As anyone who has ever tried to diet knows, the secret to becoming successful is to not to get bored. That seemed to be the theme of the Network PKU Conference, a low-protein interactive culinary workshop that I and my husband attended April 29 – May 1 in Denver, Colo.
The event’s roots began in 2003 when an informational video about PKU was created to raise awareness. Applied Nutrition Founder Rick Finkel recognized the importance of remaining on diet for life and in 2004, decided to have culinary conference where attendees would learn from professional chefs at Johnson & Wales University.
In 2009, the event rolled out the Iron Chef Contest, an opportunity for PKU patients to compete in culinary skills. I didn’t participate in the Iron Chef Contest when we attended (mostly because I had zero confidence in my cooking skills), but we got to see the presentations of the final products. Each team competed to create a tasty meal using a secret ingredient – mango.
Later during the conference my husband Brandon and I attended several workshops where the chefs at Johnson & Wales University demonstrated how spices, fresh fruit, and vegetables we never heard of can help sprinkle a little variety in the diet.
The conference was extremely impressive and a wonderful way for Brandon and I to immerse ourselves in low-protein cooking. However, I’d have to say that the most valuable experience I had in attending the Network PKU Conference was meeting other people and families who are living and dealing with the same challenges we are. Until this year, I had never met anyone else diagnosed with PKU. If you ever have the opportunity to attend an upcoming Network PKU Conference, I highly recommend it!