Delegate’s Desk – February 2016

Please see the February 2016 Delegate’s Report below. Topics include Lead Exposure, the Spring HOD Meeting, Sponsorship, a new Position Paper, Primary Care Resources, and the latest from ACEND. 

 Flint, Michigan & Lead Exposure

The Academy is actively supporting our members’ efforts related to the lead exposure crisis in Flint, Michigan and we are continuing to raise the issue to a national level. Information about how to fight lead exposure with nutrition is available on the Academy website. The Michigan affiliate membership total is 2,174 and of that, five members reside in Flint.

Spring 2016 HOD Virtual Meeting

The House Leadership Team met in January to begin plans for the Spring 2016 HOD Virtual Meeting. While the HOD Leadership Team originally planned to discuss telehealth as the mega issue, there has been a change.  For day 1, the HOD Leadership Team will engage the HOD in discussions to help inform a vision for the profession in the next century. On day 2, the HOD will explore digital health and technology, focusing on how we can transform dietetics practice by being at the cutting edge in these evolving areas.

Please see below excerpts from the January 19 letter from AND President, Evelyn Crayton, PhD, RDN,  LDN, FAND, to members; more specifics regarding sponsorship to follow. 

“…The Board received the SATF report at our January 13 meeting and found it to be thoughtful, balanced, and helpful. The Board voted to implement a pilot program encompassing many of the SATF’s recommendations. The one-year pilot program includes appointing a Sponsorship Committee to review national-level sponsor opportunities and to develop assessment tools that will support the sponsorship process.
The Board of Directors approved the following newly revised sponsorship guidelines, which take effect immediately for all Academy organizational units. Dietetic Practice Groups and Member Interest Groups will be required to adhere to these guidelines and Affiliates are encouraged to adopt them.

Sponsorship approval requires that:

The sponsor’s vision and mission align with the Academy’s Vision, Mission and Strategic Goals. The sponsor’s product portfolio is broadly aligned with the Academy’s Vision: Optimizing health through food and nutrition. The sponsor relationship and sponsor product portfolio are broadly aligned with official Academy positions. All aspects of the sponsorship (such as research, consumer messaging or professional education for members) align with the Academy’s Scientific Integrity Principles. The Academy does not endorse any company, brand or company products, nor does the Academy’s name or logo appear on any product. Such endorsement is neither actual nor implied. The Academy maintains final editorial control and approval of all content in materials bearing the Academy name or logo. There is clear separation of Academy messages and content from brand information or promotion. Relevant facts and important information are included. The Board is confident that these revised guidelines and the new Sponsorship Committee pilot program will enable the Academy to better serve the organization and our members.

The Board is committed to transparency in our processes and we welcome member feedback. Please send an email to  …”

Interventions for Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults

Excess weight and obesity among adults results from many influences including personal factors, the communities where people live, and government policies. Therefore, successful weight loss must include multiple strategies addressing each of these influences, as well as the expertise of registered dietitian nutritionists, according to an updated position paper from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  The position paper, “Interventions for Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults,” was recently published in the AND Journal. The position paper states: It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that successful treatment of overweight and obesity in adults requires adoption and maintenance of lifestyle behaviors contributing to both dietary intake and physical activity. These behaviors are influenced by many factors; therefore, interventions incorporating more than one level of the socioecological model and addressing several key factors in each level may be more successful than interventions targeting any one level and factor alone. The position paper updates the Academy’s 2009 position on this issue.

Free Webinar!
How to Integrate RDN Services in the New Primary Care

Payment models are rapidly changing in health care and require a team of healthcare professionals working collaboratively within the primary care practice. This webinar, at 1:00 p.m. Central time on Tuesday, February 23, will describe some of these new payment models and discuss the opportunities to integrate RDNs and nutrition counseling into primary care practices. 1.5 CPEUs pending. Click to register here.

Updated Toolkit Now Available
RDNs in the New Primary Care: A Toolkit for Successful Integration 

The toolkit has new information and practical tips to help RDNs be successful in new models of health care delivery that emphasize team-based care.  Learn how to expand the role of the RDN in Patient Medical Homes and Accountable Care Organizations and gain a better understanding of Alternative Payment Models that have the potential to expand patient access, as well as payment for services.   Free to members available here.

ACEND Updates

The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND®)

ACEND  is pleased to announce the release of the DRAFT 2017 Accreditation Standards for public comment. The draft 2017 Standards are the result of a planned five-year review cycle of the current 2012 Accreditation Standards to ensure compliance with USDE regulations. Please note that the 2017 standards are different from the future education model associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree standards that will be released for public comment later this year. The draft standards, the February Standards Update, and a Webinar, which provides an overview of the 2017 Standards development process and key changes from the 2012 Standards, are posted on the ACEND standards committee webpage. We value all stakeholder input and encourage you to provide input on the 2017 Standards at the following survey link.

The February Standards Update also addresses questions received at the January 14 Virtual Town Hall Meeting. The virtual town hall meetings are open to all stakeholders and are held the second Thursday of each month at 11:30 a.m. Central Time. The next meeting will occur February 11. Information for connecting to the virtual town hall is posted on the ACEND standards committee webpage. If you have questions, please send them to or call 312-899-4872

Stay in contact with HOD for good information and resources:

Thank you!

Phyllis Woodson, MS, RD, CDE
VAND Delegate |

Nutrition & Immune Health

Salmon SaladWith the arrival of colder temperatures in the winter months also arrives cold and flu season. While it may seem like getting sick at some point is inevitable, there are many nutritional strategies that can be applied (year round, really!) to boost the strength of your immune system and decrease your chances. As a sports dietitian, I am often counseling athletes on the importance of a healthy diet in maintaining a strong immune system to ensure consistent training year round. Today, I am here to share a few top nutritional strategies that have been shown to boost immune health:

  1. Consume a diet that is adequate in overall calories, balanced among the all three macronutrients, and rich in nutrient dense foods. Chronic calorie deficit over time, whether through failure to meet needs or intentional dieting for weight loss, can lead to impaired immune health in that it decreases the energy available to support normal bodily functions. Calorie deficit without careful consideration of diet quality can also lead to insufficient intake of vitamins and minerals related to immune health, including vitamins C, E, B6, A and D, Folate, Iron, Selenium and Zinc. Aim to include not only fruits and vegetables with each meal, but also quality lean proteins and whole grains too. A few high antioxidant foods to consider in boosting immune health include grapes, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, nuts and seeds, any dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes and other orange vegetables, beans, fish and whole grains!
  2. Swap unhealthy (saturated) fats in your diet for healthy (unsaturated) fats, which are both anti-inflammatory and immune boosting. Instead of aiming for low-fat foods, aim to replace sources of saturated fat in your diet for healthy fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, which support hormone production and help fight inflammation in order to keep our immune system strong. More specifically, essential fatty acids (omega-3’s and Omega-6’s) play a role in the production of eicosanoids, a class of chemical messengers involved in your body’s immune and inflammatory response. These healthy fats can be found in avocadoes, nuts (especially walnuts!), sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds, olives, flaxseed and wheat germ, chia seeds and fatty fish varieties.
  3. Ensure adequate Vitamin D intake for optimal immune strength. While we are able to naturally synthesize Vitamin D through sun exposure, it’s not uncommon for Vitamin D levels to drop off in the winter when colder whether forces us inside more. Low Vitamin D levels have a direct effect not only on bone health, but immune health as well, and it’s never a bad idea to have your levels checked by your primary care physician. To ensure you’re getting enough Vitamin D through diet, aim to consume a few of these foods daily: Cod Liver Oil, oily fish (trout, salmon, swordfish, mackeral, tuna and sardines), mushrooms, fortified cereals, tofu, dairy products, pork and eggs.
  4. Consume foods with naturally occurring probiotics to improve gut health. Gut health has a direct impact on both the health of our brain and our immune system. By incorporating foods with natural probiotics, including yogurts and cheeses, kefir, sauerkraut, miso, sour pickles and kombucha, you are feeding the healthy bacteria in your gut that in turn can lend to a stronger immune system.
  5. Flavor your foods with healthy herbs & spices. Many of the herbs and spices that we use to flavor our foods also have potent anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties. Garlic, onion, turmeric, ginger and cinnamon are a few herbs and spices that top the list.
  • Garlic is not only known for it’s unique and pungent flavor contribution to many dishes, but also it’s role as a potent anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and cancer preventative food. Garlic’s numerous beneficial immune benefits are due to sulfur compounds and being a quality source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, selenium and manganese.
  • Onions are not only a quality source of Vitamin C, but also one of the richest sources of flavonoids, especially quercetin, which has been shown to inhibit inflammation. Onions also contain the trace mineral selenium, which helps to initiate the body’s immune response.
  • Curcumin is a component of the spice turmeric and helps give it its distinct orange-yellow color. Turmeric is commonly found in curry spices and dishes. Curcumin is traditionally known for its anti-inflammatory effects but in recent decades has also been shown to be a potent immune-modulating agent.
  • Ginger, more commonly known for its anti-nausea benefits, also boosts anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity within the body. Ginger is best consumed uncooked in it’s natural form, so aim to buy ginger whole and use a grater to include it in your dishes where possible.
  • Cinnamon is another spice that is not only rich in antioxidants, but also a quality source of manganese, calcium, fiber and iron. The essential oils found within cinnamon have also been shown to boost the immune system since they have antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Wintertime doesn’t have to inevitably spell out cold and flu season. To boost your immune system and decrease your chances of getting sick aim to follow some of the tips above, and don’t forget to get plenty of sleep at night too!!


Kristen Chang
Kristen Chang

Kristen Chang is the current Co-Chair of Professional Education for VAND. She is an adjunct instructor for Virginia Tech and Radford University and the owner of the nutrition private practice, Real Food For Fuel, LLC.

Breastfeeding in Winter

Oh the cuddles and coos and sweetness of a newborn baby! Snuggling in tight on a cold winter night in front of a warm fire brings such a soothing comfort. But what about those days when mom and baby must be out and about when the snow is on the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachian Trail is lined with bare trees and frigid temperatures?

There are many reasons why breastfeeding is beneficial for both mom and baby, but breastfeeding during the cold winter months presents unique challenges for moms. Cold winter months can mean an influx of germs and sickness, and breastfeeding is not only nurturing to mom and baby, but is protective of baby’s immune system. In the earliest days of life when baby is most susceptible to germs, mom’s colostrum (foremilk) has the highest concentration of antibodies, immune molecules that mom makes against illnesses that she has been exposed to that she then passes to the baby through her milk. Even more amazingly, if baby is exposed to germs that mom has not been, the baby passes these germs to mom at the next feed, mom makes antibodies, and passes them back to baby! As baby grows and mom’s milk matures, this natural immunity continues to pass between mom and infant; the baby may still get sick, but the illness will be less severe and less lengthy than would have been expected.

Tips for managing winter illness and breastfeeding:

  • If mom must take medications for an illness she has, be sure the doctor prescribes a medication that is safe for breastfeeding.
  • If buying an over the counter medication, check with the pharmacist to ensure the medicine is safe for baby.
  • As always, it’s important to practice good personal care and hygiene by washing hands frequently, coughing or sneezing away from baby, and getting plenty of rest.

Removing jackets or sweatshirts to allow babies access to mom’s breasts exposes moms to the cold winter temperatures. This can be minimized by mom layering her clothing or choosing a long sleeved nursing top, zip-up sweatshirt, or button-up sweater to wear. Babies can be kept warm in swaddling blankets, one piece, long-sleeved sleepers or sleep sacks, and a removable lightweight jacket in case the day warms up unexpectedly. A set of hat and mittens will keep baby warm in especially chilly weather. Skin-to-skin contact promoting bonding between baby and parents, facilitating breastfeeding and regulating baby’s temperature should be continued throughout the winter to keep baby warm and cozy in their moms’ loving embrace.

Some mothers have reported a higher incidence of plugged ducts during the winter months. This may be due to the restricting nature of tighter cold weather clothes or from the colder weather itself. Treatment for plugged ducts includes frequent feedings, breast massage, warm compresses, and wearing looser clothing. Some moms may experience nipple coldness, pain, or discoloration when exposed to cold temperatures for a long time. This can be prevented by warming the rooms where baby will be breastfeeding, wearing warm clothing, and using warming packs before nursing.

Janelle Webb & Wendy Phillips, Certified Lactation Educators
Janelle Webb & Wendy Phillips, Certified Lactation Educators

Consistent and frequent breastfeeding will help establish and maintain mom’s milk supply, promote bonding, stimulate oral motor development for baby, and ensure a healthy start to life. Remember, breastfeeding warms babies’ bodies and hearts during the cold winter months! Contact your local agency for the Women, Infants, and Children’s (WIC) program through the Virginia Department of Health ( or your local La Leche League at for support and resources if needed!

~Janelle Webb, MBA, CLE & Wendy Phillips, MS, RD, CNSC, CLE, FAND

Janelle and Wendy are both Certified Lactation Educators, working with moms to help them breastfeed their babies and helping worksites develop baby friendly processes. Wendy is VAND’s immediate past president.

Welcome to the Official VAND Blog!


Welcome to the official blog of the Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics! We are excited to host this site for YOU, our members, to have a forum to connect with each other, hear about nutrition practices in Virginia, and help us fulfill our mission to empower members to be Virginia’s food and nutrition leaders. Through this blog, we can provide nutrition education to the public, to optimize the health of Virginians through food and nutrition expertise.

We are soliciting blog posts from RDNs and NDTRs throughout Virginia, featuring original content. Have an idea for a post but not sure if it is what we’re looking for? Email us and ask – we will help you develop it into something for our blog! Please contact Wendy Phillips or Kristen Chang, VAND’s Co-Chairs for Professional Education to submit a blog post or idea. And of course, we will ask you to send a professional headshot to accompany the post.

Wendy Phillips
Kristen Chang
Kristen Chang

We look forward to hearing from you! Contact us at

Kristen Chang, MS, RDN, CSSD & Wendy Phillips, MS, RD, CNSC, CLE, FAND
Professional Education Chairpersons
Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics