February is Black History Month, a time to celebrate and honor the achievements and contributions that Black Americans have made to the United States and to the entire world. Here at Fitbit, we know how important it is to learn from and commemorate Black voices, which is why we’re highlighting some trailblazing Black nutritionists who are making a difference and championing the food world.
Keep reading to get inspired by five Black female nutritionists who are paving the way, motivating their communities, and inspiring healthy eating for all.
Maya Feller, MS, RD, CDN
Maya Feller of Brooklyn-based Maya Feller Nutrition is a registered dietitian nutritionist who is a nationally recognized nutrition expert. In her practice, she provides medical nutrition therapy for the management of and risk reduction of non-communicable diseases. It offers 12-week programs designed to help patients lower their blood pressure, blood sugars, and cholesterol levels. In addition to the programs, they offer individual counseling and group nutrition education.
Maya’s RD journey started in community nutrition as a nutrition manager of a DOHMH food and nutrition service program housed within a community-based organization. The clients and patients were unhoused or unstably housed and living with HIV/AIDS and HepC. “I was drawn to the job because it was an opportunity to use my clinical nutrition knowledge in a community-based setting,” says Feller. “I have always been interested in working with and supporting improved health outcomes in marginalized communities.”
She later transitioned into a private practice, which is centered around the management and risk reduction of non-communicable conditions and serves patients from diverse backgrounds. She works to provide and contribute credible information without scare tactics from a patient-centered anti bias lens to the nutrition space. “Misinformation is rampant coming from unqualified voices making extreme and unrealistic recommendations,” says Feller. “Wellness as well as the variables that are needed to express health should be for everyone, not reserved for a select few. My impact on the nutrition and wellness space is to be one of the many voices working to make wellness more inclusive and equitable.”
Maya shares her approachable, real food-based solutions to millions of people through regular speaking engagements, writing in local and national publications, via her social media account on Instagram, @mayafellerRD, as a national nutrition expert on Good Morning America, GMA3: What You Need to Know, and more. She is also the author of The Southern Comfort Food Diabetes Cookbook: Over 100 Recipes for a Healthy Life.
Aja Gyimah, MHSc, Registered Dietitian
Aja Gyimah is a Toronto-based Registered Dietitian who started her private practice, Compete Nutrition, after finishing her undergrad in 2018. She offers one-on-one nutrition counseling and group sessions for sports teams, corporate offices, and non-profit organizations. “I’ve always focused my practice on exercise nutrition, but the corporate and non-profit services came from seeing that there was a need for people everywhere to adopt easy healthy eating habits,” she says.
In addition, Aja is also a nutrition writer, influencer, and consultant for trusted brands, publications, and organizations. Her goal is to help people understand that they don’t have to throw away everything they love to meet their health or athletic goals, and by building a strong foundation of healthy habits, there’s always room for your comfort foods.
She is also a founding member of the Canadian Black RD Association, where she advocates for diversity and inclusion within the dietetic profession. “I hope to impact the industry by showing people that healthy eating can be easy and not restrictive,” says Gyimah. “A lot of my clients come to me because they’ve already tried everything else and are tired of the hard-to-follow diets. I am thrilled to be the person they come to when they need shame-free, inclusive counseling, and an accountability partner.”
Valerie Agyeman, RD
Valerie Agyeman is a Women’s Health Dietitian, Nutrition Media Expert, Podcast Host, Creator of BLOOM, and Founder of Flourish Heights. She got started in the industry when she was on her own health journey where she struggled with her own body image. “I tapped into the world of nutrition because I learned how powerful food was when it came to the function of my body, how it made me feel and look,” she says. “I wanted to be a voice in my community one day, empowering women in their health, helping them live a life of abundance, thriving, and flourishing to their highest potential.”
Through Flourish Heights, a women’s health nutrition practice and digital platform, she provides nutrition coaching and counseling. She helps women nourish well with PCOS, fibroids, high cholesterol, and pre-diabetes. “I began specializing in women’s health three years ago mainly because these are common health issues I see in my community, and I knew this was an area that I could make the most impact,” she says.
If she’s not coaching clients, she’s creating spaces for women to come together to learn, grow, and be empowered in health. However, the more she does this work, the more she realizes how this information isn’t accessible to all. “Knowledge is power and I love bringing all the taboo topics to the table—it’s literally saving lives. I hope each woman that comes in contact with me through The Flourish Heights Podcast, a blog or social post, or at one of my women’s health events would be inspired to nourish a better relationship with food and build more confidence in their food choices,” she says.
Marisa Moore, MBA, RDN, LD
Marisa Moore is an Atlanta-based registered dietitian nutritionist who began her career in nutrition after her college advisor at Georgia Tech suggested she consider switching from a chemical engineering major to a nutrition science degree due to her curiosity and love for healthy eating. She eventually got her BS in Nutrition Science and later became a credentialed RD.
“I worked first in a hospital doing outpatient education and 1-1 consults, then spent some time in recipe development and marketing for a national restaurant chain before contracting for several years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as the sole dietitian in their workplace wellness program,” explains Moore. “I’ve been able to package those years of experience into my current dream job as a media and culinary dietitian.”
She loves bringing all of that experience together as a media and culinary dietitian where she gets to share science-based information, tips, and easy recipes with the masses. Her goal is to help women find their personal path to health and well-being and prevent chronic disease with easy, delicious food. “I show up with a balanced approach that’s inclusive. I love when my client is pleasantly surprised to find that she doesn’t have to give up her favorite foods and that guilt or shame can be checked at the door or left on social media,” says Moore.
Additionally, she works regularly with the media and others as on-camera talent, doing culinary demos and cook-a-longs for corporate clients, and creating content for use in health and food media.
Whitey Miner is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Certified Yoga Teacher, Wellness Advocate, and Founder of Eat Plants & Prosper. She got started in the industry when she transformed her own health just by eating more plants, meditating, doing yoga, and exercising. “It became clear that my passion and purpose was to help as many people as possible reach optimal health,” she says.
Through Eat Plants & Prosper, she provides wellness coaching, workshops, cooking demos, grocery store tours, and private yoga sessions. All of her services are inspired by helping people achieve holistic wellness in mind, body, and spirit. “My hope is that my audience learns the transformational benefits of plant based nutrition and the importance of taking care of both their inner and outer being,” she says.
Miner also hopes to raise awareness and bring representation to the industry. “One of the things I noticed when getting into the industry was that there were not a lot of people of color in the wellness space (particularly in veganism and yoga). Representation matters! One of the positive aspects that I hope to bring to the industry is for people to see someone that looks like them (an African American woman and mom in her early 40’s that was able to transition to a much healthier lifestyle) and be inspired to do the same,” she says.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.