If you are a local football fan you may remember the screams, girls gushing about the Younghusband brothers, the DelRo (Del Rosario) dudes, and of course we have the former national team captain himself, Aly Borromeo, a noble, massive bro who held the flag for the team high in the years that he played for the country.
Known for his strong defense, level-headed resolve on the pitch, and his commitment to fitness and nutrition, Aly has begun a new chapter in his life after leading the Azkals national team.
After a couple of years of knee rehab in Australia, Aly read and also brushed up on his food and nutrition education to help further his recovery. Here, ABS-CBN Lifestyle gets chatty with him and we dare to ask foodie and nutrition questions we've been needing proper answers for.
How long has it been exactly since you retired as national football team captain for the Azkals and how has life sort of changed for you? "It's been four years now since my last duty for the national team. Things have changed in my life in so many ways. More responsibilities at home now since my mom passed and focusing on other business ventures with friends TheHealthyHouse.ph, a local food, prepped meals, and nutrition venture in cooperation with trainers and nutritionists)."
You severely injured your knee (knees?) a couple of years ago. During your rehab time in Australia you studied and learned a lot about integrating nutrition with fitness while also learning homeopathic ways to recover. How has the journey to recovery been and what really helped you reach this level of health? "This last injury taught me that there's more to life than just football. My perseverance and determination to get back on that pitch paid off. It was a steep climb but in the process I was able to learn more about myself and life outside the game."
Your girlfriend, KC Concepcion, tells us that you're super enthusiastic about the use of coconut oil in food. Isn't vegetable oil just as good or if not at all how does coconut oil win the cooking oil battle? "I absolutely love coconut oil, you can use it for everything! It's made from shorter chain fatty acids which turn to energy right away compared to other vegetable oils which become highly inflammatory (and carcinogenic/cancer-causing) to our bodies when cooked at high temperatures."
Do you believe in the power of smoothies or juices? "I don't count on smoothies or juices as I get enough nutrients from the food I ingest on a daily basis. However, if individuals are lacking certain nutrients in their diet then juicing can definitely cover that."
Some experts are saying some people are taking their juicing philosophy dangerously way overboard in order to suddenly lose weight and that it's not the ideal way. Will juicing really make you lose weight fast? What's your view on that? "You'll definitely lose weight quick because you'll be in a calorie deficit. You'd be getting good vitamins and minerals in you BUT I'd be more concerned about the effect on your hormones since you strip away most of the fiber which leads to an insulin spike."
We're going to try and tackle some foodie/nutritional myths now and get down to the bottom of some misconceptions about food and diet. If a person wants to lose weight, is totally shutting off carbs the clear way to do it? "I don't believe in ZERO carb. We should choose our carbs wisely and make sure we don't go over board with them. For fat loss I think we should base carbs on our energy needs."
Is sugar really the enemy? Explain your simple view of how people should manage their consumption of sweets if they love sweets as much as you do. How do you balance that love with your nutrition goals? "Sugar really isn't the enemy. The problem with sugar is its highly addictive and most people don't realize how much there is in the foods we consume. I love sweets, especially chocolate! I make sure I time my sugar intake to when my body can use the extra energy so it doesn't get stored as fat. Usually before or after training."
When it comes to meat, is it true that eating only chicken and seafood and cutting red meat out of your diet will ensure you stay leaner? "That's definitely not true. Bodybuilders and athletes still stay lean while eating red meat. It's a matter of choosing the right cuts and portions."
When traveling or on vacation, exercising and physical activity are down to a minimum. How do you "watch" yourself or how much is minimum exercise for you? "I still try to get a workout in every day even when I'm traveling. I also choose my carbs wisely as I won't demand a high energy need as I'm not training vigorously."
How do you think young people can grow a better "relationship" or "respect" for the types of food they choose to eat just as you did? "We're all organic human beings so what we put into our bodies should also be as organic as possible. You also have to make it a lifestyle. You certainly have to enjoy your 'own' healthy way of eating. When I changed the way I ate I noticed my recovery, sleep, and performance on the pitch was way better. Especially as an aging athlete every bit counts, hahaha!"
What's the biggest nutritional myth you'd like to debunk and wish that people didn't believe? "That carbs are evil. You just need to use them and choose them wisely. I go by the 80/20 rule in which 80% are 'clean eating foods' and 20% are the foods which combat your cravings (sugars, starches, salts). We all need to enjoy life too!"
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Photographs from Instagram.com/alybor11 (portraits) and Instagram/com/healthyhouseph