Thai food is the native cuisine of Thailand. Complex, full-bodied taste in a lightly prepared dish is the hallmark “taste of Thailand.” Slow Cooker Thai Pork with Rice fills the bill with its easy prep, and rich, robust flavor. The addition of rice wine vinegar tenderizes the pork over 8 hours of slow-cooking. This recipe is from Erika from Ohio, and Erika says some garlic-chile paste on the side will please those with a taste for extra-spicy!
Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Erika became interested in nutrition while playing sports in high school. “I wanted to be able to teach people how proper nutrition can help achieve specific health goals,” she explains. Erika went on to attend The Ohio State University and after moving to Baltimore, MD, Erika worked as a clinical dietitian in a small community hospital. In 1999, she came back to Columbus to get married, and accepted an offer with Gambro, the company that later integrated with DaVita.
There are a few challenges specific to dietitians in the renal field. Erika admits, the greatest challenge to her line of work is developing creative educational materials for patients. Rewards are many, thankfully, and Erika speaks highly of the respect she receives from nephrologists at her center. “They put great emphasis on proper nutrition,” she says. “I make a difference in patients’ lives by teaching how good nutrition can make people feel better on a daily basis.” Erika adds that working with her patients and teaching those who are truly interested in changing their dietary habits is a joyful experience.
Each dietitian develops his or her own approach to teaching and educating patients. Over 12 years of experience at DaVita, Erika says she has learned to employ empathy, respect and non-judgment. “I empathize with the nature of their disease-state and communicate on their level. I am respectful and non-judgmental. I am not the food police!”
“Proactive” and “reactive” are two words that sound very much the same. But their definitions, particularly when it comes to healthcare, are very different. A “proactive” approach to health means a person acts in anticipation of problems, before they appear or get out of hand. A “reactive” approach means waiting to take action until a health problem is evident or after it’s already happened. Erika advises that the single most important thing patients can do to improve health is adopt a proactive approach to their diet and health.
Lifelines is the patient newsletter that DaVita publishes and distributes regularly. “It’s a tool that I think is effective and helpful,” Erika says. “Patients always look forward to reading it, including the recipes on the back! DaVita promotes a family atmosphere and teammate approach, that’s why I enjoy working here. Before DaVita, I had no idea kidneys were responsible for so many things in the body!”
The center where Erika works is in Columbus. In 2010, Columbus was rated one of the top-10 performing dialysis clinics in the nation, so she has reason to feel proud. Many dietitians point out the feeling of “family” at DaVita, but Erika has proof that it works. “I was overwhelmed by the outreach and support from teammates, patients and fellow dietitians when I lost my father in 2008,” she comments. “I work with such wonderful teammates and physicians. I could not do my job without them.”
Slow Cooker Thai Pork with Rice is a fancy main dish with almost no fuss. One pot does all the work for you. Try this ethnic fare from Thailand and expand your horizons as well as your collection of favorite recipes!