This guest post comes to you from Kristen White, RD, LD, Hy-Vee dietitian in Springfield, Mo. Kristen was one of 43 dietitians who attended A Nutrition Adventure. What’s that? Keep reading to find out!
For the past year, I’ve been the registered dietitian for Hy-Vee in Springfield, Mo., but a few weeks ago, I traded in my red apron for a butcher knife, lab coat, and cowboy boots. Let me explain…
At the recent A Nutrition Adventure: Connecting Food, Farm & Science conference sponsored by the Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska Beef Councils, I joined 42 other registered dietitians from across the U.S., each with a unique practice niche. It was more like a culinary nutrition adventure for me. I learned everything from making magically-delicious marinades and cooking with awesome aromatics to the role of protein in satiety and the challenges beef ranchers face when it comes to feeding their cattle.
The conference began with The Art of Beef Cutting: A Beef Cutting Demonstration by Kari Underly, a third generation meat cutter and founder of Range Inc. Kari nearly butchered a whole beef carcass during her one-hour session! She also explained how to spot the leanest cuts of beef at the supermarket including center shoulder steaks (or “ranch steaks”), top sirloin, and top round steaks. Next up was Chef Shenoa French, Associate Director of the Culinary Innovation Center at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, who led us on a flavor roller coaster with an introduction to cooking with aromatics — shallots, leeks, celery, garlic, and mushrooms. I plan to put the chef’s tips into practice now that I’m back home with a recipe I found on www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com for the Beef “California Roll Salad.”
Protein, protein, protein … there are SO many benefits! Heather J Leidy, a PhD in nutrition and physiology from the University of Missouri School of Medicine, expounded on her recent research, Protein and Timing: Effects on Appetite and Body Weight Management to Combat Obesity. I learned that a modest increase in dietary protein at breakfast improves appetite control and satiety throughout the day. Imagine an omelet filled with sauteed strips of lean flank steak, colorful bell peppers, and onions and a stomach that is NOT grumbling by 10 a.m. Protein really holds you over!
What is a ranch? That was the question in my head as our tour bus pulled up the long, gravel driveway at Tailgate Ranch in Tonganoxie, Kan. Well, I found out that, unlike a farm that grows row crops, a ranch is a place where grass is grown for hay or a place for cattle to graze. My cowboy boots came in handy as we toured the ranch, but I was all city slicker when it came to learning about feed lots, grazing patterns, and grain options. Three members of the beef community spoke to our group, and they changed my view of “the American farmer.” Before A Nutrition Adventure, I thought farmers where pumping beef full of hormones for the soul purpose of greed. This was not the case; farmers are just like me and you, trying to keep up with market trends to provide for their own family. By the end of our ranch visit, my boots looked a little more like Kansas with the dark, rich soil covering them, but more importantly I wanted to hug nearly all the farmers (and the cute Hereford heifers). The ranch staff (not the cows) welcomed us with open arms like my own family.
On the last day of the conference, I heard from the one and only Liz Weiss, dietitian, cookbook author, and co-founder of MealMakeoverMoms.com. Her presentation, Making Your Mark as a Nutrition Communicator, dove into the importance of using social media — things like blogs, Facebook, and Twitter — to market good nutrition to consumers. After hearing her refreshing and creative perspective, I was instilled with a lively spark to start my own blog, so stay tuned …
Now that I’m back at Hy-Vee, I can’t wait to invest my new ideas into hands-on culinary demonstrations, beef cooking classes, and everyday educational opportunities. My customers are in for a lean, flavorful, and nutritious surprise!