Introducing Sarah Rueven, MS, RDN, CDN,Founder of Rooted Wellness
This week, we sat down with Sarah Rueven, founder of Rooted Wellness, to discuss motherhood and entrepreneurship, her favorite weeknight recipe, and the upcoming LIVE fertility nutrition group course, Fertility + Friends (registration is open now!). Rooted Wellness offers nutrition support to women during their reproductive years – the company offers guidance for women during pre-conception, fertility struggles, IVF, pregnancy, and postpartum. With the huge amount of nutritional information – and misinformation – out there, Rooted Wellness offers evidence-based, clear solutions to all women in the form of guided courses, one-on-one counseling, and seminars.
Sarah Rueven is a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist, wellness expert and women’s health advocate. She is the founder of Rooted Wellness, a nutrition counseling practice dedicated to maternal and family health. In her practice, Sarah supports clients in areas such as preconception, fertility, PCOS, prenatal and postpartum health. She received her master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics at New York University and her Bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University.
Beyond private counseling, she also provides wellness seminars, group education and is a nationally recognized contributor to media outlets such as the New York Times, Refinery 29, Self Magazine, and New York Magazine. She is a founding advisory board member of Robyn, a maternal wellness resource.Sarah lives in NYC with her husband, Dan, and their two young kids.
Q & A with Sarah Rueven
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to start Rooted Wellness?
After earning my master’s degree in clinical nutrition at New York University, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I dabbled in consulting for various health companies/startups as well as working with private clients.
Throughout this period, I always found myself gravitating towards working with women. I loved helping them feel empowered in their health and food choices. When I was 5 months pregnant with my first child, my OB/GYN suggested I counsel patients out of their office, and I gladly accepted. Working with other women who were making the transition to motherhood was a powerful experience for me and I was shocked that there weren’t more dietitians that were focusing solely on this population!
From then on, I decided that I wanted to create a space to support women during this critical period. And so, Rooted Wellness was “born” about 6 months after I had my son.
How would you describe Rooted Wellness’s mission?
Rooted Wellness’ mission is to empower women to cut through the “nutrition noise” that they are constantly bombarded with and guide them towards evidence-based, proven methods to enhance their well-being.
You offer a variety of services for women at all stages of life – can you tell us a little bit more about your offerings and specialties?
Our focus is supporting women during their reproductive years. This falls into three different categories: Preconception, Prenatal and Postpartum.
Preconception. During this period, we help women to optimize their health to eventually support a healthy pregnancy. We work with women in a variety of ways, including how to balance hormones after going off the pill, nutrition to support women with PCOS, getting your body “primed” to support a pregnancy, and nutrition counseling through egg freezing or undergoing assisted reproductive technology (ART), such as IUI and IVF treatments.
Prenatal. We provide nutrition and wellness counseling to support the unique needs of women at all stages of pregnancy. We also counsel women through various pregnancy challenges, such as morning sickness or Gestational Diabetes.
Postpartum. Postpartum support includes nutrition counseling to optimize healing postpartum, helping to establish healthy breastfeeding patterns and supply, and postpartum weight loss.
What’s been the most challenging part of starting Rooted Wellness? The most rewarding?
The most challenging – learning to be a “jack of all trades” for so many aspects of business building – from website design to social media management, to business development, to insurance – the list is seemingly endless. It’s a big learning curve, especially as someone with no formal business training!
The most rewarding – making a real difference in people’s lives. Seeing the relief on a client’s face when they start getting a regular period after being on the pill for most of their adult lives or getting a text from a prenatal client announcing the birth of their new baby – these are the moments that make all the hard work so meaningful. It’s why I come into work every day with a huge smile on my face.
How old is your daughter/son? What’s your favorite part about being a parent?
My daughter is 5 and my son is 8. I love getting to experience the joys and magic of childhood through their eyes and I love hearing their stories and their perspectives on the world. They fill my heart with so much joy. Watching them grow into these little humans is an amazing experience.
Plus, the snuggles are kind of epic.
How do you manage being an entrepreneur and a mother? Any tips for those struggling to balance both?
I’m writing this as my son is in my office playing on his Ipad – is that balance?!
In all seriousness, being an entrepreneur and a mother is truly a juggle and even the most skilled acrobat drops the ball sometimes. So, I try to put less pressure on myself to have perfect balance all the time, because that isn’t achievable.
My go-to strategy, especially on the weeks that I know I’ll be crazy busy, is to carve out alone time with each kid. It can be as simple as a hot chocolate date or swinging by my office after school for a snack and a hug. We also do family dinner together every night (other than date nights of course!). This is a non-negotiable for my husband and I – it’s time with the kids that we treasure.
It’s clear you are passionate about your work and love owning your own business. What would be your advice to someone just starting out on their own endeavor?
I’m always a student at heart, so my best piece of advice for starting a new endeavor is to do your research! Who are people who could be amazing mentors? Who are people in your field or businesses that you look up to? How much time would this new gig require from you (and then multiply that by 10). It’s great to have passion, but it’s important to be realistic about what’s actually achievable for you.
Who do you look up to? Who inspires you?
One of the people in my field who I really admire is Lily Nichols. She wrote the pre-eminent book on prenatal nutrition, “Real Food for Pregnancy”. This is basically our bible at Rooted Wellness in terms of the most accurate, evidence-based prenatal nutrition recommendations to date. She’s kind of a rebel in the nutrition world, and I’m here for it!
What’s your favorite meal to cook with your family? We’d love your recipe!
We do “Taco Tuesdays” most weeks and my kids LOVE IT!
The nice thing about making a taco bar is that it’s endlessly adaptable to any taste and the kids love getting their “hands dirty”.
Here are some ideas for how to build out that taco bar (I usually offer one or two foods from each category):
Base: Soft tortillas (Siete almond flour tortillas are a fave), hard taco shells, brown rice, romaine lettuce
Proteins: Beans, Tofu, Ground Turkey, Ground Beef, Shredded chicken, Fish
Vegetables: Avocado, Shredded cabbage, Bell Peppers, Tomatoes, Grilled Zucchini, Roasted Cauliflower, Cucumber or carrot slices
Sauces: Hot sauce, salsa, Guacamole, Salad dressing, Spicy Mayo
Sprinkles: Cheese, hemp hearts, slivered almonds, pine nuts, chopped pistachios
What are some steps that women can do to support their menstrual cycle?
While every person is different, there are a few things most women can do to support a healthy cycle. First, make sure you are at a healthy weight. The “goldilocks zone” for most women is a BMI of 20-24, although weight and BMI are not perfect measures. If you’re confused what weight is right for you – I can help!
Focus on incorporating healthy fats into most meals. Fat serves a dual purpose – it makes meals more satisfying, and it also helps to slow the absorption of sugars in your food, leading to more balanced blood sugar overall, which is key when looking to achieve a healthy cycle.
Reduce stress and get 7-8 hours of restorative sleep per night. When our bodies are in fight or flight mode, it throws off our cycle. Adequate sleep is part of this equation as well, by promoting good energy levels as well as healthy levels of reproductive hormones like progesterone and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
What’s next for Rooted Wellness?
We are about to launch our first ever LIVE fertility nutrition group course, Fertility + Friends, which begins on January 22nd! Part education/part support group, this course is meant to provide you with all the info you need to optimize your health before or during your fertility journey. Plus, we included a fertility-boosting meal plan, our best handouts and resources and an option to add on 2 private nutrition counseling sessions to get all your questions answered!
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