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#SeatizenSunday: Chrissie Torres, Mana Bites

It’s the first week of 2018, and we’re guessing you’ve already made the ubiquitous resolution related to health and wellness. We’re hoping you’ve also set goals related to our advocacy – less plastic, more reusables, that kind of thing.

If you’re still looking for inspiration, look no further: meet Chrissie Torres, spinning instructor at Ride Revolution, yoga teacher, and certified Lagree Fitness instructor. She's also on a mission to avoid single-use plastics, which reflects in Mana Bites, an enterprise she founded that creates homemade and healthy snacks in minimal packaging. Mana Bites even offers a zero-waste subscription service, where these protein-heavy, all-natural goodies are delivered in reusable containers owned by the subscriber.

Growing up, Chrissie had a wide range of ambitions: astronaut, President of the Philippines, spy, and owner of a company that would fix the little problems of our country. "I've always wanted to do something incredibly exciting, and something that made a real impact on the world," she shares.

Chrissie may not have become any of those (or at least, not yet), but for today's #SeatizenSunday, this travel writer/graphic designer/Shakey's in-house DJ who gracefully transitioned into a fitness instructor and Mana Bites mama shows us how she's already making a big difference.

Tell us about what led you to do your work.

It was a realization that food was an integral part of health. As a student athlete, it was always easy for me to get with the idea of working out. I always went by the reasoning that I could eat whatever I wanted and burn it off doing sports. As I started my own fitness journey, I learned by experience that you simply could not cure a bad diet with working out, no matter how excessive. I then started to cook my own food, and worked in the kitchen non-stop because I loved trying out new recipes.

As a sweet tooth, I still needed to cure my need for sugary food. That’s when I discovered that whole foods, like nuts and dried fruits, tasted just like dessert. I began to make my own little energy balls, and that’s how Mana Bites came about!

Tell us about your current work.

My current work is a freelance setup. I am mainly the Mana Bites mama, an instructor for Ride Revolution, and an ever-evolving student and teacher of Ashtanga yoga. As a small-time entrepreneur, the lines get a little blurry between casual time and work. That’s a big challenge, but I’ve developed more of a routine in the past months in order to address that and be more productive. I get the most work done when I get myself seated in a coffee shop, put my headphones on, and zone out. There’s something about being in the middle of a chaotic, noisy setting and being able to tune it out that makes me productive. (laughs)

I try to get 8 hours of sleep everyday, even on days when I need to teach a 6AM yoga class. It’s standard that 10PM is time for bed. I’ve allocated my weekends to align with most of the world, just to make social plans easier. I clear my schedule for Friday-Sunday.

What’s the best part about your job?

I get to discover new things and learn continuously. This is true for all of the three main jobs that I do. In Mana Bites, I get to do a service for people that aim to live a more mindful life and eat well. For Ride Revolution, it’s the opportunity to meet people and share the same ecstatic vibe with everyone in the room. In yoga, it’s seeing people grow and improve.

What are eco-friendly finds that you always have with you?

I bring around my whole kit, which includes an insulated water bottle, reusable spoon and fork, and a reusable stainless steel straw. If I’m planning to have something for take-out, I usually leave the house with a food container as well. I'm currently in the process of refining some of my homemade hygienic products too.

During my period, I carry reusable cloth pads. I’m looking to transition to the menstrual cup, but I haven’t quite mustered enough courage to try it out, but I’ll do it soon!

What can people do to help your cause?

The first step would be to educate themselves. We're facing a real environmental crisis, and in time, our effect on the world could be irreversible. Understanding this urgency is key. What people can do is be aware of how they impact their world, as well as their own being. It’s easy to get sucked into work and go for just the most convenient options, but with a little bit of planning and mindfulness, maybe people can do away with harmful things that have become “normal.”

In my own personal life and through Mana Bites, I wish to forward a life lived mindfully. This means eating well and being aware of your environment. Our main advocacy is in crafting whole food sourced items and packaging responsibly. We also offer zero-waste subscription packages.

What 3 pointers would you provide for people who'd like to start seriously pursuing an environmental lifestyle?

  1. Let go. When you start to think about your own impact on the environment, you realize that there are a lot of things you don’t really need. You might even be surprised about how little you need in life.

  2. Practice what you preach. A lot of people get intimidated when being told what to do, but when they simply see others applying their ways in everyday life, it becomes easier to digest.

  3. Just go for it. Going green is like going on a diet. Don’t keep telling yourself you’ll start tomorrow. Prepare for success by grabbing your zero-waste kit and never leave home without it.

What is your why - why you do what you do?

I do [what I do] because I feel it is where I can be of most help to my community at the moment. There are many jobs in the world that truly contribute, but spreading the word about health and fitness is mine. I do it because it opens people’s minds towards a better way of living. I hope that through my food, I am able to uplift and support people in treating their body well.

Share a fun fact about a species that you think people should know.

Elephants can recreate melodies! I’ve developed a fascination with elephants, and knowing that they can share some sort of love or capacity for music makes them even more special.

What is the meaning of life?

Life has a different purpose for everyone, so the goal is to find that purpose and find what makes you happy. There are many beautiful things to discover and infinite possibilities to one’s path. It’s exciting to look at your life, even at the crossroads and know that there is always more for you to give others and more for you to uncover about yourself.

Follow Chrissie on Instagram @chrissietorres, and Mana Bites @manabites. Ride with Chrissie at Ride Revolution, or take a yoga class with her. Order Mana Bites here.

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