Join Our First Virtual Book Club

In Defense of Food Michael Pollan

In Defense of Food Michael Pollan

Food and nutrition is a complicated, long debated topic. To some, it’s just a science while to others it’s much more. For me, food is fuel that also happens to represents memories, culture, and lifestyle. I often find that most information around food and nutrition seems to be very “preachy” and one-sided and fails to give a balanced perspective to different approaches to food. However, when I started to dive into Michael Pollan’s content, I felt like it was different – in a good way.

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.”

This seemingly simple phrase coined by food journalist Michael Pollan packs so much power and I would love to dissect it with you all in the upcoming book club I’m hosting. That’s right, we are diving into our first Citrus & Gold virtual book club and I couldn’t be more excited.

If you want to critically think about your own food & nutrition, if you’ve heard of Michael Pollan and have been wanting to read his material, or even if you have read his books but still want to participate in the conversation this book club is for you.

The 5-week virtual book club will start on Friday September 1st right before Labor Day! This book club is open to everyone so ask your friends, boyfriend, family to join! We are reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. You can conveniently grab a copy on Amazon here.

I will keep you guys accountable by giving reading assignments for each week but you can take this at your own pace as needed. This is supposed to be fun not stressful! And since this is a virtual book club you can join from wherever you are at whatever time is convenient for you.

I will also start a pop-up FB group where I’ll post weekly prompts to allow for discussion. Finally, I’ll work with you all to coordinate a virtual book club meeting via video chat during the 4th or 5th week.

I’m excited to give this a shot, who’s ready to JOIN THE CLUB??

This Was Not Part Of My Five Year Plan

*Like the side hustle article this was also originally published on LinkedIn but also feels relevant for the blog :).

If I were to meet myself from five years ago, I feel I might not recognize her — at the very least, I’m almost certain she wouldn’t recognize the person I’ve become. Five years ago, like most college students, I was trying to navigate through life, to prove my worth to potential employers, and to figure out what it means to have a career. When I landed an internship at LinkedIn, I felt like I hit the jackpot — my career had been set. Little did I know how transformative my professional journey would be.

If you told me five years ago I would leave my job to pursue my own projects, that too in the wellness space, I would have looked back at you with a dumbfounded blank stare. That was never supposed to be in the cards for me. It was definitely not part of the the five year plan I had perfected to a T while preparing for my job interviews.

It’s serendipitous that my own wellness journey began right around the time I started at LinkedIn. In the last four years I’ve held three different roles in advertising, market research, and sales analytics, but that only covers a portion of my journey. I’ve also ran three half marathons, a handful of Turkey Trots, and an obstacle course race — all thanks to LinkedIn’s amazing wellness program! I’m grateful my passion and career coincided.

My career in wellness began with this simple blog about a year ago. Then I received my first group fitness certification, created an online community for women, worked with multiple brands and now, I’m developing a healthy Indian food recipe eBook with my mother. Only time will tell what else is in store for the future.

Perhaps ironically, the knowledge I have gained at LinkedIn is what has given me the confidence to leave. From writing content with some of our best marketers to learning how to tell stories with data, LinkedIn has given me the tools to succeed regardless on the role or industry I choose.

Not to say that I know everything quite yet. In fact, I have a huge learning curve ahead of me and I know there will be many restless nights during which I’ll question my decision to leave. I don’t know what success looks like for me yet, but I know this leap will get me one step closer to finding my version of it.

Thank you to all who have been with me through this incredible journey.

I’m Creating a Healthy Indian Food Recipe eBook!

sarika-akansha-recipe-ebook

Guess what guys, I’m creating my first recipe eBook! I’m partnering with my mother to develop a healthy Indian food recipe eBook with 40-50 recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and beverages. We will also include a guide on how to build your own spice kit, a grocery check list, and general tips on how to cook Indian food and make it a bit healthier.

The idea of creating my own product has been on the back of my mind for a few months, ever since my boyfriend and I did a little prioritization exercise (on a side note, would you guys like personal growth/productivity tips? I’ve been thinking about sharing a few). However at that point, I didn’t think it would be feasible to create my own product for multiple reasons —time, confidence, and resources as the top three.

Though when I made the decision to leave my job at LinkedIn, time was finally on my side. After some encouragement from friends and family I got the confidence to pursue this project. As for the resources, we are figuring it out as we go, but having my mom as a partner makes it much more manageable.

turmeric-indian-chicken

The survey I sent out a couple of weeks ago, as well as general conversations in the C&G Girl Gang (join in on the fun here) really helped me validate the need for something like this. Here are some of the interesting findings from the survey:

  • General stats: 217 respondents, 92% female, 34% South Asian
  • Top three reasons people cook: to be healthier, to control their ingredients in their food, to save money.
  • On a scale of 1-5, the average skill-level with Indian cooking is a 2.36
  • 30% of respondents have never cooked Indian food in their life!
  • 2/3 of respondents want to learn how to make Indian food healthier while over half want to learn how to make Indian food in general!
  • Not too surprising, but South Asians are most likely to be vegetarians (41%) compared to other ethnic groups (11%)

There were a couple of questions that I forgot to ask (rookie mistake). The biggest one question being “what Indian food would you guys like to learn how to cook and/or making healthier?” Let me know in the comments or feel free to email me at akansha@citrusandgold.com.

As for our timeline for the recipe eBook, we would like to get this to market before the holidays!If you’d like to participate in feedback sessions or get the latest news on the eBook you can sign up below. Thank you all so much for your support. We really couldn’t create this without you.

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Why I’m Leaving My Job At LinkedIn

I haven’t talked much my full-time job as an Insights Analyst at LinkedIn much because it didn’t seem to be so relevant to a health and wellness blog (it kinda felt off brand, ya know?). That was my mistake thinking my personal journey doesn’t bring value to anyone else.

I want to share a bit more about me and my story because I think it’ll help you better connect to my mission and brand. And hopefully you find it interesting!

Soo my side hustle is going to become my full hustle. At least for now. I’m going to the wellness space for the next few months to see where it takes me next. Which means I’m leaving my job at LinkedIn in 3 weeks!

The background:

Like many of us in our mid-20s, I’ve always been someone who has had a plan and a set goal. It felt like life was all planned out for me until I started asking myself “Wait, is this how the rest of my life will feel like?” It was that nagging question that made me want to explore and take some risks. Which is odd because I’ve been so risk averse my entire life.

Though I may risk-averse, I am always honest with myself and those around me. If I’m feeling a certain way I can’t hide it. So when I started feeling a disconnected to my job (even when the company and the people were absolutely incredible) I knew I had to do something about it. I couldn’t fake it for much longer.

I knew I needed a change, and it took me a while before I figured out that I needed a HUGE change that makes me uncomfortable and pushes me to do something completely different. After months of thinking it through, I decided to quit my job to focus on my own wellness projects.

My wellness projects:

I have a feeling my journey will steer me in many different directions and there will be multiple ups and downs but there are three things in particular I want to focus on over the next few months:

+Growing the Citrus & Gold community: If you haven’t already checked out the C&G Girl Gang, you’re in for a real treat.
+Partnering with my mom to create a healthy Indian food recipe eBook: I’ll write a post on this soon!
+Gathering more knowledge: through certifications, consulting, and meeting others in the wellness space.

Sure I’m nervous, scared, and very uncomfortable but I’m also very happy & excited. This feels like the right decision and I am very grateful and privileged that I can take this leap. I encourage you to watch this space closely and I will be sharing many more updates and changes over the next few months. I can’t wait to take you along on this journey with me.

Berry and Beets Smoothie (My First Video!)

berry-beets-smoothie

berry-beets-smoothie

Blogging used to be the bread and butter of this Citrus & Gold. Citrus & Gold was merely a blog last year — all I did was write. But now it’s grown to include a thriving FB community, a online book club (more details to come), events, a recipe e-book and much more.

I’ll fill you in on the details soon, but with all these other projects blogging consistently has been hard! I am still aiming for a weekly posts because blogging is what spear-headed all of these other projects. Sometimes I feel bad that I am not able to get to all the blog post ideas that are collecting dust in Evernote. But there will be a time and place for them all!

Writing is what helped me start my whole wellness brand and I have no desire to put the pen down anytime soon! However, (since I’m not doing enough already) I recently added one more extension to my brand…videos! I did my first video collaboration with So She Slays not too long ago and we created one of my favorite smoothies.

This smoothie is perfect for when you are craving a sweet treat but don’t want to compromise your nutrition! My roommate and I kind of accidentally discovered the wonders of beets in smoothies when we were trying to copy the Pressed Juicery’s Strawberry Almond juice.

Now this smoothie tastes nothing like that (the beets have a much more powerful flavor), it’s still delicious!

BERRY AND BEETS SMOOTHIE

Serving: 2 16 oz servings

1 cup of berries – frozen or unfrozen. After trying it a few times I think strawberries are the best for this.
1 beet: I bought mine steamed and peeled from Trader Joe’s
2 medjool dates, pitted
1 tbsp of chia seeds
1 cup coconut water
1 1/2 cups almond milk
2 scoops Vital Protein collagen peptides
3-4 ice cubes

Blend all of the ingredients and enjoy! It’s a super simple recipe that is perfect for summer :).

Introducing the C&G Girl Gang!

What started on a whim ended up being the best decision I could have made for Citrus & Gold. Introducing…the C&G Girl Gang!

The C&G Girl Gang is a community of women interested in making health and wellness a priority. It’s a forum for women to ask questions, share advice, and connect with other bad-ass women. I’m focusing on building awareness especially for South Asian women but all women are welcome . Sorry men, I don’t mean to exclude but I do want to create a safe, open environment for women specifically.

My mission is to help women take control of their lives to become healthier, happier, and bolder. As much as I like posting on my blog and social media sometimes I feel like the conversations are one-sided. I don’t get to hear what matters for YOU guys quite enough. Or if I do, the conversations end up being quite superficial. Blogging can be pretty lonely at times and I knew I wanted to create something that fosters authentic communication. So on a random Tuesday night I started a FB group, called it the C&G Girl Gang, created a header on Canva and there it was.

At first I thought there would be maybe 20, 30 friends interested but I’m happy to say we have over 150 women from all across the world in the group! It’s been so amazing seeing others connect and bond. One of my friends published a beautiful article on Brown Girl Magazine through connecting with a couple of girls in the group.

We are brainstorming meet-ups, book-clubs and much more! We are all so excited to how it transforms in a organic, authentic manner.

If you are interested in joining you can request access here. Hope to see you there .