When I was growing up in Manila, I would always see Bianca Elizalde’s face everywhere. She was one of the girls whose face was visible in every type of media: commercials, TV shows, magazines & newspapers. While I never knew her personally, I knew of her… Everyone knew of her. And that’s the difference right? Knowing “of” someone isn’t the same as really “knowing” them.
It’s only recently when I walked into her restaurant, The Wholesome Table, that I was able to know her better. Her passion for organic food, healthy living, design and wellness was something I could connect with.
As I watched her daughters hug her legs and waist non-stop while she was speaking to me, I thought to myself, “Sometimes you really get to know someone by watching how the ones they love, love them.” Watching that made me want to interview her for this blog.
I am from Manila, Philippines. I started off my career as a commercial model back in ’93, then moved on to TV in the late nineties- mid 00’s. I’m married with three daughters but somewhere in the middle of raising a family, I started my own business with a maternity clothing line called Eden, then I co-authored a book which launched last December 2014 called Project Mom, and just recently opened an organic restaurant called The Wholesome Table. Needless to say, my life’s been one heck of a ride!
2. What inspired you to start The Wholesome Table?
My own personal lifestyle of living clean and organic for over a decade inspired me. My desire to create awareness about the food we eat inspired me as well as the desire to support local farmers who are practicing organic agriculture. I wanted to create a venue to promote this way of eating, perhaps educate the public and hopefully change the way they eat.
My desire to create awareness about the food we eat inspired me as well as the desire to support local farmers who are practicing organic agriculture.
3. How did your organic journey start? Were you always interested in health and wellness?
I remember being in high school, wanting to go vegan for the sole purpose of not having to have an animal die just so I can eat. It was so difficult to sustain that lifestyle back then, and for a long while I felt like my diet was limited to side dishes and salads.
I wasn’t happy so I did a lot of research and that’s when I got really interested in the subject of nutrition. I actually wanted to take up Sports Medicine because I was so intrigued by health and it’s direct correlation to the food you eat. That’s when my eating habits really changed.
Aside from my interest in nutrition, the fact that I was also very conscious of my impact on the earth sort of lead me down the path of organic eating, and eventually, organic living.
4. Often times people think living organic is difficult, what are some simple steps you can recommend for anyone to start practicing?
Start with baby steps. Think of one thing you eat all the time and make that organic. Do that for a few weeks, a month, or as long as you need before you make the next step. Then make another switch with something else. Soon, you’re whole life will change.
5. Speaking of books you also wrote a book called Project Mom with Amanda Griffin-Jacob, why did you guys decide to write this book and how was the book writing process for you?
We wrote the book for a few reasons. For one, ever since we became mothers, we often found ourselves giving parenting tips to new moms. Maybe because people knew that we were really hands-on parents and very involved with our children, I’m not sure, but I remember Amanda herself asking me for advise when she had her first child. We wanted the book to come across like a friend giving a very honest, truthful look into motherhood. We wanted to help new moms navigate this daunting new journey in their lives.
For me, I wanted to inject some “green tips” to help moms raise their babies in a less toxic, more eco-friendly manner. I raised my kids this way, and I know a lot of moms think it’s difficult, but we wanted to give them tips on how to do it, and maybe even create awareness about these green practices.
6. How did becoming a mother affect your outlook on health and wellness?
It made me more conscious of it especially around the house. I became more hyper aware and wanted to make sure I was raising my kids as healthy as I could.
I became more hyper aware and wanted to make sure I was raising my kids as healthy as I could.
7. What tips can you give to moms to instil healthy habits to their children effortlessly?
Start them while they’re young. If you do not get their tastebuds used to eating sweets and other junk, chances are they won’t go looking for it as they grow older. Introduce them to greens early on.
Just remember that you are in total control of what your children eat while they are young and unable to cook, and buy their own food.
8. What are your personal self- love rituals that you to do unwind?
I like to read, do yoga, go for long walks, get a massage and travel. When I want to unwind, I do anything that connects me to the earth and nature.
9. How do you balance being a mother, a wife and a bussinesswoman?
Balance is the operative word that I am still learning how to perfect. You need to know how much you’re willing to put into being a mom, a wife and a businesswoman.
For me, my priority will always be my family life so the businesses I choose to get involved with are always things that I know I will not have to dedicate every day of my life to. I do what I need to do as a mom first, and whatever extra time I have in the day, I will dedicate to work-related stuff.
10. Name some of your favorite organic restaurants…
11. What’s next for you?
For now I will focus my efforts on The Wholesome Table and expanding the brand. I don’t see myself getting involved with anything else other than that company for now.
Interview by Victoria Herrera// Photos Courtesy of Bianca Araneta-Elizalde