When my wife casually asked me “do you know Angela?”, little did I know the lady with the sweet smile whose daughter attends my daughters’ school will end up on our ‘spotlight’. Angela Tella is a consultant nutritionist and registered dietitian, her special interest is Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) nutrition and health, and she has worked alongside the Department of Health as West African nutrition expert on the Change4Life BME Initiative. Angela is also a national media spokesperson and member of the British Dietetic Association, I simply could not pass up on the opportunity of spotlighting her.
PNGR: Tell us a bit about yourself, what is your full name and where were you born?
AT: My full name is Angela Adaeze Tella. I was born in London, here in the United Kingdom and I wear lots of hats! I’m a registered dietitian, author, speaker and entrepreneur. I’m also founder of Illumina Lifestyle Consulting, a consultancy providing a range of diet and nutrition services to organisations in the private, healthcare and not-for-profit sectors as well as to individuals.
PNGR: What are your earliest memories of life growing up?
AT: My childhood was a happy one, split between the UK and Nigeria. I went to primary school and boarding school in Nigeria and came back to the UK for holidays. My father was very adventurous and would come up with different places to see and things to do. I also remember travelling with my mother on business trips. I finally came back to the UK for my A-levels and university.
PNGR: How did you get into food and nutrition? Didn’t you have the typical Nigerian Parent directly and indirectly pushing towards becoming a doctor?
AT: Funny you should say that – I was actually on the path to becoming a doctor and got a place at Queen Mary and Westfield College (part of the University of London) to study medicine. In true Nigerian fashion, I was groomed to be a doctor from an early age, with my second choice of career being Pharmacy! My turning point was in the middle of studying for my A-levels in a Physics class. I’d arrived early and was in class alone with my tutor who was at his desk. Looking at me over the rim of his glasses, he said, ‘I don’t know why Angela is studying physics when she doesn’t even like Physics’! He then asked whether I’d ever considered a career in Nutrition; there and then he called King’s College London. They asked me to come for a brief chat and the rest, as they say, is history…
PNGR: You’ve written a book on West African Nutrition, where did the inspiration for that come from? I mean most would think writing on African Diet was a safer bet.
AT: Actually, there are 2 books – Healthy, West African & Wise™The Complete Guide to a Healthy West African Diet and Lifestyle, and the accompanying Healthy, West African & Wise™ Food Guide. Both books are the first ever books in the world written specifically to address the diet and lifestyle needs of West Africans. My inspiration for them came from my having practised professionally as a dietitian for a number of years. I was fully aware of the gaping hole as regards nutrition information from an African perspective. It was just so glaring! Most books on healthy diet and lifestyle do not provide culturally appropriate information that West Africans can identify with. This, coupled with the many questions from West Africans over the years about how they could eat traditional foods within a healthy diet, made me decide to go for it. Besides, it hadn’t been done before and I felt that I could take on the challenge!
Due to the wide diversity of food, culture etc within Africa, it would have been impossible to write a book that would speak clearly to everyone and yet speak to the individual. So, I decided to start with one region of Africa and where best to start from than West Africa?!! Charity after all should begin at home.
PNGR: What/who motivates or inspires you?
AT: I draw a lot of my inspiration from my faith as well as from other people making a difference in their spheres of influence and are achieving the impossible. I admire a number of people, including Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Camilla Batmanghelidjh. I firmly believe that each of us is here for a reason and unless we fulfil our purpose, the people around us will be wanting. That belief really motivates me to do the things I do.
PNGR: What advice can you give any one contemplating walking in your footsteps?
In the words of Walt Disney, the best way to get started is to stop talking and get doing! The hardest part of anything (be it a career, project or lifestyle change) is getting started; once things get going there is no stopping you, especially if you are committed. One of my favourite quotes is that chance favours those in motion. I am also a firm believer in hard work – what you put in is exactly what you get out, just multiplied. Finally, whatever you do, do it for the right reasons – pursue great things rather than greatness. Become a problem solver rather than primarily seeking fame or fortune. Fame and fortune are simply by-products of solving problems within your sphere of influence.
PNGR: Where can people find/buy your books or learn more about you?
AT: Both my books are due for release soon; details will be available on my business website , as well as my blog.
There is also a fan page for both books on Facebook, so readers can like it and become fans to receive updates on official launch dates, availability, book tours, events etc.