Sadia Salman is a certified nutritionist from Tufts University, USA and the CEO of ‘Diet by Design’. She has over 8 years of experience in treating patients with various health issues through food and natural supplements both in Pakistan and in Canada. Most of her work is on managing diseases like obesity, hypertension, cholesterol, diabetes, PCOS and fertility issues etc. through natural means. Embarked on a journey to raise awareness about eating right, the au fait Sadia Salman talks to You! about her work and goals…
You! How did the idea of ‘Diet by Design’ come about and what inspired you?
Sadia Salman: ‘Diet by Design’ was my brainchild back in 2012. I went through a very difficult phase in my life, emotionally and physically which brought about the idea of healing oneself with food. I lost my new born daughter and had two very difficult pregnancies in two consecutive years. I went from 65 kgs to 102 kgs and developed diabetes at the age of 35. I used to work as a civil servant with FBR and my stressful work took a toll on my emotional health during those years. So, after two years of insulin jabs and constant monitoring of my sugar levels, I decided to take control of my life again.
I took a long leave from work, started studying nutrition and began making changes to my food routine. Coming from a family of doctors and air force officers, it was fascinating to learn what we had always ignored – to let your body heal itself with the right choice of food instead of treating it with medication and long exercise sessions.
You! What motivated you to turn your self-love journey into a commercial venture?
SS: It wasn’t an easy task. Back then, people were not very aware of the importance of eating right. They would be surprised to learn that one can lose weight, treat hypertension, atherosclerosis, liver issues and diabetes just by making small changes in your eating patterns and schedules. So, it took a good two years to establish Diet by Design’s theories but from then on it became a new phenomenon.
You! Tell us about your work in Canada…
SS: We moved to Canada in 2016 for the treatment of my elder son who is autistic. I started practicing there and met many fellow nutritionists and food experts from all over the globe. I attended many conferences and represented Pakistan in Canada and USA. Most were held by ASN (American Society of Nutrition). It was an honour for me to speak on these conferences, most of them arranged by my alma mater Tufts University.
It gave me a new insight into the diverse roles of foods, supplements and healing ourselves mentally and physically through right choices.
My son’s holistic treatments in Washington and Florida also reinforced the idea of the gut-brain connection and how our digestive system can help alleviate obesity, anxiety, depression and regression in both kids and adults.
You! How did your famous herbal supplements gain global reach?
SS: We introduced Thermogen and Ashwa Gold herbal supplements after years of research and trials. They were mostly meant for our clients outside Lahore who we couldn’t provide meals to. Slowly through word of mouth, the success stories introduced them in the city as well. Most of our clients for these amazing weight loss and fertility supplements are out of Pakistan, mainly USA, Canada, UK, France, UAE, South Africa, Germany, Kenya, Australia and some more European countries. We deliver them all over the world with free online assessments. We have more than 11,000 clients all over the globe, 80 per cent of which are women.
You! Adding to your contribution for women’s health through your company and personal life, what piece of advice would you give to the women in Pakistan?
SS: Thank you for your kind words! My goal, since I began ‘Diet by Design’, was to heal people with the bounties of God which he has provided to us in the form of foods, herbs, spices and more. As for the mental and physical health of our women, we need to make more efforts to reach out to them and to spread awareness about the importance of mental health. If the mind is stressed, it can lead to physical ailments and vice versa.
A woman is the centre of her family. We have seen so many households become healthy because the mother joined our health programme and learnt how to keep the family healthy by introducing small changes in their eating habits. And that’s my biggest source of pride and joy.
Since March 2020, we have provided free immunity boosting meals to over 37,000 households who had Covid patients and could not afford to take care of their meals. We have trained many more and sent them free diet plans and recipes to make these meals for themselves to improve the immunity of the body to fight the coronavirus.