Healthy Eating (and Living) with... Juana Yupangco

The phrase "you are what you eat" has never rung truer than during the last six months, when it dawned on many of us that cooking and eating have become such a huge part of our domestic existence. We had a timely chat with Juana Yupangco, the founder of Mesa Ni Misis, a non-profit organization that promotes local, healthy, and affordable recipes for the whole family, on why food matters, and how she keeps it all together as a wife, mother, and entrepreneur. Read our conversation below, and take a look at her consigned closet filled with local designer gems. 

Tell us who you are, what you are doing now for work, and what you love about it. 

First and foremost, I am wife to Rick and mom to Jaime and Rosanna. I founded Mesa Ni Misis in 2017 which is a non profit that focuses on advocating eating local plant-based food. 

How did the idea of Mesa Ni Misis come about? Was there a particular event that inspired you to advocate for plant-based eating? 

Our family has always been conscious of health and the environment. My husband had a health scare and we tried going plant based together to see if it would improve his blood chemistry. In one month, he was down to a normal level, so we decided to try one more month then another, till we finally eliminated even dairy and eggs. Even the kids have gone plant based.

(Juana with her husband Rick. Photo credit: Juana Yupangco)

How has a plant-based diet impacted your life so far? What positive changes has it brought? 

Overall, my mood has been more stable, skin clearer, hormones balanced, lost weight and most of all, my outlook is just much lighter and my mood is more positive! 

How do you balance work with your family life and the many duties that come with being a wife and a mom? What's your #1 advice for all the working moms out there - especially during this difficult time?

Set a schedule that you, your kids, and husband follow. Work time is for work and set a cut off. The danger in working from home is to work all the time. 

(Juana in the kitchen with her two children. Photo credit: Juana Yupangco)

And how do you manage to look so effortlessly chic while doing all that? :) Do you have a go-to look/outfit while working from home?

Since Zoom has been essential, and the only way for others to see you, I dress as if I was going to a meeting, even if it's only from the waist up. Haha. I wear a nice top, earrings, blow dry my hair, and put on a full makeup - probably even more makeup than I would for a real life meeting because online lighting isn't great. Working from home is still work and you should look like it. 

We noticed that you have a lot of local designer pieces in your closet. Tell us about some of your favorite local fashion designers/brands, and why you love them. 

My first job was at a lifestyle magazine in a big publishing company. After studying abroad, it was a good way to learn about local designers. I would go through the racks of pull-outs of the fashion editors and try stuff on, or ask if I could buy what they pulled out. I met a lot of them through work.

I love Mark Bumgarner because of the fit and how its so feminine and strong.

Mich Dulce's clothes have a fantastic fit- she loves to give you a small waist, and I love her retro style.  

Rajo's RTW is always great because you are sure of a good cut and great fabrics.

Rosanna Ocampo for her feminine and playful outfits and always a perfect fit for me. 

Yong Davolos understands my love for everything pink! 

 (Juana with her family... in pink! Photo credit: Juana Yupangco)

During this pandemic, a lot of us have taken on hobbies or realized that the joys in life usually don't come from material ownership. What's a simple joy for you right now? 

Cooking for my family and having them all home for all meals. I love being with them. KDrama and BTS is a close second. I discovered those too hahahaha...

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