The chili pepper may seem exotic, but it’s an ancient American food. Chili peppers were domesticated many times by prehistoric peoples in North and South America, including parts of Colorado and New Mexico. Letty, a DaVita renal dietitian from Texas, shares her traditional Chile Colorado recipe that’s simple to prepare and celebrates this American delicacy.
Christopher Columbus was one of the first Europeans to encounter chilies and called them "peppers". Like Columbus, Letty prides herself on bravely, rising to every new challenge. She shares, “There’s never a dull moment. That’s what I enjoy most working at DaVita; really making a difference in patient’s lives. I love to hear every patient’s story.”
Letty tailors her dietary expertise to meet the needs for the vast cross section of her dialysis patients. “The population of individuals who require dialysis really astounded me, and it still does. There was a young boy on hemodialysis that I’ll never forget. He was well-mannered and shy. His mother mostly intervened for him because he was so shy. There was a specific food the boy really missed having, I can’t recall what it was. Well, one day the three of us were discussing his diet and the specific food item came up. The little boy cried and gave me a big hug when I told him he could eat this food item. It made all of us cry. After that day, he would talk to me about anything.”
A major factor in Letty’s decision to become a dietitian was her passion. “I love the sciences and I love nutrition. This was a match made in heaven for me.”
Natural charm makes Letty a popular DaVita dietitian. “My approach is just being myself and being honest and sincere. Treating patients the same way I would like to be treated. The biggest challenges of my job are trying to help people ‘get it,’ see the big picture and be compliant.”
Letty’s plan for educating her dialysis patients on the kidney diet is simple. “First, teaching dialysis patients that it is up to them to improve their health. Second, helping them take action in doing so.” Letty gets big results with patients using DaVita’s Core Value of Fun. “Patients love interaction. They love to feel that they make a difference to us. They love games, movies and contests. The most rewarding aspect of my job is when I see patients get their ‘A+ report card’ and get a big smile on their faces. I just hope I make a difference in my patient’s lives.”
Letty also makes a difference in her coworkers’ lives. “What makes my job special? All of my teammates. They are the most helpful, kind and caring professional staff I have come across in a long time. My teammates are awesome. That saying about, ‘Where God closes one door, He opens another’ is so true. The other door is here at DaVita. Everyone truly cares about each patient and their well-being.”
They say the best recipes are made with love. Letty, shares the spicy taste of her Chile Colorado recipe. It’s a saucy dish filled with ancient American flavor that even the original Americans loved. It’s modified to be low in potassium, phosphorus and sodium so people with kidney disease can enjoy it too.