For patients with cancer, maintaining proper diet and nutrition can make a world of difference. Siddhi Shroff, a registered dietitian at the UK Markey Cancer Center, spends her time helping patients understand their changing appetite and nutritional needs as they go through treatment. She’s also the author of our Markey Menu blog, which offers cancer-related nutritional tips, recipes, and health and wellness information.
We sat down with Siddhi to chat about her work at Markey, her interest in nutrition and what she enjoys outside of work.
How did you become interested in nutrition?
I have a nontraditional background, originally with a psychology degree, and took a break before coming back to grad school. I’ve always been a foodie and became very interested in nutrition and dietetics. I just got the point where I thought, “Why don’t I do something like this?”
I came here for grad school and learned about nutrition. That’s how I got exposure to the oncology setting during my dietetic internship rotations. It was a really different experience than I had been educated on, and it was interesting to see how individualized the cancer treatment process can be, specifically with nutrition. So I finished the rotation and then graduated, and I started here in May of last year!
What do you do as a registered dietitian at Markey?
On a daily basis, it’s hard to pin down a specific routine. In the clinics, we are here to provide nutritional counseling to patients as needed. We work as we get consulted. A doctor or nurse will see a patient in clinic, and they will flag anything of nutritional concern like poor appetite or unintentional weight loss. We come in to talk with the patient about whatever has been flagged and what the patient may be experiencing. We always let them know about general nutrition expectations and what they may experience due to side effects of treatments.
Aside from nutrition counseling, I participate in many other events and activities. Rachel Miller, RD, and I both host the Smoothie Day demonstrations, and I host the cooking demonstrations with local restaurants and chefs. Those are great for showing patients a different way to manage the changes in their nutrition. You can read a lot about the nutrition recommendations on the Markey Menu blog I write!
How do you spend time outside of work?
When I’m at home, I really enjoy reading and gardening. I have always been a foodie, so baking is another hobby. In general, I’m always working on my project of the day, whatever crafting I might be doing at the time. Of course, I watch my share of Netflix, too.
Have you read any good books or watched any good TV lately?
I’ve been reading lots of articles about how to be your best self – not only professionally, but outside of work in your daily life, too. It’s all around self-care.
My go-to shows are Friends, The Office, and Parks and Recreation. Those are the shows I can sit back to watch and unwind. I do like my HBO, too – Game of Thrones especially.
Do you have any funny or unusual talents?
I do have this weird ability to always pick out a celebrity voice that’s narrating a commercial. So, let me think. John Krasinski from The Office is the Esurance guy. I’ve noticed Zach Braff has been in a few. Julia Roberts has done some Progressive commercials. Those are the ones that I can think of just off the top of my head!
If you could have dinner with any celebrity, who would it be and what would the meal be?
That is a hard question because I can think of plenty of strong women I’d love to meet right now, so it’s tough to pick just one. One person that does come to mind is Malala Yousafzai. She is a girl who was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman at the age of 15 and survived. Now, she is a pioneer for children’s rights and education throughout the world. She is even the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. I really admire her work, but I’d also like to meet her just to talk to her about how to be strong in the face of adversity.
For the meal? I think I’d let her pick that. But I’d insist on picking something Italian like tiramisu for dessert.