What a whirlwind this past weekend was! I flew to DC early Saturday morning for Food and Nutrition Conference Expo, the gigantic annual conference for registered dietitians featuring an expo with food brands, info sessions galore, and lots of PR events.
I mostly go to explore new cities and hang with my RD crew---Rachael, Anne, Meme, Elle, and Kara. Missed you Robyn and Kylie! After stopping at the hotel, I headed over to District Wharf to check out the local seafood scene. After learning a bit about sustainable fishing practices with the folks from Seafood Nutrition Partnership, we walked to Del Mar for some incredible oysters and Maine lobster paella. Seafood is one of the only wild foods we still eat! We had an interesting conversation with the chef about bridging the gap between high quality product and the most sustainable product in restaurants. He explained that since we're depleting the oceans faster than they can replenish themselves, it's important to look at other options in sustainable farming.
Another Saturday highlight was dinner at Sospeso, where we enjoyed yummy Mediterranean fare in an industrial setting. We started off with a few apps, including burrata, crispy potatoes, and a trio of dips (best labneh ever). For the main event, we split the homemade fettuccine with beans and kale and the pumpkin tagine with bulgar, tahini yogurt, pomegranate and cilantro. Delish.
This was such a wonderful reminder how lovely and carefree going out to dinner is I'm with people who truly eat intuitively and don't fear food. To drink we shared the house vermouth, which tastes like wine but is more cinnamony and light and aromatic. Truly one of the best drinks I've ever had!
On Sunday morning I spent an hour at the expo chatting with a few brands before heading to my Meet & Greet event sponsored by Simple Mills! We shared an incredible spread complete with the most velvety butternut squash soup, grilled shrimp, salad accoutrements, and of course a giant bowl of my Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip! Did you know Simple Mills' Sprouted Seed Crackers are now available at Whole Foods?! Click here to find a store new you.
I'm been working with Simple Mills since 2015. Their support means so much to me and I consider it a privilege to continue our partnership in new and exciting ways. I loved meeting so many of you in person! Hearing your stories and knowing you relate to the ups and the downs is so meaningful to me. I wasn't planning on doing a formal speech, but I ended up sharing my Hummusapien + Alchemy story from the beginning. What a fabulous event!
Later that afternoon I attended a session with Regan Jones and Marci Evans called Food Porn Dilemmas: Balancing Artful Imagery and Real-World Attainability in Social Media. They addressed the not so pretty side of food photography and how as social creatures, we're evolutionarily hard-wired to compare, not just to those who we feel are our "equals," but actually those who we perceive as "better." Marci reminded us that what we choose to share online impacts other people and as RDs, even more-so than other bloggers and influencers, we're impacting the mental health and wellbeing of those that follow us.
"If all people do is scroll through your feed and double tap but never make anything because the images are unattainable, are you really making an impact?" To combat falling into the perfectionism trap, they suggested varying your feed, using humor, being open and honest, showing the "good" and the "bad," and being aware if the percent of what you share online reflects your life's plate (or the percent you recommend.)It's much more impactful to authentically serve those who follow you and align with your purpose and identity then try to cater to everyone on the internet.
Later that night I went to dinner with my lady pals at Fig & Olive, an adorable Mediterranean restaurant in City Center. To start, we shared six different kinds of bruschetta. I ordered the kale & quinoa salad for my entree which had a stellar tangy dressing.
I got up at the crack of dawn for a Soul Cycle class (not very like me, but when in Rome!). It was my first time doing Soul Cycle and I actually loved it! The super high energy vibe made me feel quite energetic despite my coffee-less state. Afterwards we refueled at Farmer's & Distillers. I ordered the F&D breakfast with two over easy eggs, homemade English muffin (SO good), house salad, and yummy brûléed grapefruit.
I did some computer work and chilled for a bit before going to my friends' Alex and Whitney's Plant Based Juniors event at Sfoglina. PBJ is a complete guide for plant based based prenatal and pediatric nutrition. I know I'll be raising a plant based junior myself someday, so it was super informative and fun for me to learn more about their initiatives. Did I mention they had a build your own avocado toast bar?!
I ended the day with a really thought-provoking "debate" style session with Christie Harrison and Robert Kushner on the HAES (Health and Every Size) paradigm versus the weight management paradigm. My favorite quotes from the session were "body trust is your birthright," and "food, exercise, and body size are not the end all be all of health." I learned more than I already knew about the damage of weight stigma and felt more inspired than ever to continue educating people about positive health habits in a weight-neutral, non stigmatizing way.
Dinner Monday night was SEI sushi with Elle and Anne. We shared a few specialty rolls, my favorite being the fish and chips roll with flounder, potato crisps, wasabi tartar, and malt vinegar.
The sessions at FNCE this year really gave me hope that the dietetics field is moving forward in a progressive, inclusive way. Paradigms are changing and I'm grateful to see that my profession is adapting with the times and with the research. Until next year, friends!
Thanks to Simple Mills for sponsoring the FNCE event!