Like most of us, Heather began her love affair with food at a young age. “I have always been interested in foods and cooking,” she shares. “As a teenager I enjoyed planning and preparing meals for family and friends but never considered nutrition as a career option. In college, I took a basic nutrition course as an elective course and loved it. So I immediately changed my major to dietetics.”
After growing up in Georgia, Heather received her degree in nutrition from the University of Georgia. Since then, she has really enjoyed her career as a dietitian—especially her years at DaVita.
“The focus on teamwork here is an enormous asset,” Heather explains. “Knowing that we are all working toward the same goals makes work enjoyable, even on the most frustrating days.”
Heather’s dedication to her patients shows in everything she does. “I try to make a difference in patient’s lives by teaching them how to make their diets work for them by taking into account their lifestyle, food preferences, etc. The challenge comes in trying to teach patients how very important a renal diet is to their overall health.”
Fortunately, challenges also bring rewards. For Heather, one reward is seeing how proud patients are when they follow her nutritional guidelines and get “good grades” on their report cards.
Another reward is the fun Heather shares with her patients. She tells a story about a patient who liked to “bend the rules” during dialysis treatment. “One day she was eating watermelon during treatment. When a patient care technician (PCT) reminded her that she wasn’t supposed to eat while on the machine, she tried to deny it, even while spitting out watermelon seeds in the trash can next to her chair,” Heather remembers.
Try some of Heather’s great recipes; there something for everyone. Her Southwestern inspired fare includes: Beef Burritos, Chicken Fajitas with Pineapple Salsa and Spanish Rice and her fall-inspired dishes include: Spicy Corn Bread, Cranberry Cabbage and Herb-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin.