If you think eating vegetarian has to be bland or blah, you haven’t tasted Sesame Vermicelli. Extra thin spaghetti tossed with garlic, honey, sesame and more. It’s a vegetable-laden dish and makes a great side with lunch or dinner. Kristen from Connecticut submitted this inspired recipe to perk up your taste buds and the dialysis diet.
Kristen says, “I became a dietitian because I loved biochemistry and the way it relates to metabolism and nutrition.” She continues, “I had a renal rotation in school and really enjoyed being part of an integral team where opinions and suggestions were greatly valued. The renal field allows me to see patients on a regular basis instead of only once or twice. Renal dietetics isn’t easy, and it’s challenging to work with patients who may have many health problems where I can contribute to their solutions.”
Kristen graduated from the University of Connecticut, and finds, today, that the most challenging aspect of her job is working with patients who have obstacles in affording food or medicines. She works to develop new ways to help her patients by using programs that are available. Kristen says, “The most rewarding aspect of my job is helping hard-working patients to achieve a goal such as getting into an assistance program or reaching target lab values.”
Making a difference for dialysis patients involves, “...nutrition counseling, explaining about medicines and giving patients attention so a dietitian knows what is going on in their lives,” explains Kristen.
What does Kristen enjoy most about working with her patients? “I like making them happy in one way or another, by giving them good news that their lab value(s) are in target, or just by talking to them to help pass the time. I’ve been at DaVita for 8 months and I’ve found that putting on a smiling face and pleasant voice makes such a difference,” shares Kristen, adding, “Part of my job is to make the dialysis center seem like a place a patient doesn’t mind coming to, or even enjoys.”
One thing Kristen has noticed is that many of her patients care for their relatives. “The single most important thing patients can do to improve is to take care of their health first. A lot of patients don’t do this because they have other family or relatives that they care for, but putting their health first will ultimately result in helping family and friends as well,” states Kristen.
Kristen is always looking for new ways to inspire and educate her patients “Every month I go around and ask patients to show me their phosphorus binders. Most patients keep their phosphorus binders in little pill cases on their key chains. I carry a basket of little prizes that I give out if they can show me they have their phosphorus binders. Some patients tell me that, because of this, they carry their phosphorus binders more when they go out. Getting a little prize also reinforces to some patients what phosphorus binders are. I read about this teaching tool in a newsletter, and decided to adopt it monthly,” reports Kristen.
The team atmosphere at DaVita is something Kristen values. “I was surprised to find out that DaVita is a FORTUNE 500® company! I work at two clinics and they are both different; one is small, and I am the only dietitian, but the other is large, with many dietitians located in the city. My DaVita teammates make my first professional job experience genuinely awesome. Everyone is helpful, and I couldn’t have asked for a better setting.”
Kristen’s recipe for Sesame Vermicelli turns a plain thin noodle into a new level of eating enjoyment. This dish has visual appeal on any plate and makes a tasty addition to your protein selection.