A snack with no added sugar and easy on the sodium? How could it possibly be good? Well, prepare to be amazed because Christy from Pennsylvania came up with the perfect marriage between a touch of ranch dressing and crunchy pretzels and called it Addictive Pretzels. She wasn’t kidding with that title, so it might be a good idea to decide on how many you’re going to eat in advance, count them into a bowl, and when they’re done, you’re done too. This way, you can avoid automatic-eating syndrome where the hand keeps going into the bag until whoops—they’re all gone and the food plan is blooey. Have your treat and stick with the food plan too.
As a freshman attending Penn State, Christyreally liked her first nutrition class and wanted to learn more about macronutrients and micronutrients, and the roles they played in the body. Originally from Harrisburg, PA, she traveled to New York to get a graduate degree from NYU. With the ground already prepared because of her interests and education, it seemed natural that Christy would soon be attracted to the renal field. “I wanted a more challenging job with better opportunities for advancement later in my career,” Christy explains.
When asked about the most challenging aspects of her job Christy says,“Educating patients about all aspects of the renal diet has been challenging. But phosphorus education tops the list since there are so many foods naturally high in phosphorus content, and many foods contain phosphorus additives. The FDA has not (at least not yet) regulated the labeling of phosphorus on food labels.” The rewarding aspect of working as a DaVita dietitian, in Christy’s opinion, is interacting with patients who look forward to receiving their monthly lab values, and remember topics they’ve been educated on. “I also love questions,” Christy exclaims. “I enjoy answering good and important questions regarding labs or food choices. I make adifference in patients’ lives by stressing education on monthly lab values, which then corresponds to foods that they need to eat, or they need to avoid, because of potential medical complications. I make sure they know this so they can live longer, and have a better quality of life.”
Christy truly enjoys working with patients who care about how they are doing and are eager to get their monthly nutrition reports. “The other enjoyable aspect is when I have a patient who’s been reeducated over and over, and I’ve tried to think of new ways of teaching them something, and they finally understand. Often, the result can be that their lab value is in goal range. This is a very enjoyable moment for me.”
All dietitians have their own approaches, as well as “tips of the trade,” and Christy is no different. “I try to be aware of each individual patient’s receptivity to learning and education and I go from there. You could say I individualize education for each and every patient pertinent to their lab values. The single most important thing patients can do to improve their health is be open and receptive to receiving education. That way, they can make the best, most informed decisions for themselves and their health.”
A different renal-friendly recipe is provided each week at the three clinics where Christy works. Patients are able to take a copy of the recipe provided so they always have fresh recipes to choose from. “Most of the recipes are from DaVita.com,” Christy adds. “I’ve been working at DaVita for nine months and I enjoy the chance to help a patient make more appropriate food choices. I appreciate being able to get creative with education topics, monthly bulletin boards and teaching activities; being involved in meetings that make me feel like a member of the team. Meetings are where I get informed of new policies, new changes to be made, ideas, and I get to work closely with nurses, patient-care techs, social workers, FAs and other dietitians. I learn something from everyone!”
Since working with DaVita, Christy stresses how much more she’s learned about renal diets and how in-depth and important all aspects of the renal diet are. She also adds that for someone to remember something like this, it must be taught multiple times. The three clinics that treat Christy’s patients are in Monroeville, Allegheny Valley and Lincoln Way in Pennsylvania. All of the different teammates and patients that she’s able to work with make it special.
Addictive Pretzels is the recipe-brainchild of Christy from Pennsylvania. Just like the title says, they are addictively delicious, so a wise recommendation to follow is portioning out the amount you intend to eat and putting the container away before snacking. This way, you can have your treat and stick to your food plan too!