When a recipe stays toward the front of a dietitian’s personal recipe box for 20 years, you can bet it’s special. For DaVita renal dietitian, Sandra from Tennessee, her Angel Food Whipped Cream Cake has been a faithful main-stay for decades of entertaining. So long, in fact, she can’t even remember where it came from. But no matter — it’s a versatile treat that can be made with your choice of strawberries, cherries or peaches.
Sandra says she became a dietitian because it was a good way to combine her love of food with supporting herself and her family. She found herself in the renal field by default. “I was the lead dietitian back in the days when dialysis was just starting up and someone had to talk to the patients. I used to faint at the sight of blood walking into the unit,” remembers Sandra. But, she’s steady on her feet now, after 16 years as a renal dietitian.
The most challenging aspect of being a renal dietitian, according to Sandra is, “getting the patients to make changes that will help their personal health condition.” That may take time and many conversations, but the rewards come for Sandra when “patients who do not believe me, later come back and admit that I did know what I was talking about — and it worked,” she says.
Sometimes, the smallest gesture can make the biggest difference in patients’ lives. That’s why when greeting patients Sandra says she always makes sure, “I smile at them.” That simple gesture also puts patients at ease and helps them open up. Sandra says, “I love hearing their personal admissions when they go off track and figure things out by themselves. We laugh about it and I know I’ve done my job educating them about the diet. My approach to working with patients is fairly loose with the diet limits — I never tell them ‘no’ because I believe they have lives to live and need to know options.”
“Eat healthy and stay active. Use it or lose it!” is the advice Sandra gives to all dialysis patients. In addition to counseling her renal patients, Sandra looks for creative ways to teach them about the dialysis diet. “They seem to enjoy it when I make a recipe and they get to try it,” she says.
Sandra’s old dialysis center became a DaVita facility in 2005. “What I love about my center are all the non-stop visitors. We have a lot going on all the time. We are working to develop a solid core team that is positive and ready to make great changes with our clinical outcomes,” boasts Sandra.
She appreciates the changes that occurred when the center became DaVita. “The absolutely terrific resources and support, as well as the fun and high expectations to make things better and not just to settle for the same old process” are a few DaVita improvements according to Sandra.
Light-as-a-feather angel food cake, teamed with colorful fruit and whipped cream is an unbeatable combination. Try Sandra’s Angel Food Whipped Cream Cake for dessert tonight or for your next gathering.