We chat with Aleksandra Klints about her journey to becoming a nutritionist in Singapore and teaching others about starting a plant based diet. She has lived here for three years with her husband Konrads, son Davids and family dog Sherlock. Aleksandra talks us through the challenges of starting a business to the life changing power of wellbeing, plant based nutrition and healthy food in Singapore.
Where are you from originally, and what brought you to Singapore?
I’m from Latvia but I’ve been living as an expat for many years now, in four different countries so far. Our family has been in London for almost a decade, and when UK decided in favour of Brexit, it was clear to us: it was time to explore other opportunities. My husband is a cybersecurity specialist and he’d had offers to relocate for a while, so when Singapore came up as a possibility, we were excited about it. Having lived in Northern Europe most of our lives, to relocate to Asia and a never-ending summer seemed liked a great adventure. And it still is!
Tell us a bit about your business here. How and why did you start it?
Despite the fact that I’ve worked as a journalist in Latvia for a leading business newspaper and as a project manager in different industries, I found it challenging to find a position when I arrived in Singapore on a Dependant’s Pass (DP). It’s something many women in similar circumstances will relate to.
I managed to secure a short-term contract as a project manager, but I also started actively exploring the possibility of establishing my own business. I’d reached a point in my life where working for myself was becoming more and more appealing. I had been reading a lot about nutrition for several years, firstly with an interest in improving my overall wellbeing and energy levels, and also finding a better diet in general for me and my family. Then, I started to take different courses in nutrition, which led to getting a diploma as a nutritionist and becoming a specialist in plant- based nutrition. Everything came together in my life to establish my own business as a nutritionist.
Now, I consult clients about nutrition, deliver talks online and in person, and run a 21-day Plant-based Lifestyle Transformation course for those who are keen to explore plant-based diet as a way of life.
What challenges have you found working in Singapore?
It took me a while to find the information around establishing your own company while being on a DP and applying for a Letter of Consent as a business owner. I simply didn’t have anyone around me who had done it. Now, I actively share this information with other women I meet! If you find it difficult to secure a job being on a DP, start your own business! The process is quite straightforward and takes just a few weeks.
The other challenge is more like a mental hurdle to overcome, I guess. Sometimes, we women can doubt ourselves too much, despite the fact that we’re dealing incredibly well with so many aspects of our lives, even relocating to other countries and starting many things over again. I am actively training my mindset to become my own main cheerleader.
What do you love about working in Singapore?
The incredibly international vibe, and so many people with different business ideas.
What do you enjoy teaching people about healthy food?
I love that my job has a purpose of influencing a person’s health and, subsequently, life altogether. It is very powerful and inspiring to observe how a person’s wellbeing can change in a matter of a few weeks. Or how a child’s chronic ear infections disappear after eliminating a certain food group. Food that we eat has a tremendous power to make us healthy or the opposite, sick. And today we live, unfortunately, in a food environment which makes us overweight and sick. My job is to help clients to rediscover what is real food, which makes you healthy and gives you energy.
What are a few things you like to do in Singapore in your leisure time?
We like to stay active as a family. During the pandemic, we all got bicycles, like many others, and searched for any opportunity not to be confined indoors. We also like climbing, bowling and a recent discovery for us is pickleball!
What are you looking forward to most for 2023?
I’m very optimistic that this year will bring more opportunities to collaborate with companies that would like to organise talks about nutrition for their employees. I also offer free-of-charge talks to educational establishments and charities, and I hope that more and more organisations will use this offer. And it would be great to see even more people trying my course with my full support and encouragement!
Quick questions about Singapore: what is your favourite …
Casual restaurant? Ginett Restaurant & Wine Bar. We discovered this lovely bistro-style restaurant by chance shortly after settling in Singapore and it has become our favourite place for casual dinner – and sometimes also for lunch on Saturdays, while our son has his fencing practice in the nearby YMCA.
Date-night restaurant? Open Farm Community is a hidden gem in the Dempsey greenery. I love that they use their own grown vegetables and greens in the menu. The food, ambience and service are always great!
Bar? Singapore really spoils you with the choice of great bars; so far on my favourites list are Manhattan, Atlas, MO Bar and Republic Bar.
Local food? Laksa from the stall in Newton Food Court. Sometimes, the uncle who sells it has made it quite spicy, so it’s always a gamble – you can cry a bit while eating it!
Nature space? We live close to the Botanic Gardens, so we visit frequently. I love my morning walks, before I start my working day, and I always find something new there to see.
If you are interested in learning more about nutrition, plant based diets and eating healthy in Singapore, visit klints.me. For other stories about expats go to expatliving.sg
This article first appeared in the January 2023 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
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