What a weekend that was. I entered feeling nervous, excited and unsure of what was ahead. I left feeling energized, inspired and more sure of my direction than ever before (more about that later). I met many people in person who I had already ‘met’ online and met plenty of new faces. There was tons of new foods and products to try out too, which was awesome ;). I clearly enjoyed myself quite a bit.
So what did I learn?
I learned a ton! I learned actual ‘academic information’ as well as life lessons. Even my hubby stated he learned a lot and came away with new information.
Our Friday schedule was jam packed with speakers and started out with listening to a lecture from Dr. David Perlmutter, a neurologist who has also written many books including Grain Brain and Brain Maker, to name a few. This was one of my favorite lectures of the weekend and a great way to kick off the weekend in style. Dr. Perlmutter was engaging and hilarious, his 2 hour talk went by in the blink of an eye.
His lecture discussed sugars and how they come in many different forms and how they affect us in many different ways. One of the first things he said really stood out to me, and has stuck with me since. He asked the audience what we thought the #1 source of calories was in America today.
High Fructose Corn Syrup. HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. I’ll just leave that right there.
He went on to discuss the correlation between sugar consumption and Alzheimer’s risk (I’ll give you a hint, the more you eat, the more you’re at risk), sugar and the microbiome and GMO’s. He also went further to discuss how diabetes impacts Alzheimer’s risk. He broke it down to the science and how sugar binds to proteins to create free radicals and how that creates inflammation. It was a fantastic talk, and one that was very informational and helpful. He had great talking points and even gave action steps for people when they asked questions.
The next session of the day was Ben Greenfield. He is an Ironman athlete, a biohacker and self experimenter all rolled into one. He has tried some crazy methods in the name of fitness, that is for sure, but if you are curious about a new method or technology, he is the man to seek out, because I am sure he has tried it. Or at least will be willing to take one for the team and go first.
He had a great in-depth talk about the Vagus Nerve. The Vagus Nerve stretches from your brain all the way to your gut and is partially in control of the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest system). He discussed great ways (and some kinda far out there, it is Ben Greenfield after all) of getting optimal function from your Vagus Nerve. Some included considering jaw alignment, morning brain flush (kinda out there), hot/cold therapy, Kundalini yoga and aromatherapy, among others. His talk was very in depth, and he blew through tons of information. I couldn’t write fast enough! (That happened often during the weekend). Some of the ideas I’ll never be able to do either because of cost of equipment or access to equipment. But some of the methods I’d like to try. We did a quick example of a breathing exercise from Kundalini yoga, and I loved it. It was challenging yet so relaxing, I’d love to incorporate this into my day or week. Hot/cold therapy is also something I can accomplish quickly in my shower. It’s just a matter of doing it! No one likes the cold shower thing… no matter how good it is for you!
Right after Ben Greenfield, it was onto see Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, aka The Paleo Mom. She had an interesting discussion about the idea of the Caveman in the Paleo world. Is he really helping our cause? or is he hurting us? Is saying we ‘eat like a Caveman’ helping us explain to others what we do? Her take on this was that the idea of ‘Eating like a Caveman’ is not helping us define ourselves at all. In fact, we are opening ourselves up to more criticism because we describe ourselves this way. She went on to describe what ‘eating like a caveman’ would really look like today and if the foods we consider Paleo and positive would be included in this, which they wouldn’t. She suggested describing Paleo not as simply ‘Eating like a Caveman’ but ‘Eating in a Nutrient Dense way for Health’. Which I totally agree with.
I have often found myself describing Paleo/AIP this way when asked already. Especially when talking about AIP, with it’s many restrictions, I try to put it into as positive of a light as I can. At the end of the day I don’t care what others think about the way I eat, but I have found that stating it this way helps the other person understand. And isn’t that the ultimate goal of conversation anyway?
Friday was a looooooong day of listening and learning. It was great! By the end of the session with The Paleo Mom, our brains (and butts) were done sitting and listening. We took a stroll around the expo to see what was up, then headed out for the day! Time to find dinner then rest up for Saturday! Stay tuned for Part 2!