AnnaMarie Rodriguez, RDN, LD, FAND

Annamarie Rodriguez

AnnaMarie has worked as a renal dietitian for over 20 years in a variety of settings from clinical to pharmaceutical including sales, education and renal medical affairs. She is currently employed by Pentec Health as a Renal Clinical Case Manager. She has served and chaired a number of boards including the South and Central Texas National Kidney Foundation Medical Advisory Board, San Antonio Council of Renal Nutrition, Texas Hill Country Patient Awareness Days and Kidney Walks, Renal Practice Group DPG and Wisconsin Council of Renal Nutrition; in addition to serving on advisory committees for local symposiums and building annual Hill Country Education Days while living in TX. Currently she is the VN (Vegetarian) DPG Speaker Bureau Chair, the VN DPG WI/MI State Coordinator and a Master Gardener in SE WI.

  1. What are some of your health related values, beliefs and practices?

    The health-related values, beliefs, and practices I embrace are vastly different from my youth or younger days. I embrace a holistic approach to wellness that involves mind, body, and spiritual well-being. Health and wellness include the conscious effort to reach one’s full potential and is self-directed. I view it as a personal life journey. Growing up we did not have significantly singular strong practices as our family was a little mash up of German, Scotch-Irish and as Catholics we followed specific traditions. I do recall both of my Grandmothers sharing many of their traditions though (wonderful childhood memories and many holiday-centric). However, my mother was extremely strict about home cooked meals ‘at the table’ and these were a family affair no matter how busy life was. This is one tradition that has transferred to my family although slightly fragmented – we do not surround the table but rather, “gather”. I recall, as a youth, feeling very envious when microwaves and TV dinners were first introduced and when the neighborhood was abuzz regarding these new ‘delicacies’ popping out of this oven in mere ‘moments’ and eating in front of the TV. We were allotted extremely specific TV times per day; it was outside, and the key words were “Be Active”. To pacify us, my mother made “Homemade TV dinners” to surprise us on a weekly basis and would allow us to eat them with our favorite TV show! We really thought we were “IT”. My Dad, like his Mother worked extremely hard all their life and this was drilled into my head: Work Hard! My Grandmother always said the secret of health was hard work, though not necessarily working hard, but “staying busy” and she is 101! These ground rules from youth have been steadfast: home cooking, avoiding additives/preservatives, maintaining healthy activity level/limiting sedentary lifestyle, and staying busy/hard work. However, the holistic approach of incorporating mental, spiritual, emotional wellness has evolved into my practices on my journey. I passionately believe that as we promote wellness within ourselves, we impact those around us.

  2. What kind of foods do you like to eat on a daily basis? And what do you prefer on the day you do not feel very well?

    During my youth and growing up in the Midwest (and in WI – the Dairy State) the mainstay at almost every meal was meat and potatoes plus bread AND butter. We had two to four servings of vegetables at every meal and in the summer, it was serious vegetable business: no less than six or more servings per meal. My Dad (German and had been raised on a farm, from a family of Dairy farmers) planted a good portion of our backyard into a lush vegetable paradise where us and the neighborhood children would sneak into at every chance to grab the green beans, tomatoes and more. My brother and I would pull the red wagon round the corner to the local farmer several times a day for hauls of produce during canning season and my Mom canned for weeks on end. Crocks of pickles were in the basement that my Dad would make! We snuck them too! Living in Louisiana placed an entirely new perspective on my palate and then came along my husband and our move to Texas! Not only has he given me a love for TexMex, Mexican foods, and foods with a southwestern flair in general, but I have instilled in him a respect for plant-based meals. Because I am a vegan and he is not I try to incorporate tasty dishes that will provide a taste of what we have grown to love while I continue to increase his intake of plant-based meals. I am a serious bean lover. Also, I consider myself a Soup Queen. I can make a soup to die for with a million variations (maybe an exaggeration). Because we are so busy, I love fast meals. If I am not making a soup or stew, then it is a fast meal prepped in 30 minutes or less and having had 7 children I have gotten the knack of this over the years. I admit, it took me until just this year to make pinto beans that my husband states are really good (maybe even awesome)!

  3. Do you avoid eating any foods for your cultural or religious reasons? Which ones?

    Not really, I am pretty much game to try anything if it is plant-based and it’s fun to experiment. Being raised Catholic we did not eat meat on Ash Wednesday and Fridays during Lenten Season so now (a vegan) I look to other items I can eliminate on those days.

  4. We all have favorite remedies that we use when we are sick, which home remedies do you use?

    When I do not feel well it is almost the same as in childhood. Tea and soup. I will have tea with lemon and hot soup. My mother-in-law recommends yerba mate tea or a Yerba Buena tea. She has Yerba buena plants in her backyard which she has shared with us; this is a mint which is medicinally good for stomach ailments. Growing up it was chicken noodle soup; now it is a vegetable-based soup, but since I am a soup queen this is Good! Technically this would be Caldo de vegetales or sopa de verduras dependent on whether it is just broth or with veggies. We like to incorporate medicinal teas in self-care. We feel Native Americans, which my husband has traced his ancestry to, have great insight to wellness and healing just as other traditional medicines have evolved. It is worth noting that Irish have utilized very similar folk medicine and have ancient Sweat Houses much like the Native American sweat lodge (Temazcal or Temazcalli); thus I find it of interest of the similarities many years and miles apart. We sage our house regularly.

  5. What steps do you take counseling a patient from a different culture and racial group?

    Of utmost importance is to Listen. Asking open-ended questions and allowing the client ample time to process the question and develop an answer is important. Trust is key and this takes time; active listening assists in initiating a relationship in building an engaging session. Giving clients the opportunity to feel welcome. Ultimately, allowing patients/clients to set their pace, develop their goals, develop a strategy that works for them! I do like the SMART goals. I find that integrity, compassion, respect honesty, attentive to details, practicality go a long way in working with patients.

AnnaMarie's Recipes:

AM Rodriguez recipe1

Jaime’s Grilled Portobello

Delicious as a main course! I will share Jaime’s trick for a perfect Portobello on the grill.


  • 4 portobello mushrooms
  • ¼ cup olive oil (or your choice)
  • Seasonings:
  • 1 Tbsp lemon pepper
  • 1 tsp cilantro
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • Ground sea salt & Black pepper to taste if desired


  1. Mix seasonings and set aside.
  2. Mushroom prep: Break off the stem; reserve for other use. Remove the gills with a spoon. Be careful not to break the “bowl” of the mushroom. No need to wash the mushroom.
  3. Baste with olive oil inside and out.
  4. Sprinkle seasonings on both sides and allow to sit for 10 minutes (up to an hour is okay!).
  5. On a hot grill, grill bowl side down for 10 minutes and then bowl side up for 10 minutes.
  6. If grilling, brush a little olive oil as needed but it should not be much at all.
  7. Place a knife point at center where the stem was. It should go down smoothly. You are done!
  8. We like to serve these with a little bit of the extra seasonings. Add Pico de Gallo mixed with corn and extra cilantro!

Pico de Gallo!

There are many variations of Pico de Gallo, but I like mine SPICY! I must ease up on the spice when I am making it for my family. Some recipes will use jalapenos. Serrano peppers work the best! The best thing about Pico de Gallo is it goes with everything! So be careful, you will see this batch will not go far! You can vary this recipe by adding corn, avocado, peaches, or mango… let your imagination soar! I have added corn to this and additional cilantro to serve in the Grilled Portobello Mushrooms!


  • 1 cup white onion, finely chopped
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes, chopped (Roma works well, or another fleshy ripe tomato)
  • 2 (or more if you love the heat) serrano peppers, finely chopped I do not remove the seeds though some do: personal decision)
  • 2-3 Tbsp lemon (or lime) juice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ - ½ cup fresh cilantro (if I do not have this readily available, I keep right on without it!)


  1. In a medium mixing bowl mix the onion, serrano, lemon juice and salt and allow to stand while the tomatoes are prepped.
  2. Add the tomatoes, cilantro, black pepper, and mix. You may find you might want a touch more salt. I tend to add extra serrano and coarse sea salt. I may use less tomatoes depending on the size. I like to prepare this a few hours in advance and it keeps well for at least 4 days, covered in the fridge. If it has not been eaten then I will toss it in a soup, but that is rarely the case!

AM Rodriguez recipe 2

Andy’s Guacamole

We make this in advance and use this for many meals; it is very quick and delicious. This guac can be made extra creamy or chunky, with or without pepper and I personally like a little extra lemon and yes to garlic!


  • 2-3 avocados, peel, pit, and mash (save a seed!)
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 small or ½ large tomato, diced (Roma works well)
  • 1 Tbs cilantro
  • Dash of pepper (black or cayenne)
  • ½ serrano pepper, finely chopped
  • Optional: ½ cup diced white onion
  • Optional 1 clove minced garlic


  1. In a medium bowl mash the avocados, lemon juice and salt. Mix in the remaining ingredients. This is best stored in an airtight container and with the saved seed to help promote freshness, in addition to a light layer of lemon juice as a barrier. I might add a little variation to the ingredients by adding a little chili powder and comino (cumin).

For an amazingly fast meal use leftover beans on tostadas with guacamole, lettuce, tomato, and onion!