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DaVita dietitian, Jennifer from California, created a super-simple method for Hawaiian-style Pork Chops. Blending flavorful bell peppers and juicy pineapple slices with boneless pork makes a zesty, healthful dish.
Jennifer says she was always interested in “eating healthy” and figured that she could help herself as well as her family live a healthier, longer life by making it a career. Originally from Castro Valley, which is 30 minutes outside of San Francisco, Jennifer furthered her studies at Chico State University in California.
“I was led into the renal field after working in hospitals and seeing that renal dietitians got to observe their patients’ progress. Since working at DaVita for 3-1/2 years, I’ve learned about the large numbers of families affected by kidney disease. The two most important things patients can do to improve their health is keep phosphorus levels under control and exercise,” advises Jennifer.
Jennifer uses a bulletin board to post the labels of good food choices—such as low-phosphorus ice cream. She explains, “It really helps if patients are able to see the label, so that when they go shopping, it’s easier to find the product.”
“The most challenging aspect of my job is getting patients to take their phosphorus binders. I try to make a difference in their lives by showing them that correct food choices can help them feel better and improve quality of life. My approach is straightforward. I’m a good listener and try to give it to them like it is. I don’t sugar coat things. But I try not to be the food police, either. I love talking with patients about their families and work. A nurse once said to me, ‘I think its great that you know the names of our patients’ spouses, kids and grandkids—you really do care about them.’ It was a great compliment,” shares Jennifer.
“Our center is special because we care about our patients as though they were members of our own families. And it works the other way too. I gave birth to my second child last year and it was amazing all the advice I received from my own patients! ‘Jennifer, you need to be exercising,’ ‘Jennifer, what did you eat today?’ ‘Jennifer, you need to stay away from that junk food.’ I enjoyed the fact that the tables were turned and they felt like they could talk to me about my health as well,” laughs Jennifer.
Jennifer’s Hawaiian-style Pork Chops offer a spectrum of healthy eating in one dish—from protein to fruit and veggies. It’s a great summer meal for the barbeque, and so easy it’s practically fool-proof!
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