What do hummus, tank tops, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding have to do with your relationship to food?

Malak leans against a tree wearing a white shirt and brown sweater
"Family, top tarts, and tank tops," those were my influencers

Episode 16: "You know those scenes from My Big Fat Greek Wedding with all the crazy family members fussing over the bride and groom's big day? Yeah, that's pretty much my life."

This is the first thing Malak Saddy said to me when I first met her in our Dietetic Internship at Keene State College 13 years ago.

Since that time, Malak has gone on to do amazing work in the field of eating disorders, disordered eating, and the intersection of culture and our relationship to food.

Think. How do culture and family influence the way you relate to food and your body?

This is the big question Malak and I are diving into on this week's Savor Food and Body Podcast episode.

Malak Saddy RDN CEDRD-S is a non-diet advocate, Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian. She's also a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and Body Positive Facilitator. She's a dietitian in private practice in seeing clients in person and virtually in Chicago and virtually in the states of Texas, Florida, and Louisiana.

She is well versed in the treatment of eating disorders in children, adolescents, and adults in both females and males. Malak enjoys speaking at conferences, and universities, addressing eating disorder treatment in culturally diverse groups, nutrition basics, and intuitive eating.

Listen to hear how Malak attributes part of her career to growing up in an American Lebanese Muslim household where food and family were always around in abundance. Having these experiences, she is sensitive and aware as to how much culture, religion, and spirituality can play into healing your relationship with food and your body. Growing up as a first-generation American Lebanese Muslim, Malak describes how her relationship to food and her body was a mixture of traditional family values and the American diet culture/beauty ideals.

She talks about how food was always plentiful and homemade when she was growing up - even if she was the only kid at the lunch table with olives and sour milk yogurt instead of Capri Suns and Lunchables.

Malak shares how her family tried to keep their Lebanese Muslim culture alive by eating traditional foods - like hummus with olive oil on top, never mixed in!

Once she started high school, Malak shares her experience coming face-to-face with the American objectification of women's bodies, and how the American cultural assumption that women should want to be desirable isn't that different from what she experienced in her Lebanese Muslim community.

We also talked about the intersection between the patriarchal ideal of keeping women's bodies small translated into Malak's early career and how that eventually prompted her to become a private practice Dietitian and entrepreneur.

Finally, you won't want to miss Malak's 1-word tip to healing your relationship with food, your body, and life in general.

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Learn more about Malak and her work on her website - including free downloads and additional resources mentioned in the show

You can also find her on Instagram @msaddyrd