Creamy mashed potatoes, savory ground beef, sweet carrots and peas create Easy Shepherd’s Pie, a mouthwatering combination that’s kidney-friendly. Juhi, a DaVita dietitian from California, grew up in England and is a Shepherd’s Pie expert. Juhi has adapted this classic British recipe into an easy-to-make, renal conscious, crowd pleaser.
Flavorful food and nutrition were an integral part of Juhi’s colorful childhood. “I was born in India and my family immigrated to Europe in the early 60’s. I lived in Germany for 2 years and then we settled in the UK when I was 5 years old.” Having been exposed to many cultures and cuisines, Juhi has been able to introduce many exciting recipes to her dialysis patients.
Education was an important ingredient in Juhi’s family meals. “My family would sit around the dining table and have discussions about the importance of nutrition and health. I always enjoyed learning about nutrition.” After attending college in England, Juhi came to the United States to further her studies. “I completed my degree at Kings College University of London. I came to the U.S.A. 11 years ago and completed additional dietetic courses at Cal Poly Pomona.”
Becoming a renal specialist was particularly attractive to Juhi. “I always admired the courage of renal patients to adhere to their diet and medication prescriptions. In the renal field you have to understand the concepts of biochemistry and physiology and that is very challenging and exciting,” says Juhi.
Maintaining proper phosphorus and potassium levels are key elements in a patient’s health. Biochemistry and physiology are sciences that explain the chemical processes the body undergoes and how it reacts to outside factors such as food and medication. Juhi’s in depth knowledge of both sciences helps her dialysis patients manage crucial mineral levels (phosphorous and potassium) that are imperative to staying healthy. “The most challenging aspect of my job is battling to help patients keep phosphorus levels within the normal range.”
Making a difference in patient’s lives is Juhi’s top priority. “I want my patients to trust me and know that I am there to guide them regarding their care and also to listen and understand the challenges they face. My goal is to improve the quality of their lives while they are on dialysis. I do this by updating them with information that is relevant to them,” explains Juhi.
“The single most important thing a patient can do to improve their health is to care about their health,” states Juhi. Her hard work is rewarding, especially when there are so many success stories. “I enjoy the positive outcomes that follow after I counsel my patients. I share recipes from DaVita.com with them and when time permits they enjoy playing the phosphorus bingo game.”
Being a DaVita dietitian is more than a job for Juhi, it’s a fulfilling experience. “I love getting to know our patients. Many of them share their lives. I have also learned a lot from them,” shares Juhi. The patients aren’t the only wonderful part of Juhi’s job. “I have been with DaVita just over 8 years and it’s clear DaVita cares about their teammates. There are many opportunities for us all. DaVita supports their teammates every which way to reach their full potential. For the past 4 years I’ve been the lead in my division. I am surprised at the leadership qualities I have learned along the way and enjoy my new role.”
Juhi brings all of her cultural, culinary, nutritional and scientific expertise together and shares innovative, scrumptious recipes including Easy Shepherd’s Pie with her patients. Easy Shepherd’s Pie is a simple to make, family-pleasing meal. It’s perfect for everyday and a special occasion.