11.10.2015

Iowa Dietitians: The Real Nutrition Experts

I am a little bit in awe after this past week.  Of the dedication, devotion, passion and purpose I experienced with 249 other dietitians from Iowa. I realized now, more than ever, that I am one lucky gal to be the President of such an amazing organization, the Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
We had our annual meeting in Coralville, Iowa with this years theme:  Registered Dietitians Living in the Heartland. Our meeting chair Bridget and her chair-elect, Tina, did an outstanding job organizing and planning this stellar event.
The best part about the meeting was having Registered Dietitians from all around the state coming together and rejuvenate all the reasons they have put their lives into this profession. I love meeting new dietitians and hearing about their interesting careers outside of the dietitian bubble I live and work in. It is also great to connect with dietitians I know but haven't seen in years.
Since our meeting was all Iowa based, I wanted to share my favorite Iowa products with the group. Frontier Coop based in Norway, Iowa is a company that has been an Iowa-based co-op for 40 years (before organic certification and before Fair Trade). Their history of sourcing and distributing natural and organic products makes us a leader in the natural products industry.  You can find our products at stores like Hy-Vee, Whole Foods and local natural food stores across the U.S. and Canada. 
Then there is this little place known to Iowa as Scratch Cupcakery. I stumbled upon this tummy pleasing bakery when I needed a sweet-treat for a dear friend's birthday. When I clicked on the "About" section of the website, the first line of this Iowa-based sweet treat heaven, completely got me:  "Ever had a dream that you just couldn't let go of?"  I know exactly how this Iowa entrepreneur feels and can relate. This bakery holds a special place in my heart because of their story, a very special birthday celebration and how they will help cater to individuals with food intolerance. Thanks for making me and 249 dietitians smile! 
My third Iowa product I love and wanted to share was Ecolips:  The best lip balm for the world. It is. For real. My favorite. I am obsessed with the perfect lip balm. It cannot be too thick, have staying power, moisturize and smell good. Check, check, check and check. They are also organic, gluten-free and cruelty free. What is also really cool is you can create your own perfect stick of balm. You can pick your ingredients, your packaging and the name of your lip-saving perfection, all from beautiful Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
The last but not least favorite Iowa product I shared with my fellow dietitians, was Nicks Sticks. This is my go-to afternoon snack, everyday. I am on the go constantly and need a high protein snack with lower sodium and none of the junk found in other meat snacks. I am a big fan of their turkey and spicy turkey sticks. They are free of MSG, nitrates, and red dye. And Nick Wallace is the guy who makes these snacks. He is an Iowa farmer and lymphoma survivor. Who wouldn't want to share this healthful and delicious snack?
One of the best part of the conferences was spending time with friends. I had to reflect a little on my almost 15 years as a dietitian. I have made some of my best and long last friendships because of dietetics. My friend Jenny has been a friend since our internship and I would have never guessed we would have stayed so close and also become co-workers during the midst of our careers. And then there is my dear friend Brenda. She was my preceptor during my internship and has taught me everything I know!  She has been a person who has stuck by me through really difficult dietitian and personal experiences.
I am very fortunate to have had this experience in my professional life. These 2 days were meant for the dietitians of our organization to keep believing in their passion and purpose and to not lose site of why they are a Registered Dietitian.  I know that if there is a day I feel a little defeated, this president is going to jump into her comfy shirt, eat a cookie and know that she is a member of the greatest group of dietitians in the nation.