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That time I met Sam Kass from Let’s Move!

Posted Nov 20 2013 9:30am

Hello, hello! Day two in Dallas (Monday) was another success! The morning started bright and early for me again, but I had this gorgeous sunrise to help get me out of bed.
Once the sun came up completely, it shone right through my window and put me in the best mood :) I am definitely one of those people who gets depressed in the winter when there’s no sunlight and can have my whole mood turn around when the weather is nice and sunny. Anyone else like that?

Anyway, shortly after getting up my breakfast arrived. Check out this massive bowl of oatmeal! I was only able to finish about half of this bowl and it kept me full for a really long time. Delicious!

After breakfast I quickly finished getting ready and then headed back to the convention center for another day at the American Heart Association conference!

I’ve noticed that my days at the conference are all pretty similar- the morning is super busy and I’m running around like a crazy person trying to do a million things at once, and then I have some downtime starting at lunchtime until later in the afternoon.

Yesterday during my downtime I decided to get out and explore Dallas a little bit! It was another gorgeous day- the weather here has been in the low 70s and mostly sunny.

20131119-105019.jpg While Dallas is not the most exciting city I’ve ever been in (I can’t believe how much space there is in between buildings!!) there is a lot of really beautiful architecture here.

The Renunion Tower , below, is really gorgeous and gets lit up with colorful blinking lights at night at 6:30 am when it was still dark and I was able to see it.

20131119-105027.jpg The convention center is not far from the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza , where President Kennedy was shot almost fifty years ago to the day (Friday is the anniversary).

Ever since I read the book 11/22/63 by Stephen King last year, I have become really interested in President Kennedy’s assisnation, so this was one of the ”must-see” attractions for me in Dallas.

Unfortunately the line for tickets was super long and I didn’t have that much free time, so I wasn’t able to go inside the museum. Still, being able to see the building and walk along the road where it happened was probably more interesting than being in the building itself anyway. It was really cool to be there, especially since the anniversary is in a few days.

Here’s the plaque with some history about the building itself.


Notice at the bottom how many people have underlined the word “allegedly.” It’s just crazy how many conspiracy theories are out there! So far it seems like every cab driver I’ve had during my time here in Dallas seems to have his own idea, haha.

After checking out the museum I went a couple blocks down in search of some good Texas BBQ for lunch. Eventually I stumbled upon Sonny Bryan’s and that seemed like a good spot.

I wound up ordering a BBQ sandwich and fries and it was pretty good, but noting too amazing. There was a lot of bread in the sandwich (if you couldn’t tell from the photo below) so I wound up taking out some of the meat with my fork and eating it that way.

Like I said, perfectly good BBQ, but it didn’t blow me away.
One of my favorite parts of the day BY FAR came after I got back from lunch. I still had another hour or so before I had to be anywhere, so I decided to pop into a session on healthy eating and exercise. I haven’t seen too many of these sessions during my time here (most of them are heavily science-based) so when I saw it on the schedule during the exact time I had available I was thrilled :)

The first speaker that I saw was Mr. Sam Kass , Executive Director for Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative and Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Policy. Sam is also an Assistant Chef in the White House kitchen.

Mr. Kass was an amazing speaker and I totally agreed with everything he said.

First Mr. Kass outlined the challenges our country is facing with regard to obesity, specifically in children. Here are some the highlights:

  • According to a recent CDC report, 1 in 3 children are overweight or obese.
  • Americans are now seeing precursors of heart disease in two and three year olds.
  • The average child only sees one ad a week for fruits, veggies, or whole grain products.
  • This generation of children is the most sedentary generation ever.

To combat the issue of childhood obesity Let’s Move! is doing a few important things including:

  • Making movement fun and positive for kids at an early age. Children have lost the notion that playing with a ball outside is better than playing video games indoors.
  • Working with mayors in cities across the country to build more playgrounds and serve healthier foods in schools.
  • Working with childcare centers to serve healthier snacks and make sure kids are getting enough exercise.
  • Working to increase funding for physical education programs across the country for the first time ever.
  • Partnering with Sesame Street to get kids excited about healthy food options (e.g., putting Elmo on a sticker for an apple).

Mr. Kass stressed that the Let’s Move! initiative is working and recent reports have shown obesity rates decreasing, fruit and veggie consumption going up, and soda sales going down.

As someone who is interested in health and wellness, and as someone with an 8 year old sister who eats cookies, chips, and soda at school, I thought these ideas were fantastic.

This one of those issues I am just personally very invested in, and I thought hearing from Dr. Kass was a great opportunity. After Dr. Kass wrapped up his speech, I stalked him in the hallway and asked his PR person to take the photo you see above. It was so cool to meet him!

After hearing from Dr. Kass I continued on with my work sessions, which all went well. The rest of the afternoon passed quickly.

I headed back to the hotel around 5:00 and decided to go out somewhere for dinner (the room service guy was starting to recognize me…). After looking around on Yelp I decided to try Kenny’s Woodfire Grill and it was fantastic! If you are ever in North Dallas you must try this place!

It was about 10 minutes from my hotel and the food was delicious. My meal started out with this amazing warm popover…

And then I ordered a glass of red wine! #greatdecision
For my meal I ordered a steak sandwich with caramelized onions and melted brie cheese :) It was fantastic but REALLY huge. I guess everything’s bigger in Texas, after all! I wound up taking more than half back to the hotel as leftovers.

Sorry I didn’t snag a photo of the sandwich, but someone had sat down next to me by that point and I felt weird eating by myself and taking a picture of my food lol.

Getting out of the hotel for dinner was really nice and I’m so glad I ventured out.

Day #2 in Dallas was quite a success!

Question of the day: What causes are you passionate about?

If you want to hear more about childhood obesity (which you probably don’t, but maybe you’re a nut like me) I highly recommend the TED talk below!! It’s a great one!!

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