So, one of the coolest parts about being a Registered Dietitian that I have so greatly missed in the last FOUR years has been the Food and Nutrition Conference (FNCE). The last time I went was in 2019, and then 2020 and 2021 were virtual events, and last year, I was too pregnant for the trek to Florida. I thought I might have to miss out this year, too, since the baby is still so little, and four days (including travel) felt like just too much pumping to maintain my supply (since I struggle with low supply), but then, my angel MIL stepped in and offered to go with me and watch the baby while I was at the conference! Since Denver isn’t too far from Phoenix, I decided to take her up on her generous offer, so we all went to Denver!
This year was special to me because Hungry Hobby qualified me to receive a complimentary press badge. I had applied in the past, but HH didn’t quite make the cut, but this year I was approved! Pretty cool!
Our first stop after a long day of traveling and checking in was to get some food from Stout Street Social (across from the convention center) before I hit up the opening session!
The conference kicked off with a bang with an Opening Session about Identity Leadership by Stedman Graham. Steve was a very motivating and captivating speaker! I immediately purchased his book on Audible and can’t wait to start reading it! The basic idea is that identity can serve as a leader’s greatest asset and that being clear about what matters to you creates value. Can’t read to read more!
I spent most of Sunday and Monday toggling between visiting friends at the Expo and attending conference sessions. And, of course, going back and forth from the convention center to the hotel to nurse the baby every few hours. Luckily, everything in downtown Denver is SUPER close, so it was only a 4-minute walk back and forth to the hotel!
One of my favorite sessions was my friend Mandy Enright’s session: Unleashing Your Dietetic Superpowers with Storytelling.
I went to the session to support a friend speaking but left feeling totally empowered to re-evaluate my “Why” and how I convey that “Why” to my clients and audience.
The other sessions I attended spanned several topics, including teaching, functional nutrition, and entrepreneurship. One thing I love about this conference is that there is something for everyone, or in my case, something for each area of nutrition I work in.
- ChatGPT: Friend or Adversary in Educating Future Dietitians
- Optimizing IVF Outcomes: The Role of Nutrition and Lifestyle
- Making Infant Feeding of Common Allergens
I also attended some presentations in the EXPO area, which were pretty cool!
One of my favorite presentations was from Microbiome Labs. This is a company that I utilize often, especially when a client tests positive for intestinal permeability or leaky gut.
It was cool to learn more from them and connect with them face-to-face!
And, of course, I had to stop by and see my friends at The Foundation for Fresh Produce! I actually hung out with them in their booth, sharing a bit about the Have A Plant Movement with other Dietitians and handing out some fresh fruit!
And I played “can pong” at the Tomato Wellness Booth! I was just as bad at “can pong” as I was at beer pong in college.
My can-pong skills won me nothing, but I did get a great photo with my friend Alec!
More fun at the Expo:
And I also stopped by to see my friends at the Seafood Nutrition Partnership!
The Seafood Nutrition Partnership dinner is one that I always look forward to at FNCE. As a Dietitian in Media, one of the many fun parts of FNCE is the nighttime events. I was honored to attend several media-related events this year, including SNP’s fireside chat. I learned a lot about Alaskan Salmon and even more about tuna varieties. I had NO idea that Chunk Light and Skipjack were the same. When pregnant, I often seek out skipjack tuna to ensure I am getting the lowest mercury tuna. It turns out I didn’t need to do that because chunk light tuna IS skipjack. I also got to try several varieties of fish I’d never had before cooked by professional chefs.
And the cool thing is I got my omega levels tested by Omegaquant. I knew it would not be good because I haven’t been super consistent with seafood consumption, and I haven’t taken fish oil more than once a week since the baby was born. (For me, fish oil is a foundational supplement, but I hate getting fish burps, so I usually take mine at night to sleep through the fish burps. However, since the baby wakes me up all night, I don’t want fish burps in the middle of the night, so I don’t take them.)
So time to get back on the fish oil train and be more consistent in planning seafood into our weekly menu, especially fatty fish. We eat a decent amount of shrimp, usually once a week, but need to get more consistent on the fatty fish in our diet!
Another cool media event I attended was a lunch sponsored by Pork and Partners held at the Ritz Carlton.
I’m a big fan of pork in the diet, but I learned some cool new information about pork being a carrier food. A 2023 study* looking at eight years of health and diet information from tens of thousands of American children (aged 2-18) and adults (aged 19+) found that compared to people who don’t eat pork, pork eaters tended to have more of these nutrients in their diet (check out the slide and the ones highlighted in red are considered nutrients of concern by the Dietary Guidelines of America.)
Lean pork is definitely something I recommend people include in their diet as it’s a great source of nutrients and protein that is generally really cost-friendly, something that’s important more than ever at the grocery store right now. After the presentation about pork, my friend Amy Goodson did a media training, and I picked up so many great tips about pitching TV segments.
I was very inspired to get back to pitching my local TV stations. I haven’t done any segments since KJ was born, I’m so ready to get back into it! TV segments are a TON of work but always really fun!
I also attended a few more nighttime events, but sadly, I got no photos! I was too busy catching up with old friends, meeting new people, and hanging out.
- The Healthy Family Project
- Beef the New Frontier –> food and music were amazing!!!!
- Master the Media Event held by my friend Amy Gorin
And I can’t leave out that I tried my first dirty martini when out to happy hour with my friend Mandy!
Verdict? I mean, it’s basically a shot of vodka, haha, but I despise sweet alcoholic beverages, so overall, I liked it. I don’t know if it will be my regular drink or anything, but I’ll definitely order it again in the future!
And I can’t leave out a few photos of a baby girl hanging out with us! Overall, she’s a pretty chill baby, but she did not enjoy traveling this time around. I think she may have been coming down with a cold and was pretty fussy for my MIL, but we made it through.
When your Mommy is in denial and packed 0-3 month pants for you, but you are five months old.
And, of course…. we came home with swag! Lots of swag the kids couldn’t wait to dig into!
And that’s a wrap! Big thanks to my MIL for making my attendance possible this year!