A little about me…
I moved to New York in 1999 for college and graduated with my B.A. in Psychology. After school, I worked in the fashion industry for a few years, but quickly realized fretting over the perfect shade of pink was not what I had in mind as a fulfilling career. I wanted something more meaningful, personal, and that would hopefully help others.
I’m originally from Oklahoma City and grew up in a Persian family, meaning I ate mostly home-cooked dishes of rice and stews with vegetables, herbs and plenty of fruits and nuts. But, although we rarely had junk food in the house, I still had my share of Taco Bell tacos, Sonic cherry limeades and Braum’s ice cream sundaes (did I mention I’m from Oklahoma?).
My interest in food and nutrition started later in life, but looking back there were definitely subtle influences in my childhood. From my dad’s obsession with vitamin C (according to him it cures everything!), to my mom’s insistence on serving salads with every meal (she hates salads, I later found out) to our family’s ongoing debate about the proper way to eat a pomegranate. Food and health has somehow always been a part of my life, so it’s no surprise that I love being a nutritionist.
In 2010 I became a Registered Dietitian and earned my Master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition from NYU. I now work as a clinical dietitian in a city hospital in Queens and also as a nutritionist in a Manhattan private practice. Between my two roles, I’m constantly interacting with people of different ethnic backgrounds, religions, races, ages and social classes. It can be challenging at times, but it’s always entertaining. From talking to psych patients about healthy foods (“No, the voices in your head are not telling you to eat cookies.”), to encouraging a Pakistani man to try whole grains (“Yes, they DO have whole wheat roti!”), to counseling clients in Midtown (“Well, I guess the olives in your martini count as a healthy fat…”) my interactions with patients and clients are never boring. I love my job, the people I work with, and the field of nutrition. It’s constantly evolving, sometimes controversial, and always relevant. And at the end of the day, I get to talk about food and hopefully teach someone how to make their lives a little healthier. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
I currently live in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, and love the close proximity to Central Park, Lincoln Center, museums, and good restaurants. I stay active by running in the park, playing volleyball, or trying new classes, from spinning to yoga to dance. Because of my busy lifestyle, cooking and eating healthy has to be quick, easy, and affordable. I opt for fresh ingredients over processed foods whenever possible, but even that takes some effort when you’re constantly on the go and surrounded my convenience foods. While I wouldn’t consider myself a true vegetarian, I was never a big meat eater, and my diet over the years has evolved to be mostly plant-based, with fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and yogurt as my staples. I enjoy fish and seafood, but tend to eat it mostly when dining out, mainly because cooking fish in my ‘cozy’ kitchen is a quick way to annoy my roommates and neighbors, or attract stray cats. I love strong coffee, cardamom tea and dark chocolate, and enjoy trying foods, especially sampling different ethnic cuisines. Between living in Manhattan and working in Queens, that’s never been a problem.
So through this website, hopefully I’ll be able to share a nutritionist’s view and my personal take on some of New York’s diverse restaurants, from casual vegan cafes to upscale restaurants. I hope you like it!