Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Nutrition For A Fast Paced Life

For my next post,I thought I'd invite someone to write a "Guest article" for Bonne Nutrition. So ladies and gentlemen,please welcome Ms.Smitha Suresh, a very good friend and also a former colleague of mine who has a pulse on the current situation (I am afterall on a "mommy-break" from active consulting) .
Ms.Smitha Suresh
Hello everybody. Let me introduce myself.
Having completed my MSc in Food Science and Nutrition from Mysore University, I did my Dietetic internship at Manipal Hospital, Bangalore. After that I worked with a nutrition consultancy in Bangalore called NICHE, where I mainly counseled employees of the Software and BPO industry. Incidentally, Sweta Uchil-Purohit was the Manager at NICHE at that time.
In 2006, I made a choice to move back to Mysore, and am now working as a freelance Nutrition Consultant. I also consult at Flexcity-one of the most reputed and oldest gyms at Mysore.
Here's my take on Nutrition as I see it nowadays:
Nutrition For a Fast Paced Life
"Do you find yourself cutting corners when it comes to eating-time saving foods like Maggi for breakfast, a quick salad for lunch, a tasty bite in the evening for your growling stomach, ready-to-eat foods or fast foods (pizzas or burgers) for dinner?
Even if you have any of these foods only once or twice a week,it negatively impacts your body.
Sure,these save time and energy,but what is not obvious is that these foods are draining your health. Your health seems "OK" now,but have you given a thought to the quality of your life even five years from now? Being even five kilos overweight,having a waistline in excess of 34 inches for men and 31.5 inches for women,increases risk of developing Heart disease, Diabetes and even some forms of Cancer.
So,how do you fit in a nutrition plan into your busy schedule? The good news is that it's very simple.
Breakfast is a must-right from your school going kid to your in-law's at home,everyone needs a healthy breakfast! If you skip it, you'll experience a dip in your energy levels by mid-morning,loss of concentration and productivity and also drowsiness. Habitually skipping breakfast can also lead to weight gain. Oats, plain cornflakes, plain wheat flakes or muesli with low-fat milk and fruits are great,fast,easy and healthy breakfast options.
Sweta has already covered everything that I would say on what to eat at each meal and for snacks in her previous posts. The only thing I'm adding is, if you are packing lunch then, try kichidi with veggies or a vegetable pulav with either channa or egg. Or,be creative and try a combination of vegetables with whole or split grams/lentils(like cabbage+channa sabzi or palak +moong curry) along with phulkas or dosas. Add a raitha to any of the above and you have a complete,balanced meal. Pack a carrot,tomato or a fruit for more fibre.
Dinner needs to be lighter than lunch in terms of the amount or quantity of the cereal item(rice/chapathies) and should be eaten at least two hours before going to bed.
If it helps, try planning your day's menu starting with the timings for the meals and what you are going to have at each meal. You could even plan a week's menu in advance and shop accordingly. That way,you don't have to think too much about what to cook and what to buy,but please remember, never,never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach!!You'll just end up sorely tempted by(and picking) all the junk food on the shelves. Try shopping after you've had a good meal and then you'll be able to congratulate yourself at the end on your power to resist!!
Carry a bottle of water to work,that way you'll be aware of how much water you drink. Make sure to drink at least 1.5-2.5 litres of water in a day.
Tea or coffee twice a day won't harm you,but if you are taking more than that-the stimulant compounds in these beverages will add to your stress levels,not bring them down and remember to keep the sugar to just one teaspoon/cup.
Lastly, EXERCISE-it should be vigorous and something you enjoy. In addition, be active throughout the day.You could take a quick brisk walk around your office building before lunch or in the evening, use the stairs whenever possible or even hit the gym during your free time.
30-45minutes of vigorous exercise at least five times a week will help to keep you at your normal weight, energy levels balanced throughout the day, and also reduces stress and risk of developing lifestyle related diseases later on in life.
Being healthy is a choice that you make. You can begin by simply being aware of the health related choices you are already making everyday. Become aware of what you are putting in your mouth-the experience of taste is fleeting. Your body has to deal with whatever you eat.
Don't take it for granted!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Information for Students on Courses in Nutrition In India:

Since a lot of my friends have been asking me about how to get started in the field of Nutrition,I thought who could be better to enlighten the public than my very first boss,Ms.Swarupa Kakani. She's been a great teacher and I can proudly say that I learnt my Nutrition "A,B,C's" from her, when I started my career as a trainee at Manipal Hospital,Bangalore.
Here's a brief intro:

Ms.Swarupa Kakani
Ms.Swarupa Kakani is the Chief Nutritionist at Sagar Hospitals ,Bangalore.She has done her MSc in Food, Nutrition and Diet Therapy from Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati and Diploma in Dietetics from Christian Medical College Hospital (CMCH), Vellore. She is presently persuing Ph.D in the field of Children with Diabetes.
She has in the past, worked at the CMC Hospital Vellore,Wockhardt Heart Institute, Bangalore and also Manipal Hospital, Bangalore.She has over 15 years of experience in the field of Clinical Nutrition and is also the President of the Indian Dietetic Association (IDA),Bangalore Chapter.

Excerpts from the Interview with Ms. Kakani:

Q.What are the basic qualifications required to become a Nutritionist or a Dietitian?
Ans: a) B.Sc Home Science / Clinical Nutrition / Nutrition & Dietetics with 6 months internship or 1 year diploma in Nutrition & Dietetics.
b) M.Sc Foods, Nutrition & Diet Therapy / Dietetics and Food Service

Q.Are these courses available in all colleges?
Ans: Not in all colleges.

Q.Which are some of the well known colleges in India which offer these courses?
There are so many colleges that it is not possible to give all the names.Here are some of the colleges categorised state wise-
• Mount Carmel College, Bangalore
• VHD Central Institute Of Home Science, Bangalore
• University Of Agricultural Sciences(UAS), Bangalore
• Manasagangothri University, Mysore
• Mangalore University, Mangalore
Tamil Nadu:
• Queen Mary’s College, Chennai
• MOP Vaishnav College for Women, Chennai
• Women’s Christian College, Chennai
• Avinashilingam Institute for Home Science, Coimbatore
• RVS College of Arts and Science, Coimbatore
• BCM College for Women, Kottayam
• College of Agriculture, Thiruvananthapuram
• College of Horticulture, Vellanikkara
• Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur
Andhra Pradesh:
• The National Institute for Nutrition, Hyderabad
• University College for Women, Hyderabad
• Home Science College, Saifabad
• D.K Govt College for Women, Nellore
• Sri Satya Sai Institute for Higher Learning for Women, Anantpur
• Govt College For Women, Nagarjuna University, Guntur
• Joseph's College For Women, Andhra University, Waltair
• Sardar Patel University, Vallabh Vidyanagar
• Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara
• Matushri Virbaima Mahila College, Saurashtra University, Rajkot
• Seth P.T. Mahila College of Arts and Home Science (SNDT University), Surat
• Lady Irwin College, Delhi
• Institute of Home Science, Delhi
• Sophia College, Mumbai
• Nirmala Niketan, Mumbai
• SNDT ,Mumbai
• Lady Amritabai College for Women, Nagpur University, Nagpur
• Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture and Technology, Udaipur
• Banasthali Vidyapith, Banasthali
• College of Home science, Bikaner
• Smt. Indira Mani Mandatia Griha Vigyan Shiksha Niketan, Rajasthan University, Pilani
• Assam Agricultural University, Jorhat
Uttar Pradesh:
• Ginni Devi Modi Girls (P.G) College, Ghaziabad
• Govt. College of Home Science (Punjab University), Chandigarh
• College of Home Science (Punjab Agricultural University) Kaoni, Faridkot
• S.D. College (Kurukshetra University), Ambala Cantt
West Bengal:
• Jwari Devi Birla Institute Of Home Science, Jadavpur University, Calcutta
• Viharilal College Of Home Science, Calcutta University Calcutta
Please note that this is a list of some of the colleges,there are many more colleges that offer the same courses.

Q.Is a post-graduation mandatory to get a job?
No it is not mandatory.

Q.What kind of jobs can a person qualified in nutrition get?
There are ample opportunities for nutritionists and dietitians in different industry, hospitals, schools, colleges, government agencies, and clinics etc. Students can also make career in research field especially in the biomedical and nutritional biochemistry fields. One can also find business-related opportunities in sales, marketing, customer service, employee wellness, human resources and general management. Apart from these, there are ample scopes for self-employment. You could open a consultancy clinic in some residential area, where you could interact with mothers, housewives, homemakers, adolescents and so forth.

Q.How many years of hospital training would you advise a fresher, to get a good grasp on the subject?
Minimum of six months.

Q.How would you say the job market is different from the time when you started your career and now?
Yes, there is a lot of difference from 1985 and now. Job opportunities are more and remuneration is much better.

Q.Does the Indian Dietetic Association (IDA) have a website?
The IDA has a

and lastly,
Q.What is your advice for people who want to take up nutrition as a career?
Nutrition and Dietetics is an emerging field which is expected to provide enormous opportunities in professional career. It would be a good idea to take up the Nutrition course since, an individual aspiring for a career in Nutrition and Dietetics should have a preliminary knowledge in biology, biochemistry, and physiology as well as the sociological and psychological dimensions of human nutrition. Such Knowledge is very important to day to day healthy living even if one is not working.