60 seconds with Emmanuel Shamou: Dietician
Tell us about your role at PPU?
As the sole dietitian on PPU, my role is to ensure patients who are referred to me are meeting the nutritional requirements and what the best method would be - be food fortification, supplements, tube feeding or feeding through the vein. Additionally, as a senior member of the Therapy and Dietetics team my role on PPU includes supporting Laxmi and the team with leading on the day-to-day procedures for the team - as well as working closely with different teams like governance, embassy and nursing teams. Like I always say, no man is an island entire of itself.
What do you enjoy the most about being a dietician?
Well, I wanted I wanted to be a dietitian because I wanted to have strong clinical knowledge without being a doctor and I like food and working with people, so they are the 3 core aspects of my job which I love. I thoroughly enjoy the problem-solving aspects of the role and it's never one size fits all when it comes to implementing nutritional strategies that will benefit the patient. I don't just look at the food but many other factors some of which being blood results, medications and social factors.
Also, I get to spend my day talking about food! Most people might think that dietitians are always trying to limit what people eat but it's not like that at all. I spend most of my time trying to improve and usually increase what patients are eating whilst they’re in hospital.
How do you keep abreast of the latest diet and nutrition guidance in order to better advise your patients?
I've got a network of dietitians within the rest of the Trust where we meet up regularly and discuss new research about different conditions as well as any new policies or procedures. Nutrition is always evolving and there is constantly new research being done with different conditions.
What are some of the dietary barriers you face with patients and how do you influence them to make healthy choices?
Compliancy is probably the biggest challenge, however, it does come down to education. I feel another big part of my role is training and educating patients and their families and this empowers them to make more sensible choices.
How does your dietary input support the therapies team with patient care and aftercare?
I always say that doctors and nursing staff help save lives, however, allied health professionals help improve the quality of life. The way I see it is if patients are getting in the right nutrition, that helps as the fuel for their bodies to recover and they'll also see improvements in their therapy sessions. Both the patients and families would start seeing positive outcomes which in turn creates a better image for PPU and its different stakeholders.
What is your ideal meal? (it doesn’t have to be particularly healthy!)
Well, my 2 favourite cuisines are Italian and Japanese. I will always enjoy a good pizza or a spicy ramen
What is the best piece of nutritional advice you can give us?
Food is definitely one of the best joys about life, so it's best to enjoy the foods you like but in moderation - also make sure to be active!
How do you successfully meal prep?
Usually what I find works is cooking a larger evening meal which I can then take leftovers to work the next day.
Another trick of mine is roasting some chicken breast in tomato sauce in the oven with mushrooms and aubergine which can then be easily divided into smaller containers which I can take to work. It's also a great way to sneak the vegetables into the diet - Don't forget to eat your veggies!
What are your least favourite foods?
There are two things I really hate - fresh rocket on pizza and rockmelon.