Canadian bacon and hollandaise sauce sure make Eggs Benedict a dream, but do they fit into your kidney diet food plan? Dena, a DaVita renal dietitian from Texas says, “Yes they do!” This recipe comes with a trick to de-mineralize the Canadian bacon so you can enjoy Classic Eggs Benedict along with millions of others. To de-mineralize — or remove some of the minerals such as sodium, potassium and phosphorus — simply boil Canadian bacon for 5 minutes. This process is similar to leaching potatoes to lower their potassium. This process lowers the mineral levels considerably, making Classic Eggs Benedict kidney friendly and a tasty breakfast or brunch treat you can serve to guests with discriminating tastes.
Even as far back as junior high school in Texas, Dena wanted to be a dietitian. When a special television program aired about young girls with eating disorders, she says, “I wanted to learn how I could be part of the team that heals hurting women with such disorders.” After graduating from the University of Houston, the complexity of the renal diet, along with the ability to get to know patients and make lasting relationships, led Dena into the dialysis field.
Over the last four and a half years with DaVita, Dena admits the most challenging aspect of her job is getting patients to remember the many facets of the kidney diet. “I go back to patients and say, ‘So how many phosphorus binders are you going to take now?’ I play games with them daily to get them to remember.” The most rewarding aspect of her job is seeing lives changed for the better. Dena says she loves seeing improvements in her patients’ labs, as well as seeing them regain strength enough to walk and enjoy their daily lives by eating their prescribed kidney diet.
To make a difference in kidney patients’ lives Dena says, “I come to work with the right attitude and always wear a smile. I most enjoy the relationships I’ve made. I also enjoy making my dialysis patients’ days a little brighter. My approach is motivational. I cheer them on and give encouragement.” Dena believes the single most important thing patients can do to improve their health is to become healthy mentally. “Health is mental. Physical health is soon to follow. Keep mental faith that things can improve when they seem at their worst,” suggests Dena.
Dena uses her flair for theatrics to develop rapport with her patients. “I have a crazy energy level. I pretend I am on stage and try to keep their attention and attitude up. When I am walking through the clinic I yell things out all the time, ‘Mr. Williams, nice to see ya today!’ or ‘Mrs. Daisy, what ya got good to eat today?’ or ‘Mr. Lucus, you ain’t eating no more beans are ya?’ It’s funny, they know I am going to call their names out and acknowledge them.”
Dena enjoys going to work. Everyday she is reminded how precious life is and how quickly it can change. Dena says, “It is important to love on your loved ones.” Dena is eight-months pregnant and about to go on maternity leave. “When I was between three and five months, I didn’t tell anyone. My patients thought I was just getting fat. So many of my patients would say, ‘Dena have you been following your diet? Dena, are you working out?’ It was funny; it was like my patients wanted to be my dietitian. And now that they know I am pregnant, they are even more persistent and ask me daily, ‘Are you taking your vitamins? Are you eating your protein?’ I take care of them, and in return they really want to help take care of me.”
Dena reports that her dialysis center is in a fun and trendy area. It has lots of fun restaurants and the baseball and basketball stadium are only blocks away. The Destiny’s Child recording studio is across the street and Dena says they get to watch lots of fabulous parties.
You can enjoy a fabulous breakfast or brunch with Classic Eggs Benedict. Make it on a lazy Sunday for family and friends and enjoy the compliments. Remember to de-mineralize the Canadian bacon to keep it kidney friendly — it’s so delicious, no one will know.