My first Portland post was focused on the amazing food in this sustainable city. This post is going to highlight the conference I attended as well as the sports nutrition companies and new products that I discovered there too. SCAN is the Sports Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition dietetic practice group (DPG). It is the largest DPG under the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics so it even has three sub-units (sports, wellness, eating disorders). I have been volunteering for the sports sub-unit doing social media for over four years and have been the head of the social accounts for three years now. So, if you’re following @SportsDietetics on twitter, that’s me and a great team of volunteers creating content! I was live tweeting the conference all weekend too – thank God for hootsuite!
SCAN RD’s are the best RD’s cause they want to eat healthy and exercise! But seriously. You would be surprised how many RD’s are not committed to an active lifestyle. This is the only nutrition conference that I go to where there are morning exercise activities each day, and those activities are ridiculously well attended. Yay fitness!
While I already talked about my time outside of the conference, I thought I’d share another pretty Portland pic. It is a nicer way to start a post than by showing a pic from inside the Hilton conference rooms! Here is a shot from my walk around town Thursday afternoon.
I skipped the group walk this morning for a workout in the hotel gym. I hit some weights an they even had TRX there! Well done, Hilton. Finished it off with some much needed foam rolling after sitting for hours on a plane the day before. I grabbed some Stumptown coffee at Hop City in the hotel and got ready for day 1!
Keynote Part I was titled “”The Science Behind the Multi-Systemic Health and Performance Benefits of Exercise in Aging Athletes”. While Mark Tarnopolsky, MD, PhD, FRCPC did a great job explaining his research on endurance exercise’s mitochondrial preservation, he also touched upon the benefits of strength training. While the slide below offers his take aways (and some humor – we are all aging), he simplified the application recommending a bare minimum of 3 “endurance” and 3 resistance sessions per week to slow the aging process. Both cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal movements are necessary for functionality and longevity at a cellular level!Keynote part II, if you didn’t alrady see on my Instagram, was given by Amby Burfoot, Runner’s World editor and 1968 Boston Marathon winner. He is running today on the 48th anniversary of his win! He gave us great perspective on the lack of sports nutrition knowledge in his prime. Fun fact: he ran his first cross country race in high school in bowling shoes because that is all he had!
Next, I helped man the SCAN table at the exhibit hall and finally met Cara who volunteers with the social subunit and has been does a great job picking up SCAN’s Instagram and Facebook activity. It was great hanging with her during sessions as we frantically tweeted, retweeted and made sure our devices were charged! During the first break, California Almonds provided their trail mix spread that they give at most conferences they attend. The candied almonds are most addictive so I always try to only grab a few!
I had a little bit of time to browse around the other vendors. BiPro was back this year and has a new protein product that due to its amino acid content they claim will improve sleep as it enhances recovery. I am not a huge whey fan and cannot tolerate it myself but, if you choose whey, this product has natural ingredients and is NSF Certified for Sport. Super important with the shady supplement industry!
Next, I listened to the Sports Subunit chair and Professor at West Chester University, Chris Karpinski, speak about how to build a sustainable sports nutrition program for small college’s. I am always interested in what Chris has to say as many of my nutrition students at Bucks Community College transfer their with an interest in sports nutrition. I always let them know she is their go to when they want experience. She is doing a great job over their with no funding and willing undergrad and graduate nutrition students! She touched upon how UVT and Central Washington are doing with their small programs and minimal budgets too. It’s not all glitz and glamour unless you are attending or working at a DI school with lots of $$$! They are few and far between.
A concurrent session on commitment therapy was going on in the other room. It was focused on cognitive coaching so that clients make changes that last.
Time for another short break before lunch. I stopped by and chatted with Evolve this time! This new protein beverage on the market is completely plant based with natural ingredients. The stevia flavor is a little bit strong for my liking but this is still a great alternative for student athletes with busy schedules that can’t have dairy and need something quick post-workout. After speaking with the rep we are going to try to get some product in for the Bucks athletes. While not everyone needs fish oil, athletes with asthma are found to benefit from more Omega-3. If you are taking it, Nordic Naturals is the brand I recommend most. I also, while not a huge supplement advocate, always recommend vitamin D3. They have it paired with their omega 3 or on its own.
Lunch was provided by EAS so I knew going into this session, they may be promoting some of their own products. I was pleasantly surprised that it was not too salesy and they gave some good info on more deception in labeling in the supplement industry. Note that your BCAA supplement claiming “zero calorie” is full of it since amino acids are protein and protein has calories! They also highlighted that many companies do not count the calories coming from isomaltose which is a carbohydrate previously thought to be incompletely absorbed. Research shows it is absorbed as an energy source and it therefore provides calories. If they added 20 grams to your product well, that is 80 calories they aren’t counting!
The next session I attended was on sustainability in the shopping cart. I am a huge advocate for sustainable living and highly recommend you follow Kate Geagan, green nutrition expert (follow her on twitter)! At the same time, a session on effective evaluation of research was going on. Not all media claims have research to back them up but even those that do do not always have good research backing them up! Check out the quality of your sources and actually read through their methods, statistical analysis and results. What does the whole body of research on that subject show? That is more important than what we find in one study. The lunch provided wasn’t bad at all. They served wraps but the vegetarian option on wheat included asparagus and brussel sprouts inside. Yum!
Another snack break and exhibitor break. RD’s do not go hungry! I skipped this one as well as most of the next session on no calorie sweeteners. We had not eaten too soon before and I really did not care what splenda had to say. #Sorrynotsorry. I went for a walk becase it was gorgeous out! Sunny and high 70’s – no way I could stay inside all day.
The next session was on a super important topic that is often mis-interpreted in the media: orthorexia and pathological exercise. Yes, kale is healthy. 12 Cups of kale isn’t. Yes, exercise is good for you. Not when it consumes your life and throws other parts of it off balance. Here are some take away slides.
Next, the SCAN awards reception was on the top floor of the hotel with this beautiful view! It was sponsored again this year by the Raspberry council. Hope Barkoukis received the Achievement Award. Hope will be serving as the Director-at-Large for the Academy Board of Directors after years of making SCAN what it is today. Linda Van Horn recevied the Distinguished Scholar Award, Sharon Smalling the Excellence in Practice Award and Tanya Halliday, the Student Award.
And, because dietitians take pictures of food and not people, here is the spread. veggies and hummus with spicy salmon and vegan rice balls. Topped with raspberry compote of course! After the reception I headed out with one of the SCAN social volunteers and an RD to be getting her MS at West Chester. We walked through Pioneer Square and down to the river to see how pretty it was at night!
I definitely already mentioned this but, Amby, who spoke the day before, ran with us for the SCAN morning run. A huge group turned out to jump start their morning in 8 minute, 10 minute or walking pace groups. I broke off with a group including Kim and Heather into 9ish pace and Amby was off. “Ran with him” for a hot second. He is pictured below with Eve, who has been active with SCAN forever.
Today’s first session was on the dietary guidelines and new recommendations for diet patterns for cardiovascular health. While the guidelines stripped the original suggested verbage on sustainability, they at least have better recommendations than before for looking at diet patterns and the whole diet approach versus “good food vs bad food”. Here are some takeaway slides.
We have some work to do on fruit and veggie intake and reducing added sugars, saturated fats and sodium!
Next, I stayed in Ballroom I to hear ” Controversies in Fueling Ultra-Endurance Athletes: Insights from Early Humans to the Drive-Thru Window” while another session on Sustainability of Seafood was going on. I have to say I wish I was in the seafood session. It was cool to see the extreme’s of fluid loss and the ability to replenish glycogen with different foods after an ultra-endurance race such as an iron man triathlon but, I can count on one hand the clients I have that race under these conditions. Fueling them is also so specific to the individual based on what they are able to tolerate during their race. I can use some of this data to help them understand the importance of that fuel though.
The next session on sensory science was more exciting than I anticipated and that is completely attributed to the interactive nature. it is important for RD’s to understand the different palates of our clients so that we can coach them to try new foods, prepared in different ways and understand why it is easier for some people to overeat compared to others.
Unfortunately, most people are not appreciating food for it’s nutritional quality!
We tasted strips to see if we found them bitter or not. I was surprised in the session to see that most people did not taste anything while I had a bitter taste in my mouth for a good half hour later! This meant that I am apparently a “super taster”. They said most super taster’s are less likely to enjoy fruits and vegetables or, it takes them more time to acquire the taste. I can say that I am not a huge fan of bitter greens and it takes everything in me to choke down beet greens instead of tossing them. I guess this is why! Behind the strip in the picture below are two bags of salted sunflower seeds. The one with lower sodium was actually salted with new micro-spheres of salt that are made to taste saltier than regular salt. This is done without adding chemicals… YAY and can be big for the food industry in reducing sodium content.
It is no secret that I played hooky for the lunch session and most of the one right after to eat at Prasad with other RD’s and hit up the super cool Saturday Market. When in Rome (Portland)!
Afterwards I made it back for the second part of Nanna Meyer and Janet Rankin’s talk on benefits for sustainability and health through local food and active transport. It was awesome to see how much money Portland has saved through making biking an easy form of transportation in the city. They also mentioned Open Streets Chicago which caught my attention as Open Streets Philadelphia is a huge movement right now. On social media they then said they have a big announcement soon. Excited to hear about it!
The last session was titled “Taking Nutrition Business Online, Legally”. I was really excited about this one since I do some distance counseling but it really didn’t deliver. In the first 5 minutes the presenter said she would not be talking about legal issues since she isn’t a lawyer. I did work for most of the rest of this session while pulling small quotes to tweet here and there :(.
The other exhibitor I didn’t yet mention that had great new products to offer was Kashi! Their new hemp peanut bar was delicious and I am excited for their plant based protein powders to hit the market soon. I made some bran muffins last night and added the packet of “vanilla vinyasa” powder to it and both me and the hubs them! can’t wait to try the other flavors I brought home.
The last day started out back on the top floor for yoga with Heather from Spright! I had already spent a lot of time with Heather the day before and was super excited for her to lead our morning yoga sesh. It was an awesome workout and I wish I had her awesome yoga playlist for days I Namaste at home.
After yoga I ran (literally, it was only a half mile) to mother’s bistro for breakfast which I reviewed on Friday. You need to go there. I then spent time packing up all my stuff in the room and getting organized before hitting a session by Katie Knappenberger, Northwestern’s RD and one of their ATC’s. Complete opposite of Chris’s talk on Friday, this one showed what you can do for DI athletes with all the funding you need! They are even using a DEXA for body comp. Still, they could use more RD’s so a big benefit is working together as a team. RD’s and ATC’s should really be supporting one another’s efforts and it is a great takeaway for RD’s just getting started to build relationships there as much as possible.
The last snack break was sponsored by Kashi and was full of organic goodness. I was stuffed from my ridiculously amazing breakfast but snagged some trail mix for later. I used some of the sweet potato cereal and added in organic coconut, organic tart cherries (good work impressing sports RD’s there Kashi), organic cacao and pumpkin seeds.
I stuck around to hear Karen Ansel, RD media expert speak about pitching to editors. She provided good tips for knowing your editor and your audience so that you can set yourself apart. RD’s are already recognized by national magazines as the nutrition experts but, we need to be able to deliver information the way that particular magazine already does.
From there, I headed out for a hike because, PORTLAND. I really wanted to see some waterfalls but didn’t have the time for it. The max train got me to the part in 10 minutes and I spent some time with nature to decompress after a long weekend of learning.
In closing, Portland was fabulous. I learned some new information, met new RD friends, and was inspired by all the great things dietitians are doing in the industry! To top it off the airport even bid me farewell on a healthy note.
And I couldn’t not show you this deliciousness from Petunia’s that I ate on my layover…
Til next time, PDX!