Cooking for oneself is the greatest act of self-love. When you take the time to prepare nourishing meals for yourself, you will start shying away from self-sabotaging habits and relationships. How we relate to ourselves and how we eat is intimately interconnected.


Ditch the recipes. This may sound counter-intuitive but sticking to recipes, especially if they’re written by foreign chefs, always turns into a “treasure hunt,” as they always demand hard-to-find imported ingredients.


Cook intuitively. Play with local, in-season produce in the Farmer’s Market (Palengke) instead. Seasonal harvests are more affordable and are at the peak of their flavor which means you need not add a lot of ingredients or do too much when you cook with them. Unleash your inner chef and get inspiration from Instagram, Google search, Pinterest and YouTube on how to make the most of the season’s bounty to make fuss-free delicious recipes.


Stock up on these pantry essentials.

  • Noodles: Penne, spaghetti, Shirataki noodles
  • Oils and Fats: Extra-virgin olive oil, culinary coconut oil, sesame oil, butter
  • Soy sauce: tamari, coconut aminos
  • Vinegar: coconut, cane, white wine, rice wine
  • Nuts: cashew, pili, peanuts
  • Beans: monggo, lima, kidney 
  • Grains: brown rice, Adlai, quinoa, millet
  • Others: nori, tortilla wraps, honey, pickled vegetables
  • Spices and Aromatics: sea salt, whole pepper, coconut or muscovado sugar, dried chili/chili flakes, curry powder, cumin 
  • Get these fresh always: garlic, onions, tomatoes, ginger, turmeric 
  • Herbs: (Buy sparingly, use immediately. Choose only 1-3 kinds a week) Cilantro, Bay Leaf, Leeks Optional: Rosemary, Thyme, Basil, Kaffir, Lime

Tip: You can easily whip-up a flavorful wholesome meal with your Farmer’s market finds and just five added ingredients or less of your pantry essentials.


Invest in Kitchen tools: You don’t need a lot, just key good ones. Some essentials you can start are:

  • Cast Iron Pan: For sauteing, roasting and even baking
  • Steel Pot: For broths, soups, beans, and grains
  • Chefs Knife: For chopping and cutting
  • Paring knife: For peeling
  • Wooden chopping board
  • Mortar and Pestle
  • Strainer: For rinsing noodles, pasta and salad greens, and can double as a steamer.
  • Small whisk: For dressings and sauces


Portion guideline Fist-sized choice of protein, a cup of whole grains and a generous serving of vegetables on your plate every meal. Flavor with a handful of healthy fats.

Pre-prep Hacks: Pre-cook a week’s worth grains and beans.

  • Sautee greens in garlic for easy topping on fried rice, omelets, pastas or wrap in a tortilla.
  • A big batch of pasta sauce is also great on toast, as a dip and even as the base of a stew.
  • Freeze over-ripe fruits to turn into smoothies.
  • Make use of leftover vegetables by boiling yourself a stock.