A Balanced Approach to Wellness | Meet Mia Rigden of RASA

Author: Caitlin Cheng

Anyone who’s had a few too many boozy dinners and late nights out can tell you that, yes, you can have too much of a good thing. Mia Rigden certainly found that to be true. In the midst of her hectic schedule as the PR agent for a restaurant group in bustling Hong Kong, Rigden needed a reset - and not just your average crash diet or detox, but something to totally recharge her mind, body, and soul. That’s when she created RASA, a community that’s all about practicing healthy lifestyle habits through holistic wellness coaching. Intrigued by #therasalife, we hit up the talented BOSSBISH to learn more about her project, how she balances working in the city with healthy living, and her take on maintaining a positive body image. Find out what she had to say in the full interview below!

Where are you from and where do you live now?
I’m a California girl currently living in Hong Kong.

Tell us about RASA. What’s the concept behind it, and what does it entail?
RASA is a holistic wellness company that offers health coaching, guided cleanses and consulting for businesses looking to provide healthier options for their employees and/or customers.

I started RASA to fill a void I saw in the sea of health and wellness information out there - I wanted to create something that made healthy living less boring and more realistic. I eat meat, I love wine, tequila and chocolate, but I also want to feel (and look!) good. There’s so much information out there - should you be vegan, eat gluten, dairy, do interval training, etc. - and it’s really overwhelming. We’re all unique and complex in our own ways, and with RASA my hope is to help people discover foods and healthy habits that make them look/feel their best, and that are easy to incorporate into their daily routines. RASA isn’t about deprivation or sacrifice, it’s about education and developing new habits that support your body.

How does The RASA Challenge differ from other cleanses/diets out there?
The RASA Challenge is a 21-day whole foods detox with a strong protein focus. I actually used to do a lot of juicing in my 20s. l would have a few too many tequila sodas over the weekend, and when the Sunday scaries set in, I would sign up for 3-5 days of torture in some attempt to rectify the fun I had in the days before. For me, they never really made much of a lasting difference, except for maybe the people I offended with my hangryness. Don’t get me wrong - if you can lie on the beach in Thailand, get massages and give your digestive system a rest with fresh, cold-pressed (and not too fruity) juices, go for it! I just don’t believe that subsisting on juice alone, while trying to lead your busy AF life, is realistic or any fun.

The RASA Challenge is geared toward busy urbanites who want to clean up their diet and make a lifestyle change, while still being able to function at work and have the energy to exercise. It’s not about demonizing entire food groups, which our current “diet” culture loves, but rather a journey to help you discover which foods support the life you want to lead and which do not. It starts with a detailed guide and shopping list, followed by a daily email with a wellness tip along with a RASA-approved recipe. While I provide lots of guidance - clients can contact me via email at anytime - you have to buy and cook your own food. This, plus the information in the daily emails, helps you form healthier habits that you can seamlessly incorporate into your life once the challenge is complete. Additionally, it’s only $45 USD for 21 days, and can be done from anywhere in the world at any time.

Run us through an average day for you…
Every day is different, but I do have a few constants. I’m an early riser and mornings are my favourite time of day. I used to rush off to early yoga classes, but now I just chill and spend some QT with my husband before the craziness of our days begin. We make breakfast and a hot pot of coffee, put on music, check out what happened in the world while we were sleeping…it’s really nice.

Before consuming anything, I have warm water with lemon juice. Then, breakfast. I either make eggs with spinach and homemade protein toast (totally gluten and grain free - my latest obsession) or I have a shake. My current blend is inspired by a smoothie from Kreation Juice in Venice: a mix of vanilla protein, spinach, cucumber, chia seeds, almond butter and almond milk. It’s delicious, and if I don’t have it for breakfast, I will have one in the afternoon.

“It’s not about demonizing entire food groups, which our current “diet” culture loves, but rather a journey to help you discover which foods support the life you want to lead and which do not."

I make an effort to sweat everyday. In the past 6 months, I’ve gotten really into weight training. I’ve always been more of a yogi, so this is really new to me and has actually improved my yoga practice massively. Aside from yoga and lifting, I run and try to fit in a Megaformer class at least once a week.

I work from home most days, but I always have meetings with clients or potential partners throughout the day. I’ve done a lot of wellness talks recently, and I've also been working on some cooking classes with kids, which I’m super excited for.

Being an entrepreneur means doing everything yourself. From designing flyers on photoshop and building or tweaking my website, I’ve been forced to learn so many new things. I always think, “someday, when I have a graphic designer and a web developer, I will look back on this…” blah blah, but the truth is, I like the satisfaction of figuring things out on my own.

In the evenings, if I’m not going out for dinner, I cook and try to turn in before 11pm. I’m all about those 7 to 8 hours of z's.

Living in a busy city, not to mention working in the restaurant industry, surely you understand the challenges of maintaining a healthy, holistic lifestyle while enjoying late nights and a few too many cocktails (we’re definitely guilty). How do you achieve this balance?
Balance is key! Over the years, I’ve really taken the effort to figure out what works for my body and what doesn’t. I don’t eat very much gluten because it makes me puffy and tired (unless it’s really amazing well-made bread or something that I absolutely must try) and I avoid processed foods. Other than that, I eat what I want. When I go out, I drink lots of water, try to stick to wine and tequila sodas, and make sure to sweat it out the next day. I love wine, especially natural wines that aren’t full of additives or sulphites - you will feel it less the next day, I promise!

Through your travels, you’ve explored the wonders of Eastern and Western medicine, as well as witnessed the role of health and fitness in different cultures. Is there a particular city that has had the most influence on your approach to healthy living?
People love Hong Kong for the restaurants and the nightlife, but I love it for the daytime activities. It’s remarkable to live in such a big city yet be able to escape to the beach in a matter of minutes, go on a ridiculously gorgeous hike on the weekend, or sail out on a boat with friends. There are so many alternatives to drinking and eating out. But of course, the drinking and eating here is great, and an afternoon spent conquering The Twins would not be complete without a margarita and a few chips in Stanley! It’s all about balance, right?

Beyond the beach, I love the local Chinese traditions and how Eastern culture puts such an emphasis on self-care. In the West, this is regarded as a luxury, but over here people view it more as maintenance, and it’s highly accessible at various price points. I’ve gotten more “treatments” since moving to Asia than in all my years prior combined - acupuncture, cupping, foot massages, you name it. It’s awesome!

What do you wish more people knew about body image?
It’s all about confidence. No one is perfect, but if you love your body, it will love you back.

What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking about living a healthier lifestyle, but who isn't sure if they can manage the drastic changes?
It’s a marathon, not a sprint. I always tell my clients that if they try to make too many changes at once, they will fail. You have to incorporate small lifestyle tweaks over a long period of time to make a lasting difference. Set goals and try to focus on adding healthy foods and lifestyle habits (like exercise, meditation, etc.) rather than taking foods and activities away. Crash diets just, well, crash. If you really want to make an impact, it can’t have an end date. It’s about changing your habits.

You’ve moved around to different cities all over the world – so much so that we can’t keep up! Which has been the most interesting city?
California is home, but New York has my heart.

What are three hidden gems in Hong Kong?
The Pool at The Grand Hyatt for a lazy, semi-indulgent Sunday, the Lane Crawford outlet in Ap Lei Chau always has good finds, and the rooftop at Maison Libanaise for haloumi, roasted cauliflower and Lebanese rosé!

What does MISSBISH mean to you?
Strong, confident women that know who they are, what they want and how to get it. It’s all about that hustle.

Photos by: Stanley Cheng

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