Nireshnee Reddy is a registered dietitian and serves on the ADSA Executive Committee 2021 – 2023 in the portfolio Public Sector. We thought it well to meet up with her and get to know her a bit better.
- Tell us a bit more of yourself?
I’m 39 years old, wife to my high school sweetheart, Prean and mum to 2 amazing kids (Kiara and Kaelen). We have a dog, and 2 chickens J I love spending time with my family and am passionate about Indian classical dance and music. I enjoy doing social work that involves children. I love birthdays as I feel it a great opportunity to celebrate a person’s uniqueness and contribution to this world!
- Why did you become a Registered Dietitian?
In high school, I had to do a research project and chose to do the impact of the Indian diet on blood glucose control in diabetics compared to the impact of Western diet on blood glucose control in support of my mum who was diabetic for 15 odd years at that time. It was then that I met dietitians (Phumelele Mthembu and Chantell Witten) for the first time, and they inspired me to do dietetics.
- What would you have wanted to do if not Dietetics?
- Where did you study (degree and/ or postgrad)
Proudly UKZN (Undergrad and Masters)
- Where do you work and what does your job entail?
KZN Department of Health – Assistant Director Nutrition at the Provincial Office
We provide technical support to other government departments, districts in KZN, and health facilities. We develop guidelines and policies that support the implementation of the Integrated Nutrition Programme.
- Walk us through a day in your life?
It really does vary and could start at 5am (when travelling to far away districts) and end at 11pm completing reports or driving back home. There are amazing days of working with clinics and outreach staff to deliver nutrition services, and there are long board room days strategizing and planning. There are then office days of admin, and reviewing reports, and hospital days of clinical audits and monitoring. In summary no 2 days are the same.
- What do you enjoy most about the work you do? What are the most satisfying moments?
Developing and implementing interventions that brings about positive change gives me gratitude and appreciation for being in the field of nutrition. Dietetics is dynamic and vast and there is so much we can do, even with little. Having the opportunity to support and mentor younger dietitians also gives me joy, for as much as they develop I also learn from them along the way.
- What has been your career highlight?
Completing my Master’s degree whilst working full time in a demanding job, taking care of my family and living life. It felt impossible at times and I felt like giving up.
- What are the most challenging aspects of your career?
At times the fruits of your labour are also dependent on bigger systems and challenges beyond your control.
- What is something that people don’t know about you?
I am able to read, write and speak in my mother tongue (Tamil – a South Indian tamil language) and
I’m also a qualified Bharatha Natyam (South Indian classical) dancer, although a bit rusty now.
- What are your favourite foods?
Sushi & crab curry
- What are the three things that you think people should stop saying when they meet a dietitian?
Can I have a diet sheet?
Don’t look at what I’m eating.
You must cook very healthy things at home