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Meet Sarika Shah

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarika Shah.

Sarika, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
In 1995, I entered my freshman at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo majoring in Mechanical Engineering. I had no idea what I wanted to do coming out of high school, and being the daughter of an Engineer, I applied under engineering. I did not like engineering at all….math and physics were not my thing. I took a general education course called Introduction to Nutritional Science. I loved it, I knew this was what I wanted to do. I changed my major to Nutritional Science. Four years later, I started grad school at San Jose State University and met some pretty influential people that I still keep in touch with. After completing my dietetic internship at San Mateo County General Hospital, I worked in various settings such as acute care and long-term care. Not many people are aware, but corporate structures can also exist for dietitians. I climbed the ladder as the corporate dietitian with responsibility for over 20 facilities for a long-term facility group. On the side, I got my first introduction to teaching as a preceptor to dietetic students and teaching at the community college level.

Once my kids started elementary school, I decided to take some time off to focus on being a mom. I enjoyed being active in the community and volunteering at the school. I missed practicing dietetics though and a friend invited me to join her private psych practice, focusing on child development. I was inspired and excited about helping children and realized that I was teaching parents too. I branched off and started my own practice on a virtual platform.

All my experiences have contributed to who I am now. Helping the elderly, engaging the children, and empowering adults are all equally fulfilling. By sharing science instead of sound bites, I really am passionate about what I do. I never recognized the lack of diversity in the field of dietetics in the United States. I love that I am able to bridge some of that gap with working South East Asian Indians living in the United States.

Has it been a smooth road?
The road has been like all others…long and filled with bumps and curves.

My first job was in a tough neighborhood of East Oakland! My building was on lockdown once due to shooting on a street nearby, and I had to be escorted into the parking lot by security. Scary at the time, but it’s a great story and enabled me to have more compassion for the less fortunate! The mixed feelings of climbing the corporate ladder was tough too. I was proud of the prestige of climbing the ladder in nutrition as the Corporate RD, but realized it took me away from the patient and clinical aspects that I loved.

When my kids were born and young, the hardest challenge was balancing the roles of motherhood and employee. I loved both and was often overwhelmed trying to find the best of both worlds.

Starting my own private practice was also quite a whirlwind. Trying to figure out my niche, investing money into the business and not sure if and when you’ll see the return. There were many times that I felt giving up and taking the “easy” route of working for someone else. Running your own business allows certain flexibility, but work never ends. I find motivation in my clients, the joy in their eyes and voices when they are achieving their goals. I also love being a role model to my children, helping them to find their passion.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I currently specialize in driving healthy habits. That includes weight gain and loss, mainly focused on the Indian population living in the United States.

I am most proud seeing the success of my clients and hearing them say, “I am so glad I found you, you understand!”

Currently, over 80% of registered dietitians in the United States are Caucasian and approximately 3% are Asian in the US. Indians are the fastest-growing immigrant population in the United States (according to the 2010 Census Bureau). Ensuring our fastest growing communities are well versed on nutritional aspects is so important.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
While I reside in Northern Cal, I’m a constant visitor to Southern Cal. The food scene in LA is one of the best, and the beaches are amazing. For me, I got the best of both worlds. Southern Cal is so spread out, so I prefer to live in the coziness of Northern Cal. And a 5 hour drive (or one hour flight) makes Southern Cal the ideal place to visit.

Pricing:

  • $350/month for 3 months for bi-monthly check-ins
  • $500/month for 3 months for weekly check-ins
  • All packages are inclusive of HIPAA compliant app for journaling, texting. Dietitian in your pocket!

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