Many of you have been saying you were living vicariously through my stories on Instagram when I was in Washington, DC. I’m glad you all enjoyed it and if you didn’t, no worries, I’ll give you a quick recap today along with some fun and exciting brands and information I received while there. If you want to know all that I ate while in DC, you can check out my post here. Otherwise, I will dig into why I went to DC in the first place, for FNCE 2018.
The Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo is an annual conference where Dietitians and other Health Care Professionals get together to network and to learn about what’s new and happening in the nutrition and health world. I went back when I was a Dietetic Intern because it is far more reasonably priced when you are a student. I remember thinking it was like Trick or Treating for Dietitians. The experience wasn’t super helpful back then so I honestly never thought I would go back.
Dietitians catch a lot of slack for being funded by big companies like Coca-Cola. Look, I get it, I don’t like it either but not all Dietitians support those big companies AND on the flip side, there are dietitians trying to help those big companies IMPROVE their offerings. There are two sides to every story, so while once again I prefer to support my smaller brands, there is a time and place for the larger organizations, when they act and serve appropriately of course.
That all being said, I almost didn’t go to FNCE this year because I figured it wouldn’t be worth my while. However, I was proven wrong and I am so glad I was. Thanks to 88 Acres I was able to attend the conference and am SO thankful for them. I met some really awesome dietitians as well as connected with ones I haven’t seen in over 5-8 years. It was amazing to see that some of my friends are CRUSHING it. One works for WIC, another for the avocado board, another for Sunbasket, and still another for Zesty (owned by Twitter). I mean, holy cow, dietitians are everywhere and doing some really awesome things.
The Dos & Donts of FNCE
This list is to hopefully help those who decide to go in future years as well as myself should I ever return to the conference. I feel like there are some things I wish I knew before going!
DO wear comfy clothes & shoes. Leggings (nice ones) are totally cool, as are sneakers. Most people where jeans/black jeans, flat shoes, and nice shirts, don’t feel like you have to over dress!
DON’T fill up on samples. Your stomach may not love you.
DO pack an extra bag. This year I packed a duffel in my carry-on and then checked said carry-on on my way home because it was filled with snacks & samples galore.
DON’T feel like you have to go to and/or stay at all the sessions. You can go check out a session and you aren’t feeling it go to the next. If you miss one, don’t worry! You get access to the talks afterward.
DO make dinner plans ahead of time. We were lucky enough to run into an old friend of mine who had done just this, GENIUS! She made reservations at some top spots in DC for every night in hopes she’d run into people (I was one of those lucky people) and didn’t have to worry about not having a place to eat.
DON’T forget to drink water. I definitely walked around dehydrated the first day and that was silly! Bring a reusable water bottle and drink up buttercup.
DO stay close to the conference center & with others. We stayed about 15 minutes out which wasn’t terrible but would’ve been even better to be closer.
Alrighty, so I had the opportunity to talk with and meet so many people that I feel like I should recap some of my favorites. I’m hoping that I will be able to work with some of these brands or topics in the months to come, we shall see, right?! Let me know which of these favorites intrigue you most!
Wow, this talk was enlightening. The lady giving this presentation was a dietitian who’s practice is called Jannabis Wellness (her name is Janice). I knew from the start if her personality was anything like her name I was going to like her. She delved into the Endocannabinoid System (say that 3x fast) and how cannabis can help treat MANY conditions. I have a lot to learn in this department, but let me tell you there is some cool research coming out and I think that we may be onto something here.
Nourish by Nicole Aucoin MS, RD
I met Nicole back at the CrossFit Games 2 years ago and she is trying to help Dietitians be a larger part of the CrossFit space as well as help them build their own businesses. I ran into her again and was so happy I did. She now has her own book and is providing so much information for Dietitians like me, excited to see what else is to come.
I am in the sports performance world. While I’d love to not have to rely on supplements, unfortunately, it’s the way of the world. I’m excited to see such a clean (yes their name is intentional) brand that athletes can trust. I will be investigating more about their products, so stay tuned. For now, their chocolate whey protein is SUPER smooth and enjoyable post workout.
I know a weird thing to say is my favorite when it obviously is one of my favorite fruits already. However, there were two blueberry booths and I was PUMPED to be getting blueberries amongst all the other bars, nut/seed butter, and snacks on the Expo floor. I love the taste of blueberries and am even excited to try making a blueberry compote mixed with goat cheese, yes, please.
HAES vs. Weight Management Debate
This concept/debate deserves its own post. Stay tuned! However, it was really great to see the differing opinions of those in the field. I think that we can meet somewhere in the middle as it comes to weight management & health at every size, but what do I know, I’m just a dietitian.
Wunder Creamery Quark
Move over yogurt, quark has arrived in America! This tasty, non-tart version of yogurt is intriguing. I was lucky enough to be 1 booth behind them so I got to taste a lot of their Quark, what a fun word! The coffee flavor was my favorite (obviously) by far, I’d recommend checking them out.
I was a little hesitant to go to FNCE because I view myself as more of a rogue, outside the box dietitian, but the awesome thing was that there were so many like-minded RDs. It amped me up and made me proud to be in the profession.
It’s tough to be an RD in this day and age when so many people like to point fingers at us and call us Food Pyramid pushers. It’s also hard because there are so many “nutrition experts” out there trying to compare themselves to us.
Here’s the cool thing, none of the RDs I know push the food pyramid and all focus on a client-centric evidence-based approach. I was so empowered by all the women & men I met at the conference and you better believe we aren’t going to sit down and watch others do harm in the field of health and nutrition. If you think I’m going to hide and not call myself a dietitian, you are dead wrong, watch out world, Sassy’s on the loose.