Even though I’ve been eating paleo for a couple of years now, I’ve never gone to a paleo conference before. I guess I never really outwardly declared myself paleo. I say things like… “I tend more toward paleo…” when people find out that I can’t eat gluten and respond with “oh but its easier now with all those gluten-free foods on the market.” I think I was always under the impression that being paleo was somehow perfectionist, and that I probably didn’t do paleo exactly right. Plus, I don’t wear Vibrams, and though I do like to exercise, I’ve never tried Crossfit. So, I never really thought that I fit into the paleo club.
But I do adhere strictly to the diet, and I have delved deeply into the science behind it, believing wholeheartedly in its benefits. I also hold its originators and researchers in high regard. So I just couldn’t pass up the amazing line up of speakers, at the Paleo f(x) conference in Austin especially since it was only a few hours drive from me. I’m so happy I didn’t! I ended up having the most amazing time. It turns out there isn’t one stereotypical representation of modern paleo man (or woman). There were medical doctors in ties mingling with athletes in Vibrams, and hipsters selling “primal pit paste.” And everything in between. It is a welcoming and friendly club. And super smart, too. I was totally inspired, and I now wear my paleo badge with pride. 🙂
The cocktail party Thursday night was a great way to to kick it off. I happened to sit at the same table as another Houston couple who happen to live practically down the street from me! I also got to see my friend Chef Alain Braux, to whom I am grateful for the opportunity to have attended the event. The speakers for the evening were inspirational, fun, and funny, and the food by Caveman Cafeteria was amazing! In fact, the next day they were giving away free samples of Wagyu beef cooked in duck fat confit at their booth. Can you say, umami? I was literally licking the sides of the free-sample bowl! Seriously. If you don’t feel like cooking for a week (or two) OR have a special event coming up, I highly recommend these guys.
While the products on the floor (almost all of which I could eat!) were awesome, and the cooking demonstrations and movement workshops were fun, I got the most inspiration from the speaker sessions. In fact, I couldn’t get enough! I thought I would be overly saturated come Saturday evening, but I wanted more. Unfortunately I had to cut out early to relieve a harried husband of child rearing duties, so I had to miss the Sunday sessions. Oh well. Next time, for sure! I typed up 9 page of notes from the session, collecting lots of fodder for future blog posts. But for now, I just want to share with you some of the highlights.
- Don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good (blog post coming on that very soon, but I’m sure you can get an idea of what that means).
- Fat is good for us (but you already knew that, right?). More than that. Its healing! Robb Wolf even had a fascinating discussion on how a ketogenic diet can help with traumatic brain injury and others with similar neurological conditions.
- We need to focus on building community… not burning bridges. Paleo is not elitist! Anyone is invited to come play!
- The importance of the gut microbiome. Much more discussion will be ensuing on this in the next couple of years.
- Paleo diet is a template, and should be individualized to suit your own body.
Some Clinical Notes
- There are leaky gut tests now. Cyrex labs can test for antibodies to the “tight junctions” looking for zonulin levels. If you have multiple food allergies, get tested!
- Get a stool test! (I did and it helped me!)
- Looking to save money while going the naturopathic/functional doctor route? Go straight to the AIP (autoimmune protocol) diet, and many questions can be answered right off the bat. Then go on to do testing (Ruscio).
- Or if you’ve gone paleo but still aren’t feeling right, at least remove dairy, eggs, nuts & nut flours and excessive fruit for 3 days, then slowly bring it back in (Reasoner).
- Otherwise may need to look at underlying causes which could be: GI infections, SIBO, hormone disregulation, particularly the adrenals (Reasoner).
- May need to increase stomach acid. Some people take 3 to as much as 20 pills per meal of Betain/HCl w pepsin! (Reasoner)
Some Food Notes
- Eat more: sea vegetables, edible fungus, bone-in fish and organ meat to help your healing process. Melissa has a great paleo sushi recipe to help get you started with seaweed. 😉
- Eat more offal (organ meat) which is the most nutrient dense food on the planet. I have an awesome liver pâté recipe to help you get started. 😉
- Proteins vs. carbs vs. fats is very individualized
- Need to be sure you’re balancing Omega 6 with Omega 3.
- Are legumes that bad? SFA (short chain fatty acid) production with resistant starch might be ok, meaning beans cooked the right way (blog post coming soon!).
And finally here are 9 new vocabulary terms or quotations that I’ve now added to my lexicon. I told you these people are smart. 🙂
ANGTFT: Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That! An acronym representing the fact that doctors don’t have the time to go into discussions on diet, since it doesn’t fit into any Disease Code and thus isn’t billable. This is one of the reasons discussions with your doctor can be so frustrating. Courtesy of Dr. Jacob Egbert.
“Coffee is a cream vehicle!” Courtesy of Dr. Chris Kresser. Once upon a time, I was the same way! Until dairy started disagreeing with me. 🙁 But there may be hope in bringing it back. Some paleo practitioners don’t think dairy may be all that evil. I have been studying dairy a lot lately, and will bring you an in-depth post on that subject soon.
Eudemonia/Eudaimonia – “holistic flourishing” or human flourishing. What the Greeks refer to as real happiness or “living well,” rather than the concept of having “fun.” Does striving for “fun” bring us real happiness, or is it more the holistic notion of moral, psychological, healthful and spiritual well-being? Not an easy word to define, and apparently the subject of much discussion. Courtesy of Dr. Hamilton Stapell, a historian who believes that the paleo movement is important, but will never go mainstream. One of (several) reasons being that most people are too caught up in the pursuit of fun and instant gratification.
Infla-munity – A mash-up of “inflammation” and the “immunity” response of the body, because they cannot easily separated, and should both be taken into account at the same time when deciding on the right course of action for healing. Courtesy of Dr. Michael Ruscio.
Lipophobic. Courtesy of Jonathan Bailor. If you know your Latin (or is it Latin, taken from Greek?), you know that this means “fearful of fat,” which is what unfortunately the majority of American society is. Jonathan has analyzed over 1,300 studies and is able to cite references (shall we say ad nauseam :)) showing that fat is actually good for us, and nothing to fear at all!
“We are drowning in autism” – a sad and desperate statement reflecting the fact that cases of autism have dramatically increased from the 1980s when 1 in 10,000 children were diagnosed with it, to the 1990’s when 1 in 2500 children were reported to have autism, until today. Now 1 in 88 children are said to have autism. 1 in 54 boys. This is staggering. Dr. Shauna Young is pleading for your help in getting this message out (future blog post coming).
Manganese madness – Originally coined by Weston A. Price, and used by Dr. Shauna Young in describing the perfect storm of factors that come together to cause autism, where excessive manganese is the “straw that breaks the camel’s back”. Her Spectrum Balance Protocol addresses this issue, where she advises a paleo meal plan, plus eliminates foods that also naturally contain manganese, until healing begins.
Telomere – the end of the chromosome which is a marker of age. The shorter the telomere, the older the person. The longer the telomere, the younger the person, at least as far as their body is concerned. Telomere length can be changed, affecting the longevity of a person. Among the things that can increase telomere length include: meditation, exercise (also makes you smarter), Vitamin D, hypothermic conditioning (e.g. time spent in the sauna), sex, cannabinoids and foods like dark chocolate, tea and blueberries. Fascinating stuff. Courtesy of Dr. Rhonda Patrick
Epigenetic – when gene expression is passed down from a parent to a child without altering the DNA sequence. Among the things that can be passed down epigenetically, learning, memory and even expression of diabetes due to a parents’ poor eating habits, even if diabetes is not actually in the offspring’s DNA sequence. More fascinating stuff. Again, courtesy of Dr. Rhonda Patrick.