FNCE 2017

I had the privilege to attend the 2017 Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) this past October, held by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This well attended conference was celebrating it’s 100th year and had over 12,000 attendees. I fully admit my initial allure to dive into this mass of dietitians was for continued education credits (of which our profession needs to accumulate on a five year rotation). However, upon reflection of the experience my takeaways were far greater than logistical numbers to hold my credentials.

What I learned at FNCE 2017: Food is powerful.

Food creates and enhances happiness, despair, sickness and physique. It is simple -food is fuel- and complicated –insert any number of questions or comments here- all at the same time. It can not be avoided; it touches all lives to suffer or thrive, for without it we would not survive.

chicago from Sears tower

Case in Point:

I attended a session on nutrigenomics, where we heard about individual phenotypes response to caffeine, salt, and sugar, as well as what current research is still being done on potential individual nutrition needs based on genetics.

I sat in on a talk regarding the new theories of daily need for vitamin B12, based on severe symptoms experienced by vegetarians, and which lab values to assess to determine true deficiency.

There was a detailed talks on hypothyroidism and body composition (spoiler alert this condition has little positive to say about related weight and lean mass outcomes).

What about allergies and intolerances? They have increased, mostly in kids, by 18% in the last ten years. That is just those with allergies, systemic responders, not those with self report of negative food-related symptoms disrupting their lives. There are a plethora of self diagnosed food conditions; is this a product of the modern food system and environment or a psychological cry for power over food choice?

I marveled at the development of vertical farming inside large containers in Brooklyn. This is a concept spreading across the country and attracting young farmers who want to marry agricultural science and technology to control the growing environment to feed their neighborhoods.

I heard about the predicted future technologies that will allow you to blink against a contact computer chip to see the nutritional and economic data of a particular food item. Versus the hard facts of today, how 900 million people die of hunger every year; that’s one every four seconds.

Genetic engineering has advanced our abilities to grow more food and be more sustainable per region, we are headed in the right direction to conserve water, land and health of the environment, but not fast enough, as our population is predicted to rise to 9 billion by 2050. Then the issue is how do we not only feed those people, but nourish them as well, all while being kind to the earth.

Oh yes and then there is HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). As professionals in nutrition we must be careful with our relationships with other health care providers. As the healthcare community as a whole strives to bring the best services to patients for prevention and treatment we must be aware of antitrust laws, anti kickback statutes and state licensure and billing laws, on top of our defined scopes of practice.

Then still more sessions I attended focused on the consumer. The average person in the United States wants to eat less fat, sugar and salt but they still don’t know how to do this, as more and more products and more and more media bombards them with controversial food information.

Following this I sat in on an almost two hour talk on the latest “diet” trend of intermittent fasting and all the potential positive outcomes of such a practice. This talk ended with the conclusion that there is not enough research to say with certainty that it is an evidenced based practice for health improvement; not surprisingly, more research is needed. No truth and more confusion for the masses.

More research is needed in every facet of food and nutrition, as theories in our field are young and vulnerable. Yet in the background I’m thinking sure, but more research means more time and what will happen over that time? What will become of the next thirty years as we continue to live longer, yet still have few answers to improve quality of life through our most basic need of food?

And to that, again I say, Food is Powerful. I listened my way through this conference sitting in on only a handful of over 100 available sessions, which collectively covered more areas of food and nutrition than any one person can hope to comprehend.

If all of that was an overwhelming whirlwind don’t worry, the takeaway I have for you is more simple. As provided by FNCE 2017 keynote speaker Kimbal Musk: #realfood. That’s (hashtag) Real Food. At the very least use it to nourish yourself. Find what that means for you and be well.

If you want to do more I encourage you to seek out the research and read it with a critical eye; get in in touch with food and nutrition professionals to ask questions and have discussions; learn about and get involved in your local food and/or health care system.

Determine what piece of the powerful food puzzle you are passionate about and make a stance towards using the power of food for good.

Thanks for tuning in to my conference debrief! Please feel free to reach out to me for details, comments and questions.


Will Hike for Food

So you have some outdoor adventures coming up this summer?! …

Have you thought about what you will do for food??

Too often this question is left unanswered, until you’re packing to leave. The default is a drop in at the grocery store on your way out of town for a handful of protein bars, trail mix, Gatorade and maybe a bag of chips for the ride. Sub-par nutrition for the activity you about to embark on.

With this food approach, at the minimum you are gone half a day hiking moderate terrain in moderate conditions and it’s no big deal; other times you are gone for one or more days of high exertion in variable weather and find yourself dehydrated, fatigued, and in the long run malnourished or sick in the days to follow.

My advice is to BE PREPARED for all outdoor adventure occasions with nourishing food to maximize your experience and come back home refreshed from the experience.

camp food

Here are some tips on where to start. Also check out my past article Camping Fare for more ideas.

Day adventures

Outdoor activity is best fueled with low fiber, high nutrient and energy dense food with adequate water content. Preparing your own food is the best way to accomplish this.

Example meals/snacks

  • boiled eggs
  • ants on a log (celery and peanut butter with raisins)
  • nut butter and banana sandwich, maybe with some honey?!
  • cheese sandwich
  • smoked salmon wrap
  • homemade energy bites or granola bars
  • dried fruit
  • nut mix

Camping adventures

Camping for multiple days of daily activity, with a cold food storage available to you.

Prep ahead

  • Cut veggies and fruit
  • Cut cheese or meats into slices
  • Put bulk items into smaller containers: nuts/seeds, crackers, granola, jerky, cheese, hummus, condiments, etc.

Make ahead, with option to freeze in advance (and double as ice packs in the cooler!) These heat up great as one pot meals on stove top or over fire.

  • Examples:
    • Chili, stews, soups
    • Pasta and sauce
    • Pancakes/waffles
    • Burritos
    • Rice and beans
    • Sausage and potatoes (add veggies for stir-fry in camp)
    • Tuna/salmon/egg salad or dip
    • Lasagna
    • Enchiladas
    • Casseroles



Bring plenty; carry more than you think you will need when you are out and about, or know there is an alternative source available to you.

Know before you go:

  1. Is there somewhere to fill up drinkable water? At your camp? On the trail?
  2. Should you carry a water filter or iodine tablets when away from camp?
  3. How will you carry water during activity?

Best rule is to drink water every 20 minutes, with food every hour

Fluid sources besides water:

  • Cooked meals
  • Fruits and veggies
  • Coffee or tea
  • (dry bars and trim mixes will require more fluid intake)

Get out there and enjoy the outdoors!

Health Snapshots

Below I would like to share with you some of the pictures that I have been posting on instagram. You can follow all my posting there, @nutritionbyjules, to see more fun photography of all things health related- food, cooking, gardening, recreation and activity! These are also streamed to my Facebook page and Twitter if you use these social media outlets!


From the garden!


Art of the ride. Lavender in the spokes.


In light of my recent blog on how to butcher and prepare pork, I acquired some local leaf fat and made my first attempt at rendering lard. It was a fun experience! The multiple steps are depicted here in this picture:

Step I= cut the leaf fat into cubes (as best possible).

Step 2= place fat cubes in crock pot on low with a little water at the bottom and let fat melt overnight. I ended up letting it stew for about 20 hours. I also used too much water, which ended up separating from the fat when I strained it.

Step 3= strain the leftover chunks, or cracklings, from the liquid fat. I used a stainless steel strainer, which ended up not being big enough and I had to strain multiple times/batches to get through it all. I think in the future cheese cloth would work better. The cracklings can be saved and used as well.

Step 4= let the fat cool into a creamy white, soft but solid form. Keep in jars to use as you would butter for cooking and baking. Extra will freeze nicely. I ended up with 5 small jars from one chunk of leaf fat.


Hemp milk latte. Hemp milk is a great protein source and alternative to highly processed cow’s milk. It also contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. As it is becoming more and more popular you will find it in more places for purchase. This latte was made at Backporch coffee roasters in Bend, OR.


Soaked almonds. Nuts, among other plants, have phytates, phenols and other inhibiting agents that bind the nutrients in the food and can have toxic effects when consumed in excess. Soaking helps loosen these to protect the body from their potential damage and to release nutrients, allowing the body to better utilize them.



A few fish meals. Salmon cakes, Oregon rock fish tacos, wild caught salmon with Brussels sprouts and fresh Alaskan halibut stew!


Just for laughs. Humor is good stress relief. Goof it up!