Sunday, March 29, 2009

Follower Sunday: Guest-Chef Vandana R. Sheth brings Elegance with Indian-style mildly spiced and intensely flavored tea

By Anthony J Sepe


Each Sunday, I thank my readership for their loyalty and dedication to my blog, by providing a healthy recipe.  To those that know, this is a healthy repeat, but for those that are unaware and are new to the blog, this is my way of “giving back.”  It is also a way to “Pay it Forward.”  Each Sunday, not only will you have a healthy recipe, but you will have an expert in the field of dietetics, food and nutrition, provide the healthy recipe to you.  It is my pleasure to introduce this week, Vandana Sheth, with an Indian Masala Chai.

Vandana Sheth -DSC00618 pic taken at USC

Vandana R. Sheth, RD, CDE
Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Educator



© Masala Chai Recipe
Reprinted with Permission from Vandana R. Sheth, RD, CDE

1 C water
2 C milk
4 tea bags (strong black tea)
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1" cinnamon stick
1 whole cardamom
1 whole clove
4-8 mint leaves
Sweetener of choice (optional)


  1. Combine water, milk, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, and bring to a boil.
  2. Add tea bags and simmer for ~ 3- 5 minutes (to the strength of tea preferred).
  3. Strain and serve hot with a garnish of mint leaves.
  4. Sweeten with sugar, honey, agave nectar or sweetener of choice.

Makes 4 servings

Vandana’s Profile

     After graduating in 1997 Summa Cum Laude from California State University, Los Angeles with my second Bachelor’s degree in Nutritional science and its Coordinated Dietetics Program with over 900 hours of internship, I successfully passed the Commission on Dietetics Registration (CDR) board exam to become a registered dietitian (RD).  Since that time, I have worked in many different capacities and settings as a dietitian: hospital, outpatient, renal, home health, the presenting of community nutrition lectures, the teaching of vegetarian cooking classes, and the co-authoring of two books.  I specialize in weight management, diabetes, kidney disorders, cardiovascular disease, cancer, prenatal nutrition, child nutrition, food allergies, and other special diets including vegetarian diets. I continue to take relevant continuing professional education (CPE) to stay on top of my field, far exceeding RD certification CPE requirements. I am currently working per diem as a clinical dietitian at Little Company of Mary Hospitals (LCMH-Torrance/San Pedro)—both part of Providence Health System—as well as part-time for AccentCare Home Health (formerly known as Sun Plus Home Health) and my own private practice. My nutritional counseling philosophy is based on educating, as well as teaching behavior and lifestyle modification based on evidenced-based guidelines—not “fad dieting.”

Professional Experience

Private Practice, Consulting Dietitian 2006 - Present

I offer personal nutritional counseling to people with food-related illnesses and those interested in health promotion and disease prevention. As a registered dietitian, I am able to provide Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) for the nutritional management of numerous medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney disorders, cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity (adults and children), failure to thrive, food allergies, and other special diets including vegetarian diets. Many health insurance companies will cover the cost of MNT with a medical diagnosis and a referral from one’s primary care physician. I treat Medicare, commercial insurance, and private patients in my dietetics practice and offer the following individual, group, and family nutritional counseling services:

· Initial 1- to 1.5-hour Nutrition Consultation (Includes comprehensive health and nutrition history, goals and meal planning)

· Follow-up Visits (includes assessment of patient’s nutritional needs on an on-going basis)

· Comprehensive Computerized Menu Nutritional Analysis (detailed nutrient analysis of patient’s diet)

· Menu Development (customized meal plans to suit a patient’s individual needs)

· E-mail and Phone Support upon request

· Supermarket Tours – emphasize nutrition label reading and appropriate products

· Healthy and nutritious Cooking Demonstrations and Classes

· Develop/teach customized workshops and education through community lectures

Key accomplishments (business and clinical) include but are not limited to:

· Increased revenue by increased outpatient referrals to LCMH (now Providence) through diet education

· Provided nutrition education through school ‘Fun Run’ for over 400 elementary school children

· Increased awareness and education of food allergies while improving overall quality of life and increasing positive growth patterns noted in food allergic pediatric patients with the ‘Failure To Thrive’ diagnosis

· Improved patient compliance to restricted diets—especially in the Asian Indian community—due to a better understanding of multicultural diets

MHIPA, Consulting Dietitian 2007 - 2008

· Treat and coordinate the nutritional care of MHIPA’s high-risk patients as part of their DREAM (Diabetic Review of Eating, Activity, and Medicine) program

· Develop and provide nutrition education materials to MHIPA’s DREAM program patients

AccentCare Home Health (formerly Sun Plus Home Health), Dietitian 1998 - Present

· Coordinate nutritional care for home-bound patients in conjunction with physicians, nurses, and other health care team members

· Develop documentation forms/templates and diet education materials for patients

· Provide written and verbal diet education for patients and caregivers via telephone and facsimile consultations

· Educate company clinical staff through written and oral media regarding key nutrition concepts and trends

LCMH - San Pedro and Torrance, Clinical/Outpatient Dietitian 1997 - 1999 and 2006 – Present

LCMH – San Pedro (then San Pedro Peninsula Hospital), Dietetic Intern Jan. - March 1997

· Confer with physicians, nurses, food service staff, occupational therapists, and other health care team members to provide optimal clinical nutritional therapy for in-patients (including enteral and parental feeding)

· Provide dietary guidelines to out-patients with diabetes, hypertension, obesity, heart disease, and gestational diabetes

· Conduct nutritional assessments, follow-up treatments, documentation, and problem solve

· Act as a key member of Diabetes team-providing nutritional care to both GDM & non-GDM Diabetic patients

· Create educational materials as needed to better meet patient learning needs

· Coordinate and supervise Dietetic Interns as part of their internship training

· Prepared and presented an in-service on special diets, with an emphasis on Dysphagia, to all food service employees

BMA Dialysis Units (Carson, Long Beach), Renal Dietitian July – Oct. 1997

BMA and Vivra Dialysis units (Inglewood, Carson, Torrance, Long Beach), Intern May - June 1997

· Conducted patient rounds, reviewed lab results, monitored medications, and provided pertinent nutrition education

· Provided nutrition care through systematic assessment, planning, intervention, and evaluation of patients (monthly, initial, annual screening/assessment chart notes)

· Participated actively in interdisciplinary healthcare team and quality assurance meetings

· Developed a comprehensive compilation of nutrition resources for renal dietitians

LCMH – San Pedro (then San Pedro Peninsula Hospital), Diet Clerk 1994 – 1996

· Processed diet orders from Nursing on the Meditech system

· Set up menus for and checked trayline for completeness and accuracy

· Provided assistance to patients with menu selection and updated Kardex

Veterans Administration Medical Center, Long Beach, Dietetic Intern March - May 1997

· Counseled patients on an individual outpatient basis for conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and heart disease

· Performed computerized and handwritten medical record charting

· Co-developed and taught classes for groups of 25 patients on topics such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and weight loss management

· Researched and created a vegetarian diet patient education tool

Queen of Angels-Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, Dietetic Intern Sept. – Dec. 1996

· Organized study on soup costing and pricing for catering, in-house requisitions, and tray covers, resulting in key cost savings

· Conducted an in-depth study of microprocesses in tray order and delivery system in coordination with various disciplines, creating flow chart identifying problems and recommended solutions

· Interpreted Kronos time-keeping system data and provided graphic analyses regarding number of overtime hours and reasons

· Prepared and delivered food safety, food production, automatic and manual warewashing in-services to food service employees

Education and Professional Credentials

Registered Dietitian 1997 - Present

Certified Diabetes Educator Dec. 2008

Bachelor of Science, Nutritional Science June 1997

Coordinated Dietetics Program, Summa Cum Laude (3.96 GPA)

Certificate in Gerontology June 1997

California State University, Los Angeles

Bachelor of Science, Nutrition and Dietetics June 1989

University of Madras, India

Professional Affiliations

Nutrition Entrepreneurs Dietetics Practice Group Since 2006

American Dietetics Association Since 1994

California Dietetics Association Since 1994

Council on Renal Nutrition, Southern California chapter 1997 - 2000

Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network Since 1998

Publications and Presentations

‘Nutrition for children with severe food allergies’ (Food Allergy Support Group of L.A.) 2008

‘Heart to Heart with a Dietitian-Destination Heart Health’ (Harbor Gateway Library lecture series) 2008

‘Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease’ (LCMH – San Pedro community lecture) 2008

‘Food Allergy Awareness and Education’ (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA community lectures) Annually Since 2004

‘Kid-friendly Recipes and Pre-School Nutrition’ (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA community lectures) 2004 and 2007

‘Developing Healthy Eating Habits’ (LCMH - San Pedro community lecture) 1998

‘Diabetes Meal Planning’ (LCMH - San Pedro community lecture) 1998

‘Portion Distortion’ – India Currents Magazine ( 2008

Regular contributor of nutrition-related articles to AccentCare Home Health/Sun Plus newsletters Since 1999

In the Kitchen with Future Dietitians Co-author, 1997

Weighing the Diets Co-author, 1997

Torrance CitiCable TV interview – ‘Vegan Nutrition’ 2008

Torrance CitiCable TV interview – ‘Summer Nutrition for Kids’ 2008

Torrance CitiCable TV interview – ‘BPA - safety children’s plastic baby bottles’ 2008

Honors and Awards

Club 1000 (Top 5% of all LCMH-SP employees for best exemplifying the hospital’s core values) 1998

CSULA Alumni Association Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award 1997

San Pedro Peninsula Hospital Auxiliary Health Career Scholarship 1996

CANFit Nutrition and Physical Education Scholarship 1996

Dean’s List, California State University, Los Angeles 1995 - 1997

Golden Key National Honors Society 1996 – 1997

Phi Kappa Phi National Honors Society 1996 - 1997


  1. Thanks Rebecca. Hope you had a fun and safe trip.
    Take care,

  2. The masala chai seems just the right answer on a cold morning :-)

  3. Thanks very much for stopping by. I love the brightly colored cheeries against the green background of your blog. Appreciate your comment.