Renal professionals are expected to know their food, but DaVita dietitian Tammy from North Carolina is a walking recipe book. This kidney care specialist and chef extraordinaire has not one but three delicious recipes perfect for people following the kidney diet.
What's that about not liking your vegetables? That's about to change with your first bite of Tammy's Stuffed Zucchini Boats. A savory, renal-friendly snack on their own, these veggies go nicely with just about any meal. Zucchini is low in potassium and calories, but fills the tummy and packs a natural, tangy sweetness of its own. The seasonings are sodium-free and add an extra zest to the dish.
Combining sweet and savory flavors is a deceptively simple way to make your main course taste like a gourmet meal, and Tammy nails this in her recipe: the quick and easy Apple Pork Chops that's a meal in itself. Pork chops with applesauce is an old-time favorite, but Tammy introduces an innovative way to combine pork's lean protein with antioxidant-rich apples, nature's perfect sweetener.
But wait, there's more! Got room for dessert? Try Tammy's yummy, simple-to-make Fruity Dump Cake. The reason it’s called "Dump Cake" is because you just dump all the ingredients into the pan, bake and voila - a renal-friendly dessert that's a total no-brainer. Customizable with your favorite canned fruits, Fruity Dump Cake is a solo standout and also a great ending to a meal.
Tammy has always enjoyed "helping people be healthier," so studying dietetics at Viterbo University in her native Wisconsin was an obvious choice. “I was always interested in health care and nutrition," she says. "I was led into the renal field when I became involved at a hospital I worked.”
People need to be engaged in their healthcare, and Tammy gets creative to keep patients motivated. “The most challenging aspect of my job is finding interesting ways to present information," she observes. Tammy makes it a priority to keep things innovative in order to help patients actively engage as she teaches them how to "improve phosphorus control" and "adjust to dialysis" with as little difficulty as possible.
Tammy also emphasizes consistency in kidney healthcare. "The single most important thing I try to teach my patients to improve their health is to come to all their dialysis treatments," she says.
Working with kidney disease can be a challenge, but Tammy says she finds it "rewarding to see my patients thrive." Dietetics has a unique draw for Tammy because she enjoys "working with people on a long-term basis." She also reaps her own rewards from giving. "I really enjoy my patients’ positive attitudes, unique stories and perseverance," she adds.
A DaVita dietitian for 17 years now, Tammy says her clinic shines because of all her "great teammates." She also appreciates the benefits of belonging to a well-established "corporate culture" with countrywide resources. “The interesting thing I’ve learned working at DaVita is the educational resources available from fellow dietitians," Tammy notes. "I enjoy the support network of the dietitians. The long-term teammates at my center make my job special.”
A farm girl from the Midwest, Tammy has adapted happily to her North Carolina location. “I really like living in the rural South." As far as Tammy's concerned, North Carolina is "my home."
Speaking of "home," Tammy’s sweet and savory Apple Pork Chops and Stuffing and her Stuffed Zucchini Boats are sure to please your entire family. And don’t forget Fruity Dump Cake for a yummy, kidney-friendly dessert. It’s a welcome addition to any gathering.