Run | Laugh | Eat | Repeat

Food, Friends, & Fun: FNCE 2013

on October 23, 2013

I arrived in Houston on Saturday afternoon and left Tuesday afternoon. In the time span of three days, the size of my luggage went from one normal checked bag and extremely light carry-on, to one bursting-at-the-seams checked bag, one 30lb carry-on and a large purse heavy enough it could knock someone out.

How?
I shamelessly admit that my bags were full of food. FULL of it. Food everywhere. Energy bars, granola, dried fruit, peanut butter, chocolate, bean chips, gluten-free seed pretzels, nutrient supplements, organic, natural, healthy, new products galore!

 

I actually won the award for “Most Efficient Packer” among my group of interns. Here is only a portion of the samples I managed to squeeze into my carry-on:
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In case anyone is wondering where all of this tasty goodness came from, I was at the annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) this past weekend in Houston. This was my second FNCE and it was a blast! Between all of the great sessions I attended, hours, of walking the expo floor tasting products and collecting samples and handouts, and the cute supermarket/foodbar/restaurant my fellow interns and I found, we had the best weekend ever!

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Here’s what I learned at this year’s FNCE:

1. Houston’s restaurants are closed on the weekends. Or maybe it’s the weekdays – we never really figured it out. All I know is that we spent a good two hours walking around looking for a place to eat dinner together, and ended up here…

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Our internship director wasn’t thrilled.

2. What we DID find was the best place in all of Houston: Phoenicia. If you ever go to Houston, look up Phoenicia and go. You won’t be disappointed. It’s like a mini, local Whole Foods. With a sit-down restaurant on one side and the most delicious gelato!

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PUMPKIN GELATO! WHAT?!

3. The sessions at FNCE are well worth attending. Last year as an undergraduate student, I have to admit I spent all of my time exploring the expo floor, eating, and walking around Philadelphia, where the convention was held. I loved it, but this year I went to the education sessions all day as well, and they were wonderful. There are almost too many topics to choose from! From clinical nutrition issues to food demos and photography, I basically had to do “eenie meenie miney mo” to choose where to go. I favored the ones that were geared towards food blogging and community work. Especially food photography. It was so educational and I felt so inspired that I kept going on and on about it afterwards, saying  “I loved it so much I am going to throw up!” because you know, that’s a normal reaction.

4. It’s perfectly acceptable to take as many free samples as you can get your hands on. I mean, the expo floor is huge. Brands and products everywhere. Try some. Try them all. Take what they give you. I KEPT going back to the Daiya booth (a diary-free, soy-free cheese product) and they welcomed me! Let me tell you, DELICIOUS. Gooey, cheesy, heaven.

5. Dietitians go out of their way to network and meet new people. It’s great. Everyone wants to help each other achieve their dream.

6. The field of dietetics has SO much to offer. I am overwhelmed with dreams and options and career paths!

7. I love to run in new places. Big cities are a pain because of course you have to stop at every intersection, so I wouldn’t run around Houston if I was looking for a 5 mile intense training run. But I WOULD run around Houston if I wanted to explore and have a moment of not knowing where I was going but being perfectly happy enjoying the view. And that’s what I did.

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8. I LOVE each and every one of my fellow NHC interns. I already knew that, but now I really know it. We all have completely different interests, personalities, and priorities, but we somehow click. We understand and appreciate each other. I am so blessed to be going through this year with such strong, kind, and amazing ladies!

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9. Life is always better when you’re learning, laughing, and celebrating everything.

10. Everywhere I travel, I immediately want to live there.

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Nice getting to know you, Texas!

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