Picture of Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD

Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD

Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD, the founder of Milk & Honey Nutrition, is a diabetes dietitian (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) renowned for combining her knowledge of diabetes and culinary expertise into easy-to-follow recipes and articles!


FNCE 2018: A diabetic dietitian does DC

Article Overview

 Disclosure: My trip to FNCE 2018 was partially funded by Schar Gluten Free.

It’s been a few weeks since I got home from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo 2018 (FNCE for you non-dietitians), and just like last year, I’m so glad I went! In a job where your “co-workers” are online and I almost always work from the comfort of my dining room table, it’s so refreshing to see my friends and fellow dietitians in person, as well as meet some of the faces behind brands and organizations I know and love.

This year felt different than last year for me. I was a ton less anxious, and a whole lot more confident this year. 2017 was a big year for me. I had finally grown Milk & Honey Nutrition into a brand that (some) people knew, and last year was my first opportunity to work with a brand at the conference. But, I was nervous as all get out. Definitely a big case of imposter syndrome, and wondering how things would go.

This year, I was more established in my brand… well as much as you can be in just another year. I had the opportunity to work with Schar Gluten Free, a brand I know and love, and one I’m really passionate about educating people about. And just like 2017, I left knowing I’m right where I need to be and I’m excited to see what 2019 has in store for Milk & Honey Nutrition!

Here are some highlights from the trip:

First stop after landing in Washington DC, was a trip to the Ambassador to Iceland’s home. Yes, you read that correctly. Siggi’s hosted a lunch/reception featuring all sorts of different ways to enjoy their Icelandic skyr… O, and their giant skyr cups were there again too!

Later that night, I got to meet up with my college roommate, and her family. Since I knew I wouldn’t get time to site see while I was there, they gave me a quick tour of the National Mall, and then we stopped at a Mediterranean tapas restaurant called Cava Mezze. Best meal I’ve had in a long time! And still dreaming about their Street Corn! (see picture below)


The next morning, I woke up bright and early and attended a breakfast held by KIND Snacks. My dear friend and nutrition media expert, Patricia Bannan, hosted a panel of nutrition and food technology experts discussing some new and exciting technologies in the works for KIND and other brands.

I also got to see my mentor and close friend, Bonnie Taub-Dix. We first came across each other in the social media world when we found ourselves in the same online networking group. She has coached me through many traditional media experiences (both print and TV) and helped me prep for my first TV interview in January 2017. If you’re interested in learning more about her nutrition/food media coaching services, check out her new venture, BTD Media!

Simple Mills is another brand that I was so excited to see returning to FNCE this year. They hosted a great lunch to show off their re-formulated sprouted seed crackers, and I wasn’t sad about it one bit 🙂 So good!

That night, after a long day of walking the expo hall floor and attending an end of the day education session, I went to a hot yoga class hosted by Banza (the pasta I’m always posting about on Instagram) and 88 Acres (the best seed butter you’ll ever put in your mouth). This was my first time ever taking a hot yoga class, and while it wasn’t my cup of tea, I also didn’t hate it, ha! I also forgot to take any pictures, so you’ll just have to trust me that the food was good and the company was even better!

After a really good night’s sleep, I headed out the next morning to try Soul Cycle for the first time, thanks to my friends over at Little Blue Dynamos. I really enjoyed the spin class and if there was one close to me at home, I’d probably try to start going more regularly… but the closest location is over 30 minutes from me. After the class, we heard from some expert Blueberry researchers about new and emerging research on the role of blueberries and recovery for endurance athletes.

I spent Monday working with the team from Schar educating all of the dietitians and students stopping by about their products. You guys know I’m a big fan of their brand and the opportunity to get to share my love for all of their products was such an honor. And if you haven’t tried them, the Schar Honeygrams will change your life. You’re welcome. 🙂

My instagram friend (turned real life friend!) Nicole Hallissey of Worksite Wellness Nutrition stopped by. Do you have “instagram friends?” Maybe someone you’ve interacted with online but never met in person? So good to finally hug her neck in real life!

To round out the night, my roomie for the weekend Maggie from Once Upon A Pumpkin and I headed out to a wine tasting event hosted by Simple Mills and a fun rooftop Happy Hour courtesy of Taco Bell.

Now, yes, I too was skeptical of a happy hour hosted by Taco Bell. What could their angle possibly be? Well, if you’re like me and had a previously incorrect stereotype in your head, you may want to give this a read to see the menu improvements they’ve made over the last several years.

And that was pretty much a wrap for FNCE 2018 for me! I left the next morning, and was so excited to head home to my babies! Lots of food, friends, dietitians, and some continuing education thrown in there too 🙂

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