It can be hard to get going in the morning, but the whole family will make a beeline for the breakfast table when you whip up a batch of Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Fresh Strawberries. DaVita renal dietitian Angie from Colorado shares her kidney-friendly recipe for pancakes that are both healthy and delicious.
A native of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, Angie graduated from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio and completed her dietetic internship at the Health Sciences Center in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. She became a dietitian in 2000 and has been with DaVita for 8 years. Currently, Angie works at the DaVita center in Littleton, Colorado.
When asked why she chose the renal field, Angie replied, “I wanted to have a long-term relationship with my patients to witness their successes versus a one- time hospital consultation.”
The most challenging aspect of her job, Angie says, is “fitting my work into a 32-hour week, juggling Divisional, Area and Clinical roles.” But her efforts are well worth it. “The most rewarding aspect of my job is seeing patients excel with their diet and optimize their health as a result,” she states.
What Angie likes most about working with her patients is “really getting to know the patient and learning about what motivates them to stay healthy.”
Angie’s approach to working with kidney patients is to teach them how to support their own health. “I empower the patient with a variety of educational resources so they can make healthy dietary choices for themselves,” she explains.
When working with her renal patients, Angie teaches them that the single most important thing they can do to improve their health is to “understand the health complications associated with lab values out of range and the dietary approaches necessary to optimize nutritional labs and health.”
One approach that this DaVita dietitian has found to be effective is to encourage her patients to take it one step at a time. “I encourage my patients to make a small change in behavior, such as taking an extra binder with the largest meal of the day or keeping binders in a keychain holder and rechecking phosphorus the following week to demonstrate to patients how small changes can positively impact phosphorus values and overall health,” explains Angie.
Even while doing this important work, Angie has found there can be humor and good cheer in a dialysis unit. She shares a story about one such incident:
“On a Monday, I provided all patients with the handout about low- and high-phosphorus beverages. The following Wednesday, one of our patients who happened to have extremely low phosphorus asked me if I could grab her can of Coca-Cola from her backpack located in the coat room. I crossed the unit holding a can of Coca-Cola. I had at least 10 pairs of questioning eyes and confused looks tracking my journey back towards the low-phosphorus patient. One of the patients even yelled ‘hey!’ and pointed at me. Clearly all of my patients understood Coke was high in phosphorus and had no business on our dialysis floor.”
“The low-phosphorus patient asked me to help her open the can of Coke the doctor had prescribed for her low-phosphorus level. I then had to navigate around the room explaining that no two patients have the same diet prescription and in some rare cases, dialysis patients may even need a Coke to keep their phosphorus in range. It’s now a joke with some of the patients that their dietitian serves Coke at our unit!”
When asked what she enjoys about working for DaVita, Angie replied: “The amazing teamwork, caring and fun that happens in our facilities every day.” The most surprising thing she’s learned about DaVita? “That FUN is one of our core values!,” she exclaims.
Angie says her unit is special, because of “the amazing team we have working here and the gorgeous view of the Rocky Mountains.”
The next time you’re looking for an amazing breakfast that you can share with everyone in the family, even those with renal problems, remember Angie’s kidney-friendly recipe for Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Fresh Strawberries. It’s certain to become a breakfast treat that your family will ask for again and again.