Barira is a HCPC-registered dietitian and international registrant.
To mark South Asian Heritage Month 2023, Barira shares her thoughts on how her heritage has impacted her work.
I have always been fascinated by the role of food, how it affects our bodies, and how it can be used to manage different health conditions. I love cooking, baking, and trying different recipes to pass on to my clients where appropriate.
I’m a HCPC- and Pakistan Nutrition and Dietetic Society (PNDS)-registered dietitian. My main area of interest has always been paediatrics as evidence suggests good nutrition in childhood lays the foundation for healthy adulthood. Having gained both international and NHS experience, I am now moving into the freelance space.
Registering with the HCPC allowed me to bring my own cultural background into my practice, by helping South Asian clients meet their dietary requirements using their own cultural foods. I also learned a great deal about British food culture during the process, which added to my professional repertoire.
My South Asian heritage has had great impact on me professionally. It has provided me with a unique perspective and understanding of diverse dietary habits and health beliefs, which has been invaluable in my practice and has enabled me to cater to culturally-diverse populations here in England.
Thankfully, I have had a supportive team at most places I’ve worked. I have not been subjected to racism, other than a couple of microaggressions at one place of work. However, it is something I’m often worried about experiencing.
Reflecting on this I feel that as the UK is something of a cultural melting pot, more systems should be in place to ensure women of all colours and creeds receive respect that is equal to their male and/or differently-melanised colleagues. This is something that the healthcare workforce, and our culture as a whole, must work on going forwards.
Barira runs her own website which is a blog about her dietetics journey and food and nutrition related information.
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