now. It will cover an entire lifetime of healthy habits as well.


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