My name is Sadé Meeks, a Registered Dietitian born and raised in Jackson, MS. I got my B.S. in culinary arts from Miss Univ for Women and my M.S. in Nutrition from CSULA.
I can’t say I’ve always wanted to be a dietitian. It isn’t because it hasn’t always been part of my purpose, but because it wasn’t revealed to me until later on. See, I never met one single dietitian while growing up in Mississippi. I had no exposure to black women in that field and was entirely clueless about what dietitians did. However, my education created greater exposure, and I soon found myself in Los Angeles, pursuing my Masters in Nutrition.
It’s not as glamorous as it sounds. I was the only black student in my cohort, I had to work two jobs while taking a full load, and for a moment, I even struggled with food insecurity. I never went without food, but the quality and choices of food were reduced.
However, I was resilient. I didn’t let the hardships keep me down. I put on my culinary hat and used my food literacy skills to help me thrive in my food environment. I was blessed to have those skills in my back pocket, but that’s not everyone’s story. There are so many barriers that exist among our communities and perpetuate these low health outcomes. (It’s sad to say, a lot of it is rooted in systemic racism.) With that perspective, I knew I was to use my voice to advocate ways to tear down those barriers.
I founded my nonprofit GRITS Inc (Growing Resilience In The South) in 2018. We are dedicated to bridging the gaps between nutrition, food history, and culture so that our communities can be empowered to thrive.
Becoming a dietitian became an outlet not only to tell my story, but advocate for others whose narratives and stories frequently get overlooked.