Last week Oldways attended the American Dietetic Association’s annual Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) in San Diego.  Oldways has exhibited at this show for the past several years but this was my first time and I found it to be such a great experience.
The conference was an opportunity for us to meet with Registered Dietitians (RDs) and other health professionals from across the country and learn what else we can be doing to support the great work that RDs do.  I was touched by the number of RDs who came up to us and said, “I use your materials all the time. Thanks!” -and humbled by the equal number who said they weren’t yet aware of our work. Well, now they know who we are and what we do!  We were able to share some of the exciting work we have been involved with, and learn about the latest nutritional information and hot topics throughout the health community. A lot of the talk among RDs was about MyPlate.  Overall, people appreciate the effort being made by the U.S. government to try something different, but most RDs think the minimalist graphic of four words on colored blocks doesn’t take most consumers very far.  The RDs we talked to were relieved to learn that we’ll be continuing to promote Oldways’ Health-through-Heritage family of pyramids along with Plates of Expression, to offer both total diet and meal-specific inspiration. We were also lucky enough to attend several of the educational tracks available to show attendees and found them to be thought-provoking.  I  attended sessions on social media and blogging, Sarah boned up on reaching underserved populations, and Cindy pondered new research on mindless and intuitive eating.  Now our heads are reeling with ideas for topics we could propose for our own track at next year’s conference.  And, it was also a chance for us to see and taste many of the latest healthy items from food associations and companies. From time to time we would leave our Oldways booth and venture out to walk the show.  We said hello to all the exhibiting members of the Whole Grains Council and the Mediterranean Foods Alliance, and made lots of news friends. And sampled lots of delicious, healthy foods. We truly appreciated these healthy snacks (like lentil balls) as they served as some serious sustenance throughout the three-day conference, keeping out brains fresh and offered inspiration for our blog!  I definitely walked away with some top picks and upon returning home I almost immediately whipped up one of my new favorites, edamame hummus! The recipe I made was adapted from the one that the Soyfoods Council was sampling at the conference.  In my version I used olive oil in place of soybean oil and upped the number of garlic cloves but all in all the recipe was a success. Edamame Hummus 1 ½ cup edamame, cooked 3 tablespoons olive oil ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon ground cumin 4 garlic cloves, minced 1 tablespoon water 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice Prepared edamame according to package instructions. Place olive oil, salt, cumin and garlic in a food processor; pulse until coarsely chopped. Add edamame, water, and lemon juice; process until smooth. Spoon into a bowl and serve as a dip with carrot sticks, zucchini and or whole grain pita chips.  And of course enjoy! —Rachel

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