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Once you start cooking for yourself instead of going out, the taste and health benefits far outweigh the convenience of high-fat, high-salt prepared foods. Nobody agrees more than Debbie from Maryland, so she reduced the salt and phosphorus in this tangy, lime-cilantro recipe and then adapted it to chicken and codfish. Although the original recipe called for salmon, codfish has lower phosphorus, and so it was the better choice for a dialysis diet.
Originally from the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Debbie attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania and went on to earn a master’s degree in Nutrition Education from Immaculata University in Pennsylvania. “I became a dietitian because I wanted to work in health care and was interested in food, Debbie says. “My mother told me I could never be a nurse because I didn’t do well at the sight of blood. I went to work in a hospital and once I became a registered dietitian, a Renal Dietitian position came up and I was asked to cover.” A job with Gambro that started four-and-a-half-years ago led to Debbie’s transfer to Maryland where she now resides.
Debbie shares, “Patients feel helped by my listening to them, and when I make them smile. I try to make a difference in patients’ lives by helping to improve their nutritional status and quality of life. When patients feel comfortable sharing their concerns with me, I can direct them to teammates who can be the most helpful. I think I lift patients’ spirits sometimes with a smile, praise and encouragement.”
Debbie most enjoys giving patients positive feedback and individualized ideas for improvement. She describes her approach as, “never giving up on a patient. Sometimes I give them a little space, but always remain available for that ‘teachable moment.’ I try to treat advice like a gem—not to be freely given away, but placed carefully in open hands. Much of my approach is doing detective work to find the root of a problem and then providing options for a customized solution.”
Debbie comments that, “the most important thing a patient can do to improve their health is read their report card.” She also introduces new ways to create good habits. “Store your phosphate binders in your silverware drawer. Try Dairy Delicious, the lower potassium, lower phosphorus milk. And bring your coupons to your dietitian for advice before you shop.”
“What I enjoy most about working for DaVita is a positive approach, value of teammates and sincere efforts to give patients excellent care and respect.”
Debbie has created a real winner with her recipes for Lime and Cilantro Chicken Dinner, plus Lime-Cilantro Cod. Hit a home run in the kitchen and give it a try!
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