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Ancestral Health Symposium 2011: A Review

August 23, 2011

Hello little blog!  It’s been a long time since I’ve posted – I’m sorry!  It’s been a beautiful and busy summer, so blogging has had to take a backseat to playing, sunning, traveling, working (ugh), and just general relaxing!

Alex and I just returned from our summer vacation.  It was a 10 year Wedding Anniversary celebration for us.  We had an amazing time in Cabo San Lucas – playing and relaxing in the sun all day and then eating delicious food every evening!  The trip to Mexico was preceded by attendance at the First Annual Ancestral Health Symposium on the campus of UCLA in Los Angeles.  For those of you not familiar with this event, it was an awesome collaboration of great minds speaking on all things Paleo/Primal.  To view the line up of speakers, click here.  As you can see, a lot of the presentations were running simultaneously, so you had to make the difficult decision of which talk to attend. Fortunately, the presentations and slides are slowly being posted online, so I can catch up on what I missed and you guys can watch what interests you!  Videos can be viewed here and slides can be viewed here.

I would say that the First Annual Ancestral Health Symposium was a HUGE success!  I learned so much and it was surreal to see so many of the authors and bloggers I follow in person and all gathered in one place.  I’ve never been very strong in my bio-chemistry, so this symposium was a great review, although I must admit that I still need some major review.  Instead of reviewing each of the presenters, I thought I’d list some of the highlights and musings I had during the experience:

  • People following this lifestyle are BEAUTIFUL (inside and out).  I have never been surrounded by so many fit, attractive, and kind people.  This society hungers for information and socialization.  Everyone was excited to talk to you about your experience and the presenters were very approachable – signing books, answering questions, and taking pictures.  The body composition at this event was awesome.  Waistlines that are smaller than shoulders, females with muscle tone, clear skin, nice tans, and shiny hair.
  • There are no “rules” for eating/living the Paleo/Primal lifestyle.  So many of us have adapted a higher carb diet and are feeling better for it.  No longer fearing potatoes and white rice has improved my life greatly.  I watched Don Matesz present and found that I related to a lot of what he has experienced.  Although there are still a lot of low-carbers in this community (many of the presenters), there is a time and a place for it and ultimately YOU need to decide what works best for YOU!  Thanks Richard Nikoley!
  • Although there are no “rules” for macronutrient ratios, there are definite guidelines for what to avoid.  Neolithic agents of disease (as coined by Dr. Kurt Harris) include gluten grains, excess linoleic acid from industrial seed oils, and excess fructose.  Everyone seemed to agree with this despite disagreements on how much carbs/fat/protein you should be consuming.
  • And disagreements there were…  Gary Taubes challenging Stephan Guyenet.  Dr. Richard Feinman and Dr. Robert Lustig.  But I think this is a GOOD thing – as long as it’s done respectfully.  We are continuously “evolving” and need to question each other and the research to keep learning!
  • So many people in this community are former vegans/vegetarians.  Why?  Because they only seemed to get sicker until they tried this lifestyle.  And it worked.
  • There is a major connection between mental health and diet/gut health.  Both Nora Gedgaudas and Dr. Emily Deans discussed this in detail.  It truly saddens me that this is not accepted mainstream knowledge.  So many lives could be changed for the better.  As always, Alex and I will do our best to spread the word.
  • Why is it that just about every kid these days has breathing problems/allergies/asthma and needs braces?  Some interesting answers…
  • Play is so important!  Mark Sission gave a great talk on the meaning and feeling of true play.  Be in the moment and bring a beach ball!
  • Natural movement is beautiful and fun!  Get outside and crawl, jump, crouch, and climb.  This was my first introduction to MovNat by Erwan LeCorre.  Alex and I had so much fun “exercising” on the beautiful campus of UCLA.  Thanks Clifton Barsky!
  • Ancestral Health is the perfect term for this lifestyle.  I’ve never been too keen on stating that I live “Paleo” or “Primal”.  Those words just don’t seem to encompass all that is this way of life.  Eat, sleep, play, socialize, work, exercise, health, and healing are all part of our lives. Using clues from our evolutionary past is key, but we are so much smarter and technologically advanced, let’s use that to our benefit to learn the hows and whys.  We can just keep getting better!

So my hope is that the Ancestral Health Symposium lives to see many more years of brilliant minds and beautiful people gathering together!  Here are a few of my favorite pics from the event!  Hope to see you all there next year!!!

Robb Wolf. Hilarious, but true!

Alex and I with Mark Sisson - super nice guy!

Alex and I on the beautiful UCLA campus

Alex and I with Robb Wolf - he's so friendly!

MovNat session

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