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NetSAW Member Spotlight: Sangeeta Pradhan

posted Apr 19, 2012, 7:47 PM by netSAW Info   [ updated Aug 21, 2012, 8:54 AM ]
Sangeeta T. Pradhan, RD, LDN is a Registered Clinical Dietitian with 12 + years of experience in an Outpatient as well as an Inpatient setting.  She graduated from Framingham State College, MA, with a degree in food and nutrition and also holds a bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from Bombay University.  Her work experience includes several years of ICU Nutrition support , long term care experience and Outpatient Nutritional Counseling  with respect to a variety of conditions such as obesity and chronic disease states. Currently she works as an Outpatient Dietitian at Charles River Medical Associates, a part of Partners Health Care.

Tell us how you got interested in this field?

My academic training includes an undergraduate degree in Microbiology.  While this hard core science background served me very well as I pursued a related career in Nutrition Science, I realized very early in the process that I was far more interested in interacting with people than with microbes in test-tubes and petri-dishes. I followed my instincts and pursued a degree in Nutrition which gave me an opportunity to influence human behavior positively in terms of leading a healthy lifestyle.

What is it that you enjoy most about your work?

I was going to say the smile on a patient’s face when they have reached their target clinical end points or when their eyes light up when they reach their goal weight. But when I really look deep down, it is not the end itself, but the means to get there- that is the journey itself that is inspiring. I feel that we all have immense potential and when we harness it towards a good purpose, we have served a very important cause.  As a nutritionist, I feel very blessed that I am able to empower individuals to make meaningful lifestyle changes, and often alter the course of chronic disease.  The results are very gratifying, thus making my work very fulfilling.  However, most importantly, I am so passionate about what I do and so love working with different people from all walks of life that my work becomes its own reward.

What advice would you give on promoting good health and proper eating habits while on the go - to NetSAW moms who are busy professionals/entrepreneurs?

I would suggest to these folks to take about a half hour once a week to plan out meals, create a grocery list and follow through.  Prepare a few, quick nutritious meals in large batches and freeze/refrigerate in individual containers that can be quickly reheated during the work week. Do not skip meals; carry a pack of unsalted nuts, high fiber granola bars (without high fructose corn syrup) and/or fruit as snacks that one can grab on the run to “tide you over till the next meal” so you are not tempted to overeat. Carve out a ½ hr at least 4x/week for an uninterrupted session of aerobic activity. This is an appointment you make with yourself, and put on your calendar-an appointment with your most important client-yourself.

What are the super foods one must include in their diet?

If there is a magic bullet out there, it might be fiber.  I would recommend that one makes a conscious effort to increase one’s fiber intake through consumption of whole foods and unprocessed foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and, lean protein. Get cooking with the anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory power of deep red tomatoes, rich purple eggplant, vibrant green EVOO, ginger, garlic and age-old spices such as turmeric and cumin!   Avoid foods that promote inflammation in the body such as processed foods that are devoid of fiber, nutrients and contain added solid as well hydrogenated fats and refined sugars.

How much exercise do you recommend daily?

The consensus is 150 minutes per week of light to moderate aerobic activity for healthy individuals.  However, if you are in the increasing number of people with very sedentary lifestyles, that may be overwhelming. I would suggest such folks start out with just 15-20 minutes 1-3x /week as tolerated and build up from there. Exercise does not have to be strenuous to be effective, but it is important to pick an activity you enjoy so you are likely to stay with it.