FNCE 2014: Part 1

Happy Friday!  I’m here to recap part 1 of my Atlanta travels.  This was my very first trip to FNCE (Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo), despite being an RD for two years now.  To be completely honest, I just haven’t been able to afford the conference fees plus travel expenses on my own.  So I’m super thankful that I now work for a company that gives me the opportunity to attend nutrition conferences and network with fellow nutrition professionals.  Seriously, my job is pretty awesome.

This year’s conference was held in Atlanta, Georgia and I arrived Saturday morning from NYC.  I checked into the hotel and picked up my registration as soon as I got into town, as I had plans to visit my friend Hailey and her newborn for the rest of the day.

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Before visiting with beautiful little Zoey, I grabbed lunch from a food truck parked near my hotel! I was intrigued by it’s name, “Happy Belly” and ordered a Tree Huggers Delight and a side of Brussels for Muscles.  Cute names, right?  And let me tell you…SO good!

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Sunday in Atlanta was all about fitness and sports nutrition, which I obviously loved.  I kicked off the day with a 12 mile run through the city.  I ran through Piedmont Park and on the Atlanta Beltline, which was so cool.  If you need somewhere to run in the Atlanta area, I totally recommend the Beltline.  It’s so health-focused (they host run clubs, yoga classes, etc) and has such fun art along the route.

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Have I?! 🙂

After my run, I grabbed some breakfast and a protein shake and headed over to the conference center.  The first session I attended was called “What about exercise? Ways for RDNs to Step Up Their Fitness Game” presented by Cathy Leman and Jim White.

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Cathy and Jim (and moderator Leslie Bonci! Eek!) spoke all about combining a career in fitness and nutrition to make the most impact for your clients.  It was really interesting and inspirational to hear their stories and it got me thinking I should start working toward some kind of fitness certification.  I plan on sitting for the CSSD (Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics) exam in a few years, so this would be on top of that.  Cool stuff!

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So true!

The next session of the day was “Integrative Sports Nutrition:Validity, Safety, Quality and Identity for Supplementation.” presented by Dr. Tod Cooperman (of ConsumerLab.com) and Lisa Dorfman, MS, RD, CSSD, LMHC, FAND.  I learned SO much from sitting in on this presentation, but the main takeaway was to really research supplements, both when taking them yourself and recommending them for others.  Many vitamins/minerals/supplements Dr. Cooperman tests do NOT meet the quality or quantity claims provided on their labels.  This means you may be taking too much or not getting enough of what you think you’re taking! Scary (and dangerous) stuff!  Educate yourself, and check out great resources like the Natural Standards Database, Consumer Labs, Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database or the USADA.

After all that learning, it was time to EAT!  Janelle, the other RD from my company, and I headed to dinner at White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails, conveniently located right across from our hotel.  It’s a restaurant boasting contemporary Southern cuisine with a focus on seasonal and local foods.  I enjoyed the Wild Rocket Salad (Apples, Sheep’s Milk Feta Cheese, Cider Vinaigrette, Sourdough Crouton), Flounder with Butternut Squash and Blueberry Fried Pie.   It was incredible! Definitely check it out next time you’re in Atlanta.

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That’s all for the first part of my FNCE trip!  Stay tuned for Part 2, where I’ll share more about the education sessions I attended, but most importantly all of the FOOD and vendors at the expo! 😉

Did you go to FNCE this year?  What did you learn?  What did you EAT?  Tell me about it!

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