RDs Spill the Beans is a feature where I interview Registered Dietitians about the food they eat and their nutrition philosophies. People always seem to be interested in what dietitians eat, so now’s your chance to take a sneak peak into a dietitian’s fridge 🙂
Today’s interview is with Nita Sharda. You can find her at www.carrotsandcake.ca. Like me, she’s based in Winnipeg, where she is passionate about supporting and promoting local food producers.
This girl is a go-getter. On top of working more than full time in long term care, she owns her own nutrition consulting practice! Thank you for being so inspirational, Nita!
Jessica: Describe your eating style in 5 words or less
Nita: Balanced, plant based and definitely exotic (c’mon, I’m Indian).
Jessica: What are your favourite foods?
Nita: My favorite foods are those that encourage me to visit my childhood memories of my mother and grandma cooking in the kitchen. My mom, a devout vegetarian, often cooked Indian meals from scratch with servings of fresh roti daily (our starch staple). Specifically, I love paneer, which is a cultural cheese. And, my favorite dish is bhartha, which is an eggplant based dish loaded with peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes.
Apart from Indian food, I absolutely love Italian cuisine. My love affair for Italian cuisine started years ago but was affirmed when my husband and I spent some time in Italy last summer. Spices like oregano, basil, garlic and oregano just make me feel all kinds of happy!
I also couldn’t end my rambling about favorite foods without confessing my love for good ol’ bannok.
Jessica: List 5 foods that are always in your fridge or pantry
Nita: Eggs, parmesan cheese, whole grain crackers, milk and apples.
Jessica: Are there any foods you would never eat from a nutrition point of view?
Nita: Okay, so I’ll be the first to say “never say never”, but I’m not the biggest fan of McDonald’s (and similar large fast-food chains). At. All. On the rare and very desperate occasion I may sip coffee from McDonald’s, but that’s about all. If I’m craving a greasy burger or French fries I try my best to source local joints that can handcraft them for me.
Jessica: If you could only send one nutrition message out to the world, what would it be?
Nita: Don’t stress over food. Eat as much as you are hungry for, eat foods that make you feel good and if you want more, trust your body. Go for it.
Jessica: What do you think people should relax more about in terms of eating/food?
Nita: Perfection. Don’t worry about getting it all right. You may not be ready to go completely plant based, eat ethical meat, source organic foods and purchase locally. That’s a lot. Take it slow—I’m a full proponent of my clients trying their best and doing what is attainable within their reach.
Jessica: Do you have a favourite vitamin, mineral, or other nutrient?
Nita: I love talking about and educating clients on the importance of fibre and the magnificent benefits it offers the human body.
Jessica: What inspired you to become a dietitian?
Nita: I love this question, and I love sharing my story. Growing up, I often spent my summers “volunteering” at a family run grocery store owned by my parents. Our store is located in an area of Winnipeg populated with a lot of First Nations people. I immediately became attracted to their culture and many of our customers became extensions of my family.
One day when I was about 16, I saw a woman speak about the high rates of obesity and Type II Diabetes among the First Nations people. I wondered: what role could I play in preventing the onset or progression of these alarming statistics? Was there a role I could play in education? Eventually, I took an introduction to nutrition course. One thing lead to the next, and voila!
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