The Story of How This Filipina Survived Cancer and Made Healthy Eating Her Mission
“Cancer really changed my life,” begins Nikki Herrera-Bharwani, the woman behind The Green Grocer, Manila’s first home delivery service for fresh organic produce. “There’s something about having faced the possibility of death so intimately at the young age of 32. All of a sudden, things mattered greatly. My outlook changed. I got my passion to live.”
Nikki struggled with the debilitating disease more than nine years ago, but she found it in herself to embrace a positive outlook. This eventually led her to live more mindfully and healthily once she was cancer-free. Her continuous pursuit of wellness would make her instrumental in other people’s shift to a healthy lifestyle.
Convenience vs. Quality
Nikki used to be part of the intense world of the advertising industry. In her exhaustion, she resorted to stress eating and fast food.
Nikki shares, “When I was sick, I would ask my oncologist why this had happened to me, because there was no history of cancer in my family. He said, ‘Well, you can’t really say for certain, but there are two main things we can attribute to it in general: western diet and stress.’”
This was a wakeup call for Nikki. After several chemotherapy sessions, the first thing Nikki did upon being cancer-free was quit her job. Next, she changed her eating habits, foregoing fast and processed foods for quality ingredients.
“I developed a habit of listening to my body whenever I consumed something. I stopped eating meat because I noticed beef and chicken made me feel bloated the next morning,” she shares.
Nikki needed to source fresher food to sustain a healthy lifestyle. However, no options were available to her at the time. “It angered me that there wasn’t a real option for people to eat healthier. When you buy produce in the grocery and you take it home, after two days, sira na. There’s no transparency about how long the vegetables have been in the supermarket.”
While Nikki wanted to get her food straight from the source, she couldn’t do that on her own. Suppliers required bulk orders, so she turned to her friends to join their order with hers. She then delivered them herself.
Eventually, Nikki set up The Green Grocer, a website that made it easier for her to organize these orders. As she made her clients realize how much better healthy options are, The Green Grocer continues to grow.
Nikki goes through the laborious process of sourcing fresh produce. The journey from farm to table is long, hence requiring proper storage and optimum preservation conditions so that food stays fresh longer.
Premium refrigeration brand Sub-Zero understands the importance of fresh food and how it impacts lives, so it continues to innovate. With its dual refrigeration system, Sub-Zero creates an environment with a consistent temperature that’s free from viruses, bacteria, odor, and even ethylene gas, a gas naturally emitted by food that causes other types of food to easily spoil.
More than a business for Nikki, The Green Grocer has become a mission and an advocacy. “We've met so many farmers. We've met so many people who make their own goods. This venture feels bigger than me. Now, we want to provide people with the opportunity to eat healthier, because it's possible."
She adds, "I didn’t get well just for me. There must be a reason, a grander scheme.”
Nikki Herrera-Bharwani is one of the featured ambassadors in Sub-Zero’s Fresh Food Matters campaign, alongside Margarita Forés and Hindy Weber. Aiming to boost awareness on the fresh food movement, the refrigeration brand tapped these thinkers, who champion quality of life through innovations in healthy eating. Find out more about Nikki's story here:
Sub-Zero’s campaign not only spotlights the importance of preserving food properly so it stays fresh longer. It also highlights these women’s life-changing switch towards a healthier and more mindful lifestyle.