Samina Qureshi RDN, LD
CORPORATE WELLNESS &
for something nutrishus
The theme of individualized, personalized, and not one-size-fits all really shines through Samina's responses. Like other dietitians in the series, she also focuses on her client's relationship with food as well as having a holistic approach. Yes, we as dietitians know the importance of nutrition for health, but we also know health is multifaceted and we understand scope of practice as well as referring to the appropriate experts (especially with all the misinformation we encounter). Samina has a great philosophy and valuable insights that influence the way she practices.
Why did you become a RD?
One of the main reasons I became a dietitian was to help people learn how they can make food work for them instead of against them in restoring their health. During undergrad, I was a research assistant for a mindful eating based binge-eating study and quickly learned how your relationship with food can impact your overall quality of life and health. One of the participants of the study was a veteran and had never cooked a meal before, let alone been to a grocery store to shop for food, and had difficulty managing their health conditions. Basic nutrition education and mindful eating practices empowered them to manage their health. It was at that moment when I realized I can create a career providing people with the tools they need to achieve their best health through personalized nutrition counseling and positive lifestyle changes.
What area of dietetics do you work in?
I work in corporate wellness and run my Integrative & Functional Nutrition private practice Wholesome Start, LLC in Houston, Texas.
How would you explain what you do?
For my corporate wellness position, I help our participants prevent, reverse, and/or manage chronic health conditions through health coaching in nutrition, physical activity, stress management, and other lifestyle techniques.
At Wholesome Start, I provide in-person, phone and virtual nutrition counseling sessions to help people discover the root cause of their health concerns, develop a healthier relationship with food, and unlock their healthiest self. I believe wellness is not a one-size-fits all approach and I celebrate body and cultural diversity. Through my integrative and functional nutrition counseling sessions, my clients honor their relationship with food and restore their health to live a happy and wholesome life.
What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?
A typical day for my corporate wellness job includes assessing and reducing the participant's’ health risks through biometric screenings, health risk assessment questionnaires, and ongoing health coaching conversations. I am the head health coach so I also manage and train a team of health coaches, create content for our wellness blog, social media posts, and monthly handouts and challenges.
A typical day working on my private practice includes counseling my clients and providing them with nutrition recommendations to help them achieve their best health, networking in the Houston area, and connecting with my community via social media and the Wholesome Start blog.
What has been your career path?
I began my career in dietetics in the field of corporate wellness and health risk management. I have always practiced with a holistic mindset, encompassing not only nutrition but physical activity, stress management, sleep hygiene, and other areas of wellness to restore balance back into my clients’ lives. I help people discover the root cause of their health concerns instead of only treating or masking symptoms. Recently I opened up my own practice, Wholesome Start, to reach more people within my community.
What advanced education or special training do you have?
Recently I completed training in Integrative & Functional Nutrition and am studying for the Integrative & Functional Nutrition Certified Practitioner exam to receive the IFNCP credential.
In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?
In an ideal world, Registered Dietitians will be the go-to food and nutrition expert that all health care professionals will refer their patients to help prevent, reverse, and manage health conditions.
What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?
I am not the food police. I will not judge the way you nourish your body. As an intuitive eater, I am very flexible, I don’t set rigid food rules or restrictions, and I honor my hunger and satiety cues. I believe that all foods fit within a healthy diet. Food is much more than fuel, it’s a way for you to connect with and meet your physical, emotional, and social needs. There is no one size fits all approach to providing your body with optimal nutrition and working with a registered dietitian is essential to find an individualized approach that will work for you!
What would you like people to know about RDs?
You don’t have to be sick or want to lose weight to visit a RD! You can seek guidance from a RD if you have a simple question, would like to receive credible science based nutrition information, or would like to set up a fun group event for your family, friends, or coworkers. You can work with a RD at any time for any reason! At my private practice I am available to see clients on their schedule from anywhere through virtual consulting. With my services, you have the opportunity to have an RD in the palm of your hands!
What are challenges you encounter as a RD?
One of the biggest challenges I encounter as a dietitian is busting nutrition and weight loss myths from the media. Clients come in with nutrition information from celebrities, fad diets, quack “doctors” and think that there is a magic pill that can cure all. Unfortunately, there’s no magic pill to help you unlock your healthiest self. It takes time to change health behaviors and adopt new habits. The most important lesson I’ve learned about living a balanced lifestyle is to be gentle with yourself, respect the process, and never compare yourself to other people’s journeys. Afterall, comparison is the thief of joy! Every body is unique and your individuality should be celebrated while restoring your health.
What do people think that you do for a living?
People think I make meal plans and tell people what to eat to lose weight. I help people learn how to nourish their bodies in a way that fits with their lifestyle and health concerns.
What makes RDs unique/different from other nutrition/wellness professionals?
Registered Dietitians (RDs) are the food and nutrition experts who can translate the science of nutrition into practical solutions for wellbeing. So all dietitians are nutritionists but not all nutritionists are dietitians. The term “nutritionist” isn’t protected so anyone, anywhere can be a self proclaimed “health or nutrition expert.” To become a RD, you are required to get your B.S. in dietetics from an accredited university, complete 1200+ hours of supervised practice from an accredited dietetic internship that is often linked with a master's degree program, pass a national board exam, and maintain licensure with continuing education. With all of this education and experience under our belt, you can trust Registered Dietitians to help you make unique, positive lifestyle changes to improve your overall health.
What is your favourite meal?
One of my favorite meals is my mother’s homemade daal (lentils) with rice and curried beef. I encourage my clients to stay true to their culture and love making new recipes from all types of cuisines.
What tip(s) would you give to our readers?
For too many people, food is commonly seen as the enemy. Mainstream media influences the masses to believe that you must eat “clean” and look a certain way to be healthy. Some people see food in a very dichotomous way, either good or bad and may associate their behaviors as such. I’m sure you’ve heard people say, “I am such a bad person because I ate dessert today.” But your food choices have nothing to do with your morality. I’ll say that again, what you eat does not define whether or not you are a good or bad person. I mean, come on, you didn’t just rob a bank! You provided your body with some food that you enjoyed eating!
More about Samina:
Visit www.wholesomestart.com to learn more about how Samina can help you feel your best!
Blog: Wholesome Start
Facebook: Wholesome Start