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Meet Myra Barayang of Mindful Morena in Lakewood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Myra Barayang.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Myra. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
It wasn’t too long ago where I was living a self-destructive lifestyle. I was unhealthy; constantly eating processed foods, heavily drinking, staying up late, and always partying. I wasn’t taking care of myself and was slowly losing control of my own health. When I noticed that my poor habits were leading me into irresponsible decisions and making me feel horrible, both mentally and physically, I knew I had to make a change before it was too late.

My wellness journey began in late 2018. It was then when I learned about the holistic approach to wellness and how it emphasizes the connection to one’s mind, body, and spirit. In 2019, I enrolled in a Holistic Nutrition program through American Fitness Professionals and Associates and received my certification later that year. I became knowledgeable about the fundamentals to optimal health and one’s well being which included nutrition, mindful eating, self-care rituals, exercise/movement, yoga, meditation, breathe work, and also some herbal knowledge.

I began applying the tools that I had learned to my daily life. I started to incorporate more fruits and vegetables to my diet which has led me to become largely plant-based, keeping dairy and animal products to a minimum while eating an abundance of whole foods. I began to think clearer, feel better and became full of energy.

Along with my new relationship to food, I also dove deeper into my yoga practice. Yoga has taught me the importance of stillness, awareness, and self-love. It has also shown me how to go within, spiritually.

Fueling my mind and body with real food, yoga, and mindfulness practices, have helped me live my life to its fullest potential, not only to support myself but also to help the people in my life.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I definitely had some struggles along the way.

I knew I had to remove myself from environments that triggered my bad habits and encouraged my old lifestyle. This meant removing myself from certain social circles and adapting to a new way of life.

I also gave myself unrealistic goals when it came to eating. In the beginning, I attempted to go vegan, cold turkey. I was really hard on myself every time I craved any dairy products or a piece of meat. On top of that, I was still eating lots of processed foods and slowly learned that just because something was vegan, didn’t mean it was jam packed with vitamins and nutrients. This also led me to barely eating, or not eating at all because this new way was becoming difficult for me; I had to reevaluate my vegan approach. Today, I no longer restrict myself, and instead, practice mindful eating while consuming lots of whole foods. I’ve learned that everyone is different and what may work for someone else may not work for another.

Please tell us about Mindful Morena.
Eating healthy became fun and I started recreating healthier versions of my favorite dishes especially ones that come from my Filipino-American background. I was having such a blast in the kitchen that I created an Instagram account to share what I was whipping up and that was when Mindful Morena was born.

I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, who’s passionate about living a conscious, balanced, and nourished life. My mission is to inspire and encourage others, especially POC, to take control of their health by incorporating more whole foods into their diet while also guiding them to reach their truest, highest potential.

My proudest moment, so far, was taking action on a passion project. I knew I wanted to connect with community and offer an experience by sharing what I was passionate about. With limited resources and the support and help from friends and family, I opened up my home and did just that. In February, I hosted my very first pop up dinner, “Kain Na Tayo!” (translating to “Let’s eat!” in Tagalog). The intention was to introduce delicious and healthy plant-based food inspired by my Filipino-American roots to those who were not familiar with vegan and/or Filipino food. I invited friends and strangers (that later became friends) to my apartment in hopes of conversation and new connections over my modern twist on traditional dishes that I prepared. The dinner was such a success, longing me to continue hosting them again, soon, after this quarantine lockdown.

Unfortunately, this lockdown has put my pop up dinner plans on hold and instead, has given me the opportunity to work on more recipes and also my website. Once up and running, I will be offering different nutritional services which will include one-on-one nutrition and wellness consultations and guidance, follow up sessions, custom meal planning, and also catering. In addition, the site will also provide recipes, mindfulness practices, self-care tips, and much more. Stay tuned!

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Since the beginning, I want to say that I’ve had good luck. It’s definitely had its ups and downs but along the way, I am learning that everything happens for a reason and that it is all part of the journey.

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