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By Pirah Aijaz

Fempreneur aims to showcase women leaders, entrepreneurs and freelancers from around the world. It aims to highlight success stories of women, breaking glass ceilings to inspire and motivate young, aspiring, entrepreneurs and freelancers.

In this regard, Fempreneur approached Sadaf Asad to share about her business venture, achievements, and challenges faced by her. This interview is based on her personal profile, milestone of success, and challenges faced throughout her business venture.

The Nutrition Specialist, Sadaf Asad is the owner of 'Heal Meal', through which she has been offering nutritional services online for nearly three years now. Her aim is to raise awareness related to a healthy diet and lifestyle. Her primary focus is on providing therapeutic diets based on her clients' specific requirements.

"Heal Meal" offers preventive and curative dietary solutions, and to date has many satisfied clients. It focuses on a healthy diet that covers all your body's nutritional needs, with the addition of beneficial herbs and spices, and natural probiotics.

1- We want to hear from you about your professional journey. Tell us what made you choose nutrition as your career? And how did you come up with the idea for your venture ‘Heal Meal’?

We are a family of Doctors and Engineers so since my childhood, I have been fascinated by family discussions on patients. After completing my high school from Beaconhouse School System, I got admission in College of Home Economics, Lahore and was attracted to sciences from the get-go. Then after my Undergraduate, I received the rare opportunity of admission in MSc. Food and Nutrition where only 10 other girls were selected. In the beginning, I was a bit confused about a future in Food & Nutrition, but my parents convinced me into this field.

After marriage, I went to Saudi Arabia but couldn't pursue my profession there. When we came back, my husband encouraged me to start my own practice. It took me a while to catch up with my profession due to family commitments, but I finally started my Venture “Heal Meal". A platform where I can light a candle of awareness about Health and Diet. Furthermore, Khadija Usman of Fempreneur worked like a lighthouse for me. Her experience helped me in my growth.

2- Tell us your opinion, when consulting with clients, what do you believe are the most important aspects of nutrition?

I have found that building a relationship of trust and confidence is the most significant aspect of nutritional services and convincing patients to stick to the dietary guidelines. Furthermore, communication with clients and understanding their needs and limitations is quite essential in tailoring Nutritional plans for them.

3- Would you mind sharing a client experience you had that was difficult to work with? How did you handle it?

Our work as dietitians involves working with many clients who are not compliant, but thankfully I remain calm and patient to them. I thoroughly listen to them and give them hour-long coaching sessions to try to convince them and keep a continuous contact with them with my follow-up sessions.

4- There is no doubt that weight loss is a common problem facing the world today. People are looking for quick solutions. In this case, how would you deal with such clients? What kind of diet would you recommend to someone trying to lose weight?

I would say that every Human body is different than others so, please see a Dietitian before starting any weight loss programs. It is highly dangerous to start weight loss diets by yourself. Obesity has become an epidemic, especially in children and adolescents.

For someone seeking weight loss, first, get yourself assessed by a Dietitian and don't expect results overnight. Also, be consistent in healthy eating and regular workout. Go for follow-up visits with your Dietitians, calculate whatever you eat and never lose hope until you achieve your goal.

5- In the beginning of any career, everyone faces challenges, what have you faced? Would you mind sharing with us.

In our society, the idea of consulting a Dietitian is still new, and it is hard to accept that one really needs a Dietitian’s guidance under certain conditions. People take home remedies to avoid going to a Dietitian, so it is quite hard to convince them for consultancy. Thankfully, now things are changing; I have clients not only abroad but in Pakistan too.

Another challenge is convincing people for maintenance of healthy lifestyle instead of running after different diet plans and starving themselves of essential nutrients.

6- How would you define saturated and unsaturated fats?

As a Dietitian, I would say that all types of fats have their own importance and should not be omitted from the diet unless advised by the Dietitian. These two types of fat have different chemical structures and physical properties.

• Saturated fats are typically solid at room temperature like Butter.
• Unsaturated fats are either,
• Monounsaturated Fats found in Avocado, Nuts and Vegetable Oils.
• Polyunsaturated Fats which are liquid at room temperature and found in Vegetable Oils, like Safflower, Sesame, Soyabean and Corn.

7- Do you have any tips for helping children at risk of diabetes maintain a healthy diet?

Children should go out daily to play physical games.They should manage their weight by cutting on simple sugars, deep-fried food, processed foods, and unhealthy snacks.They should have limited screen time. If obese, they should see a Dietitian.

8- What are the types of Diet Tracking methods you would use with your clients?

I use following two methods for Diet Tracking: 24-hour Dietary Recall Profile and Food Frequency Questionnaire.

9- In the past three years of your career life, what have been your biggest achievements?

I’ve always worked towards spreading awareness about “Diet and Nutrition” because science is nothing without humanity. Alhumdulillah, I have launched “Heal Meal” as my platform to serve people with Nutritional Services. I have provided free services to many and I’m currently working on my Website and Blog. I am also enrolled in LUMS Nutrition and Wellness program and have started working with Shifaam, a Digital Healthcare Platform, as a Consultant Dietitian. I also intend on launching my own range of pure food products very soon. All my past experiences hold significance and create a sense of achievement for me.

10- What message would you like to give to anyone interested in pursuing Nutrition as a career?

I would say that it’s a very good career path with lots of potential to grow. Do join it and gain lots of experience and knowledge. Your learning process should never halt. As a guideline you should stay focused on the following: Passion, Humility, Ethics, Morality, Honesty, Integrity, Excellence, Hard Work, Competence, Courage and Empathy.

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