How delicious can veggies and a skinless chicken breast be? You’ll be very surprised when you dress them up the way DaVita dietitian Barbara suggests. Oriental Chicken Stir-fry with Coleslaw Pancakes is not only easy to make but the taste-satisfying results will have you making it again and again.
Barbara says her interest in dietetics was first sparked as a teenager when she developed an allergy to milk—her favorite beverage. From there, her interest broadened to food and its relationship to health. Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Barbara attended University of Detroit and interned at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. When an opportunity arose to work in dialysis, Barbara decided to try it. “I absolutely love it and am thankful for the opportunity,” she says.
Barbara admits the most challenging aspect of her job is trying to meet patients’ needs in the least restrictive way. “I help my patients set goals and show them how to achieve them. I also help them understand that food is not the enemy. I work to help them plan their favorite foods as often as possible, but I also show them that eating has a “domino” effect. Eating appropriately lets them feel better, have fewer complications and prolong life.”
The most rewarding aspect of the job, as Barbara tells it is, “Seeing the smile on the face of a patient who has good lab results after working very hard to get there. It is seeing ‘the light bulb go on,’ while doing diabetic education with a long-term diabetic whose sugars are like a yo-yo due to taking insulin only when they feel bad.”
“I describe my approach to working with patients as, ‘If it’s not broke, don’t fix it!’ The most important thing patients can do to improve their health is to realize that they—not the staff—control their destiny.”
A fun approach that Barbara adopted with great success was creating a humorous “doghouse” for phosphorus lab results. Each patient agreed to have their name printed on a paper “bone.” When their phosphorus got out of acceptable range, the bone went into a “doghouse.” If the level improved, the bone was taken out of the doghouse. Patients would comment and joke about being in or out of the doghouse and it became a competition for some. As a result, phosphorus levels actually improved.
Barbara goes on to explain that, “The doghouse idea went over so well, I tied in a three-month contest to win a gift certificate to Wal-Mart. The lady who won is a double amputee who had just had a house fire and lost everything. The gift certificate was immediately put to good use, and I’d also like to mention that staff and other patients were very generous with donations to help her out, as well.”
“I’ve been working with DaVIta for about a year, and am so glad we are provided with so many tools to educate and motivate patients. Before DaVita, my perception of dialysis was much different. To my amazement, I discovered many patients lead normal lives and hold down jobs.”
Try Barbara’s Oriental Chicken Stir-Fry with “Coleslaw” Pancakes and enjoy an exciting new taste from North Carolina!