Nutrition experts recommend starting the day with a healthy breakfast, but often when we’re in a hurry, we don’t take time to eat properly. DaVita renal dietitian Simona from Alabama has developed a yummy hot drink that kick-starts her day with protein power, yet takes just minutes to prepare. Her Carmel Protein Latte fits into Simona’s own post-gastric bypass diet requirements, but it also works well for those on a kidney diet, and she often recommends it to her kidney patients.
Simona, a native of Lewisburg, Tennessee, attended Alabama A&M University and became a dietitian in 2005. She explains that she was drawn to the renal field because of its challenges and rewards.
As every renal dietitian knows, the nutritional challenges facing a kidney patient are significant. Simona reports that in her job as a DaVita renal dietitian, the biggest hurdle is helping patients control their levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH). PTH is produced by several small, bean-like parathyroid glands in the neck, and its job is to tell an individual’s bones to release calcium into the bloodstream. Too much PTH can become a problem for people with kidney disease.
When asked how she helps to make a difference in her patients’ lives, Simona explains, “I show that I care about them and not just the numbers. I truly get to know them and become involved in their lives.” Her personable approach and encouragement make her patients’ days a little brighter.
Simona showers her patients with love, laughter and some very practical tools for better health. For instance, she introduced Protein Power Days as a way to help educate her patients and promote protein intake. She advises all renal patients to be proactive, become involved in their own health care and get the facts so that they can understand what they need to do for improved health.
Under Simona’s care, patients work hard to achieve their health goals. And, in the end, her patients’ success becomes Simona’s success. “Seeing patients come into goal after working so hard is the most rewarding part of my job,” she explains.
Since joining DaVita two and a half years ago, Simona has come to appreciate all that the company offers its dietitians, including the educational materials and many great ideas for helping patients. Just as important is the role her coworkers play. “DaVita is a great company,” Simona reports. “Our team is very close, and we work well together. We have the same goals in mind when it comes to taking care of our patients, we communicate well and we love to make our patients happy.”
Take a tip from Simona, and for a change of pace, try her recipe for Caramel Protein Latte. It’s a great choice when you’re looking for an on-the-go breakfast that’s packed with protein to keep you going strong all morning long. Or enjoy it as a nutritious snack anytime of the day.