Many dietitians love to experiment in the kitchen, and DaVita renal dietitian Eileen from New York is definitely one of them. With her natural curiosity about the connection between health and food, Eileen searched until she found several chicken dishes that are palate-pleasing yet still kidney-friendly. Chicken and Vegetable Bake and Lemon Thyme Chicken can be served over rice or paired with noodles and green beans or carrots, or transformed into an open-faced sandwich on white bread with the broth mixture ladled over it. Her third chicken dish features Provencal Sauce, a simple yet delicious sauce made from garlic, low-sodium chicken broth, dried Herbs de Provence, lemon juice, butter and bay leaf. Eileen offers so many chicken entrees, and all are delicious and renal-friendly!
In addition, Eileen shares her yummy Island Shrimp Slaw. This recipe feels like a cool breeze coming off the ocean in the middle of the Caribbean. It’s just packed with fresh flavors. Crisp, crunchy cabbage combines with shrimp, a delicacy of the sea, and then the mixture is seasoned with tantalizing spices. Eileen understands her patients’ need for variety, and the best way to fulfill that desire is with flavorful, easy-to-prepare foods.
Eileen’s affinity for nutrition was sparked at an early age. “When I turned 16, my first job was as a diet aide in a skilled nursing facility. I always wondered why some of the patients were not allowed salt or sugar and had to follow a special menu,” she remembers.
This curiosity sent Eileen on her natural career path to renal dietetics. “I was led right into the renal field,” Eileen explains. “During my internship, the renal rotation fascinated me, and I knew that at some point in my career, I would be working as a renal dietitian. Also, in this field, the registered dietitian is of paramount importance, because the dialysis diet is one of the cornerstones of treatment.”
Her complete understanding of the renal diet is only one of Eileen’s special skills. She also has keen insight into her dialysis patients’ struggles and takes her important role in their lives seriously. “I make the biggest difference in my patients’ lives by teaching them they can make the impossible, possible,” states Eileen. Every day, she works diligently to change their perceptions. “The most important thing a patient can do to improve their health is to think positive. Don’t think that dialysis is the end. My biggest challenge is keeping my patients motivated to make the right choices and my biggest reward is making them laugh.”
Eileen’s personable approach makes all the difference for her dialysis patients. “I’m easy-going and relaxed. I try to make them feel that the kidney diet is manageable and that they will be able to succeed. I really enjoy getting to know each one as a person — not a patient. I’ve also found the DaVita Kitchen video and DaVita.com recipes are wonderful educational tools because they open up many closed doors regarding the renal diet.”
Being thorough is another of Eileen’s strengths, and she has a reputation and sense of humor about it. “I am a stickler for getting things done and for timely follow-up. Because of this, the teammates made a poster about me and nicknamed me, ‘the Pit Bull.’ The poster is hanging in our center’s conference room,” she smiles.
Even though her DaVita teammates tease Eileen, they are a united force. “The greatest thing I’ve experienced since I’ve been at DaVita is that we all can make a difference in a patient’s life by working as a team,” says Eileen.
Eileen’s DaVita team is like a well-oiled machine. “We all do a lot of activities with our dialysis patients and their families such as holiday buffets, annual summer picnics, karaoke during treatment, Bingo and telling jokes. All of our teammates truly care for our patients, and they help me out with education and brainstorming ideas to keep our patients motivated and happy,” relates Eileen. “Some of the things I like best about being a member of DaVita are seeing the Core Values practiced by everyone and meeting new peers and other teammates. Both patients and teammates make my job special.”
Here are special recipes from Eileen that are sure to bring positive reviews. Chicken and Vegetable Bake is a great choice for the sodium-shy. With no oil or added fat, just cooking spray, this dish is a virtuous selection for your meal plan. Lemon Thyme Chicken is one of the most versatile recipes you could prepare. And, now that you know the spices provide wholesome properties for your health in addition to the chicken, doesn’t that prime your appetite? Chicken with Provencal Sauce is an easy-to-make dish that brings a taste of France to your dinner table. And Eileen’s scrumptious Island Shrimp Slaw is so convenient; you never even have to turn on the stove. Just put all the ingredients in a bowl and you have a dish that transports your taste buds to a faraway island. Whichever one of Eileen’s recipes you choose to prepare, you and your family are sure to find them to be kidney-friendly and fabulous.