By Megan Salazar, VRG Dietetic Intern
I was delighted to attend the annual Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) for the American Dietetic Association (ADA), which was held this year in San Diego, CA. During part of the conference, I helped out at VRG’s booth in the Expo area. Since I am doing my internship long distance in Denver, CO, it was wonderful to meet Reed Mangels, Dr. William Conway and Catherine Conway, all of whom were working the booth throughout the course of the conference and are valuable VRG contributors.
It was wonderful to see so many people come up to the booth, despite it being in between a fish vendor and a fast food marketer. Most visitors took the Vegetarian Journal initially, but were really captured by all of the materials and books that were on the table as well. These included educational pamphlets, Vegetarian My Plate flyers, coloring books/pages, and an assortment of the books.
What was even more encouraging were the Registered Dietitians or other nutrition professionals that came by just to comment that they always pointed their patients, clients, and friends in the direction of the VRG website for more information on becoming a vegetarian. They know that the information is invaluable in regards to beginning a vegetarian diet, or even improving upon a current lifestyle.
I also attended the session of the conference that highlighted the new Evidence Analysis Library on vegetarianism, entitled “Vegetarians in the Library: What’s the Evidence?” The presenters detailed the new section of the Evidence Analysis Library on the ADA website. Their presentation included much of the research and surveys that the VRG has done in the past, further highlighting the importance of this organization.
In the evening, the VRG also hosted a delightful vegan dinner at Royal India in downtown San Diego that I was privileged to attend as well. Not only was the food excellent, but the connection with other vegetarian dietitians and supporters of the VRG was unique. This conference was only a small part of my internship with the VRG, but it will probably make the biggest impact on not only my knowledge of the organization, but also the evidence behind the vegetarian diet as well.
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