My 1st FNCE 2015 Recap
I was in Nashville, TN couple weekends ago attending FNCE (Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo) - think thousands of nutrition professionals gathered in one city to learn, inspire, and appreciate anything and everything related to food and nutrition. This was my 1st ever FNCE although this is my 4th year practicing as a RD. It didn't seem too important for me to attend until this year for a couple of reasons, which I will share below. FNCE was overwhelming, inspirational, and awesome in many levels and I hope I can attend it in future years (FNCE 2016 is in Boston).Day 1; I got there Saturday afternoon and spent sometime walking around the Music Center, where the conference was being held. It was pretty well-organized in terms of registration and everything, however I didn't know some of the presentation required pre-registration. Something to keep in mind for next year and also to read the FNCE program materials carefully, which I clearly didn't pay attention to. So, one of the main reasons I was excited about FNCE was because of Unilever - they somehow found this blog and recognized me as one of their Agent of Change along with 9 other amazing dietitians!!! Not only did they covered my registration for FNCE, but all 9 of us were invited to an amazing dinner + opportunity to network with each other. In addition, I got to learn about Unilever's journey in driving positive change through Chefmanship, Nutrition and Sustainability. Personally, I am not a big fan of processed/pre-made food products but it is not always realistic for many families. I have always stayed away from big food corporations but during conversations with several people at Unilever dinner, it made me realize that as nutrition professionals, it is so important for us to collaboratively work together in changing our food system into a healthier America! Some of the RDs I met got to meet were Robyn, Alex,Stephanie,Sheena, and Carlene.Day 2: Sunday was just jampacked with educational sessions back to back, all of which were just great!
- Claim the Spotlight! Beyond Traditional Media: Videos, Podcasts and Self-Publishing : This session inspired me to do start doing videos on my blog..I have been thinking about this, maybe soon you guys will hear me talk!!!
- Understanding Treatment Choices for People with Diabetes in Culturally Diverse Populations : Such an informative session especially for RDs dealing with patients from different culture/religion. The speaker also provided great examples on how to cross hurdles with such patient populations.
- Bitter-Sweet: How Our Senses Impact Chronic Disease and Weight : Pretty interesting session; talked about how genetic difference can affect food intake and that taste is a learned behavior.
- The Promise of Functional Foods: Translation from Crops to Community for Disease Prevention and Treatment: It was completely different than what I thought it would be. Nevertheless, I learned briefly about functional foods gets created in the lab and how it can be utilized to prevent/treat diseases.
Walking from one room to another is pretty tiring so make sure to have comfortable shoes. Also, I expected everyone to dress business casual/somewhat formal since it's a professional conference. That was not the case, people wore pretty much anything from suits to yoga pants. Day 3: Monday morning started with a breakfast networking event organized by Spright; I met people who I have been reading/following on their blog - Ginger, Min, and Rachael. Additionally, it was a great opportunity to meet with few other RDs and learned about Spright. Majority of my day was spent checking out the Expo which had SO MANY booths and along the way I ate too many free samples. Also, I randomly met Tara (we were both so busy catching up, totally forgot to take a picture)....Later in the day, I was able to grab a quick lunch with Golda, who was my dietetic internship director. She is one of my favorite people in this whole wide world - so supportive, inspiring, and just a great mentor to have.One of my most anticipated sessions was "Paleo Diet: Stone Age Nutrition for Today's Athlete?. The talk basically concluded the following : some positive features of the diet (high fruits and vegetables, lean meats) BUT… • No scientific support for diet in athletes and limited overall (not a single published study in athletes) • Diet is nutritionally inadequate and impractical • Books contain several errors and misinterpretations of nutrition research (calcium balance; lectins) • Longest living populations around the globe don’t eat a Paleo diet as defined in these books.
In addition to wonderful sessions and great networking event opportunities, I also joined two Dietetic Practice Groups - Nutrition Entrepreneurs & Asian Indian Member Interest Group (since there isn't a Nepali Dietetics association, I thought this was the closest group I could connect to). I am hoping to get more involved in these groups and grow further as a dietitian and a food blogger.
In summary, FNCE was so much more than I had anticipated - people were very kind/helpful/positive, lots of new/interesting/informative educational sessions besides just research, great networking opportunities to connect with other nutrition professionals and brands. So if you have not been to FNCE yet, I highly recommend you to consider it next year, I promise you won't regret it. [Tweet "My 1st FNCE 2015 Recap"]
See what other RDs are saying about FNCE :
Food & Nutrition Conference Recap by Karman
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Food Trends and Nutrition News at FNCE 2015 by Meal Make Over Mom's
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Spotlight on Food Sustainability by Stephanie
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