Food you can eat with your hands is always fun — just remember to keep those elbows off the table. It’s good to see some old favorites don’t go out of style and with a few modifications can be included in the dialysis diet. Tammy, a DaVita renal dietitian from Louisiana, shares a healthy, new twist on a classic American favorite. Her recipe for Easy Turkey Sloppy Joes is as delicious as the original and can be enjoyed by the whole family.
Tammy, a Louisiana native, has lived all over the world and found her way right back to her roots. “I was born in Louisiana and lived here until I was 10 years old. I then lived in Singapore and Scotland until I was almost 17 years old. I have lived in Louisiana since then,” shares Tammy. She came back to the United States to complete her education. “I received both my BS and MS degrees from Louisiana Tech University,” she says.
Having a passion for science and food ultimately led Tammy to her career. “I was, and still am, very interested in biochemistry — I love to study the effects food has on our bodies and health,” shares Tammy, adding, “A very good friend of mine who is a renal dietitian got me working in this field. Once I started, I was hooked!”
Tammy believes the most important advice she gives to her patients about improving their health is to cut prepackaged foods out of their diets. Tammy advises, “Eat more fresh foods and eat less processed foods. We as a nation are eating too much processed foods that are full of chemicals and other toxins.” Eating fresh food is a bit more work, admits Tammy, but the end result leads to a better life.
Overcoming challenges and successfully working with patients are strengths that make Tammy a respected DaVita dietitian. Tammy feels the most demanding aspect of her job is educating patients about their eating habits. “Helping people cope with the food restrictions of the renal diet and accepting their reality of living with renal disease is extremely challenging,” confessed Tammy.
While Tammy’s job has its challenges, it has many sweet rewards. Tammy says, “I really enjoy getting to know my patients and sharing stories with them. It’s very fulfilling to see a person I have been working with become stronger, healthier and happier.” Tammy is proud of the difference she makes in patients’ lives. “I hope each patient I have worked with knows that I truly care about them. I am here to encourage them and to help them find the way through the maze of diet restrictions and medications,” she says.
Having renal expertise is Tammy’s specialty, but her personal touch really gets the job done. According to Tammy, “My approach is casual and informal. I let the patients set the guidelines and goals of their diets. I then work with them as a partner to help them achieve the goals they set for themselves,” states Tammy. She builds special bonds with her patients, which makes them feel comfortable and part of their health care team.
Tammy also shares her teambuilding spirit with her DaVita co-workers. She believes in focusing on the positive in every situation. She says about working for DaVita, “It’s fun! I have enjoyed getting to know my teammates that work in other DaVita clinics. I always look forward to our Dietitian Connection meetings.”
Follow Tammy’s best advice and have fun eating fresh, healthy food. Try Tammy’s Easy Turkey Sloppy Joes for lunch or dinner and enjoy delicious Americana diner food right in your own kitchen.