You may not associate Chinese-style food with crock pots, but leave it to innovative DaVita renal dietitian, Angie from Indiana, to find two recipes that bring the two together. Crock Pot Oriental Chicken and My Favorite Sweet and Sour Chicken are Angie’s delightful dishes created especially for the art of crock pot cooking. Just throw ingredients in the crock pot, simmer for eight to ten hours, thicken and cook another fifteen minutes. Presto, you’re ready to feed hungry people.
Born and raised in Indiana, Angie attended Indiana State University in Terre Haute. Most of her family is in health care, and Angie was always interested in the medical field. “My grandmother introduced me to cooking and baking at a young age, so studying dietetics was a good fit for me. I was led into the renal area after working in inpatient rehabilitation for nine years. I wanted to try something new,” reports Angie.
Angie admits the most challenging aspect of her job is finding new and fun ways to educate patients. “It’s so rewarding when one of my patients meets a lab goal that they have been struggling to make. It makes my day,” she shares.
According to Angie, being a renal dietitian is a rewarding occupation because of the contact she has with her patients. “Eating is one of the joys of life and I try to help patients feel more ‘normal’ by working with them to include as many of their favorite foods as possible, while meeting healthy lab goals. I most enjoy the group I have right now, because I see them several times a week to track progress, share successes and console them during times of loss.”
Each dietitian has their own approach when working with patients. Angie starts out by asking questions. She explains: “I try to find out as much as I can about an individual’s situation. Do they have family and friends to help out? What do they like to eat? What problems might they be having? I encourage conversation about what they think may be the most difficult part of the diet for them. Then I encourage them to brainstorm with me on ways to work around it.”
Finding creative ways to teach patients is fun for Angie who says that her teammates are an incredibly creative group. “I think the most important things patients can do to improve their health is to learn as much as they can about their condition and what they can do to stay as healthy as possible. To encourage them in this way, right now we are playing a ‘trolley’ game. Patients are grouped into teams, and each team tries to be the first trolley to cross the finish line. The trolleys move forward depending on the players’ phosphorus levels. My patients love to play games.”
Angie is sometimes surprised by the impact she has on her patients. “I have a patient who started dialysis about one year ago. From the beginning she embraced the renal diet. She and her sisters tried new recipes at home and gave us feedback at the unit on how they turned out. When we held one of our patient education days, she attended along with her husband, two sisters and her pastor’s wife. It meant so much to me that she felt education days were important enough to invite her family and friends. It was a reminder that we often impact many more people than just the one patient.”
Angie enjoys working for DaVita. She says, “I’ve been a renal dietitian for nine-and-a-half years, and worked for DaVita two-and-a-half years. DaVita encourages teammates to be inventive, and the company values ‘outside of the box’ thinking.”
Here are two “out of the box” and into the crock pot cooking ideas from Angie. Crock Pot Oriental Chicken and My Favorite Sweet and Sour Chicken are all-in-one meals. No need for side dishes or add-ons.