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??

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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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 :).

Sunday Brunches with Birch Benders Paleo Pancakes

birch bender paleo pancakes

birch bender paleo pancakes

What do you do when you are craving real pancakes? When protein pancakes or banana/egg pancakes just won’t do the trick? You turn to Birch Benders Paleo Pancakes.

There’s nothing better than whipping up a batch of pancakes over the weekend — it brings back so many great memories. Back in the day, my mom always stocked the pantry with the Costco sized Bisquick pancake mix. My brother and I would always load those with chocolate chips, fruit, and of course maple syrup.

Now if you are craving “real pancakes” I’d say just eat the damn Bisquick pancakes — don’t deprive yourself! However if you are like me where gluten and dairy don’t suit you, then Birch Bender’s Paleo Pancakes are the way to go.

I honestly wish someone had told me about these earlier. Truthfully I only discovered them after I read in some magazine that Jessica Biel (aka Justin Timberlake’s wife) eats them every week. Apparently influencer marketing works real well on me because I immediately ordered them on Amazon after reading that article. Hey, who doesn’t want to be like Jessica Biel?

I’m quite happy with my impulse buy since I can no longer imagine life without this pancake mix. It’s made completely from natural ingredients such as almond flour, coconut flour, eggs, and monk fruit for sweetness. I also like to add some Enjoy Life Chocolate Mini Chips to bring me back to my childhood :).

They are incredibly simple to make too – all you need is water! I like to cook them with a little bit of coconut oil.

I reached out to Birch Bender’s letting them know how much I love their mix and they were kind enough to send me a few packs! In fact, I am giving some out to you guys now. You can enter the giveaway on Instagram and enter by commenting the post and tagging two friends. You get a bonus entry just for commenting on this blog post!

I will be choosing a winner on Sunday July 9th so keep your eyes and ears peeled!

Where to Find The Best  Salads in San Francisco

heirloom-salad-and-rose-blue-barn

heirloom-salad-and-rose-blue-barn

Given that I’ve lived in San Francisco for over 3 years, its a bit of a surprise that I haven’t talked about San Francisco food yet. I mean, I even have a healthy food guide to NYC.

I want to talk about salads. Why in the world is it SO hard to find good salads when eating out? I don’t want your bowl full of lettuce with one tomato and ranch. And please don’t hand me a side of mixed green with a little balsamic.

Luckily we have it pretty good in San Francisco does take some searching to find salads worth the money. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite salads in San Francisco so you don’t have to search any further!


Where to Find the Best Damn Salads in San Francisco


+Blue Barn : Blue Barn offers so many beautiful salad choices and also gives you the option to create your own at Blue Barn. This is my go-to places at least once a week! I like to create my own (2x the roasted mushrooms please!) but this is another place where you can’t go wrong with the options.

+ The Plant CafeThe Plant has locations all over the city making it a convenient, healthy, choice. Try the Dino Kale Salad; the kale is massaged in lemon juice giving it a nice citrus kick. Oh and add salmon!

+ Roam Artisan Burgers: Believe it or not, this burger joint serves a damn good salad. Order the Farmer’s Market Salad and add a burger trio – you get three mini patties of the meat of your choice (I usually get turkey). The salad also has a generous serving of avocado. Yum.

+ Nourish Cafe: OK this have become my FAVORITE cafe since they opened their location in Nob Hill. From smoothies, salads, baked goods, and bowls — they have it all! The falafel salad is especially divine.

+ sweetgreen: Sweetgreen is basically the Chipotle of salads, but better. I usually make my own here too but I’ve tried the Spicy Sabzi and a couple of others and each did not disappoint.

I know there is so much more to be discovered but I’m someone who kinda sticks to my favorites. SF peeps – what salads in San Francisco would you recommend?

Sweet Potato Cashew Cream Sauce With Brown Rice Pasta

sweet potato cashew cream sauce

sweet potato cashew cream sauce

This sweet potato cashew cream sauce recipe kind of happened by accident.

I was perusing through Mckel Hill’s book Nutrition Stripped when I stumbled upon a recipe for a butternut squash vegan cream sauce. It sounded so damn good that I was determined to make it that night (and I was excited because I had all the ingredients at home!).

Except when I got home I realized my butternut squash went bad :(. I was so invested in making it that I decided to go rogue and make the sauce with sweet potatoes instead.

With a few tweaks, here is what I got:

Sweet Potato Cashew Cream Sauce + Brown Rice Pasta

Ingredients:

8 oz brown rice pasta
1.5 cups peas (I used frozen)
2 small/medium sweet potatoes, about 2 cups
1 cup nutritional yeast
1 cup unsweetened almond milk or light coconut milk
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup cashews
½ cup vegetable or chicken broth (more or less depending on the preferred consistency)

Directions:

Sauce:

Soak cashews in water for 2 hours. If in a rush you can soak in warmer water for less time but do not put it in boiling water.

Preheat oven to 400F to roast the sweet potatoes.

Peel sweet potatoes and slice them to roast. Mix sweet potatoes, olive oil and salt and pepper into a bowl. Line tray with aluminum foil place sweet potatoes on tray. Pop it into the oven for 25 minutes.

Once the sweet potatoes are done cooking add them to your Vitamix (or a powerful blender) along with the nutritional yeast, dijon mustard, cashews, almond milk and chicken stock. Pulse slowly, and add more liquid if needed. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pasta:

Set water to boil and add a dash of salt. Once the water begins to bubble, add pasta and cook on medium/medium high for 15-16 minutes (or follow instructions for your pasta). Add peas to flash cook for 3 minutes and then strain water from pasta. Add a little olive oil to pasta if desired.

You can pour the sauce over the pasta and warm it on low heat. But I liked using a separate saucepan to keep the sauce and pasta separate.

The sweet potato cashew cream sauce would be a perfect topper for sautéed vegetables or zoodles!