Live With Nourka Episode 2: Nazima Qureshi

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live with nourka episode 2: Nazima Qureshi


Nazima is a registered dietician and nutritionist and yesterday we covered topics about postpartum, how to stay fit after having a baby, how to stay motivated, and how to meal plan. 

In your bio you say you're a dietician and a nutritionist, what’s the difference?

Basically, they’re different titles, a dietician is protected and you can call yourself a doctor if you follow a certain educational pathway. I did my undergrad in nutrition and then I did my masters and I gave a six-hour exam, and that was when my baby was 3 months old. That’s how I became a dietician, and a nutritionist is not a protected title. A lot of people can take different types of education, like you can take a shorter course and call yourself a nutritionist. I call my self both, because some people understand either/or but the goal is the same, which is promoting healthy eating and helping you live a healthier lifestyle. There’s so many misconceptions that it has to be boring or strict or that you’re going to be miserable when you’re eating healthy but it’s really not like that.

Is your goal specific to a certain niche market? Do you target specific people? I know your focus Is women, but what is your goal for specifically muslim women?

My niche you could say is Muslim women, I found that there’s this huge gap when it comes to nutrition information. You’ll see a lot of people who don’t look like us, so you’ll see white women for example, that are promoting health and that’s great but when it comes to us we have different eating habits, like we fast one month in the whole year. Often times we’re cooking for our families, so it’s a lot more complicated than just giving a standard meal plan. That’s why I started what I’m doing, where I’m working with Muslim women and helping them feel empowered, showing them that you can eat healthy and feel really good. Another thing is, I find that a lot of women, even if you’re not a mom, forget to take care of themselves. You’re taking care of everyone else, and that happens a lot when you are a mom too because you’re taking care of your child and everyone around you and then you’re like ‘I don’t have time for my self.’ I really want to show people that you don’t have to take a huge chunk of time from your life, you just need to make small changes and it’s actually going to make you feel so much better.

How did you get into nutrition? What motivated or inspired you to want to be a nutritionist?

When I was 14, my dad had diabetes so I went to see a dietician with him and I was so amazed, she had all these food props and she was talking to him about how to eat healthy. We went home and my dad didn’t follow any of it, because it was like a white lady telling him to like drink milk with curry. That’s where I was like, wow nutrition is so important. Everyone eats, so it’s so central to everyone and as I was studying I was like wow there’s no information out there for Muslims, south Asians, there’s no culturally sensitive information. There might some generic info but there’s no one there to help people walk through that process.

You just launched an ebook! Can you tell us a bit about that?

I’ve been working on this for so long, I’m so glad it’s finally out there.

The eBook is the ‘Muslimah’s Meal Plan’ and I basically wanted to show people that they can eat healthy and still feel full. I wanted to show people that the food tastes good, and that it’s doable. I really try and make it step by step. There’s chocolate in there, and you’ll enjoy it because I’m not omitting things. I really want people to take that first stepping-stone. One of the keys to healthy eating is meal planning. When you’re hungry and you open your fridge and there’s nothing there what do you do? You go to Waton!  It happens to me too if I don’t prep. Imagine if you had healthy food and snacks prepared? You’d eat those! It usually happens when you’re not prepared. I really take you step by step through that.

Do you think that there's a step before meal planning which includes trying to organize your time? Any tips?

You have to schedule it in. If you make it a priority than you’ll have time for it. Before that you have to go get the groceries. What you have around you at home is what you’re going to eat. What you buy is what you eat, and the first step is to take time at grocery store. Don’t do your groceries the same time/day as your meal planning. It’s just like you have to take time out to exercise you have to for this. One of the keys to healthy eating is meal planning, but it’s up to you how much time you want to invest.

You talk about breastfeeding. I’m breast-feeding and a lot of moms are too. I’m hungry all the time, and  eating a lot more than I used to before. What are your suggestions to keep it interesting and do you snack plan as well?

I find I get hungrier when I’m breast-feeding than when I’m pregnant. Look it at it as means and snacks instead of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks in between. As a mom, figure out your routine with your baby and when and how it’s best for you to eat. Energy bites are like the best thing to have and their small like nuts and fruits. Just things that are easy. Try not to keep packaged foods at home like chips and cookies because you’ll eat it. Eating healthy doesn’t mean that you can’t have anything; you can still enjoy your favourite foods on weekends or as occasions come up in moderation. I find that they taste so much better (this way).  You want to start making small changes.

Carbs are a good thing?

Yeah a lot of people are scared of carbs, it’s a really about the quality of carbs and the quantity. Whole grains, brown rice, quinoa, couscous, and also the portion size, are key. So like having one cup of rice rather than a whole plate. Then people are like I’m going to be hungry if its just one cup of rice, and that’s where you fill up on veggies, and it doesn’t have to be salad, it can be cooked veggies. You want to make sure you don’t overcook them.

You recently had a baby, how the heck do you find time to work out?

A lot of people after having a baby say they want to lose weight and you think that’s enough motivation but in reality it’s not. You think you want to lose weight but when you’re in that moment you’re like ‘do I want to lose weight or do I want to take a nap instead of exercising?’ If our goal is losing weight, it’s easy to keep saying I’ll do it tomorrow. My goals are more self-care oriented where I’m like ‘I need to do something for myself.’ Now, it’s not about losing weight anymore. Yesterday, there were so many factors that prevented me from going to the gym, and it wasn’t the ‘I want to lose weight’ that made me go. I was like if I don’t go I know I’m going to be miserable after and really cranky, so I just went.

How do you stay consistent, especially as a mom where I feel as if I don’t have time?

If you are a scheduling/ planner person than scheduling those times out is really important. I tell my husband to remind me to work out and having that accountability partner helps a lot. I’ll be like even if I don’t feel like going can you make sure I go? Your motivation isn’t always going to be there so it’s important to hold on to it. It’s also important to have realistic goals, so don’t say ‘oh I’m going to go to the gym everyday.’ So, planning it out day to day and having a back up plan is important because I know I’m not going to be able to go to the gym some days.

What was your experience and how do we maintain a healthy mental state?

I really felt the blues after my first baby, and when I was pregnant with my second baby it hit me harder. I think, again, that support is extremely important. Some people talk to their husbands, or some people their sisters and moms, ask for what you need. Once you get cleared with your doctor, I think that exercise is a huge benefit when it comes to your mental health. Taking some time to yourself is key, so if you want to start your passion, get started on it. People expect these big grand gestures, and for things to fall in their laps, like you just hit 300k followers, but that didn’t happen overnight. If you have a passion just follow it and take that first step.

Let us know what you think! What do you want hear next on #LiveWithNourka ?


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