The Spicy Frittata by Michelle from Washington

The Spicy Frittata wows vegetarians and meat eaters alike, with its blend of spices, veggies and eggs. DaVita renal dietitian, Michelle from Washington, advises that the key to this firm egg dish is making sure the zucchini is not overcooked; otherwise, it releases moisture and gives the dish a “watery” consistency. Just follow directions and it will cook to perfection.

Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Michelle attended the University of British Columbia, and then settled in Seattle. “I love integrating science, food and culture in life,” says Michelle, which is why she became a dietitian. “After years of inpatient work, and moving from Vancouver to Seattle, I only found part-time volunteer work in dialysis as a registered dietitian,” remembers Michelle, adding, “That worked into a job, and I’ve been working with dialysis patients for 25 years since then.”

Michelle reveals that the most challenging aspect of her job is handling the sizable population of patients at two dialysis centers. However, along with the challenges are many rewards. “The most rewarding aspects of my job are helping people look forward to a liberalized but controlled kidney diet and teaching them how to include all foods in their menus, just as I would want my dietitian to do with me.”

Michelle says she makes a difference in dialysis patients’ lives by “enabling patients to understand how to meet their protein needs and matching phosphorus binders doses to protein content of meals to successfully manage their labs and maintain their best health.”  Because phosphorus is mainly in meats and dairy foods, protein-based meals and snacks will require a dialysis patient to take their phosphorus binders to help block absorption of phosphorus from the food.

Michelle says she’s tried a new approach to helping her dialysis patients improve phosphorus control. “I will call the pharmacy to get prescription histories (delivery dates, how long each refill lasts), to review with patients to verify adherence to prescription and need for any changes (versus just counseling for adherence), since a patient who reports taking binders as prescribed may be underestimating how many times they miss them.”

In December, Michelle will celebrate her 10-year anniversary at DaVita. “The dietitian team and facility teammates are terrific from top to bottom, as are the nephrologists who are approachable to hearing what dietitians have to offer regarding patient care. The most surprising thing I’ve learned since working at DaVita is that other teammates need to learn how renal dietitians contribute to patient care and outcomes. A nephrologist I worked with for many years, told me he thought I did a terrific job. That acknowledgement really makes my efforts worthwhile. I have worked with thousands of patients over the years, but when my coworkers tell me my efforts are worthwhile that’s really something.”

The Spicy Frittata recipe is a combined effort from DaVita renal dietitian, Michelle, and Marta, a renal intern with inspiration from The World’s Healthiest Foods website. By making it lower in phosphorus and potassium, this recipe is a real winner for dialysis patients looking to trim down and keep up their high-quality protein.

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