It's been a little busy around here being a media spokesperson, raising two kids, and serving as the President for the district (Greater Seattle Dietetic Association - 2017-2018) and state (Washington State Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics - 2018-2019).
My plan is to enter old media clips from 2017 through May 2019 and blog when a topic comes up
Thanks and have an awesome rest of your day
It has truly been an honor and pleasure to serve as 1 of 30 national media spokespersons. I have the distinction of being re-appointed for another 3-year term. Congrats to the new and re-appointed spokespersons -
New - Yasi Ansari, Jerlyn Jones, Amy Kimberlain, Alicia Romano
Year 7 - Sonya Angelone, Libby Mills
Year 4 - Jen Bruning, Robin Foroutan, Caroline Passerrello, and myself
Had the opportunity to participate in the NSCAA Podcast with Dean Linke discussing the importance of nutrition in youth soccer. Checkout Episode 3 with Dean Linke with contributions from Julie Foudy, Charlie Slagle, Sue Ryan, Zak Ibsen, and Michael Rabasca.
To check out the podcast, click here
For my section, please fast forward to 46:28
The links that I encourage you visit to get more information is
Had the opportunity to chime in on an article on the Food Network titled "9 Nutritionists Share Their New Year's Resolutions" written by Toby Amidor with contributions from Neva Cochran, Dayle Hayes, Tammy Lakatos Shames, Lyssie Lakatos, Heather Mangieri, Stephanie McKercher, Abbey Sharp, Ginger Hultin and Jill Castle
Expanding fish preparation techniques
“Residing in the Pacific Northwest, one of my goals is to learn how to cook fish (like salmon) in various ways, so I want to sign up for a cooking class on fish preparation.”
–Angel Planells MS, RDN, CD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics
Had the opportunity to chime in on this article written by Arielle Weg titled "7 Protein Sources for Vegetarians"
A Passion for Sports and Nutrition
Angel Planells, MS, RDN, CD, of Seattle, Wash., shares his personal and professional experiences in the field of nutrition and dietetics. This video originally aired live in 2015 at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo.
Quoted in Men's Health piece: "The Five Worst Things on Fast Food Menus Right Now" with Keri Gans and Vandana Sheth
Chimed in on an article in Today's Geriatric Medicine titled "Nutrition for Arterial Health" written by Judith Thalheimer, with contributions from David Becker, Alice Lichtenstein, and Rena Zelig
Whole Foods Magazine: News to Nutritionists
Whole Foods Magazine: News to Nutritionists
I had the pleasure of contributing to an article on food trends after attending the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics annual Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) with fellow media spokespersons Toby Smithson, Lori Zanini, and Alissa Rumsey
Some quotes from the article include:
GetHealthie Blog: Transparency and Wellness Prominent at Nutrition Conference… Not Soda and Snack Foods
I had an opportunity to provide a quote on the article, Transparency and Wellness Prominent at Nutrition Conference, Not Soda and Snack Foods written by Zachari Breeding with quotes from Leah McGrath and Christy Wilson
My quote was:
Served as a moderator for 2 educational sessions at the 2016 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo in Boston, MA
Sunday 10/16 - Student Research: Experiences that Equip and Inspire
Tuesday 10/18 - Cystic FIbrosis Nutrition: What Every RDN Needs to Know
Had the honor and privilege of being highlighted in the All Access Internships posting, "Stand Out Male Dietitians" with fellow guyatitians David Grotto, Christopher Gunning, Christopher Vogliano, Jonathan Valdez, Jim White, and Brett Singer
If you follow me on social media, you know that my family and I took a crazy road trip in July across the country. Many folks remarked "how awesome" it was to follow via social media, and also wondered how we pulled it off with 2 kids in tow. A former co-worker in September told me that she was inspired and wanted to do a similar trip with her family. However, she had lots of questions and concerns about how to pull it off. This topic was inspired from that conversation. This blog post will be long but provides plenty of great information on where to stay, what to eat, where to visit, and how we made it all the way back home with a 7- and 3-year old.
We had the pleasure of traveling from the Northern Woods of Wisconsin all the way back to the Pacific Northwest. In our 8-day journey, we travelled through 8 different states (Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Washington). We had the pleasure of visiting 2 National Parks (Badlands and Yellowstone/Grand Tetons), 2 National Monuments (Mount Rushmore and Devil's Tower), and 2 South Dakota state parks (Newton Hills State Park and Custer State Park). We spent three nights camping, and also spent a night in a teepee, cabin, dude ranch, and hotel. We drove 2600 miles total, listened to 4 E-books (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Danny the Champion of the World, Beezus & Ramona, and A Wrinkle in Time), lots of Sirius XM stations (Sia and Sean Paul's Cheap Thrill, Justin Timberlake's "Cant stop the feeling," and Coldplay's "Hymn for the Weekend" were on constant rotation), and my family had a blast.
Logistical Issues -
One of the issues faced was wanting to camp, but camping requires a lot of things - tent, sleeping bags, mattress pads, hammocks, grill, propane tanks, and more. (For an extensive list of things for camping, please refer to the REI checklist here.) This logistical issue presented a challenge as it also affected how I was going to make it to Wisconsin in the 1st place. There were 3 different ways that I could make it there: 1) Driving, 2) Flying, or 3) Train. Driving or taking the train would help as it would allow me to transport all of our camping gear. The downside would be driving (28 hours) or taking the train (34 hours) solo. Shipping all of this stuff by plane would be cost prohibitive.
Thankfully, when I dropped my family off at Amtrak the week before, I ran into a very nice Amtrak employee who told me about Amtrak Express - he goes camping often, and ships his things so he doesn't have to drive long distances to camp. He could fly to a location, have all of his camping gear available, and ship it back. All of our camping stuff fit in 4 boxes (180 lbs) and shipped for $113 from King Street Station, Seattle and delivered to St. Paul, Minnesota in 2 days. Shipping via Amtrak Express was the best option as it saved me lots of time and effort. I decided to fly into Minneapolis and had to spend the night using AirB&B due to my late arrival. In the morning, took a Lyft to the rental car facility, drove to the St. Paul train station and then made my way to Minocqua, Wisconsin for 2 days before taking a family trip to remember.
Another issue was a one-way rental car reservation - looking at renting a car from an airport and returning to SeaTac was running $1200-1500 one-way. I looked at flying into Minneapolis, Milwaukee, or Chicago. Taking a cab/Lyft/Uber to another rental car station can save you lots of money. What originally cost $1500 (Milwaukee was the most expensive) ended up costing $568 because I traveled to a non-airport location. A similar situation happened before flying into Tampa airport where a week-long reservation was running $700, but going off-site costs $200. Yes, it's a pain to go off-site but the savings can be huge.
Day 1 (07/11/2016)- Minocqua, Wisconsin to Canton, South Dakota
To spend adequate time in destinations further down the road, we had to make a large dent the first day. Our goal was to make it to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 8 hours away. Looking at options, my wife found a state park outside Sioux Falls where we could spend a night in a cabin. We ate lunch at an A&W outside of Minneapolis, MN and entered the NW corner of Iowa before making it to Newton Hills State Park in Canton South Dakota. We swam in Lake Lakota that evening, and cooked dinner. We were very thankful for the air condition in our cabin as it was quite warm and muggy. Day 1 down, 526 miles in the books.
Day 2 (07/12/2016) - Canton, South Dakota to the Badlands
After making breakfast, we quickly went on 2 walks in Newton Hill State Park. Initially our goal was to make it to Mount Rushmore to camp for the night. We found out that South Dakota is a very large state.
Our first stop was to Sioux Falls, SD to see the beautiful Falls Park and had lunch at the Falls Overlook Cafe. Afterwards, we stopped at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD. For an early dinner, we ate broasted chicken at this cute restaurant in Murdo, South Dakota called Murdo Drive-In, and decided to drive through the Badlands National Park. This park was beautiful, stunning, and out of this world. Pictures do not do it justice - you really must go visit this national park.
After driving through the upper portion of the park, it was getting late and we had to make a decision about either setting up a tent in the dark near Mount Rushmore, or staying at a free campground in the Badlands. Setting up a tent in the dark is no fun, so we decided to go to the free campground in the Badlands. There is one free campground at the Badlands located in the Sage Creek Valley area. We showed up and many people had the same idea. We set up our tent and watched the sun set on an a beautiful summer evening. Bison normally roam through the campground but no luck for us (not yet at least). The stars were amazing, and during the night we heard several coyotes howling to each other). Day 2 down, 357 miles in the books.
Day 3 (07/13/2016) - Badlands -> Mount Rushmore -> Devil's Tower
We had to make up some ground on Day 3 as we did not make it to Mount Rushmore. However, the benefit was we got to spend some extra time in the Badlands (blessing in disguise). On our way out, we got to see a number of prairie dogs in Robert's Prairie Dog Town and also got to see a herd of bison roaming through the less visited portion of the park along Sage Creek Rim Road. We definitely want to come back and spend more time in this beautiful park.
Our first stop of the day was at Wall Drug (right outside of Badlands National Park) in Wall, South Dakota. We had to stop after seeing multiple highway signs for hundreds of miles publicizing free iced water, 5-cent coffee, and delicious donuts. Afterward, we headed to Rapid City, South Dakota with our goal of traveling the Needles Highway (a 14 mile drive through beautiful terrain ) in Custer State Park, before going to see Mount Rushmore. After driving the Needles Highway, we decided to have lunch in Hill City and ate at Bumpin Buffalo Bar & Grill before making our way up to Mount Rushmore,
Mount Rushmore was a beautiful sight to see with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt chiseled on the mountain-side. However, two things irked us: 1) $11 to park (you can come back during the year in the same vehicle - we had a rental car so that wasn't going to work, and 2) it felt like an amusement park with $6.00 ice cream cones and lots of souvenirs. Besides those two things, I did enjoy this wonderful piece of American history
Afterwards, we made the trek to Devil's Tower and finally made it out of the state of South Dakota and entered Wyoming. South Dakota was a huge and beautiful state and we were relieved to make it into Wyoming. Our destination was Devil's Tower Tipi Camping, a beautiful place 2-3 miles away from the Devil's Tower. We spent the night in a 14' foot teepee with 3 beds, a stove, and more (semi-camping). Seeing the Devil's Tower from Devil's Canyon (at the edge of the property) was amazing and surreal. We cooked dinner and called it a night. Day 3 complete, 277 miles in the books.
Day 4 (07/14/2016) - Devil's Tower -> Bill Cody Ranch
We woke up relatively early, made a quick breakfast, packed the car and said goodbye to our lovely host Juliana from Devil's Tower Tipi Camping, Our next stop was the Devil's Tower National Monument. It is truly a sight to see - as Louis Armstrong sang, "what a wonderful world." The scenery was surreal and mysterious - a patch of rock about the size of a football field thrusted almost 900 feet into the sky surrounded by plains and valleys. We did a hike around the base - the nice and easy Tower Trail, 1.3 miles in distance. My wife and son climbed up and over the rocks to the base where you need a permit to climb higher.
On we drove to Bill Cody Ranch outside of Cody, Wyoming. and had the pleasure of driving through the beautiful state of Wyoming. Our first stop was in Gillette, Wyoming at the Coop Rotisserie Restaurant for yummy tacos and rotisserie chicken. We hit the road and kept driving through the Bighorn National Forest on the Cloud Peak Skyway, through Ten Sleep Canyon. Unfortunately, this would be another place to go visit again as the drive through Ten Sleep Canyon was breath-taking.
We were so excited and relieved to make it to Bill Cody Ranch. After 4 days of driving in a car and 3 nights in a cabin, tent, and a tee-pee, we were all beginning to feel/smell a bit ripe. We were able to freshen up and take a hot shower and have a delicious meal. Day 4 was a great success with 325 miles in the books.
Day 5 (07/15/2016) - Bill Cody Ranch -> Yellowstone National Park
After feeling refreshed, we woke up and had a delicious breakfast and then Danielle and Matteo took a 2-hour horse-ride while Mina got to take a 30-minute pony ride. Afterwards, we made our way into Yellowstone National Park. Due to our entering the park on Friday, we ran the risk of not finding a campsite. Our initial plan was to drive through and camp in Grand Tetons National Park and spend some time in both parks. Unfortunately, we arrived too late and were thankful to find an camping site between both parks at Flagg Ranch. The campsite was $35.00 per night but includes restrooms and showers. A great place to camp if you plan on spending time in both parks, but was a bit far to do the upper portion of Yellowstone.
After setting up our campsite, it was about 3:45 in the afternoon and we were trying to find something fun to do. I went over to Flagg Ranch and asked a couple of staff members of a good place to go swimming or fishing. The staff person told me we had two choices for swimming - the Snake River or we could go hike to a hot spring. We chose the latter option and ended up taking a short hike to Polecat Hot Springs. There we were soaking in hot springs with a creek passing by with a beautiful meadow across from us and the Grand Tetons off in the distance - pictures can't do it justice. I recommend bringing sandals as you do have to cross the creek but was a great find for our trip. Afterwards, we cooked dinner and called it a night. The next 2 days were all about Yellowstone. Day 5 complete.
Day 6 (07/16/2016) - Yellowstone National Park
There are not enough adjectives in the English dictionary to describe Yellowstone National Park. What is both exhilarating and terrifying is the fact that while you are enjoying the amenities of this park, you are sitting on a super-volcano (no big deal!!!). The abundance of wild-life - grizzly bears (we did not see one :( although I would prefer to see from afar), moose (we saw one large moose), bison (way too many-to-count with our favorite as we entered Yellowstone on the side of the road basically welcoming us to the park) and more. Then throw in the geysers, hot springs, and mudpots. Clearly, this place is large and massive and you need to spend a week checking it out. The national park website does a great job of describing things to do in the park, check it out here.
We traveled the loop around clockwise from Flagg Ranch, to Old Faithful and the upper geyser basin, Artists Paint Pots, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Mud Volcano, and back to Flagg Ranch. So many sights to see and not enough time. One highlight of the trip was the coffee stand at Old Faithful Inn. Located upstairs on the 2nd floor, this was the first time in a week that we had good coffee. The latte was yummy and this is a must-stop destination (the geysers and the rest of the park are clearly not a priority ;) in my book).
Darwin Award - As an aside, one issue I have with tourists are the people who are potential Darwin Award winners. All throughout the park, the National Park Service clearly advertises that everyone should be mindful while enjoying this beautiful park. While viewing the geysers and mudpots, we had a life-lock grip on our children's hands. A month prior to our trip, this article in the Washington Post came out which described the 2nd fatal event from the thermal features for 2016. "Signs litter such areas throughout the park, warning visitors to remain on boardwalks and keep pets away. Yet there’s something about the technicolor springs that lures otherwise rational observers toward their magnetic depths." The best potential award recipients are the people who take pictures of animals from a very-close range. Yes, the pictures may be amazing but we place the animals and ourselves at risk. There were a couple taking photographs in the middle of the meadow about 20 yards away from a bison. Just don't do it.
Overall, we were left with a feeling of awe - we were able to experience so much of this beautiful and majestic park, but at the same time know we were just barely scratching at the surface. My wife and I agreed we will need to come back and spend a week here next time. We cooked dinner, had a nice fire, and went to bed knowing that in the morning, we would be packing up and getting closer to home.
Day 7 (07/17/2016) - Leaving Yellowstone National Park and driving to Missoula, Montana
We were 12 hours and 37 minutes away from Seattle and had to split this drive in half. We decided our best place to crash for the night was in Missoula, Montana. So we packed up our camping stuff, reorganized our stuff into the car and hit the road. On the way out, we stopped at the coffee stand at Old Faithful Inn (always have to stop for good coffee), and make the trek out. Right before our exit out of Madison, we were stopped by a herd of bison.
As we drove west out of the park, we entered the state of Montana and began to get hungry for lunch. The first town out of Yellowstone is appropriately named "West Yellowstone." We stopped at Beartooth BBQ - the pulled pork sandwich was very tasty. It was a quick stop as we had 2 days to drive back to Seattle ~ 746 miles to go. Montana is called Big Sky Country due to it's lack of population and large buildings, you can see for miles and miles. Our goal for the day was to make it Missoula, Montana. My wife found a Wingate by Wyndham which had a water park inside and also served continental breakfast. We arrived and surprised the kids with a water park for being such great sports over the past 7 days. We all had fun going down the slides, ordered pizza and called it a night.
Day 8 (07/18/2016) - Missoula, Montana back to the Emerald City
The last day of the trip was exciting but also challenging as we had 477 miles to go ~ 7 hours. We woke up and enjoyed the continental breakfast. My children were in awe of the various offerings at a continental breakfast. It made me realize that we rarely stay in hotels. My son remarked how "everything" was the best thing ever. We went back into the waterpark for an hour, packed up the car and hit the road with the 1st goal of reaching Spokane, Washington. We stopped at Picabu Bistro - the garlic chicken melt was delicious. Afterwards, got a latte as we were back in Washington state, and hit the road (286 miles to go).
This was our second time on the eastern side of Washington state (our first was going to Moses Lake for the Grant County Fair and staying at Cave B Inn on the Columbia River Gorge in 2013 when Mina was an infant). The best feeling of the trip was when we went over the Cascade Mountains and reached Snoqualmie Pass. We went from dry and warm to cloudy and cool. It felt great to be back in Western Washington, 60 miles from our house. As for timing, we entered Seattle at rush hour but made it back home by 6 PM.
Final thoughts on the trip
This was a wonderful experience overall.
Prior to this trip, the largest trip we have taken as a family was to Cannon Beach (about 4 hours away). This was going to be a daunting trip with multiple 5+ hour days. Keeping the kids engaged was a must with audiobooks, treats, drinks, and patience as tiny bladders need to be relieved often.
So many fun memories were had by our children - we camped, spent the night in a teepee, swam in a lake and hotspring, and ate yummy food. Our only issue was we wish we had more time to enjoy the sights and scenery. We definitely want to do another trip like this again - perhaps travel from Southern California back up to Seattle going up along the coast near Big Sur, Yosemite, Crater Lake, and work our way back to the Emerald City. We also would like to go back to the Badlands (3-4 days) and Yellowstone/Grand Tetons (1 week)
So, in conclusion - don't be afraid to challenge yourself, especially if you have children. This trip felt daunting, but with some good preparation, we were able to make it happen and became closer as a family. Truly, it was a trip to remember!!!
I had the opportunity to contribute to an WebMD article - Vitamin Essentials as We Age with Ronni Chernoff, Joan Salge Blake and Robin Foroutan
I had the opportunity to chime in on a WebMD article - Best Foods for Your Anti-Aging Diet with Joan Salge Blake and Robin Foroutan
I was quoted in an article on Reader's Digest titled "9 Feelings you Don't Realize You Mistake for Hunger" with fellow spokesperson Torey Armul.
I chimed in on stress, sadness, medication side effects, and nostalgia.
Media Impression - Reader's Digest: 9 Toppings Nutritionists Order at the Frozen Yogurt Store—and 6 They Skip
I was quoted in an article on Reader's Digest titled "9 Toppings Nutritionists Order at the Frozen Yogurt Store—and 6 They Skip" with fellow spokesperson Angela Ginn.
When it comes to frozen yogurt, I said to get: 1) berries; 2) fruit; 3) almonds, 4) dark chocolate chips, and 5) graham crackers. I also said to skip: 1) peanut butter cups, 2) cereal, 3) brownies, and 4) gummies.
Veterans Health Administration
Was featured in the Nutrition & Food Service (NFS) Express Newsletter for Summer 2016
June is Men's Health Month as we celebrate the various men in our lives - fathers, sons, uncles, grandfathers, brothers, cousins, nephews, husbands and partners. Besides wearing blue, the main purpose of Men's Health Month is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease amongst men and boys.
Dietary choices and physical inactivity contribute to 678,000 deaths each year in the USA. The typical American diet tends to be too high in calories, sugar, fat, cholesterol, and sodium, while also being deficient in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fiber.
Here are three easy ways to help the men in our lives take care of their health - the ABC's
As we are speaking about men's health, the topic usually veers into cancer prevention and prostate health. One of my favorite things to consume are tomatoes - both raw and cooked, which possess a powerful antioxidant called lycopene. In research, lycopene-rich foods have shown beneficial properties, mainly 1) antioxidant potential, 2) suppressing carcinogens, and 3) inhibiting cancer cell proliferation. In essence, consuming lycopene-rich foods may play a role in the reduction of prostate cancer. Enjoy your tomatoes, especially cooked tomatoes which show an increase in the absorption of lycopene. Pizza sauce, sun-dried tomato, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and tomato juice are all great options.
If you feel you are deficient or not getting enough, gradually increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. If you are consuming 1 serving of fruit per day, try to consume 2 servings 3-4 times per week. Gradually increasing your intake over time will allow you to build it into your daily habits. The same applies to vegetables - try to consume 1 serving at lunch and another at dinner, and build up from there.
Some simple strategies to assist with heart-health include: 1) choosing leaner cuts of meat, 2) limit processed meats, and 3) consume fish, nuts, legumes, and seeds. Funny enough, two other strategies for heart-health include increasing your physical activity and increasing your fruit and vegetable intake which are mentioned above.
In summary, let's encourage all of the men in our lives to A (get more active), B (enjoy the bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables), and C (take care of their cardiovascular health) their way to optimal health and wellness.
Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics
Press Release from the Academy on being appointed as a media spokesperson
AND Media Guide - http://www.eatrightpro.org/~/media/eatrightpro%20files/media/meet%20our%20spokespeople/mediaguide2016-17.ashx
Landing Page -
Served as the editor for the Spring 2016 "NOMIN News"
Dear JetBlue, Wednesday, February 17, 2016 was the last day I ever consider using your airline.
I was booked on Flight 682 traveling from Fort Myers to Washington, DC. The flight was scheduled for 6:40 AM. I arrived at the airport bright and early, made it through security and sat patiently waiting for us to take off. The first sign of trouble occurred when they told us at 6:10 AM that they were restarting the plane computer. Then, we were not notified about the change in time. 6:40 came and went. Finally, we received an email saying the flight time was now 7:30 AM. No big deal, just delayed 50 minutes. 7:30 came and went. Finally at about 7:45, we were notified to go to gate D6 (we were at Gate D4). Afterwards, they told us to go to Gate D8. They gave us the option to rebook or get a connecting flight which eventually would get me to DC. The flight was finally cancelled at 8:15 AM. No information was provided about why the flight was cancelled.
Today was a special day as I was being honored by the Veterans Health Administration. The award ceremony was scheduled from 12:30-2:30, so I booked the earlier flight so I could make it in with time to spare.
I understand the whole safety angle (that is a no-brainer). What was very frustrating was the fact that by the time the flight was eventually cancelled, any chance of trying to make it to DC for my award ceremony evaporated - An American Airlines flight at gate D10 could have gotten me to DC by 12:30. No dice as the doors closed at 8:10 AM. Another flight on Southwest could have worked ($256) and flown me to Baltimore but it was in a different terminal - 15 minutes to go walk out of D terminal and B terminal with security wouldn't work.
Jet Blue does not have a relationship with any other airlines in the case of flight cancellations. In this day and age, that's bad business. Secondly, if you are going to cancel a flight, please do it earlier rather than later. Waiting almost 90 minutes to cancel a flight is inconvenient to everyone,especially those on a time crunch. If there was a problem at 6:10 AM, perhaps a notification to consider alternatives would be beneficial for your passengers (especially those on a time crunch)
Trying to rebook my flight became a cluster because 90-plus people were trying to rebook their flight. The best option I could get was - "we can put you on a flight to Boston at 11:25 and connect you to DC by 2:30 , but you could try to fly stand-by for a 9:50 flight and get you to DC by 1:15 PM. With my luck today, I would be stranded in Boston and miss my flight back to Fort Myers.
Thankfully, I was able to get a refund of my fare. Unfortunately I missed out on my award ceremony and also had to eat $125.00 for my return flight on American Airlines. I also spent 4 hours at the airport for nothing, and also there $8.00 for parking. They offered me a $75.00 credit but after this whole experience, I do not want to fly with Jet Blue ever again.
We live in a world where information is available at the tips of our fingers (using computers and smartphones) - this accessibility may make people less enthusiastic about attending a professional conference. Why spend hundreds (and potentially thousands) of dollars on traveling, hotel, and registration fees when google.com can do all of the hard work for you, and spit back results in 0.02 seconds.
Personally, I've had the opportunity to go to 3 conferences in the past 4 months. In October of 2015, I travelled to Nashville, Tennessee for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (#FNCE). I also attended the Greater Seattle Dietetic Association's Fall Conference. Last month, I traveled to Baltimore, Maryland for the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Convention/US Youth Soccer Workshop (#bmorenscaa) to speak on nutrition as well as learn as a soccer coach.
Afterwards, I began to think about the different ways that attending a professional event can impact your life in positive ways:
The truth of the matter is that there are so many local, state, national and international conferences to attend. Set a goal to attend at least one event a year (if possible) and work to see if your job-site will cover you. My payment back for attending FNCE is that I develop a presentation for my co-workers. It's a win-win - I learn new things, I develop a presentation (covering multiple topics), and I eventually present this information. This improves my skills as a speaker, and also keeps me up to date with the latest and greatest information.
Are there any other ways that attending a conference can have a positive impact? Leave a comment and let's hear it
I'm at the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Convention/US Youth Soccer Workshop in Baltimore, Maryland. Today, I gave my presentation on nutrition in soccer titled "Fueling Tactics for Championship Performance." I feel very fortunate to work in an environment where I can blend both of my passions - nutrition and soccer. My undergraduate background includes exercise/sports sciences and psychology. My graduate degree was in nutrition and exercise physiology. I've been involved for 17-plus years in the health, wellness, and nutrition world. I have found one of my niches.
It makes me think about a piece of advise I received over a decade ago.. Beverly Price came to Teachers College, Columbia University in 2005 when I was in grad school to present her program on "Private Practice, Getting that Jump Start." Her course is excellent and I highly recommend it for any aspiring dietitians that want to enter the private practice arena. My quote on her website - "Beverly's program is outstanding. I am leaving motivated and ready to tackle the world!"
Angel Planells, Dietetic Student, New York, NY
Basically, we all need to find a way to feel valued and respected and be the nutrition expert by finding our niche. Otherwise, we run the risk of not spending enough time to develop and eventually will be a jack of all trades, and a master of none.
The biggest problem many of us will face in our career will be trying to find your own niche in the world. Some folks like to blog, and are damn great at it - kudos to you for the work that you put in. Others are great at recipe development, media, informatics, being an entrepreneur, focusing on renal, diabetes, oncology or whatever specialty that this wonderful field of food and nutrition has to offer.
Looking at social media and seeing all of the great things people do can make you go crazy - folks have become depressed and many feel like failures. I have many colleagues/former classmates that are doing amazing things. I am proud and happy for all of them, and wish them nothing but the best. One day, you will find your niche and you will be the expert in something - Rome was not built in a day, and finding your niche(s) won't happen overnight.
On a personal level, I have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. I am always trying to read, look at the latest research and try to stay versed in multiple topics. It is exhausting for our brains to try to retain all of this information. I dabble in a number of topics but throughout the years, my heart is in geriatrics (working with our home-bound Veterans and trying to improve their quality of life through nutrition), weight management (working with a number of folks and getting the adult weight management certificate), and sports nutrition. It took me a little while to get to this point but I have countless hours of experience and enthusiasm in these areas. I can work with a number of patients with a variety of nutritional issues, but when it gets to a very complex level, don't be afraid to reach out for the experts. Stay in your lane and be the expert in your area, and allow other experts to be the experts in their respective areas.
I've found my niches and am thankful and have lots of gratitude for being in this position. It may take weeks, months, or even years but eventually you will find your calling. That is the beauty of this profession, there are so many things that we can do.
Angel Planells MS, RDN CD is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist residing in Seattle, Washington. He specializes in lifecycle nutrition, sports nutrition, and weight management.