Hi, everyone! I’m back from my birthday weekend (Nov. 6) at the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) in Boston and I had a blast! I met so many interesting dietitians and other health professionals. I can’t wait to share with you what I’ve learned at the conference. But first, birthday celebrations! Peter’s aunt and her family very kindly invited me to their house for a birthday luncheon prior to my arrival at the conference. Feast your eyes on this!
My photography skills do not do this creamy carrot ‘n’ squash soup justice. The fresh dill and cheese chunks were savory additions.
Fresh grilled chicken sandwich:
The best part!
How beautiful is this cake? The recipe is “Fantasy Fudge Cake with Fantasy Fudge Frosting”. I think the title says it all.
I’m pretty sure I spit all over the cake as I was struggling to blow out the candles – thanks to aunt and co. for not making fun of me … and for a wonderful birthday meal! 😀
So, why is my back sore from FNCE? Well, it’s not FNCE’s fault – my back hurts because of a little something called FREE STUFF. Every booth in FNCE’s exhibition hall was giving out something – all of which I proceeded to load into not one, but TWO, bags – one swinging off each shoulder. I looked like some sort of pack mule. In a gray vest.
Free stuff, y’all!
How cool is this nut display?? You guys know I’m all about my portion sizes:
Check out this new Chobani product for kids:
This kid-friendly yogurt is packed with protein and comes in Very Berry, Strawnana, Honeynana, and Chocolate. You can bet I went back the next day to try the Honeynana!
Larabar has also come out with some new flavors this past July, including chocolate chip cookie dough (inhaled during an educational session):
The chocolate chips are a genius addition, although I would probably keep these new chip-studded flavors for an occasional treat.
I had heard good things about the robot in the picture below, including how it would address you by name (after your badge is scanned) and how it flirts with the ladies. I made a beeline to this booth on the second day, hoping to be
flattered by an inanimate object amazed by the robot’s engineering, but sadly, it was not operational during my visit.
I also had the fortune to hang out with these two wonderful ladies:
Ellen Shanley and Colleen Thompson are two University of Connecticut professors who have written an informative book called “Fueling the Teen Machine“. The second edition of this teen-centered nutrition book was just published.
Stay tuned for a full review ASAP!
Just so you know, I didn’t just go to FNCE to collect free stuff: I also attended a number of (mostly) interesting educational sessions. Here are a few tidbits I picked up about the latest nutrition research (as reported by FNCE’s presenters, unverified by me):
Vitamin D (Dr. Michael Holick, presenter)
* Low blood levels have been associated with diabetes, metabolic syndrome, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, dementia, schizophrenia, muscle weakness, peritonitis, upper respiratory tract infections, low birth weight, and poor birth outcomes. Whew!
* 81% of newborns are vitamin D deficient (within Dr. Holick’s hospital)
* Night sweating is most common symptom of vitamin D deficiency (!)
* Mushrooms make vitamin D, and are a potentially rich food source of vitamin D. In fact, I visited one exhibitor at the FNCE expo giving information on mushrooms as a vitamin D source. Interesting!
* Dr. Holick suggests that osteomalacia (softening of the bones related to lack of vitamin D) can be masked as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome.
* Getting vitamin D from sun exposure when young can help decrease lifetime cancer risk (obviously, Dr. Holick’s view on this topic is controversial).
* Oily fish (like salmon) contain vitamin D, but farmed salmon contains NO vitamin D.
* Obesity is associated with vitamin D deficiency. Because body fat stores vitamin D, people who are obese need 2-10x as much vitamin D.
* Dr. Holick’s recommends large dose vitamin D supplements (4000 – 6000 IU/day) to maintain vitamin D levels in the body. While his research points to the need for such supplements, especially for people who live at higher latitudes, I would recommend getting your vitamin D levels checked first (ask for a total 25(OH)D assay) before supplementing with vitamin D. Just be prudent.
Nutritional Genomics (Jose Ordovas, PhD & Ruth DeBusk, PhD, RD, presenters)
* Different areas of the world have varying levels of selenium in the soil, and thus different levels of selenium in crops (see my selenium post).
* Could out-of-sync biological clocks (like the internal clock that controls your sleep cycle) contribute to chronic disease?
* Starvation during fetal development affects newborns’ metabolisms – their bodies are programmed to “hold on” to every calorie they get, increasing future risk of overweight and obesity.
* Someday, RDs may be able to look at a person’s unique “genetic signature” to help design an individual diet and exercise plan to keep the person healthy and meet their unique needs. Cool, huh?
Healthy Aging (Stephen B. Kritchevsky, PhD & Jennifer G. Robinson, MD, MPH, presenters)
* “Lifespan” vs. “Healthspan”: our goal should be to extend the number of years of healthy life, not just the number of years of life, period.
* As people age, they tend to lose muscle and bone – but they also tend to gain weight! Where does that weight come from? (Hint: FAT). Resistance training as you age will help reduce the loss of muscle and the gain of fat.
* Loss of muscle in aging is related to the amount of protein in the diet (a.k.a. give your seniors plenty of protein!).
* BMI’s related to lowest mortality in adults ages 60-68 is 26.6 in men and 27.3 in women. These BMI’s are considered “overweight” according to the current BMI scale.
* Higher omega-3 fat levels are correlated with longer telomere lengths (telomeres are a measure of how fast you are aging – you want longer telomeres). Eat your fatty fish!
Breast Cancer: Diet, Physical Activity, and Genetics (Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, PhD, RD & Dr. Jennifer Ligibel, presenters)
* Women who gain weight later in life (regardless of whether they were lean or overweight in early life) are at a higher risk of breast cancer, possibly because of increased fat mass over lean mass (muscle and bone).
* The “Western diet” (higher in saturated fat, trans fat, sugar) is associated with a 2x higher risk of ALL-cause mortality.
* Plenty of exercise AFTER breast cancer diagnosis is linked to a better outcome, whereas women who gain weight after diagnosis increase risk of cancer mortality.
Overall, my first time at FNCE was a success! … Not least because I got to meet three wonderful bloggers! Do you know them?
Melinda (on right) blogs at Nutrition, Food, Travel, and More – you may remember her wonderful guest post on THIH when I was in China this past summer. I was so thrilled to meet Melinda, not only because I’m a great admirer of her blog, but also because she lives in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and I probably would never have met her if it wasn’t for FNCE! Lovely to meet you, Melinda!
I loved chatting with you, Kristen! I feel like I’ve known you for a long time! FNCE has only whetted my appetite for blogger meetups – anyone coming to Connecticut any time soon? 😉
Q: Have you ever been to a blogger meetup?
What’s your favorite birthday dessert? See pictures 4-6 of this post for mine 😀