About a month ago, Hilary talked me into signing up for the McCormick tour that was a part of the Fitbloggin’ schedule. It was an optional tour, and I had initially thought that I wouldn’t go to it… but thank goodness I did. This tour was easily one of my favorite parts of this entire experience!
The best part: McCormick Spices can be found in any supermarket, in any town… and they are doing some AMAZING things to promote healthy living!
At noon on Thursday, the Fitbloggers met in the lobby for the tour. This is where the fun meet-ups began! We ran into Lauren from Oatmeal after Spinning and Ashley from Coffee Cake and Cardio in the hotel, and then we found Kenlie from All the Weigh getting ready to board the buses!
Once we arrived inside, the most delicious lunch awaited us. The folks at McCormick had asked us to arrive “hungry” and that we were. Prepared for us was the most beautiful, colorful, and flavorful spread… seriously, they outdid themselves. Absolutely delish!
I can’t even begin to tell you how delicious this was. McCormick has a FANTASTIC index of recipes on their website, including most of what you see in the picture above. Click on the dish titles for the actual recipes. Clockwise from top left: Squash Ribbon Salad with Red Curry Vinaigrette, Fennel and Toasted Farro Risotto, Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower and Tomatoes, Toasted Sesame Balsamic Asparagus
After we enjoyed our meal, the presentations followed. Now, I’m never interested in seeing Powerpoint presentations when I’m on vacation, but these Powerpoints had me taking fast and furious notes. Super interesting, and I’m going to share some of the highlights below!
Dr. Wendy spoke about nutrition and about the obesity crisis we are in. Here are a few notes I took during her portion of the presentation. Very eye-opening.
- More than 2/3 of Americans are obese
- This means LESS THAN 1/3 of Americans are at a healthy weight (Read that again, I did. Shocking!)
- 17% of children and teens are overweight or obese
- 80 percent of Americans are falling short on their intake of fruits and vegetables
- 8 of 10 Americans are trying to limit sodium. Preparing meals at home and using spices instead are two key ways to control your sodium!
- Studies show the red pepper lowers metabolism and promotes satiety. Note-to-self: Must eat more red pepper!
- McCormick offers more than 450 salt-free ingredients
These are just a few nuggets of information that stood out to me. Hearing the stats again and hearing them in a room of mindful eaters and fitness fanatics made it even more powerful.
Something else that Dr. Wendy shared that I thought was adorable was the following:
She encouraged the single girl not to consider that you are “Eating by yourself, instead that you are eating with yourself.” You can still make it a lovely experience, as I feel I do. I’ll definitely be phrasing my dining alone this way moving forward.
After the presentation was over, the bloggers were whisked away to the testing kitchens for cooking demonstrations! Oh, this was so fun! And, even though you had just eaten, it’s amazing how hungry you got all over again as the fresh ingredients were sauteed and prepared!
After our cooking class, they gave us a quick social break including some YUMMY desserts. How about these little minis??
Next, we headed off for our sensory experience, taste tasting and understanding how we react to different spices. The first stop was pretty high tech… we tested different samples of applesauce and logged our reactions to each sample.
Our last stop really showed us how the senses play into our eating experience. Again, we had a line up of items to taste… and reviewed the five “tastes” that exist in the world: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami. We also took it a step further by trying a potent piece of gum, and removing smell from the equation.
Another interesting observation: Salt that’s ground more finely has a stronger saltier flavor. We tested this using chips. Who knew!
After our last session, it was time to head back to the Hyatt to get checked into the hotel and to check in for the conference! On the way out the door, we received some amazing goodie bags from McCormick including spices, cooking tools, and recipe cards. I can’t wait to start using them!
Thank you to McCormick for hosting our group and for reminding me how easy it is to dress up my meals and my veggies! Also, McCormick spices were on the tables at every meal for us to season up our entrees as we saw fit. Loved that!
What is your “can’t-live-without” seasoning? Mine is DEFINITELY garlic (granulated, salt, dried… all kinds!) PS… We learned from McCormick that Garlic wasn’t used in America until the 1940s! How did people cook without it!? I wouldn’t have made it….