Last Wednesday evening I arrived in Austin, Texas to attend the PaleoFX Conference. I went to hear all the latest thought trends in the Paleo/Primal worlds, to see old friends, and to make new connections.
The event did not disappoint, but I was only able to stay for about 36 hours. Unfortunately, on Friday morning I woke up in a boatload of pain from a neck flare-up and I had to fly home early. I don’t know if any of you have bulging discs in your spine (I have 2 in my neck), but the kind of pain they create is jolting and exhausting. It makes life suck, so I went home to my chiropractor and husband to be taken care of. Ugh…
While I was there, I was lucky enough to stay in a house with the founders of PaleoFX, Michelle and Keith Norris, plus some other pretty awesome people. Eva Twardokan, Dr. Lauren Noel, Rachel Flowers, Shirley McLean, and part of Robb Wolf’s crew: Amy Kubal, Stephanie Gruenke, and Chris “Squatchy” Williams.
I attended the talks on Thursday with my other housemates and friends, Marissa Pellegrino, Roger Dickerman, and Colin Champ. Marissa and Roger are the owners of Relentless Fitness in Philadelphia, and they’re two of my most favorite Paleo people in the world. Marissa’s nurturing, motherly side has pushed her to create a hugely successful children’s fitness program at their gym, which is really exciting to me. She’s giving young kids the education and experience to change their own lives. I also have to give Marissa a big thanks for helping me (feeding me, picking me up off the floor, and driving me to the airport) when my neck was at its worst.
Her boyfriend Roger is co-owner at Relentless Fitness and one half of the Relentless Roger and the Caveman Doctor podcast. He just finished his book, The Relentless Nutrition Action Plan, which you should check out. Roger is a very level-headed, kind, and passionate guy who’s distilled a lot of Paleo info into bite-sized pages.
I also had the pleasure of hanging out with Dr. Colin Champ, the other half of the Relentless Roger and Caveman Doctor podcast duo. Colin’s a smart guy and he’s going to play a pivotal role in getting other docs to look at ketosis for the management of certain cancers, seeing as how this isn’t his only published article out there on the topic.
I spent most of my only day at the conference with those guys and Lina Belkin, who’s a trainer at Barre Bee Fit in Chicago. She’s a super energetic, smart girl who told me last year at PaleoFX she wanted to make the Paleo lifestyle her career, and lo and behold this year she’s done it. Here’s a picture of all of us (left to right: Colin, Roger, Marissa, me, Lina).
And here’s one of Colin multi-tasking, studying for boards while listening to the speakers. I really think he was actually listening to them while reading the driest material I’ve ever seen.
Alright, onto the speakers, which is probably what you want me to talk about :)
Nora Gedgaudas talked about adrenal dysfunction, addressing the phenomenon we hear about all the time, “adrenal burnout” or “adrenal fatigue”, which sometimes doesn’t have much to do with the adrenals, but all the other hormonal players in the body. She talked about the fact that stress and lack of sleep, and coffee can all mess with the hormonal balance in our bodies, wreaking havoc on our health in general. Her takeaway points were to get an ASI test (a salivary cortisol test), among other tests, and take supplements you need to heal what’s going on, and eat a low-carb Paleo diet. She’s actually into ketogenic diets, which I obviously don’t think work for everyone. She’s a good speaker in any case.
Robb Wolf talked about his Risk Assessment program with the Reno, NV fire and police departments. It’s a very cool thing they’re doing, which is gathering health markers on these guys, whose medical bills could bankrupt America, and then changing their diets to low-carb. They’re saving lives over there, as well as millions of dollars in medical costs. Check out Robb’s latest blog post on it here.
Sarah Fragoso’s talk called “Put on Your Oxygen Mask First” was maybe my favorite. Sarah is a funny, beautiful, down-to-earth, confident woman, whose story is much like a lot of ours: her health sucked and she was trying to lose weight, then she connected with some people who helped her find Paleo and now she feels amazing. Her main takeaway was that as a parent or a caretaker in any capacity, you have to make time for yourself to eat well, exercise, and do whatever you need to feed your own body, or you will not be a “healthy mommy” or even fun to be around. With my neck injury flared up right now, this was a good reminder for me to take what I need to get healthy again.
These were just a few of the talks I saw that day, but they’re what really stick out in my mind. You’ll be able to buy all the talks at www.therealpaleofx.com soon, I believe. I hope some of you got to watch the live stream? Were any of you there? What did you love/not like the most?