MIA ROSA Spotlight On
San Antonio, Texas
Shannon Garcia is a an inspiration in every sense of the word. The Texas native is a dietitian who absolutely loves her job. She is also a foodie, runner, yogi, blogger, public speaker and reader who is passionate about all things that impact health. Check out her KISS in the Kitchen blog for simple recipes geared to help you get healthy and happy.
A graduate of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Shannon currently works as a neonatal and pediatric dietitian at a local hospital. “I love working with children and their families,” she says, “to positively impact their nutrition status. I know the joy of a picky eater accepting a new food, and an overweight teenager losing those first couple pounds.”
Shannon often provides presentations/cooking demonstrations to various companies as well as fun nutrition ideas and tips on local television lifestyle shows. She has been recognized with awards as the 2014 and 2015 Young Dietitian of the Year in her hometown of San Antonio. In 2016 she captured the Texas Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics Media Award.
Spotlight caught up with the busy, multi-faceted Shannon Garcia over the recent holidays. She’s attempting to slow down and smell the roses a bit more in 2017.
- What inspired you to become a dietitian?
I’m a foodie and a nerd so combining food and science was a dream career for me. I also took care of my dad for several years until he passed away. That experience made me realize how nutrition impacts both quality and quantity of life and I want to help others become the healthiest version of themselves.
- How did you go about establishing your business
After a couple years of working at a children’s hospital, I desperately wanted to positively impact families outside of an inpatient setting. I decided to start a practice where I could provide at-home nutrition services and support them in their own environment. Having approximately zero dollars to invest in the business, I spent time- I would work at the hospital in the day and then work on my business at night. From learning how to build and design my own website, to dropping off business cards to local businesses, to delivering homemade baked goods to physician offices, I spent nearly all of my free time building the business and building relationships. I was also very blessed to already be plugged into the medical and nutrition community in San Antonio; so once I was up and running, there were plenty of kind folks to help me spread the word.
- You do so many different things: blogger, nutritionist, dietitian, product spokeswoman. Is there one area where you feel most comfortable and an area that helps to enhance the others?
Great question. I wear a lot of hats, but I feel like it could be divided into two main areas- media (KISS in the Kitchen blog and TV segments) and individual clients. My main goal with both is to be authentic and help readers, viewers and clients to see that nutrition can actually be simple and fun. It doesn’t HAVE to be hard, but so many people do make it complicated. I enjoy spreading positive and fun nutrition messages to the masses, but consider it even more rewarding when I have the privilege of working with a client one-on-one and walking alongside them on their health journey.
- What are some important, yet simple, concepts that you can easily convey to people about nutrition?
1. Set realistic goals. When trying to make positive changes, goals should be challenging, but also attainable. Setting unrealistic goals only creates disappointment when we can’t meet them.
2.) Aim for at least 3 different colors on your plate. Generally speaking (with a few exceptions… candy, cereal, LOL), color equals nutrition. The more color the better.
3.) Focus on what you can ADD in, not take away. Taking away our favorite foods leads to deprivation, but adding in some healthier options makes us feel more satisfied, more empowered and, over time, the better options will displace some of the less healthier foods.
- Was there anyone you looked up to as you were getting started in the business?
A mentor who inspired you? Yes, I was super fortunate to have guidance and support from Corrine Dobbas, an amazing nutrition entrepreneur out of San Francisco. We’ve actually never met in person, but she’s offered support from afar and instilled in me the importance of always doing a gut check. I’m one of those people who has a hard time saying No, and Corinne helped me understand the value of accepting opportunities that feel right and letting go of the ones that don’t.
- With all your success, where do you go from here? Next steps and goals?
First of all, thanks for saying I’m successful. Success is defined in so many ways, but my main marker for measuring success is if I’m helping people. I know I’m doing that and it makes all the difference in the world when there are seasons with less “monetary success” or times where a project didn’t turn out as planned.
My two biggest goals are to start a non-profit focusing on nutrition and food at the end of life and to write a book. However, my next step is taking some time for myself. It’s become very clear that I need to reprioritize what’s most important, both professionally and personally, and I believe taking a little time off is the best next step.
- What current projects have you the most excited?
Currently, I’m working on a Fruits of the Spirit recipe series. I’m featuring various recipes that reflect love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. The holidays are such a beautiful and reflective time, but they’re also a challenging time for many people. My goal is to spread joy and encouragement to anyone that finds their way to KISS in the Kitchen this month.
- Are there one or two life or “aha” moments that stand out in your mind?
Yes, I just had one several months ago and it still humbles me. While reading one of my favorite books, Present Over Perfect, it became crystal clear to me why it was time to let go of some professional commitments. I realized I was keeping those projects and jobs because they were truly more “things” I could say I was doing. But the truth is, no one cares and I’m not proving anything to anyone. It doesn’t matter how much we do or don’t do- we are human beings, not human doings. Once I realized my heart wasn’t really in those places anymore, I let them go and the relief was instantaneous.
- What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Choose entrepreneurship for reasons other than financial gain. Any entrepreneur or small business owner knows the financial challenges that often occur with these ventures. Having a passion and motivation to focus on and fall back on other than money is crucial.
- How do you like to relax when you’re not working?
I start every morning with a big cup of coffee (sometimes three) and my Bible. Spending that time helps me tune my heart back to where it should be before jumping into my work day. Bikram yoga, jogging and spending time with friends and family over good food and good wine are at the top of my list. I’m also a bookworm so curling up with a book and hot cup of tea or coffee is definitely my jam.