Along with fitness programs and healthy diets, organic restaurants have been sprouting like mushrooms.
One such dining place that has been gaining attention is The Wholesome Table, owned by Bianca Araneta-Elizalde. A nature lover, Bianca has extensive knowledge on healthy living habits that makes her new restaurant venture one of the more credible advocates of organic food.
Let’s be honest—it’s hard to eat healthy in the Philippines. We simply love meat dishes. We find it hard to resist lechon, whenever it is served, and we try almost every sugary confection that comes along. Yet we all know that to prolong life, we must maintain a balanced diet.
This year I’ve been careful about everything I eat, making sure that they’re mostly fruits and vegetables.
The challenge was to look for a place that serves a good alternative, though not necessarily vegetarian. Thanks to my food porn Instagram stream, The Wholesome Table popped into my feed.
“It is food you’re very familiar with. The menu isn’t intimidating. It is comfort food, but made with better ingredients,” says Bianca.
Her restaurant’s first Instgram food post invites you to dig into a cheesy baked macaroni on a recycled table mat on which is printed, “to build a healthy food culture.”
The Wholesome Table helps us appreciate going green without foregoing our greasy comfort food. It adopts alternative cooking methods.
People associate healthy food with bland, boring vegetable salads. This has made it hard for organic restaurants to build a clientele.
In truth, people just need better options. “My purpose in putting up this restaurant is to educate people about food,” says Bianca.
The best thing about The Wholesome Table is it doesn’t force to eat veggies. However, the plating is something even steak and lechon lovers would appreciate.
The menu is well-balanced, from meaty concoctions such as their sliders, which has a vegan option, as well as porquetta, beef, and chicken, to a refreshing chicken dukkah salad with an Egyptian spice.
The sweet barbecued pork chops remind me of my comfort food at home.
From tasty protein superbowls to fresh clams to Greek yogurt panna cotta topped with strawberries—the crunchiness and freshness of the ingredients are evident. “We do everything from scratch. We tried as much as possible to prepare everything in-house. It is real food,” Bianca says.
The Wholesome Table is a food lifestyle hub that helps us be conscious about our food intake. “Our food isn’t about calorie counting. It’s not bland diet food. For me kasi, healthy isn’t being thin,” she points out.
The menu has items that would make you think about how our food is being prepared. For example, what makes free-range pork different from pork from a commercialized source? The seemingly mundane information actually makes you wonder about the food you eat, and how you define fitness.
Healthy eating as lifestyle
Many alternative food options are cropping up. This has made “eating healthy” a trend; there are many superfoods, all-natural bottled juices and delivered packed meals in the market.
“To me, it shouldn’t be a trend. It should become a lifestyle,” she emphasizes.
Bianca stopped eating red meat in 1993. She wanted to be a vegan, but found it difficult to sustain. “I just want to minimize the exposure of my family to everyday toxins the body accumulates. We changed the way we eat,” she reveals.
She planned everything about The Wholesome Table—from its rustic ambiance to such details such as condiments. She went all out for this food revolution she wants people to be part of.
It is not about being a perfectionist or being OC; she merely sees this venture as an important extension of herself.
“Even if it fails, I know that no amount of criticism will ever make me feel like a failure. I didn’t want to do it half-baked,” she says. “I really want people to see how much I can do.”