The first weekend in October I headed to Nashville Tennessee with my dietitian friend Ange for FNCE- aka the biggest dietitian convention known to man. There were over 10,000 RDs in attendance which is awesome. I only spent one day at the conference and then spent the rest of my time enjoying the city.
Make sure you check out this article about what other RDs (and myself!) eat when traveling HERE!
We arrived Saturday around noon and took an Uber to the Air BnB we were staying at for the weekend. It was further out of the city, but near the Vanderbilt campus (close to Midtown and Music Row!) so there was still plenty going on. We immediately sought out food (pizza- nothing special, we were starving) and then started planning the rest of our day.
My biggest request for this trip was to check out a couple local breweries being the beer snob that I am. After lunch we got ready and headed to Tennessee Brew Works. We each enjoyed a flight- my favorites were a sweet potato stout and a Saison brewed with basil. Next we walked a short distance to Jackalope Brewing Co. I sampled the Maple Brown Ale with Chai- delicious!
After the delicious beers we decided to head to Broadway to check out the live music scene. We did some bar hopping and met up with some other RD friends, and really enjoyed listening to all the bands but turned in early since we had the conference the next day.
As a member of the Nutrition Entrepreneurs group I was invited to attend breakfast with Siggi- yes that Siggi! He put together a great presentation about how and why he started his company- it was really interesting and inspiring. I enjoyed some 2% pumpkin and spice skyr with granola and blueberries while he was speaking. My favorite slide showed how Siggi’s has 27% less sugar than any other brand, very cool.
Ange and I grabbed a quick coffee (okay maybe we stayed out a little later than we should’ve) before splitting up to head to different sessions for the day. I started with A Step-by-step Process for Helping Athletes Achieve Optimal Performance Weight and Body Composition. Since I started doing private sports nutrition counseling a few months ago I thought this would be a great session to attend and I was right! My favorite part of sports nutrition presentations is hearing about case studies!
The next session Ange and I attended together- Functional Nutrition: Using Food as Medicine, Connection, Information & Energy. I firmly believe food is medicine and can be used to prevent or heal disease. I personally try to avoid taking medications unless absolutely necessary. Afterwards we explored the expo together… Ange is strict vegan so her options were limited than mine but I went whole hog… I’ve never had so many free samples in one place!
Some of my favorite products were: Coco Libre Protein Coconut Water, The Better Bean Company, Bard Valley Natural Delights Fresh Medjool Dates, and Go Live Probiotics + Prebiotics.
My first afternoon session was probably my favorite of the day: Bitter-Sweet: How Our Senses Impact Chronic Disease and Weight. I just really enjoy learning about food science and these presenters were fantastic. John Hayes was one of the presenters and currently works at Penn State and he was hilarious- definitely kept the audience engaged the whole time. The most interesting takeaway he shared was that “having a sweet tooth” is not directly related to diabetes and a lot of research actually shows higher fat intake than sugar intake in obesity.
My last session of the conference was Sports Injuries & Nutrition Therapies: Good, Better, Best. Sports nutrition is so interesting to me and this session absolutely held my attention even though it was the end of the day. Again- case studies blew my mind, awesome stuff.
Sunday concluded with meeting up with our programs preceptors and attending some other sponsored events. Okay and we checked out a couple more bars.
Monday is the real day of eats and touristy stuff! We decided to rent bikes to check out the city and visit a vegan café. We started the day at a local café- Fido, to fuel up for our ride and I had one of my favorite breakfasts- smoked salmon on an everything bagel with goat cheese.
First stop on the ride was The Parthenon- extremely disappointing compared to seeing the real one in Athens last year. But we biked around Centennial Park for a bit taking in the other scenes before heading out on the road.
We biked about 6 miles to Khans Desserts. I had a fantastic coconut and chocolate bar that reminded me of my Chocolate Almond Coconut Bars– I need to make those again soon! We relaxed for a while and then biked back to the city via the Music City Bikeway.
We biked around the city to see the Country Music Hall of Fame, the stadiums, etc. We did a little shopping around Midtown, where I grabbed some Jenis ice cream, and then we purchased food to take to the airport- Butternut Squash salad and Ratatouille veggies.
We took an uber back to the airport and that basically concluded our Nashville trip. I really loved the city- it was the perfect size and had so much going on, plus you can’t beat live music. The conference was even better than last year and I loved being able to meet and learn from so many RDs.