There’s nothing more satisfying than slow-cooked beef in a flavorful, sweet and spicy sauce. DaVita renal dietitian Johnna from Connecticut shares her recipe for Sweet and Spicy Braised Beef so that you and your family and friends, even those on special diets, can enjoy this delicious kidney-friendly beef entrée. Its flavor and tenderness are due to braising, a cooking method that uses both moist and dry heat. In Johnna’s recipe, the beef is first browned in a pan and then transferred to a slow cooker where it is seasoned with a delectable mix of apple juice, onion, honey, chili powder, cumin, dried thyme and black pepper. The result is a beef main dish worthy of four stars.
Sharing her recipe for Sweet and Spicy Braised Beef is just one way that DaVita renal dietitian Johnna helps her kidney patients eat healthy. A Connecticut native, Johnna graduated from St. Joseph College in West Hartford. When asked why she chose to work in the renal field, she replies, “I was looking to be able to build relationships with my patients while maintaining my clinical edge.”
Johnna has been a renal dietitian with DaVita for more than 3 years and finds that the most challenging aspect of her job is allaying her patients’ fears about what foods to eat and which ones to avoid. She calls her work “removing the scary the dialysis diet.”
This renal dietitian emphasizes what she terms “clean eating.” “I encourage people to eat foods as unadulterated and unprocessed as possible, with some additional guidance with regards to whole grains and food safety,” Johnna explains.
Johnna’s workday at DaVita is all about helping people. “What I like most about working with my patients is being able to see positive changes brought about by interventions,” states Johnna.
Her approach to working with her patients is to “meet them where they are at.” She encourages each patient to communicate with their health care team. In fact, she says it is the single most important thing they can do to improve their health.
When asked about the most surprising or interesting thing she’s learned since she started working at DaVita, Johnna says, “Renal nutrition is a whole new world in comparison to acute care. Mineral and bone disorder management is interesting, challenging and fairly unique to renal care.”
Every day, there’s a new story developing at the DaVita dialysis center where Johnna works. “This week we had a patient who received a kidney transplant. The donor read an article in a local newspaper our patient had written and decided that they would like to donate one of their kidneys to our patient. The two people didn’t know each other,” relates Johnna. “These are the kinds of stories that make dialysis a wonderful place to work… despite the often sad or frustrating stories.”
Johnna appreciates what she calls “our wonderful team of Pioneers” at the Vernon, Connecticut, DaVita center where she works. “Connecticut is a beautiful state in which to live and work. In the fall, the trees outside my office are beautiful.”
Don’t miss out on a special beef entrée that you can serve to everyone, even those folks who must follow special diets. No one will ever guess that Johnna’s Sweet and Spicy Braised Beef is a kidney-friendly recipe. And don’t be surprised when folks request second helpings of this scrumptious dish!