Welcome to yet another edition of the Times Of Amma Mompreneur series where we talk to mothers who have transformed their passions into money-making ventures. From online jewellery stores, to handmade craft collectibles to potential actualizing workshops and much more. We hope that their accounts of the highs and lows of their entrepreneurial journey will inspire other mothers to hold on to their dreams and follow them through.
Today we speak to Sheryl Salis, Nutritionist, Wellness Coach, Health Writer and Mother on her company Nurture Health Solutions. She talks to us about her challenges, achievements and more.
What made you choose the field of nutrition?
Aah! This is a very interesting question. As far as I remember, I was always an
obese kid as a teenager. My parents were both working and they compensated their
absence by getting us all the unhealthy food we demanded. I wanted to pursue
medicine but lost my father and maternal grandmother a few days prior to my 12th
Standard results. It was a huge blow to the family especially my mother who had a
17 year old and a 12 year old daughter to take care of. I had no choice but to take
admission in the science stream. I remember my first class in senior college where
we had a combined chemistry class .The professor was asking questions, pointed
out to me and called me a fatty acid. I did not realise that he was looking at me. He
said” its you I am calling, Don’t you know you are the fattest girl of this college.”
That was it, tears started rolling down my eyes. I was already very low emotionally with
the personal loss at home, I felt very humiliated and hurt to be told about my weight
in such a huge class. I decided to drop out of college . My mother sat me down and
counselled me that it was time I do something about my weight rather than ruin my
career. My weight was also playing on my health as I had developed health issues.
From then on I took a challenge to lose weight, ate healthy and walked everywhere
I lost 27 kg in less than a year and enjoyed all the adulation that came my
way. With the transformation, I felt fitter, healthier and confident, that’s when I
decided that I would like to pursue nutrition and help people. I pursued my post-
graduation qualification in nutrition.
You juggle so many roles from Nutritionist and Wellness Coach to Public
Speaker and Writer and so much more. How do you typically organize your
The best thing about my job today is that it gives me flexibilibily to pursue what I like
to do. Thanks to my mom, I am an early riser. As kids we were never encouraged to
sleep beyond 7 a.m. which we always detested and protested at that time but I am
thankful to that today. I wake up at 6 a.m every single day. I spend an hour with my
son getting him ready for school, making his tiffin. I dedicate an hour to work out
which is the “Me” time for me. After this I am ready to take on the day. I plan my
week ahead of time, work from 10 a.m. to 6p.m making sure I allot time and days for
the various roles at work, be it administrative, patient management, writing books,
articles, giving talks and teaching.
The key is to plan well, delegate and not get into micro management. In my profession, it is extremely important to be abreast with
the latest advances in the field of science, hence I dedicate some time to reading. I
spend the evenings playing with my son which is the best destressor. I do not
socialise much except on weekends. I am in bed by 10 p.m. as I need my eight
hours of beauty sleep.
What were the challenges you faced in setting up NHS?
I set up NHS in May 2013 after a very successful 13 year stint working with
corporates. I was starting from scratch and had no idea where I was heading. With a
job, one is used to a fixed income coming every month; here I was setting up a
company which required finances and that meant exhausting my savings with no
surety of returns. Since it was a start-up and no God father , I first decided to
approach my contacts for work, had innumerable meetings with them but to my
dismay no outcomes. At one point I was contemplating taking up a job as I had very
lucrative offers coming my way and was worried about draining my savings. At that
point, I reached out to a close work associate for guidance. He then told me, give it
one year, If you don’t succeed at it, you can always get back to the corporate world.
That gave me a lot of confidence. I then focussed on making things work and was
ready to take on any challenges that came my way. To my surprise, help came from
unknown quarters. Fortunately for me, during the journey, I met the right people who
only wanted to see me succeed. Today they feature in my set of loyal clients and
friends. Initially, I had a few bitter experiences as well, as some of them who
claimed to be well-wishers turned out otherwise, but those were my learnings and I
am grateful for those experiences as well, as it has made me a wiser person today
and helped deal with people and situations better.
Not coming from a business background, there was so much to learn, right from
meeting the client, making a proposal, drafting a contract, executing as per the
expectations, raising an invoice which was very unnerving initially but today I feel
very proud that I learnt so much along the way.
What has been your proudest moment with NHS, so far?
I can’t really pinpoint on one such moment as there are many. Partnering with
MCGM and ORF to write the food guide for Mumbai was indeed a proud moment.
Today, we are being sought after, solely on the reputation NHS has earned over a
short period. This gives me a great sense of pride and achievement.
Who was your biggest support while setting up NHS?
If I look back at my initial days of NHS, It was my spouse who stood by me like a
rock. I had to set up the office which meant paying overheads like rent, salaries, etc.
I also had EMI’s and other financial commitments to take care of. He would deposit a
certain amount every month in my account to make sure I did not feel the pressure
and could focus on work. I had to travel extensively in the first couple of years to set
up the business. We had a morning to evening help, so my mom shifted closer to our
home and she took care of my son whenever I and my husband were travelling. This
was a huge relief as I could work freely without worrying about my baby.
My core team has been my biggest strength. I was really fortunate to find people
early on who were equally passionate and driven. Today they are my biggest support
system along with my family.
As a nutritionist and wellness coach, what are the must-haves that you recommend
for busy mothers?
I feel women especially mothers often neglect themselves in their effort to multitask
and give their 100% at work and home. A woman is the back bone of the society and
the pillar of the family and her health must demand utmost priority. Mothers must
allot some time for themselves and incorporate some physical activity in their daily
routine. She must eat a balanced diet and not fall prey to the fad diets. She must
focus on eating small frequent meals with emphasis on important nutrients like
calcium, protein, and iron to prevent any nutrition related complications later on in
life. She should never compromise on sleep as sleep deprivation can play havoc on
We have authored a book for women called Healthy Women, Happy Lives for which
we received a fantastic response. The book focusses on care to be taken by women
at each decade of their life with easy tips to stay fit and healthy. It also provides a
ready reckoner on the important nutrients for a woman along with ten different
superfoods and their benefits.
As a mother and a nutritionist, what are the things/foods that you do not let your
I make sure my son is eating healthy and have planned a routine for him to follow
with respect to his meals and activity. Fortunately for me, my son has never been
fond of junk food. He is very simple in his taste for food which makes it very easy for
He likes the regular healthy stuff like dosa, idli sambhar, sheera, chapatti,
vegetables, yogurt, fruits, dal, egg, rice and chicken/fish curry. When he is out for a
birthday party, I give him the liberty to choose what he wants and do not restrict. I
feel the more you restrict, the more the kid rebels. Educate them about the benefits
of eating right and leave the decision to them.
What is next for you?
Nothing in my life has happened by accident, it is divinely orchestrated as a part of
the plan and I am just going with the flow. This is just the beginning and we have a
long way to go We hope to do good work in the future too touching more lives as we
work towards building a healthy nation.
I would also like to give back to society by opening an NGO in my father’s memory
working for the children with diabetes as that is something very close to my heart.
How would you advice a young mother who plans to set up her own business?
First and foremost, stay focussed on your goal; do not give up no matter what
challenges come your way. They are temporary and you shall surely overcome
them. Do not feel guilty that you are working and not with your kids at all times.
Believe me, quality time is better than quantity time. Create a strong support system
at home to ensure things run smooth in your absence. Invest your money wisely.
You can start from home initially. Do not spend too much on overheads. Do not get
into partnerships with friends and family as you are at a risk of spoiling relationships.
Take smart risks, start slow, revisit your business model on a regular basis, make
the necessary tweaks if required and then expand taking small steps. This way you
will make lesser losses. Learn from your mistakes and be quick to make changes.
Be ready to take criticism and feedback from clients, as that will only help your
Thank you, Sheryl for taking the time out of your busy day to talk to the Times of Amma.
We hope this conversation has inspired other aspiring Mompreneurs out there.
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We'll see you there!