Indian Chicken Curry and Pakoda by Chhaya

Chhaya has always been interested in preventive therapies. “I thought, what better way than food and nutrition to prevent many of the diseases we see around us,” said Chhaya.

She embarked on a course of study at MS University in Baroda, India where she received a bachelor’s in science degree in Foods and Nutrition. “Then I came to the United States in 1979 and went to NYU for a master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition,” stated Chhaya, adding, “It’s when I was in graduate school that I learned how nutrition affects kidney failure and how it continues to have effect on bone disease and biochemistry. It gives me satisfaction and fulfillment to see that my work helps people live better and longer lives.”

Chhaya, who believes that a happy smile makes a difference to her patients, has been at her dialysis center for 14 years in beautiful California. “We have great teammates and doctors. We love our patients and they love us. Our unit is small (14 stations and 100 patients), but we love it! Besides, it is seven minutes from my house and in a great community,“ she said, Chhaya continues to be fascinated with her work and her patients. “I think renal dietitians have to know how to juggle many aspects of diet and dialysis in their job. That makes it interesting, but also makes it challenging. There is never a dull moment for me and I learn something everyday.” Chhaya explained, “The most rewarding aspect of my job is to see that my time, efforts and energy help patients and others who need preventive therapy. It makes me feel rewarded when I see good outcomes and quality of life for my patients. It makes me feel fulfilled and want to continue to improve. We also have a wonderful FA (facility administrator) who understands what I do and supports me.”

Making a difference in people’s lives is important to Chhaya. “Over the years, I have received thank you cards and greeting cards from many of my patients and patient’s family members,” she recalled. “I’ve also received phone calls thanking me for everything, and mainly for listening and understanding their dilemma.”

“As dietitians, we have an excellent support system,” Chhaya said. “I enjoy training and mentoring new dietitians, and as an Area/Divisional dietitian for DaVita, I get to do just that! I like DaVita’s values because they are my values, too.”

With the Indian New Year coming up on November 13, this is the perfect time to try two Indian dishes that are traditionally served at holiday parties. The fragrant and flavorful blend of spices called garam masala provides a spicy flavor in the Indian Chicken Curry. 



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