The Food Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE), sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, brought over 11,000 nutrition professionals together to address important issues that are affecting the health of Americans. My time at the conference is usually split between visiting a variety of exhibitors to learn about their products and attending the amazing talks on up and coming nutrition research. While I was walking around the exhibition hall this year, I noticed that a lot of food companies were highlighting non-dairy milks like oat milk, almond milk, or even banana milk. There was also a very large presence of organizations working to enhance the knowledge around fruits and vegetables and why it’s so important to consume them. There are even a couple of campaigns going on centered on increasing the fruit and vegetable consumption in America.
The opening speaker was Bonnie St. John; the first African-American to win a medal in the Winter Paralympic games as a skier. Her talk was titled “High Performance Resilience” and the theme was really centralized around how we as professionals can improve and optimize our mental resilience to better not only ourselves, but the people we are trying to help. She opened her talk with a comment on how she believes the nutrition community is in the middle of a “food fight”. Her comment stemmed from an observation that nutrition professionals are constantly trying to get people to eat healthier, but failing because their knowledge is often underappreciated or misunderstood by the general public. She gave us a couple pointers like learning how to refocus our brain, reset our primitive alarms, reframe our attitudes, refresh our bodies, and renew our spirits so that our mental resilience can increase and we are able to gain new perspectives that will allow us to improve patient care and outcomes.
I also attended a variety of talks focused on the gut microbiome and how it influences our health. This was extremely relevant for me as an R&D Scientist at Bay State Milling, since our HealthSense high fiber wheat flour gets fermented in the gut and produces a number of beneficial metabolites. It was really great to sit in on some of these talks and learn about a variety of different subjects that I’m not exposed to every day. I am greatly looking forward to FNCE 2019 in Philadelphia!