We speak to OsomeFood’s go-to nutritionist, to find out more about her role in getting individuals to a healthier place, and find out some of her guilty indulgences (they get pretty...dark).
Humairah Hameed Maricar, BSc, MSc
Accredited Nutritionist, Dietitian
What made you decide to become a nutritionist?
I have always been intrigued by food and diets, growing up surrounded by many women around me who are always looking to lose weight. I knew there must be more to just eating less and creating a calorie deficit, as that alone can be unsustainable and very restrictive. I wanted to understand the science behind how our different body systems and hormones and other factors work together that result in different outcomes for different people.
What exactly do you do?
Apart from diet consultations to guide a person to lose weight for overall health or to help them to manage their diabetes and other chronic diseases, I also do nutrition consulting for F&B organisations to make their menus healthier and more appealing for their target customers. I also enjoy doing community education through seminars and workshops to encourage the public to make healthy choices the easy choice.
Why do people seek consultation from a nutritionist?
Most people usually see a dietitian or nutritionist when they have tried many diets on their own but are not successful in keeping it off or want to lose weight the healthy and sustainable way. They recognise the value of having a professional taking the guesswork out for them to create a tailored programme that suits their lifestyle and meets their goals. A dietitian/nutritionist also utilises behavioural modification strategies for long-term success. It becomes easier as they follow through especially for those who need accountability and motivation to continuously show up when they start hitting small milestones in their journey towards better health.
What is your favourite guilty indulgence (food)?
You may not hear this often from a dietitian but I have a weakness for desserts! I love all things sweet, especially ice cream and a good dark chocolate cake.
What do you do when you’re not working?
Other than nutrition, fitness is an important aspect of health so I try to squeeze in a home workout in the evenings or go for a jog on the weekends. Since I have a sweet tooth, I occasionally bake treats with a healthier twist by replacing some of the flour with oats and reducing the sugar so I feel better about what I put into my body.
What’s your stand on off-the-counter pill supplements?
My motto has always been food first, and supplement when necessary. There are many cases where a person may need supplements to obtain certain nutrients that are lacking in their diet for better health. Personally for me, I take probiotics and calcium supplements regularly, especially on days I don't take yogurt or milk, to keep my gut healthy and maintain my bone density to prevent osteoporosis (which is very common in women!) later on in life.
What are your top foods you recommend everyone have in their diet?
Veggies! All kinds and in all colours, which can be steamed, baked, stir fry, soups, casseroles, etc. We don't eat enough of them and this has resulted in so many health problems, from diverticulosis to even colon cancer. By gradually including more veggies in our diet, not only do we get so much more beneficial nutrients for our body, it can also help us naturally reduce our carb portions when we feel full from veggies. That is an easy way to lose weight, without changing much else in your diet.