Good cooks know that some of the best recipes are creative takes on classic dishes. Such is the case with our recipe for Grandpa Joe’s Meatloaf, shared with us by DaVita renal dietitian Janis from Florida. Flavored ground beef is layered in a baking dish, blanketed with an ounce of your favorite lower phosphorus cheese and then topped with another layer of meat. So easy to make with common pantry ingredients, and yet your family and guests are sure to lavish you with heartfelt praise when you serve them this first-rate, kidney-friendly meatloaf.
DaVita dietitian Janis loves sharing recipes like this. In fact, she became a dietitian for two simple reasons: “I like to eat, and I like to help people,” she explains with a smile.
Her tenure in the renal field goes back to the late 1970’s. “I started working in dialysis in 1979 at Broward General Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida,” she remembers. “I wasn’t given a choice, but I soon fell in love with it.”
Originally from Texas, Janis attended the University of Texas at Austin before moving to Florida in 1979. She currently works at the DaVita center in South Daytona Beach, Florida.
With this DaVita dietitian, the emphasis is always on the positive. “I make a difference in patients’ lives by helping them enjoy eating their favorite foods without hurting themselves,” states Janis. “The most rewarding aspect of my job is seeing patients have happier, healthier, longer lives and knowing I helped with that.”
When working with her patients, Janis enjoys showing them that having a kidney problem is not all doom and gloom. “I enjoy watching them discover that dialysis does not have to take the joy out of living,” Janis explains.
Her approach, Janis says, is all about relationship- and rapport-building and developing trust with her patients. Ultimately, though, it does come down to the individual. “I think the single most important thing patients can do to improve their health is to take responsibility for their behavior,” affirms Janis.
The challenge for this dedicated dietitian is to stay upbeat even when results are not what she’d hoped. “The most challenging part of my job is not getting discouraged when outcomes, including patients’ labs, don’t improve,” Janis says.
Regardless of how a patient might be doing, Janis keeps on offering support and guidance. One effective approach for her has been “using the Nutrition Monthly Education Calendar, a resource for DaVita dietitians, to maintain communication of all aspects of the renal diet with my patients.”
Janis has been a member of the DaVita team since DaVita purchased Gambro in 2007.
When asked what she enjoys about working for DaVita, she replies, “Everything! But specifically the fact that DaVita really, really does care about the patients and the teammates and will not settle for less than the best you have to give.”
For Janis, one surprising aspect of working for DaVita has been learning that “a company can be large without compromising integrity. DaVita, to me, is the Lexus of Healthcare with regard to the quality of the care and product delivered.”
Another surprise has been the opportunity to educate folks about dialysis, even when not at work. “While wearing my DaVita Lifealysis shirt out at the grocery store, I had the opportunity -- actually several opportunities – to explain that DaVita gives LIFE,” Janis remembers.
When it comes to the DaVita center where she works, Janis says it is truly special, because “no matter what obstacles we have to overcome, we do because we are family – patients and teammates. I truly work in the most supportive, encouraging work environment that anyone could ask for.”
The location of the center is great for Janis, too, since it’s conveniently located near her vet and her jazzercise class.
Take a cue from Janis and update your kidney-friendly dinner recipes with Grandpa Joe’s Meatloaf. You and your family are sure to enjoy every mouthwatering bite!