When I first meet new patients, they often see me as the food police—the person who is swooping in to make them give up everything that they love. My first job is to dispel that myth.
I take tremendous satisfaction in making sure that people who have had to cope with so much can stay connected to all the life affirming aspects of food—family, celebration, sharing, and yes, a bit of indulgence, too.
For instance, I had a gentleman tell me that his wife makes the world’s greatest pasta sauce, so we sat down together to figure out how he could safely ‘cheat’ on his diet. We reached a happy compromise on his portion size, eliminated the ritual of wiping up sauce with bread, and switched this weekly treat from a Saturday to the night before he has dialysis.
With people who are not as open to making changes in their diet, I can come back a week, two weeks, three months later when they are ready. It’s a strategy that works. I’ve known some of my patients and their families for the entire 12 years I’ve been at the clinic, and we’ve long since conquered the nutritional hurdles. We’ve moved on to sharing stories about other things they love, especially grandchildren.
“Food is such an integral part of people’s traditions. I help my patients keep the things they love in their lives.”