Alia Almoayed is a nutritional therapist and alternative medicine activist, offering health advice to the Middle East community and the Arab world. With a background in public relations and marketing, Alia qualified in nutrition after a personal illness made her reassess her health and search for natural solutions. She now writes health articles for various publications, runs TV and radio programmes on health and nutrition, holds lectures and seminars on the on the subject, and leads life-changing health trips called AliaRetreats. Alia is the author of ‘I Want Healthy Kids’, a book on how to raise healthy children, ‘The Dream Body Eating Plan’, a weight loss guide, and ‘I Want a Healthy Pregnancy’, a book on how to enjoy natural pregnancy and childbirth; she is also co-author of ‘101 Ways To Improve Your Health’. Alia is the founder and host of the Award-winning Arabic TV show ‘Shrayha Alia’ and founder of ALIA ACADEMY an online platform for health courses in Arabic.
Hey Alia, can you introduce yourself to us?
I am a nutritional therapist and health activist. I run a health media show on YouTube called Shrayha Alia, I am also the founder of ALIA ACADEMY which is an online platform for health courses for the Arabic-speaking audience.
Can you take us through your story so we can understand a bit more in depth about how you arrived at where you are now?
I studied Public Relations and Media in college in the US. And then went on to get a Masters degree in Marketing Communications in London. That same year my health took a downturn and I was searching for answers. After trying many medications, jumping between doctors as well as medical procedures, I still did not find my answer. So I started searching for myself and fell upon the wonders of alternative health.
I fell in love with the subject and started to feel better as I implemented what I was learning. So I made the very difficult decision to change directions completely and start over, qualifying as a nutritional therapist. Eventually, I set up my own consulting office in Bahrain from which I wrote four books and started my media show, retreats, and now the academy. I decided to switch all my work to Arabic because I felt that’s where I was needed, I am very passionate about the subject and I continue to learn from this vast field.
As a nutritional therapist and alternative health activist, what is a day in the life of you like?
I always start my day with yoga and meditation. Then I make my green juice. I take my kids to school and go to my office and spend the rest of the day there working on upcoming projects and courses. My office is also a filming studio so I film all my material from there as well. I come back home around 4pm, help the kids with homework and most days take the dog for a walk.
I usually don’t last past 10pm because I’m so exhausted. So I end up sleeping relatively early. Breakfast and lunch are packed from home, and then I have a light dinner at home in the evening such as soup or salad. I also have a home office so some days I work from home, especially if I’m filming a cooking episode from my kitchen.
You are the author of ‘I Want Healthy Kids’ and ‘I Want a Healthy Pregnancy’ which explore healthy parenting and how to enjoy a natural pregnancy and childbirth. Can you take us through the writing process, the platforms you are currently using to promote sales and the tools of marketing currently used to increase brand visibility?
The writing process turned out to be a lot more challenging than I thought, but once the readers started giving me feedback it became all worth it. Both of these books were picked up for Arabic translations so I entered a new market with them and learned a lot.
The first lesson I learned is that books don’t make as much money, but they are very good visibility tools. Also, I learned that a book has a short shelf life so it needs to be marketed as much as possible in the first two years to maximise sales.
And lastly, I learned- although I am still learning, that reading is quickly being replaced with Youtube and social media, so although some people will still buy books, you have to also follow the people where they are and create content for other media.
Who does the team involve behind the Award-winning Arabic TV show ‘Shrayha Alia,’ that you are the founder and host of?
The show has gone through various stages. For television, the team was more elaborate, but currently, for Youtube, it’s basically me and my iPhone and some lighting. I create 2-3 episodes a week and send them off to my small back-end team to edit and upload onto Youtube. The filming is a lot more labor-intensive than people think. It takes many hours of filming and preparing to create good content, that’s why it helps if you’re passionate about the subject and see value in spreading knowledge for free.
Where can you see your self within the next 3-5 years?
I see myself with an expanded ALIA ACADEMY that includes hundreds of courses that people can choose from, as well as a media show that has accumulated enough followers for the content to make a difference in the world.
How are you planning to expand the health trips that you offer via AliaRetreats? (ie will there be more locations or programmes offered)
This November marks my 10th Retreat. I’m currently very happy with the size and quality of the retreats. I run one retreat in Bodrum Turkey in April, and another in India in November. Both are life-changing for the ladies who join and I continue to learn as much from them as they do from me during that intimate intensive week of learning and sharing. Great friendships are created during those trips and I look forward to expanding my retreats as I’m always on the lookout for good new locations.
Can you tell us what areas you have struggled in professionally as a nutritional therapist?
Social acceptance of alternative therapies has been slow, although it’s much better now compared to when I first started in the early 2000s. Having said that, I’ve also had some set-backs with being not very “mainstream.” For example, legally speaking the journey has not been very easy in terms of speaking about alternative treatments for cancer for example and I’ve had instances where I have been told to ‘be quiet’ about health issues that people would rather see swept under the carpet.
Have you ever had any other mentor? If so how has this benefitted you to grow?
I don’t have a mentor but I look up to and get inspired by a few people such as Charlotte Gerson, Oprah, and a few others.
What outlets do use to market AliaRetreats?
At the moment I use Instagram and Snapchat to market the retreats, but I also market it to my personal database via email.
Which methods are you using to build your own network?
That seems to have taken a life of its own. Word of mouth, I just make sure I show up every day and do the work and I stick to being honest and helpful. I find creative ways of getting the message across.
What do you believe are the common misconceptions about being in the wellness industry?
People sometimes assume that health can only be achieved if you’re vegan or vegetarian. That’s not true. They also often assume that the nutritionist does not cheat in eating. That is also not true! Not only that but they assume that what works for me works for them. Forgetting that the human body is very unique and each programme must be individualised to fit the personal needs of the individual.
What would you like to see changed for millennials?
I would like to see more millennials studying or working in fields that have to do with health, the environment, or sustainability as the world needs more of those.
What is the best piece of advice you have received to date?
I was advised to look into registering a company in the UK and that has been a good decision especially since I’m licensed there. So ALIA ACADEMY is now a UK-based company.
What is the number 1 critical lesson you have learned in your career so far?
Never to give your social media accounts to other people to run, Social media are at the forefront of your brand image and it needs to be thought of very carefully every step of the way.
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
I don’t! I’m always struggling to create balance and often fail. Some days my work loses out and other days my home loses out. I’ve learned to just accept that and be happy with the imbalance.
The highlight of your career so far?
ٍReceiving the ‘Entrepreneurship Award’ from Bahrain’s Crown Prince in 2016.
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
Receiving a message from someone who has implemented my advice and improved in health. Once I met a woman who ran up to me just to tell me that one of my Youtube episodes saved her life. She told me how a small piece of my work saved her from dying, I cannot put into words how that feels.
Which other leading entrepreneurs and pioneering game changers do you also admire and why?
I recently read ‘The Memoir Of Zainab Salbi,’ whom I’ve been following for a while and admire her work. Her memoir is lovely and it added to my admiration of her work. She is Iraqi American and founded the company Women For Women International to help women and children affected by war.
How would you say you are intending to use your voice to educate others in the wellness industry?
I use my voice every day on social media to spread a message that has been silenced for many years. It is now time for alternative health experts to be heard. So in addition to making myself heard, I’m also giving a voice to other experts in the field to be heard through my channels.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I am currently alternating between books by Jean Haner about Chinese medicine and how to use it for reading people’s faces, for understanding their personalities through their birth dates, and another of her books about clearing the energy of yourself, your loved ones and your home. Very eye-opening. I love all her books, and I would love to bring her as a guest on my show someday soon.
What does your Podcast playlist look like?
My podcast list is all about health and consciousness. I like the ‘Rich Roll’ podcast, as well as ‘The Evolution Of Medicine’, and a few others. I have also recently launched my own podcast ‘The Alia Almoayed’ podcast and I’m experimenting with that. It’s been fun.
How do you measure your own terms of success?
I used to be very adamant about success and defined it by how many goals I’ve achieved from my long list of goals. Until one year I burned out. I could not continue the pushing to achieve while still caring for three kids and a home. So I got very sick and had to take a year off of work just to go through the painful physical and emotional recovery.
Everything changed that year. I have learned to put myself first and learned to back down when things got too stressful. I now make sure every day includes time for my own personal grounding and inner peace, and as long as I’m moving towards my goals I’m happy. I also have no attachment to achieving the goals. If it happens it happens. I’m doing my best with what I have.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
It means living my truth. It’s very easy to be swept away by trying to be the image that others expect you to be. Social media can be tricky, so #BEYOUROWN to me means continuing to speak my truth even if my truth is not what people want to see. I see the box that society sets, I refuse to get into it.
Lastly, what is next for you throughout the rest of 2018?
The rest of 2018 includes growing the newly launched ALIA ACADEMY but on a deeper secret level, my goal is to attend a 10-day silent retreat. It will be very challenging but I would love to make that happen this year. Wish me luck!