Bianca King has gone green. From her diet, her use (or rather non-use) of plastics, even to the way she spends her vacations doing beach clean-ups, the actress is leading a life that is as mindful as it gets.

She calls it “living wide awake” and we caught up with her to chat about her lifestyle choices, particularly her healthy eating habits.

Bianca King


IT'S GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH


Being on camera all the time, she first turned to fruits and vegetables for vanity reasons. Going plant-based did wonders for her skin and made it easier for her to stay in shape as well.


But beyond aesthetics, it was some serious health scares that sparked a change in her. In the same month, her father underwent a quadruple bypass surgery and her grandmother was diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer – and that really made her rethink her family's approach to food.


"Doon nag-umpisa na mag-research ako kung bakit sila nagkasakit. And 'yung iisang sagot ay dahil sa diet (That's when I started to research about why they got sick. And it turns out the only factor was diet)," she recalled.


She learned that there was too much meat and fried food in their diet and a plant-based diet filled with fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, legumes, and nuts was the healthiest way to go. Since then, she's enjoyed eating plant-based, adding seafood, cheese, and eggs only occasionally. Bianca plans to limit it further.


IT'S GOOD FOR THE PLANET


Bianca is very much concerned about cleaning up the country. She has gone plastic-free in her household, making sure she's never without a reusable water bottle or an eco-bag. She has also befriended the founders of nonprofit organization Grom Nation, a group in Siargao that incentivizes kids with free surf lessons and surfboard rentals if they help with beach clean-ups.

Part of that means she's also aware of her carbon footprint, what impact she leaves behind on the planet. There are many little things she suggests people can do to minimize their footprint but the most impactful might be to go plant-based with their food.

"Imposible kasi na sa simpleng pagpatay ng kuryente lang, hindi pagsakay ng kotse, makukuha mong bawasan 'yung carbon footprint mo (It's impossible to reduce your carbon footprint just by conserving electricity and not taking a car everywhere)," Bianca explained.

She added, "The easiest thing that you can do to make a huge difference in protecting the natural resources that provide us everything that we have, from everything that you consume, that you put inside your body, that you put inside your skin... the one thing that you can do to help protect the environment is to stop eating meat."

How exactly does that help? Well, she noted that livestock production contributes 14 percent of all greenhouse gases, or as much as the entire transport sector does. Changing our eating habits could actually have a bigger impact than you think.


IT'S GOOD FOR THE TASTEBUDS TOO


She said that there's a misconception that a plant-based diet consists only of salads. That couldn't be further from the truth.

She stressed that there are a lot of exciting ways to eat on a plant-based diet. Bianca prepares her food herself, ensuring that the "entire spectrum of the plant kingdom" is represented on her plate.

Her website, biancaking.com, is filled with recipes such as her pre-workout chocolate smoothie parfait, protein-packed vegan tahini quinoa superbowl, and homemade malunggay pesto with tuna on quinoa pasta. She also has restaurant recommendations such as the salad bar in Discovery Primea, which she hails as "the healthiest buffet in Manila".

"Kailangan lang siyang gawin nang tama... Basta ginagawa ko lang na sobrang malasa 'yung gulay at 'yun ang inuulam ko sa kanin (You just have to do it right... I make the vegetables really flavorful and that's what I pair with rice)," she said.


IT'S REALLY NOT AS HARD AS YOU THINK


“But it's so hard to give up meat,” you may be thinking.

Bianca said it doesn't have to be a huge lifestyle change. If you're someone who wants to make the change for the good of the planet, even incremental ones can make all the difference.

"You can start with one meal per week, and then start with one day per week, and then start with one week per month, and the next thing you know paminsan-minsan ka na lang kumakain ng karne (you're eating meat less and less)," Bianca suggested.

And for all the good that a plant-based diet can do, it might just be worth giving a try.

Bianca King advocates Less Meat and More Veggies