Fresh basil is grown in many Florida backyards, and native dietitian Carla decided to feature this wholesome herb in a baked chicken dish. Carla became interested in fitness and nutrition during her high school years. After taking her first nutrition class in college at Florida International University, Carla knew she had found her calling.
Of her three-and-a-half years working with patients at DaVita, Carla says, “I would describe my approach as caring combined with understanding and I try to make a difference in my patients’ lives by empowering them to make wise dietary choices. Uncontrolled phosphorus levels are the most challenging part of my job, and I try to explain how different foods can affect phosphorus levels, and encourage patients to read labels and think about what they are eating before it goes in their mouth. Since I started working at DaVita, I learned just how much phosphorus is in everything. I have great compassion for the difficult task of keeping phosphorus in control.”
Carla says the most important things patients can do to improve their health is control their diet and fluid intake, and take their medicines. “Seeing patients improve lab results and feel better in the process is very rewarding. It really warms my heart when I see an established patient ‘mentoring’ a new patient in the ways of the dialysis world. I’ve seen buddy-buddy relationships develop at DaVita, as well as mother-son-type relationships. I think it really helps both parties to reach out in that way.”
“A couple of times I have been in the grocery store and run into a dialysis patient or their spouse, and I get a chuckle when they start explaining or justifying what they are buying, as if I’m the food police! But the best things about working at DaVita are the sweet and grateful patients and my friendly teammates. The patients are respectful and friendly with each other. It’s truly a supportive place to work.”
Try Carla’s chicken recipe and discover the rewards of cooking with basil. It’s a fresh taste from Florida!