Registered Dietitian Dixya Bhattarai Shares Her Nutrition Tips!

I am so excited to present this interview with blogger and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Dixya Bhattarai! I met Dixya through an online blogger community and I was thrilled to meet another South Asian blogger. I also could not stop drooling over her food pictures on Instagram (find her @foodpleasurehealth). I finally tried her vegan pots de creme recipe for Valentine’s day and from then I knew she was the real deal. A little bit about Dixya: she’s originally from Nepal but currently calls Dallas home. She has a really balanced approach to food & nutrition and I am all for that :).

I’ll let her tell you guys more!

Easy Vegan Pots de Creme

+Introduce yourself to us please 🙂
Hi everyone, my name is Dixya Bhattarai – Registered Dietitian & Food Blogger behind Food, Pleasure, and Health. I am also a daughter, sister, girlfriend, and a chronic tea drinker (among many other things) currently based in Fort Worth, Texas. When I am not at the hospital working as a Clinical Dietitian, I love to cook, read books (with interesting pretty covers), or hanging out with my 4 year old fur child. I used to run regularly but within the last 2 years or so, I have picked up yoga, weight training, and brisk walking.

+How did you get interested in nutrition and then later get a degree as an RD?
When I first moved here [from Nepal] I had no idea what I was really interested in so I took general classes to begin with. My cousin was pursuing her nursing degree at that time and told me about a major in nutrition. I don’t recall if I did any research or anything on becoming an RD (it was long time ago), I simply signed up for a basic nutrition class and loved it. I took couple more nutrition classes and a career as an RD just felt right. I had an excellent academic advisor (Laura Mcknight) and internship director (Golda Ewalt) who has helped me tremendously to become an RD I am today.

+What is one change a person can make to their lifestyle to focus more on their nutrition?
Making health and wellness as your top priority is probably one of the challenging yet simplest thing one can do in order to pursue a healthier lifestyle. Once you prioritize your health and treat it like an important appointment (such as going to the gym at 7 pm, meal planning every Sunday afternoon, or going to bed at 10 pm), you will naturally start paying attention to nutrition.

Sprouted Mung Bean SaladSprouted Mung Bean Salad

+What can one do to make South Asian food a little healthier?
Growing up in a household where rice, daal, and vegetables were eaten twice a day and few snacks in between, I know we can definitely do better at using less oil while cooking vegetables and less sugar in tea especially if you drink tea 3-4 times a day with snacks.

South Asian food can be well-balanced and really nutritious but we tend to fill our plate with more carbs (rice, bread) compared to protein, vegetables, and fruits.

A lot of our snacks are deep-fried, sweet laden, and salty so we can perhaps replace some of those with healthier alternatives such as fresh fruits, nuts, and seeds.

+What’s your favorite on-the-go snack?
I love trail mix, granola, energy bites, or fresh fruit.

+Can you share some of your favorite recipes with us?
I am not a chef or a culinary expert so I do a lot of non-traditional weeknight-friendly wholesome recipes that are delicious. Some of my fav recipes include:

Tofu Palak
Chicken Tikka Lettuce Wrap
Tandoori Roasted Chickpeas
Sprouted Mung Bean Salad
Golden Milk Popsicles

Tofu Tikka Masala

Please do let me know if you try her recipes! I’m particularly craving the Tandoori Roasted Chickpeas :).

Interview with Leila Burrows from The Pad Studios

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One of my favorite things about blogging is that feeds my curiosity and it gives me an excuse to ask people a lot of questions.

I’ve always wondered how it’s like to run your own yoga studio. The idea of it sounds so perfect….it’s like I have this preconceived notion that those who dedicate their careers/lives to yoga are somehow more fulfilled and happy.

But I’m not naïve enough to believe it’s all butterflies & daisies (or lotuses & asanas?) – running your own yoga studio is a business, just like it is to run your own restaurant, law practice, or even your start-up. I wanted to learn more what it’s like to run your own yoga studio from Leila Burrows, co-founder of The Pad Studios, after one of our morning practices.

Read more

Kruti Shah Shares Her Experience with an Eating Disorder

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Today, I want to share the story of a lovely young woman, Kruti Shah. I stumbled upon her Instagram and I was instantly hooked to her beautiful pictures and recipes. After scrolling through her feed, I saw she shared a few personal details: she is recovering from an eating disorder. I thought it was really brave of her to share intimate details about her personal life, and I wanted to know a bit more.

By opening up, Kruti hopes to break the stigma around mental health that exists especially in the South Asian community.

+Introduce Yourself!

KS: Hi everyone! My name is Kruti Shah and I was born and raised in Southern California. Currently, I’m a preschool teacher and volunteer on the side with children with early developmental delays. My goal is to work in healthcare as an Occupational Therapist. Recently, I’ve tapped into my passion of cooking with my food blog, which can be found on Instagram, where I share recipes and healthy eats. It’s become one of my favorite hobbies to be able to connect and inspire so many individuals.

+Why did you start your food instagram?

KS: I started my food blog on my personal account to share recipes and healthy eats with my friends and family, however it has grown way more than I anticipated. If it wasn’t for Instagram, I would not have stumbled upon an amazing company called Wear Your Label, where their goal is to end the stigma around mental health. I’m so thankful for the connections I’ve made through Instagram, it’s opened up so many new friendships for me, and it’s been amazing to know that I have such a strong support system especially throughout recovery.

+Do you mind sharing a bit more about your struggles with ED?

KS: I’ve struggled with an eating disorder for quite some time now, although I’ve gotten much better, I still don’t know what full recovery means, I just know that I’m headed in the right direction. I was 14 when I first looked in the mirror and thought I wasn’t worthy, I wasn’t pretty enough, and I hated the way I looked. I began to cut calories, exercise more, and almost always went to sleep hungry.

I’ve come a long way since my initial days, and I know the journey for me is still in progress, but I could not be more proud of where I am today. I’m learning to not fear food, find a balance, and most of all cultivate self-love.

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+How was it like sharing what you were going through with friends & family? I imagine it must have been hard.

KS: Sharing my story with family and friends initially gave me great anxiety, and it wasn’t something I felt comfortable discussing. However throughout the years, I’ve learned to own my story, and not allow my struggle to define who I am. I’ve always felt judged for the way I look and the way I eat, but I’m learning to ignore those judgments, and just do me.

+Did you end up getting professional health?

KS: I did receive professional help with the encouragement of my brother. I always thought that I could recover on my own, and I did not need help from anyone, but I hit a point in my life where I realized that I can’t do it alone anymore, it was exhausting. Also, I was discouraged to seek help again because of the judgment/stigma around seeing a psychologist, but I moved past that it has been one of the best decisions.

+Ok, turning to a fun question now! What’s your favorite nourishing (or healthy) meal?

KS: Avocado toast, no doubt! I used to be so afraid of eating “fats,” nut butters, oils, avocado, but now I can’t live without any of them! I love how creative you can get with such a simple combination of smashed avocado on toast and the toppings are endless!

 

avocado-toast

+Do you have any advice for women struggling with an eating disorder?

KS: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. One of my biggest struggles was opening up and sharing my story with family and friends, but it is so important to find a strong support system. It can be scary, but the constant support and encouragement I’ve received has helped me tremendously. It is easy to hide behind a wall and feel alone, but remember that you never are.

There are so many others who are struggling as well, and there are a number of resources to help you find a way out. I don’t know what full recovery looks like, but I know that I’m working towards it, and I’ve made so much progress. For anyone struggling, always look at how far you’ve come, and remember that you’re not alone.

+Last question! What’s a motto/mantra you live by?

KS: As cliché as it may seem, I tell myself everyday that “everything happens for a reason.” I am trying to see my eating disorder in a positive light, and I know without ED I would not be where I am today. I’ve been fortunate to connect with so many wonderful individuals, and most importantly I’ve grown and learned so much about myself. Our vulnerabilities are our greatest strengths, and ED has helped me understand that.

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I know this topic isn’t as light-hearted as my previous posts but being health is a lot more than just your physical state, your mental state is equally if not more important. I’m so thankful that Kruti took some time to share her story.

*photo credit: Kelsey Schroeder

Reva Bhatt From Hybrid Hues on Her Hyphenated Identity

With Citrus & Gold, I want to inspire people to live a bolder, happier, and healthier life but I know I can’t do it alone.

I want to use this blog as a platform to bring light to other inspirational women (and men) who embody that same mission. Today, I want to put the spotlight on Reva Bhatt of Hybrid Hues as she definitely inspires me to be bolder. She’s also one of the few people who helped me think about my own South Asian identity and how it connects to my own passions & everyday life.

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Meet Reva

I’ve known Reva since high school and it’s been amazing to see how she’s carefully crafted who she is and what she stands for. To describe Reva in a few words is challenging: she’s an artist, a writer, and an engineer but the way she describes herself is a “work in progress”.

Encouraged by her friends, Reva started Hybrid Hues as a simple fashion blog to share her unique style. But after she worked on her fashion blog for a few weeks, she knew she couldn’t just share outfit posts – she had more to say. Inspired by her hyphenated identity she then began using her blog as a platform to “reinterpret fashion through a political framework to spark broader conversations about the crossroads of culture, social politics and art, especially within the South Asian context.”

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She’s made her voice heard by writing commentary pieces about how South Asian culture is portrayed in pop culture. For example, she wrote a piece that was shared on the Huffington Post on Coldplay’s Hymn For The Weekend music video (spoiler alert she was NOT happy).

In her own words:

“When I watched that, I had to turn my brain off for the the entire day. I remember watching it at lunch and I was so distraught by it that I couldn’t work, I couldn’t think…all I was doing was checking YouTube, checking Twitter to see if being upset was justified.”

Though the reaction to the music video has been mixed in the South Asian community, it’s apparent that Reva isn’t afraid to share her opinion.

Not Your Dulhan

Reva tackles other hard-hitting subjects that affect many South Asian women, such as the pressure of marriage. This is a huge topic for us – trust me if you talk to any South Asian girl my age she will definitely tell you the pressure she’s felt to find a husband.

She and a few friends (Jasdeep Kang & Pragya Bhatt) launched “Not Your Dulhan”, a photo series exploring “how different womxn challenge the stereotypes and expectations surrounding the “perfect dulhan” (bride).”

What’s cool is that they recruited all of their models from Instagram! She and Jasdeep were able to find three South Asian women who had never modeled before to be part of the series. On the surface they were different: they were women of all ages, skin tones, sexuality, regions of India. But one common thread among them is that they have all fought to redefine the institution of marriage within the South Asian community and their families.

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There’s a lot more that can be said about Reva and her work so I would encourage you to check out her website and Instagram.

Reva’s fiery personality is contagious, in the best way possible. She’s bold, sassy, and isn’t afraid to share her opinion. Here’s to hoping she never stops.