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 .

How I am Making the Tone it Up Bikini Series My Own

 

tone-it-up-bikini-series

This year I’ve finally decided to participate in the Tone It Up Bikini Series: an 8 week fitness challenge hosted by the founders of Tone It Up, Karena & Katrina. It’s a big step for me because I’ve never successfully completed a fitness challenge before.

Some challenges had way too many rules, other’s didn’t speak to me, but other times I just I didn’t believe in myself. Not too long ago, I was still working on improving my relationship with food & exercise. Whoa, I think that’s the first time I’m ever mentioning that online. That’s a big deal for me.

I’d find myself obsessing over my food & body much more than I’d like. I’d compare myself to others far too much and spent too much time criticizing my own flaws. I was aware of my somewhat “unhealthy mindset” and I knew a fitness challenge may make me focus more on the superficial than I should.

It’s taken me a lot of trial and error to get to where I am now but I am at the point where I feel comfortable and happy with my relationship with fitness. I’m ready to give this challenge a shot.

I’m someone who marches to the beat of their own drum so I don’t think I’d be successful if I tried to follow all the rules of the challenge. For example, I’m not exactly following the TIU meals on their nutrition plan nor I am doing all of the TIU workouts. They do, however, serve as helpful guidelines.

Everyone has different goals for the Bikini Series but here are my top 3 I’d like to achieve:

My Goals:

  1. Successfully complete my first challenge. Really all I want is to keep my motivation going for 8 weeks. And I want to make sure I continuously love and accept myself the way I am the entire way through it. One week down already!
  2. Become a morning person: my goal is to wake up by 6:30 at least 4 times a week to either get in a morning workout (aka “Booty Call”) or to take time to write for my blog. Two of those four days I teach, so it’s really only 2 more days I need to get motivated for.
  3. Prep my meals. I’m lucky to be fed both breakfast and lunch at work so I really only need to prepare one healthy snack and dinner for each day. I easily get stressed/overwhelmed by cooking and I want this challenge to make my life easier! I’ll definitely be using the meal plan for inspiration.

I know I wouldn’t be sticking to this challenge without my accountability groups. I’m part of two group threads with other women who are participating in this challenge. We don’t only talk about working out, but literally everything and anything in life. Everyone is so supportive and kind. I’m a bit introverted so I was scared I’d be overwhelmed but it is quite nice I must say :).

Okay that’s all I have to say about the Bikini Series now. I feel even more accountable sharing this online.

Do you have any questions about it? Shall I do another update in a few weeks? Are you doing it as well? Let me know in the comments below!

Santa Cruz Half Marathon

Hi!

I’m back to the blog. Honestly after this race I felt like I lost my motivation and discipline and needed sometime to get back to my routine. I’ve also been traveling these past few weekends so it was hard to make time for blogging with my 9-5, teaching, and life in general!

Anyways, race recap blog posts hold a special place in my heart. I started writing these posts back in college and it’s always so fun for me to look back at them years later and relive the race experience. I feel like they are posts I write for myself more than anyone else but hopefully you still find them entertaining ☺.

I usually recap the race by breaking it down into mile chunks but honestly I didn’t feel too differently in mile 3 than I did at mile 10! So instead, I’ll focus on three key factors of the race: mind, body, and nutrition.

MIND:

I was genuinely so excited about the Santa Cruz Half Marathon. It was a great excuse for a one-day getaway to a beach town with my parents and my boyfriend and I was excited for a chance to run another race after my IT band injury last year.

I didn’t experience the normal anxiety and nerves I usually do with half marathons and I think there are a couple of reasons for that. Number one, I’ve done a few half marathons by now so I know what to expect at a race; two, I didn’t put too much pressure on myself for a finishing time. Yes I knew I wanted a sub 2 hour final time but if I didn’t achieve it I knew there would be more races.

BODY:

Training was relatively short at eight weeks but it was consistent. I ran three times a week and paired my runs with strength training and POP Pilates training. I feel like core strength and lower body strength made a huge difference in a running. Thanks to Fleet Feet SF’s training program, my runs were a mix of hill training, speed work, and challenging long runs!

NUTRITION:

This was my first half marathon after I started to work with a nutritionist and my diet change helped a lot with my energy levels. In the past I’d feel tired and uncomfortable after long runs and I think it’s because I’d refuel with food that didn’t sit well with my stomach. This time around I had more control of my energy level.

THE OUTCOME:

I PRed at a time of 1:52*!! I shaved off 10 minutes my last PR: part of the difference is due to the fact that SC is far less hilly than SF, but I also think the mind, body, and nutrition prep did wonders.

I felt like a million bucks right after the race but a couple of days later I felt like I lost all discipline. I think I need a new goal again ☺.

*1:52 is my approximated time because for some silly reason the race ended at 12.7 miles…I had so much more energy left in me I wish it kept on going! I added 5 minutes to my official time of 1:47:18 to get my PR time.

Santa-cruz-half-marathon

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 :).

DIY Turmeric Face Mask to Moisturize and Brighten Skin

turmeric face mask

Indians use turmeric for everything: food, medicine, drinks, and yes, even for face masks. This easy DIY turmeric face mask is a great at-home remedy to brighten and moisturize your face and skin.

Fun fact: turmeric is also a very important ingredient in Indian weddings – especially for a particular ceremony – the haldi. The haldi (which means turmeric in Hindi) is celebration held for the bride and groom at their respective homes. A turmeric paste is gently applied to the their face and feet. According to Hindu teachings, turmeric is supposed to cleanse the body and soul and marks the beginning of a new chapter in the lives for the couple!

There are many variations of different turmeric masks but I picked one that’s easy and convenient. You only need a few ingredients and a few minutes to put it together. FYI – whenever I share a DIY project or recipe, rest assured that it will always be pretty straightforward. Because I can’t deal with complexity.

You’ll only need 4 ingredients: turmeric, yogurt, honey, and oat flour. If you don’t have oat flour you can sub it with rice flour or gram flour, or skip it all together!

turmeric-face-mask-ingredients

 

DIY Turmeric Face Mask to Moisturize and Brighten Skin
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • 1 tsp of honey
  • 1 tbsp of yogurt ( I used plain greek yogurt)
  • 1 tsp of oat flour (gram or rice flour works too)
Instructions
  1. Mix all the ingredients together to form a smooth paste. If the mask feels too dry you can add a little more yogurt to get the right consistency.
  2. Use a mini rubber spatula to apply the mask to your face, avoiding your eyebrows and hair. If you use your fingers to apply it, be mindful of your nails because turmeric does stain!
  3. Leave the mask on for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Wash your face thoroughly with warm water to remove the mask. You may need a couple of rinses to get it off completely. I like doing it in the shower so I don’t have to worry about staining my clothes. An old towel also helps remove the last bits of color.
  5. You can keep the mask in the refrigerator for about a week. If it starts to dry out, add a little more yogurt (or milk) to fix the consistency.
 

Now why is this so good for you? First turmeric has antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Honey has antibacterial properties as well. The lactic acid in yogurt helps remove dead skin cells and moisturizes your skin at the same time. Finally, the oat flour also acts as a gentle exfoliant & hydrates dry skin.

***A few important reminders about turmeric.

1.A slight yellow tint may remain on your face if you don’t wash thoroughly but don’t worry it’ll go away by itself.
2.Turmeric does stain clothes so beware!
3.If you have facial hair (especially if it’s light in color) don’t put turmeric on it.

 

 

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This easy turmeric face mask is made with oats, honey, yogurt and turmeric and is used to brighten and moisturize your skin

Five Tips for Workout Motivation

five easy tips on how to find motivation for working out.

In a perfect world, working out should be as easy as other routine activities like brushing your teeth, showering, eating etc. But we all know it’s not that easy, even though physical activity is as important as clean teeth (if not more!).

You know when I find it the hardest to be motivated? When you’re coming back to working out after a while, whether it be weeks or years. You feel like your first workout back has to be the best one ever – but that’s totally not true. You just have to do something!

I struggled with workout motivation for years and still occasionally do…you know sometimes that fear sets in. But think I’ve finally found a happy balance and I definitely didn’t find that motivation alone. The tips below have helped me stay motivated and hopefully they help you too.

1. Stop being a Perfectionist

Let’s say you haven’t worked out for three months but want to get back into running as You make a plan to run 4 miles the next day but when tomorrow comes, you are afraid you won’t be able to do it so you postpone it.

Then, the next day comes around and you still don’t get to running because you don’t have the time for a full 4 miles. But why not just start with one mile? Or why don’t you even make it a point to get outside for 15-20 minutes to see what happens?

I feel like we get so caught up with the “perfect” plan that we can let it intimidate us to a point where we do nothing. 

2. Set Realistic, Achievable Goals

We all have our own reasons to why we workout: to lose weight, to feel happier, to run faster. However, sometimes when we are dragging our butts to the gym, we lose sight on why we are there in the first place.

Shannon Arens, the general manager of our health & wellness program at work wrote a great post on how to choose “S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound)” goals.

For example, I’m most motivated to workout when I’m training for a race. I feel truly committed andI also love competing against myself and aiming to beat my personal record. A great example of a SMART goal for me would be “set a PR for my half-marathons by running a sub 2:00 time at the Santa Cruz half on April 9th.”

I personally steer away from goals in physical appearance because I think it could lead to an unhealthy obsession with the scale and vanity metrics. So maybe getting ready for bikini season is a great motivation for some people, but I don’t think it’s a goal that’s leads to longer-term commitment to working out.

3. Find an accountability partner

I wish I was better at morning workouts (well I am kind of getting better now that I teach POP Pilates twice a week at 7 AM) but if I don’t have a reason to be up, I normally end up snoozing my alarm. However, if I am meeting a friend for a run in the morning or taking a class someone, I never snooze for fear of disappointing my friend! Working out with someone not only is fun, but also provides accountability.

4. Keep it Social

This point ties in well to the one above: working out shouldn’t necessarily feel like a chore. Try rock-climbing, dancing, or hiking with friends. My roommate and I sometimes go to hip-hop together at uforia studios and it’s so much fun!

With all of our busy lives, it’s hard to find time to do everything, so why not make it easier by combining social time and fitness into one?

5. Join an online community

There are many great online fitness communities where you can like-minded individuals who are trying to make health & wellness a priority. A few well-known fitness communities include POP Pilates, Tone it Up, and Kayla Itsines BBG. There are always different challenges to partake in and you’ll find plenty of other women on the way to motivate you!

I know I’ve only touched on a few ways to stay motivated to work out so I’d love to hear from you what you do to bring back that determination!

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five easy tips on how to find motivation for working out.

five easy tips on how to find motivation for working out.