Antioxidants repair and prevent the damage caused to our bodies by “free radicals.” These bad boys contribute to diabetes, as well as a host of other diseases, so it’s a good idea to eat foods that contain antioxidants daily. Blueberry Blast Smoothie is a super-food bursting with antioxidants as well as great taste from DaVita renal dietitian Hazel from Texas.
It’s not hard to tell where DaVita dietitian, Hazel hails from. The minute she says hello, her Scottish brogue gives it away. Originally from Glasgow, Hazel was educated at Glasgow Caledonian University and says she became a dietitian because, “I like cooking and love food. I wanted to work in the health profession. I firmly believe in the relationship between food and good health.”
Led into the renal field by her sense of challenge, Hazel has been with DaVita for six months and says, “Right now I have so much to learn as I am new to renal dietetics. I find myself looking forward to the monthly lab draws to see if there are positive changes and if the mineral and bone disease scores have improved.”
Hazel reflects on how to make a difference in patients’ lives, and hopes to become an expert mineral and bone disease manager. “But until that time…a smile and a compassionate and understanding attitude makes a difference,” she says. “It is important to understand patients’ financial constraints and to be compassionate when they tell you that they cannot afford certain foods.”
Being able to listen and talk to patients is what Hazel most enjoys about her job. Her approach is described as non-judgmental, compassionate, and understanding. “I’m willing to learn along with them all the implications of renal disease as it relates to dietary intake. I think the most important things patients can do to improve their health is to take care of themselves, and remember, they should try to eat as healthy as possible, reduce stress and be kind to themselves.”
At Hazel’s center, a new “Phos Buck” program was started whereby patients are rewarded for good phosphorus levels. “We are hoping that this will be successful,” Hazel says. “The thing that has impressed me the most at DaVita is the online learning system. I have tried to take full advantage of this and I have learned a lot. The main obstacle to my accepting the job with DaVita was the drive time to the center, but I’ve found that it’s now become ‘my time’ for listening to books on tape, music and learning Spanish,” she shares.
Hazel has a cute story to share about how her Scottish accent “fits in” in Texas. “I have a very strong Scottish accent, but I’m too old in the teeth to lose it. Some of the dialysis patients, I’m sure, have difficulty understanding me. I’m trying to learn Spanish and like to try to communicate with the Spanish-speaking patients. I have found that they warm to me once I try to speak in Spanish to them, and seem to forgive my funny sounding English accent.”
Hazel comments that “salt of the earth” people live in Texas. “Because it is so different from where I come from, I quite enjoy it,” she says, adding “They are a great group of teammates, and have been very welcoming and supportive. I have the utmost respect for them and the outstanding jobs that they do.”
Hazel’s Blueberry Blast Smoothie is a great way for dialysis patients to get the quality protein they need with antioxidants galore. Antioxidants go to work “cleaning up” after the free radicals, so you can enjoy this treat knowing it’s doing good stuff even after it’s gone down.