The multi-hyphenate mom-of-one dishes the ins and outs of her diet and supplement regimen
Growing up with beauty standards, many people may find themselves in a love-hate relationship with food. Many may love the taste of food, but many may also resent the calories each meal represents. Actress-model Ellen Adarna is not spared from this sentiment—at least not in her youth when she described that she used to treat food as if it were the enemy.
“When I was in my younger 20s to mid-20s, I’ve always had a—I didn’t have a healthy relationship with food, like it was the enemy,” Ellen had said of the matter. Now, the mom-of-one says that she has a healthy relationship with food and hasn’t had any issues with it for the last three to four years.
Ellen was able to find the right sustainable diet for her after experimenting with other diets for years. “I’ve tried all the diets there possibly are and what really works for me is a balance of everything. I do not restrict myself from eating junk, but when I do, it’s very konti so I don’t feel suppressed,” Ellen explained.
“I tried being pescetarian [and] the vegan diet for a week. [I did] the vegetarian diet [and] crash diet. I haven’t tried keto but wala eh. It wasn’t sustainable because I’d always go back to my roots. I love meat, I love a little bit of this and that,” Ellen shared. She went on to say, “I love everything, so what I learned is that—yeah, it was really the portioning that helped me maintain the body that is ideal for my health.”
That’s Ellen’s key to a healthy diet—portioning. “I eat everything. It’s just really that it’s portioned very well and I chew my food I think more than 40 times. So, I’m the type that can’t swallow it when I feel like there’s buo pa. So when I swallow it, it has to be, like, really liquidy, so it takes time. And by the time, after 15 or 20 minutes, I feel full so I don’t really eat a lot,” she explained.
Of her habit to portion her meals, Ellen said that it was something she learned along the way. Her approach to portioning doesn’t mean weighing food or counting calories. In fact, her strategy for eating well is reliant on her chewing. According to Ellen, a small meal of chicken and rice, for example, can take her 30 to 40 minutes to finish and she’d feel full afterward because of all her chewing.
The idea to chew each bite of food around 40 times is not a new concept. Many studies have actually advised this method, particularly for hard-to-chew foods like meat, because it helps with digestion. Eating food at a slower pace not only helps to prevent digestive problems but it helps with suppressing appetites.
So, what does Ellen normally eat, and at what times? As mentioned, Ellen likes to eat everything—from chicken to steak. “I have to have protein, like chicken, beef, pork—I have to have it. If not, I feel like I get cranky or it’s kulang,” she added. Meanwhile, she said that she mainly drinks water and coffee, with juice appearing once in a while. She also doesn’t drink soft drinks, not because of their unhealthiness but because she’s never liked carbonated drinks since she was a child. She also mentioned that she normally starts her day with coffee, then eats brunch at around 11 in the morning. Her next meal would then be around 5 or 6 p.m. at the latest.
But, like most of us, Ellen has snack cravings in the evenings too. She said, “If I get hungry at night, I drink an Xmeal—this is a thing that I endorse—but I don’t really eat heavy meals after 9 pm, not unless I am PMSing.” She went on to say that her go-to snack is the Xmeal drink whenever she doesn’t want to be bloated or if she’s in the mood to be healthy. But on the days that she craves, her usual go-to is a fourth of a burger or xiaolongbao.
Notably, her rule to not eat heavy meals right before bedtime is supported by research. According to several studies, sleeping on a full stomach could lead to health problems as the calories would be stored as fat rather than be digested and turned into energy. While bedtimes depend on people’s schedules and lifestyles, doctors and dieticians suggest waiting two to three hours for your food to digest before lying down to sleep.
Ellen’s non-restrictive eating habits don’t only help with her digestion but positively affect her mood and energy levels too. She said, “I don’t feel deprived, number one. And yeah, because when you diet like when you stop yourself or limit yourself, you crave, you get cranky, you get moody; and since I’ve been pretty balanced, I have had no issues with food for the last three or four years.”
With that being said, Ellen’s good health is also owed to her daily nutritional supplements. According to her, besides Xmeal, she uses products from her own life brand, E11ven. In particular, she takes E11ven Glowberry, a glutathione and collagen-boosting drink, and E11ven Glutathione, a capsule supplement made with L-Glutathione, marine collagen, and chamomile. She also takes Klenzcol, a fiber supplement, once to twice a week to further aid her digestion.
All in all, Ellen feels she’s at her happiest food-wise and that she’s very balanced. On recommending her eating habits to others, she said, “I can eat whatever I want but there has to be discipline also in the portioning part. And I recommend chewing your food a lot of times, it really works. That’s it.”
Photography JERICK SANCHEZ assisted by MARCUS FLORES and CARL GARRIDO
Creative Direction MARC YELLOW
Art Direction ANDREW ENCAPAS
Fashion Direction RYUJI SHIOMITSU assisted by BITHIA REYES
Styling TEAM RAIN x EM assisted by RIO CAMANTIGUE and ELAINE VILLAPANDO
Hair RENZ PANGILINAN
Makeup MICKEY SEE
Shot on Location COOP FRESH
Shoot Coordination KZ FRANCISCO and MJ ALMERO