Professional User Spotlight: Sarah Ferriera
Sarah Ferriera is a registered dietitian and integrative and functional nutritionist. She has been studying and practicing all things nutrition for over 10 years and has worked in all aspects of the field. Her experience spans from clinical nutrition to community settings and now she owns her own private nutrition consulting practice, Mindfully Nourished Solutions. Through her practice, she works individually with clients at a deeper level so she can use the whole breadth of her knowledge and skill.
Sarah was first pulled into the world of nutrition as a teen after helping support a friend with pancreatic cancer. This experience left such an impression on her that she wanted to study health sciences, nutrition, and biology. She became truly hooked after learning about the connection between nutrition and the brain in a medical nutrition therapy class. She realized nutrition was linked to neural health, addiction, behaviour change, and habit formation. Sarah fell in love with how the brain functions and has not looked back.
After working in the hospital setting for many years, she realized she was missing something and craved more meaningful interactions with clients. This drove her to take a risk and open her own practice. At Mindfully Nourished Solutions, Sarah focuses largely on brain health but also tackles issues like digestion, low energy, and feeling out of balance. She has always been interested in this link between nutrition and brain health. Sarah uses the available research on food and brain health to support her clients in their efforts to improve cognition, low mood, anxiety and depression. While these issues require other healthcare professionals, nutrition is a large piece of the puzzle. She gives her clients the opportunity to find out what truly works for them in an intensive way. Clients first are taken through a full nutrition assessment from an integrative and functional lens. They are then followed over 3-6 months to make slower and longer lasting changes. Sarah works closely with clients and is constantly observing their symptoms and modifying their plans to make it work best for them. This makes her clients feel supported and coming back.
In taking that risk to start her own business, Sarah has created her dream job. She loves spending time exploring and researching the structure and function behind nutrition recommendations and helping people understand why she makes specific recommendations. This area of nutrition is only growing and is becoming a huge piece of dietetics practice. Sarah has truly followed her own interest and encourages those coming into the field of nutrition to do the same. When you are actively interested in a topic, you will read, research, and learn all you can about that topic to truly help your client. She recommends basing all aspects of your career and practice around this, from your core business model to your marketing.
Even dream jobs have their challenges. For Sarah, this is the marketing side. As a business owner, this piece is essential, but difficult without formal business training. Being able to communicate her true value and help potential clients see the process is difficult, but something she is working on along the way. Sarah suggests business owners learn the skills to properly market themselves and their worth.
As a business owner and private practice dietitian, Sarah needed a tool that would allow her to streamline the meal planning process for clients. She was looking for something aesthetically pleasing, easy to use and highly customizable. Meal Garden gave her all of these things, plus the ability to use her and her clients’ favourite recipes in their plans. Aside from the meal plans specifically, she also uses the recipe collections to help teach clients the types of recipes that will work well for them. Using this feature gives her clients the autonomy to choose their own meals and start to learn more about what types of foods to look for. This keeps them in control and helps them keep momentum.
We asked Sarah if she had any tips for success for professionals just starting in the nutrition coaching practice. Here is what she said:
Make it a collaborative process with clients. Let them know what you can do and how you can help, and take the time to learn about what they feel confident in doing
Remember the skills involved in cooking vary between clients. Meal plans should be tailored to their individual level of skill and knowledge
Most importantly, meet clients where they are at. Make them feel empowered so they will feel confident and want to continue making positive changes.
Sarah shared her favourite Meal Garden recipe with us and that is the Beet Ginger Smoothie Bowl. This smoothie bowl is bright pink and beautiful and filled with nutrients. It is a perfect way to start a balanced day!