Annual Meeting Sessions

Eat the Change – the struggle to advance planet-friendly diets

Seth Goldman


  • Big Food companies, which play a major role in shaping our diets, are largely unable and unmotivated to change what we eat. They have too much invested in the status quo – whether it means relying on 6 crops which represent 57% of all agricultural production or leaning on cheap and empty calories. As a result, our hopes to shift Americans toward healthier and more planet-friendly diets depend a great deal on entrepreneurs who can innovate and develop new foods and brands to shift what we eat and drink. This session, led by one of our country’s leading food entrepreneurs, will discuss the struggle, and occasional successes, to change America’s diet. Seth Goldman will discuss the innovation and entrepreneurial process that led to the launch and scaled impact of his enterprises. This session will help attendees understand the real tensions and challenges that business leaders face when they undertake efforts to commercialize healthier and planet-friendly foods.

Learning objectives

  • Understand the innovation and entrepreneurial process behind launching healthier food brands
  • Understand how diet plays a role in shaping our environmental footprint
  • Understand the challenges of scaling mission-driven food businesses

A Prescription for Produce: Food Is Medicine as a Framework for Treatment of Chronic Disease and Advancement of the Practice of Dietetics

Brandy Leno & Matt Walker


  • Food Is Medicine (FIM) has recently catapulted into the national spotlight as a movement to recognize the role of specific nutrition interventions in managing chronic health in vulnerable populations. Food Is Medicine interventions center the role of the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) in both menu creation and in provision of Medical Nutrition Therapy to individual clients. The literature is now full of studies that demonstrate the impact of FIM interventions on health outcomes, healthcare costs and patient satisfaction and quality of life. This presentation will present the FIM framework, examples of FIM interventions in Maryland, a review of the literature supporting FIM interventions and description of the policy landscape for integrating FIM into healthcare.

Learning objectives

  • Define the Food Is Medicine framework
  • Describe a Food Is Medicine intervention and the role of the RDN in that intervention
  • Describe the policy landscape and advocacy opportunities for supporting FIM interventions in the healthcare setting

Improving Dietary Diversity with Meatless March

Matthew Bond


  • The average American diet does not include the recommended daily servings of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, seafood, low-fat dairy, and more. Meatless March offers the chance for interested participants to eat more of these food groups while eating less meat. I would present on this voluntary, flexible, temporary challenge. This challenge could be a useful tool for medical professional attendees at the annual meeting to motivate interested patients to diversify their diets.

    Meatless March is a flexible challenge for anyone interested in eating less meat, whether that means one dinner per week without meat or avoiding meat for a full month. This temporary challenge encourages experimenting with new ingredients, increasing fiber in the diet, and reducing saturated fat intake. The temporary nature of this challenge has made it more approachable to some DC area participants than a permanent commitment to dietary change. It doesn’t have to occur in the month of March - you could take the challenge any time!

    In my brief presentation, I would explain the challenge, examples of how it can be customized to fit a range of goals, and the rationale behind the challenge with regard to health, community benefits, and social justice. I would share feedback from dozens of DC-area participants who have participated in the annual challenge. I would also share resources for how a participant can succeed in meeting their goals despite obstacles like cost, access, and dietary restrictions.

    For those who have no interest in eating less meat, WasteLESS March offers an alternative challenge to encourage minimal food waste and creative cooking in the home. Food waste and meat consumption together contribute a sizeable portion of individuals’ contribution to air and water pollution.

Learning objectives

  • List 3 food groups that are under-consumed in the American diet
  • List 3 nutrients that are OVER-consumed in the American diet
  • Explain 1 way that a temporary challenge like Meatless March could be personalized to meet a patient’s unique nutrition goals.

Food for Thought—Nutritional Psychiatry: The Future of Mental Health Treatment

Chelsea Halsman


  • The thought of utilizing nutrition as a form of treatment for a variety of medical conditions continues to struggle for acceptance among mainstream medicine. The link between nutrition and mental health has been studied in abundance, yet many disciplines believe nutrition care doesn't has a place in mental health treatment. Research continues to explore the underlying nutrition-related psychopathology of mental illness including: oxidative stress, nutrient deficiencies, inflammation, and the gut microbiome.

    In the past decade, the field of nutritional psychiatry has expanded and made many positive strides towards proving itself as a necessary part of an interdisciplinary team. At the center of nutritional psychiatry is the notion that food and supplement based interventions designed to address deficiencies can significantly improve symptoms of psychiatric illness. While we look toward the future of nutritional psychiatry, it is important to remember current and previous trends.

    Real world data regarding the use of therapeutic diets, nutritional supplementation, and medical nutritional therapy in an inpatient psychiatric hospital will be explored. The primary diagnoses include paranoid schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. The outcomes discussed will include incidents of aggression, emergency PRN use, negative psychiatric symptoms, etc. These outcomes will be compared to traditional management of mental illness including pharmacology and psychotherapy. Attendees will learn how to advocate for importance of nutrition services among a treatment team. Resources for identifying appropriate nutrition interventions for the patient's current symptomology and clinical presentation will be provided.

Learning objectives

  • Describe recent findings related to the field of nutritional psychiatry and identify the link between diet and mental health
  • Analyze the level of evidence tying nutritional status to neurocognitive functioning
  • Evaluate the efficacy of nutrition interventions in the management of psychiatric symptoms compared to traditional methods of managing psychiatric symptoms.

Potty Talk: How Dietitians Can Mediate the Relationship Between Food and Bathroom Habits

Emily Arkin


  • Everybody poops… but not every dietitian feels comfortable talking about it. Regardless, bathroom habits playing an enormous role in how we feel and can set the stage for secondary GI symptoms like bloating, pain, gas, and nausea. This session will explore what’s “normal” when it comes to bowel movements, how disordered eating undermines predictable elimination patterns, and what dietary tweaks and over-the-counter aids clinicians can keep in their “stoolbox.”

    This will be presented as a Powerpoint with occasional slides prompting audience interaction. Content will include:
    • Review of “normal” digestion/absorption, stool formation, transit time
    • How the gastrocolic reflex (GCR) stimulates bowel movements and what dietary factors trigger it (large volume meals, high-fat meals)
    • Identify clients’ digestive euphemisms (“Doesn’t agree with me”, “Stomach issues”, etc.) and encourage them to speak plainly about symptoms
    • Review of Bristol Stool Chart and how the poles represent hyper- or hypomotility
    • Understand how the mechanics of hyper- and hypomotility may cause secondary GI symptoms (bloating, pain, gas, nausea)
    • Discuss how disordered eating may contribute to irregular bowel patterns (grazing patterns of eating, excessive consumption of “diet foods”, low-carb and orthorexic tendencies, bingeing/purging)
    • MNT for diarrhea: soluble fiber-rich foods, evaluate “diet foods” and supplements for food triggers (inulin, polyols, high vitamin C or Mg doses, etc.), soluble fiber supplement, peppermint oil supplement
    • MNT for constipation: bigger meals, adequate fat intake, soluble fiber-rich foods, Miralax or high-dose Mg, soluble fiber supplement
    • Case studies

Learning objectives

  • Understand typical gut transit time and how dietary factors may affect this
  • Describe how disordered eating behaviors affect bowel patterns and secondary GI symptoms
  • Prescribe nutrition and over-the-counter interventions to address irregular bowel movements

Cannabis Conversations and Considerations: A Guide for Dietitians

Faye Berger Mitchell


  • Cannabis is increasingly becoming legal on a state-by-state basis, either for adult use or medical only purposes. Regardless of the dietitian's belief in or approval of cannabis use for medical or adult-use purposes, their patients are using it to help with a variety of medical conditions. For this reason, it is crucial for dietitians to have the necessary knowledge and understanding of the medical implications, benefits and risks, and potential drug interactions. This PowerPoint presentation, geared specifically towards nutrition professionals, will provide a brief review of the Endocannabinoid System along with potential risks and benefits. In addition, a review of the variety of products and delivery methods available in dispensaries, along with the regulatory status in both Maryland and DC will be discussed. Practice implications related to specific therapeutic issues such as gastrointestinal disease and cardiovascular disease will be included, with practical tips provided for the dietetics professional to implement to assess patients who use cannabis either medically or for adult use. Time for Q&A will be built into the presentation.

Learning objectives

  • Understand the basics of the Endocannabinoid System including the main individual cannabinoids and their receptor sites
  • List the medical conditions that patients are using medical cannabis and how this fits into the dietitian’s scope of practice.
  • Identify the benefits and risks of medical cannabis in specific patient populations.

Rethinking Our Food Myths

Chris Hoffman


  • This presentation will explore the science behind how food animals are raised, common food myths, and will review information on the science behind how food animals are raised and the realities behind legacy expressions such as pigsty, pig out, and hog wild.Many common food myths revolve around questions we are confused about. Common food myths discussed include: Is pork good for me? Is pork good for the planet? Is it okay to eat pork when it’s pink? Are there antibiotics in my pork? How do farmers care for the well-being of the pigs?

    Attendees will be updated on today's animal care, meat products from pigs, and tips for purchasing pork. They will also discover how today’s pork fits into a sustainable food system through continuous improvement in environmental stewardship.

Learning objectives

  • Discuss common food myths and misconceptions about the pork industry and dispel nutrition misinformation.
  • Identify emerging trends in agriculture that are helping improve sustainable farming practices and how those trends have helped pig farmers reduce pork's impact on the environment in terms of land, water, and energy use.
  • Demonstrate how today’s pork fits into a healthy lifestyle by showcasing RDN resources that can be used with patients and clients.

Self-Publishing on Amazon: Reaching an Untapped Audience

Liz Jalkiewicz


  • In this session, participants will learn the basic steps involved with self-publishing on Amazon through Kindle Direct Publishing. We’ll dive deeper into Amazon SEO – search engine optimization – so you can increase the chances of your product ranking. No manuscript? No problem. This session will also review the profitable niche of creating low-content books – like journals, notebooks, and workbooks – to best serve your ideal client. Self-publishing on Amazon is a non-traditional way to have greater impact in reaching your ideal client and it serves as an additional stream of passive income for your business.

Learning objectives

  • Understand the basic steps involved with self-publishing on Amazon/Kindle Direct Publishing.
  • Learn about Amazon SEO – search engine optimization – and how to increase your chances of having your product rank on Amazon.
  • Learn about the profitable niche of low-content books through Amazon/Kindle Direct Publishing.