Dedicated to diet: A passion to help others reflected in resident’s business

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 26, 2024

SALISBURY — Tanya Freirich, registered dietitian and Rowan County native and resident, has a lifelong passion for helping others.

Her entrepreneurial journey is not only a story of personal transformation, but also of hope for those battling autoimmune diseases, particularly women with lupus.

Not just passionate about this subject, Freirich has been impacted personally and can share with others dealing with the disease.

“I can speak to the experience of having a terrible flare-up,” she said.  

When first diagnosed with lupus, Freirich said she had experienced terrible joint pain and had problems opening and closing her hands. She couldn’t open a door knob or dress herself.

“It was like I had frozen joints” which were very painful in the morning, and while it improved as the day went on, it was still “very frustrating and definitely impacted my quality of life.”

For years, Freirich dedicated herself to her work as a registered dietitian because of the impact of nutrition on her life when forced to face her own autoimmune disease diagnosis.

Receiving multiple diagnoses, Freirich said lupus was her last. She was 26 at the time and already a registered dietician and thought that she was eating healthy but realized there was room for improvement because she thought, “I have this underlying inflammation that keeps causing these diagnoses so that’s when I revamped my whole diet.”

She was active and fit, she said, and looked at other areas of her life and questioned if she was getting enough sleep, and was she handling her stress and other factors.

“With that I was able to get my lupus flares and symptoms in remission in the first year of diagnoses,” Freirich said.

Her journey as a dietitian led her from a bustling hospital environment in New York City, to a more personalized outpatient setting. She craved longer-standing relationships with patients and the ability to witness their progress firsthand.

During the outbreak of the pandemic, Freirich took the opportunity to continue to work remotely and impact more lives affected by lupus. She moved back to Rowan County and launched her own business, Tanya Freirich Nutrition, specializing in nutrition support for autoimmune diseases.

With her background in dietetics and a deep understanding of autoimmune diseases, her business flourished. She combined her professional expertise with her personal experience to create impactful programs tailored to individuals with lupus and other autoimmune conditions.

Her business, which is known by her following on social media as “The Lupus Dietitian,” gained momentum, particularly through Instagram and TikTok. Her dedication to providing valuable information and creating a supportive community drew clients from all over, seeking guidance and support in managing their conditions through nutrition.

Through her six-month program, which includes one-on-one sessions, group calls, and an online course, Freirich has helped countless individuals regain control over their health and well-being. Her approach is holistic, focusing not only on dietary changes, but also on creating a supportive environment where everyone feels understood and empowered.

“I would love for everyone in the lupus space who needs to hear from me, to know of me and receive the support they need,” she said.

But her journey doesn’t stop there. She’s now preparing to launch a program specifically designed for those living with rheumatoid arthritis and aspires to collaborate with a rheumatologist to launch a research study on diet and lupus.

Freirich’s path to entrepreneurship wasn’t without its challenges, but with the support of resources like the Small Business Center at Rowan-Cabarrus, she found the guidance and encouragement she needed. 

A friend recommended the center to Freirich, who said, “they are amazing. They have all these great resources.”

She first spoke with the center’s director, Megan Smit, who connected her with the people at 1 Million Cups at Flywheel Concord at the Cabarrus Center, she said.

Freirich did a presentation of her business to them and got fantastic feedback from other entrepreneurs. 

Connecting with mentors, participating in workshops, discussing strategy and networking with fellow entrepreneurs provided her with the tools and confidence to pursue her dreams. She has also watched webinars, which she said have been immensely helpful.

“It is just mind boggling how much free, fantastic content that they share and resources,” Freirich said. “Everyone was so supportive. The feedback was great.”

As she continues to grow her business, she remains driven by her passion for learning and helping others. Her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs echoes her own journey: “Don’t hold yourself back. Just get started. We only regret what we didn’t do.”

Freirich told that she also works at the Rowan Diagnostic Clinic two days a week and wants people to understand that there is a dietician that can be a resource to them locally.

“They can use their insurance, they can schedule an appointment with me because many don’t understand that there’s a dietician available,” she said. 

It’s not just those dealing with autoimmune diseases that she works with, but will work with whatever the need is including diabetes, as she is a certified diabetes educator and care specialist, along with those having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight gain or loss, IBS, “literally everything,” she said.

To learn more about Freirich and her programs, visit or find her on Instagram and TikTok as @TheLupusDietitian.