Why settle for one fabulous ingredient when you can use three? Jamie, a DaVita dietitian from Tennessee, harnesses triple the nutrients of berries by using blackberries, blueberries and strawberries in her Triple Berry Protein Parfait recipe. Rich in antioxidants and bursting with flavor, her parfait gets its fluffiness from non-dairy whipped topping, a low phosphorus alternative to regular whipped cream. Jamie's recipe also kicks up protein levels with kidney-friendly whey protein powder, a low-calorie source of the amino acids that are essential to the renal diet.
It was an affinity for the curative powers of food that led Jamie to study dietetics in order to "learn more about nutrition and how to be healthy" at the University of Memphis in her native Tennessee. The first time she was exposed to the renal field, Jamie knew it was the right fit. "I worked as a dietitian assistant in a dialysis clinic during my undergrad and graduate degree programs, and I just knew this was where I wanted to work," she says.
Working in kidney care can be a challenge, especially when it comes to "trying to change people's eating patterns for their health," but Jamie says she knew that came with the territory of "really wanting to make a difference." It's especially gratifying to her "when a patient 'gets it' - that light bulb moment for the patient."
Everyone appreciates being treated like an individual and Jamie makes a point of honoring her patients by "just spending time with them and listening to them." Jamie's personal touch with her patients isn't just a tactic, however. She says she genuinely enjoys "the relationships you build with your patients."
Diet and health are deeply personal topics, and Jamie's approach reflects a respect for this. "I take time to get to know my patients first, find out what's important to them, what motivates them," she notes. One of the ways she does that is by "being the best renal dietitian I can, motivating them to be healthier through example."
So what's the best way to get healthier, you ask? "Exercise!" Jamie enthuses. And this is one lady who definitely walks the talk. In fact, she does a bit more than just walk.
"I ran my first marathon in December of 2009," Jamie explains. "It was bitterly cold - for Tennessee, that is - and the course ran right past my clinic at about mile 15. When I was about half a mile away from my facility, I could see a bunch of people - patients and teammates - in white paper gowns, clean ones just to stay warm, standing in the cold cheering me on. It was a great feeling."
Part of the DaVita team for four years now, Jamie appreciates "the respect the dietitian has from their teammates." It seems that respect goes both ways, because according to Jamie her clinic has "a great mix of patients" and "the BEST administrative assistant."
It's this combination of community, mutual respect and a commitment to bringing out the best in herself and others that's been the recipe for Jamie's success with her crew in Tennessee. Well, that and her talent for whipping up kidney-friendly delights like the feather light Triple Berry Protein Parfait.