Digame is a monthly series featuring prominent Latinx leaders, activists, entrepreneurs, and public figures uplifting the community and making a difference.
Dalina Soto is a Dominican-American registered dietitian and one of the few Spanish speaking RDs in the Philadelphia area and virtually across the country, teaching her clients how to ditch the diet mentality and keep their culture alive. She’s behind the popular Instagram account Your Latina Nutritionist and graduated from PennState University with a Bachelors Degree in Nutritional Sciences. She then attended Immaculata University to complete her Dietetic Internship and Masters Degree in Nutrition Education. By combining her knowledge with an accessible approach she’s raised awareness of eating well without having to give up our favorite Latin American dishes. She regularly takes to social media to denounce common notions about “healthy living” and reinforces the message that it’s OK to enjoy food and eat what you like and also be healthy and honor your culture.
Which Latina(s) have had the greatest impact on your life and why?
Honestly, it’s sad that I cannot remember this dietitian’s name because it was a few years back but I saw her speak at a conference and I had never met or spoken to another Latina dietitian and after the presentation, where she discussed authentic foods from all the regions of Latin America and their nutrition. I went up to her and burst into tears, I had never felt so seen and heard. It was such a great conversation and she helped me see that the work I was doing was important.
Even though most if not all the nutrition information about our foods are fear based, we can make a difference when we discuss food from a positive perspective and educate. And since that day, I make sure to learn from all my clients about their foods and traditions because I do not know it all and I probably never will. We are so diverse!
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Teleportation, I just want to travel the world at my will.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t be afraid of failure. I think we always want to be right or perfect but life is not like that. Failure can be so defeating but you can learn so much from it too.
What would you title the autobiography of your life?
Oh, I literally cannot think of anything. I feel like my life hasn’t been that eventful.
What was the first thing you bought with your own money?
Ha, I can’t even remember. I started working at Chuck E. Cheese when I was 16, so probably pizza from them lol
What do you wish more people understood about what you do?
That food is so much more than energy, it’s culture, it’s pleasure, it’s satisfaction, it’s life and our sole purpose in life shouldn’t be restricted to shrink our bodies.
What motivates you?
My children. I want to leave this world a better place for them, an equitable place where they can thrive.
How did you end up on the professional path you’re on now?
An accidental nutrition class turned into my career path. Never saw that coming. I wanted to be a pediatrician my whole life.
What is your greatest professional achievement so far? Personal achievement?
Starting my private practice was such a HUGE leap for me. Figuring it all out with no business experience, just some mentorship from an old boss, makes me feel pretty damn proud of myself. It was always a dream of mine when I started this career as a dietitian to help my community and I feel like I am doing that.
What is a goal you have that you haven’t accomplished yet and what are you doing to get closer to accomplishing it?
I would love to write a book! I haven’t done much to achieve it yet, 2020 was wild, but let’s see what I can make happen soon.
Shoutout an Instagram account that could use more love and tell us why you’re a fan: @YourLatinxHAEStherapist is one of my new fave accounts. She is a therapist and practices from a HAES (health at every size) lens. She interviewed me for her research and I just love the work she is doing for our community!
Shoutout your favorite Latina owned business and why: Vive Cosmetics, I don’t wear makeup, but their “que cute” lip tint is my fave thing in the world right now.
Name your favorites:
Snack: popcorn Song: “Angelito” from Aventura, Artist Currently Maluma