10 Things I Learned at 2015 Texas Academy FNCE

I have spent the last week with about a thousand Texas dietitians for the 2015 Texas Academy Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo.  I am thankful and lucky to be part of such a profession that I am truly passionate about – and that there is so much to learn.  The continuing education piece to my yearly registration dues as a dietitian is legit- the nutrition field is constantly changing.  For example.. coffee was boosting my metabolism on Tuesday, but by Friday morning they say it is bad, bad, bad.  Kind of like the weather in Texas.  You don’t like it at the moment.. just wait.  It will make a shift.  The difference is, making sure these nutrition tips and tricks you are learning about are from credible sources:)  
>>end soapbox<<  

The opportunities at FNCE are endless.  The mornings are early with sponsored
breakfasts and go late with dinners and receptions.  The daytime hours are
filled with informative educational sessions, and a couple tours through the expo
hall, not to mention the networking with fellow dietitians ranging in all types of field interest.

So, with my bags packed, me and this belly made the short trip to Houston for a week long stay of learning about the latest news on nutrition and human health and then wandered the expo sampling the newest food products to hit supermarkets – my favorite part, don’t you know.  Lots of gluten free items from Whole Note Foods, and around the corner was Mission Tortillas handing out packages of corn-whole wheat blend tortillas and offering out samples of goat cheese and spinach quesadillas (get in my belly).  The Texas Beef Council was a sponsor (dietitians eat beef!) and I went back for a second sample of the homemade zesty lentil gazpacho.

This week was nutrition-rich as far a knowledge goes- I wish I could have sat in on every single session..and my notebook is full.  Instead of sorting through every single bullet point I jotted down throughout this last week, I figured I would share of few pictures and hit the highlights that really struck my dietitian heat strings.

1. Food Service Dietitians and nutritionists are basically the equivalent to rockstar status when it comes to feeding our kids – both in and outside of their school walls.  The amount of effort and thought that goes into these healthful meals nearly knocked me to my knees.  Getting to hear Dayle Hayes, MS, RD speak at the opening session made me want to get more involved with the school lunch programs in my area.

2. Cooked and served meals are amazing on days 1-3. 
On day four I wanted to make my own food again.
3.  After a serious discussion with my sweet friend, Amy Goodson (dietitian for the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, USA Track & Field.. and a plethora of other amazing things..) we both decided that a breastfeeding mother’s nutrition strongly resembles that of a female athlete. 
4. Artificial sweeteners have been rigorously studied and tested for safety (and is probably the most common question I get asked about..)These studies have corroborated the safety of these products, and to suffer ill health effects you would need to consume quite a bit more than you are likely to. How much was what we were all asking – even me and the several pregnant women sitting in the vicinity: A 150-pound woman would have to consume 20 diet sodas per day, every day for the rest of her life.. OR consume 100 Equal packets. 
Sweet Tea, anyone?
5. The Top Five Sustainable Food Habits:
1.) Following a plant-based diet,
2.) Eating more organic foods (less fertilizers and pesticides means lower impact on the environment),
3.) Eat locally (reducing the number of miles that food has to travel before arriving to your dinner plate)
4.) Learning to eat with the seasons means choosing foods that were not grown in artificial conditions (like a greenhouse).  Eating in-season produce are better because they require fewer resources and less energy to produce.
5.) Reduce waste – 36 millions tons of food was wasted in 2012.
6. Food Allergies are NOT as common as one would imagine.  Up to 28% of the population perceive they have a food allergy and seek out self-treatment.. while just about 4% of the population have a true food allergy. 
7. Food Addiction is real.  It is seen in very young children and into adulthood.
8. A sugar crash after eating a high glycemic food triggers the same ‘craving’ desire in the brain as it would in individuals that maintain a drug addiction. 
Walking in heels for 5 days straight did a number on my feet.
9. 40% of the population is on a nutritional supplement.. 
95% of those people found their nutritional information for taking those supplements on the internet.
(Side note.. there was a Marble Slab Creamery within walking distance from the hotel.  I may or may not have enjoyed it twice last week.)

10. Being a supermarket RD is still my one TRUE dream and desire in this profession.  The ladies at HEB proved that for me this week.


April 13, 2015

  1. #7 & 8 all day… ugh…

    Thanks for the info!

  2. Beth says:

    I'm an RD turned SAHM in the suburbs of Houston – kicking myself for not knowing about this so I could attend! I have 50 more CEs to complete before the end of May! Glad you had a good time!

  3. (Delete my last comment…I obv can't use my phone correctly to comment ?)

    I loved this post!! So neat to peek a little bit more in lro your RD life. Seems like an awesome thing to be a fly on the wall at. Looks like you had a great time!

  4. Emily says:

    I just absolutely love this, particularly the tidbit about breastfeeding mothers and female athletes – awesome comparison!

    I have to ask, how much does it bother you that everyone is now a "nutrition expert" with the internet? I'll ask my dietitian mother about articles I find and she'll just roll her eyes at the things that people take as fact.

  5. Brittany says:

    Thank you for all the info! I know it takes a lot of work to post, but I have really appreciated all your healthy recipes! I love your slow cooker recipes, as I can make them and clean up while my little one is napping, so I don't have to take up evening family time with cleaning up dinner. My family loves your recipes!

  6. Kate says:

    If I could do college over, I would want to go back and be an RD! I find it so interesting, and I love that you share your recipes and thoughts. The point about food addiction really caught my eye–my dad definitely has a problem with this and I don't want it to become an issue with my twins in their life!

  7. I would love more info on foods to eat while breastfeeding! I typically eat healthy but caring for twins, as you know, can be so hectic. Most of my meals are grazing snacks and I'm constantly hungry! What worked best for you to keep your energy and milk supply up without spending hours preparing?

  8. Elizabeth says:

    I have a similar question to Kelley. I'm pregnant with our second and have yet to be able to shake that first trimester exhaustion. I could eat salads all day everyday but after chasing a 18 month old around all day I'm too exhausted to throw it all together. Any suggestions for fast, healthy, food and snacks for pregnant/breastfeeding moms? Thank you!!

  9. Jessi says:

    The info about the diet coke is interesting to me! I'm 14 weeks pregnant and miss diet coke so much! Haha. Does this research mean diet coke in moderation is ok for pregnant women, or just non pregnant? Thanks!!