Possibly the simplest recipe we’ve ever presented, Crock Pot Chicken comes with a built-in recipe for leftover soup that will stretch this meal into additional portions. The Mrs. Dash® seasoning blend that’s called for is salt-free, and uses kidney-friendly herbs such as onion, parsley and basil. If you already have these herbs in your kitchen, use them!
Chrystal always liked arguing against fad diet scams and thought that healthy nutrition was the key to healthy living. Following her graduation from the University of Tennessee, this thinking eventually led her into the renal field. Originally from Jackson, Tennessee, Chrystal wanted to be able to develop a relationship with patients instead of just seeing them once. Chrystal explains, “[Seeing patients just once meant] never knowing if my education helped improve their lives.” The renal field filled the bill for Chrystal, with its emphasis on seeing patients on a weekly basis.
DaVita dietitians have challenging aspects to their jobs and Chrystal says what challenges her the most is, “Patients who have lost all will or desire to take proper care of themselves.” This is tough to handle, but rewards are there too. “Seeing patients who have survived on dialysis for 25 or more years,” is heartening and inspiring. “I try to help them problem-solve any situation they are faced with. I try to make a difference in patients’ lives by helping them see that healthy nutrition is an easy choice and that the renal diet is not the end of the world. I also try to make healthy eating a priority for the entire family, not just the dialysis patient.” Wise words from a dedicated dietitian!
Chrystal truly enjoys working with patients and one of the bright spots is being able to help them see that small changes and simple choices can improve outcomes and help them live healthier, longer lives. “I am a truthful dietitian,” she says. “I do my research on each patient and I know if they are being compliant with medications and diet. I am straightforward with them about the changes that they need to make and how it will impact their lives.”
The single most important thing Chrystal feels patients can do to improve their health islimit the intake of processed foods. “Fresh is best” is her motto. At DaVita, dietitians constantly strive to come up with new and innovative ways to put nutritional ideas across. “My patients love it when I cook a recipe from DaVita.com and let them taste test it,” Chrystal says. “Biscuits and cornbread are always a favorite.”
During her nine years with DaVita, Chrystal has benefited from having access to so many nutrition education resources right at her fingertips. The two centers she works out of are located in Bolivar and Lexington. “We are a very rural area,” Chrystal explains, “and the people in these two towns know each other and their families. We are a close knit group. There is no traffic to worry about.” (Careful Crystal, you’ll make those of us in urban centers jealous!)
“I was pregnant and gave birth to two children during my career with DaVita. My patients have shared in my pregnancies by watching my belly grow and they could hardly wait to see pictures of my children after they were born. To this day they still want to see pictures of my children on a regular basis. Some of my patients think of my children as their grandchildren. It is so wonderful to have close relationships with my patients. They also give great parenting advice.” Chrystal’s story nicely illustrates the intimate relationships that can form with patients over time at a dialysis center. It’s interesting to see that advice and caring can work both ways.
Crock Pot® Chicken is a super-simple recipe that fills the need for easy, budget-friendly and kidney-friendly meals with an ability to s-t-r-e-t-c-h.