Triple Berry Salad with Cottage Cheese by Michelle K. from California

Give yourself the protection of antioxidants by serving up a Triple Berry Salad with Cottage Cheese, modified by Michelle K. from California. This double-blast of goodness delivers the full benefits of vitamin C, antioxidants and protein. You’ll feel the difference!

Dietitians are considered experts in nutrition, and back when Michelle from California was considering her educational direction in life, she decided to embark on a career that would provide nutrition education to help people make positive changes in their lives. “I changed my major from computer science to dietetics because it was so much more interesting to me,” Michelle says. “I traded in my calculator for a set of measuring cups! It was then, studying nutrition, that I discovered the field of renal nutrition and I have been in this setting ever since.”

Originally from Los Angeles, Michelle attended college at California State University, Northridge. Michelle says the most challenging aspect of her job is,“ to find new and fun ways to provide patients with nutrition information, and continue the learning process. Helping patients make positive changes in their lives is so rewarding. In the dialysis setting I am able to see positive changes and progress with patients who adhere to their diet, medications and dialysis treatment.  When I see improved lab results, and the patient says that he or she feels better on the new diet, it’s evident that working with them has improved their quality of life. That’s the reward for me.”

“Making a difference in patients’ lives can come down to letting them know I am here to here to help with nutritional goals and good dietary choices.  I regularly use Davita.com as a tool for patients to utilize in managing their disease and find answers to questions. Having many delicious recipes available really helps patients feel they are not missing out on eating good food. I enjoy interacting with patients, whether reviewing lab reports or providing diet instruction. A lot of times I feel that they are the ones teaching me and giving me new perspectives on things. My approach is caring, gentle and motivational. I like to always give encouragement and try to find the best approach for each individual.

What, in Michelle’s opinion, is the single most important thing patients can do to improve their health? “Be an active part of their health care team; and ask questions often” is the answer. “I draw smiley faces on the nutrition report cards when they get good results or improved results. If it’s not there, they will ask for it!” Michelle has been with DaVita four years and agrees that DaVita provides a stimulating work environment. “Dietitians are very involved in all aspects of the company. DaVita provides ongoing education and learning opportunities for dietitians, as well as great resources to help with patient education. The most surprising or interesting thing I’ve learned here is how many people are affected by chronic kidney disease and just how many dialysis clinics there are in the Los Angeles area.”

Michelle has an anecdote about reviewing a monthly report with a PD patient at the clinic. “I noticed his pen had fallen on the floor but he had already left the building. I picked the pen up off the floor and noticed his name was on the pen—a label maker had been used so I thought this pen must be of high importance. Maybe a lucky pen or a gift? The next month when I saw the patient again, I exclaimed, “ I saved your pen for you!”  The patient, with less enthusiasm than I had expected, replied, “Oh, thanks. I put my name on my pens so my wife doesn’t take them!”

The downtown Los Angeles center where Michelle works has a special group of  patients and teammates. “I like that it’s centrally located,” Michelle comments. “Our teammates are very caring individuals who make our center a welcoming and cheerful environment.”

Think about making a place in your food plan for Michelle’s Triple Berry Salad with Cottage Cheese. If you’ve heard about the benefits of antioxidants, here’s a great way to try them on for size and reap the health benefits.

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