The other weekend I went to Austin, TX for Paleo FX. Some might be asking, what is that? It is a three day conference, which is the Mecca Paleo gathering. It is a relatively new thing, however it has grown exponentially. I started on this journey into Paleo around the same time that this was created. I have wanted to go and be a part of this, but work and a knee injury/ surgery put this on the back burner. I decided that 2015 was going to be MY year and I made it happen.
This conference is more than just Paleo though. This year there were so many seminars/ forums on a whole range of fitness, health, and sustainability topics. When I got the list of options, I had to focus and really try to decide what I wanted to learn more about. Plus, getting to listen to people whom I have followed all these years and have looked to for guidance and inspiration felt like such a treat. I might end up making this a series of posts because I took several pages of notes. There are so many things that I want to talk about and share!
There were a lot of great memorable quotes throughout the weekend. I tweeted several of them. In case you missed out, here are some of them. The first zinger went to Mark Sission, from The Primal Blueprint and popular blog Mark’s Daily Apple, who said “I can’t just feed my gut bacon.” I think that while many of us wish we could simply survive on bacon, we need a lot more. Mark has decided to start putting some legumes back into his diet to test them out. He is trying out a few different things in his diet for research. One of my new heroes, Dr. Terry Wahls from “The Whals Protocol”, when talking about her program, said “If you are alive, you can apply these principles”. Finally, the last quote I will leave you with for now was from Nora Gedgaudas from Primal Body, Primal Mind. She said that “Just because our ancestors put something in their mouth and didn’t die, does not mean it was optimal for their health.”
A topic of conversation in many forums was “cheat meals” and Paleo desserts. The general consensus was twofold. One, Paleo desserts are just that, desserts. Paleo desserts are better, healthier options that will not give the same side effects that gluten, white sugar laden alternatives will. Therefore, it will help to not set you back as far. They should be treated though as a treat. Second, that ultimately each individual needs to decide what path is right for them when it comes to nutrition. For some people, 80/20 works for them. Others, it doesn’t. The advisement was to not get caught up in the “perfect” and semantics. If grass feed, organic, or free range are not options, it’s okay. Do the best possible. There was an exchange between Mark Sission and Robb Wolf that illustrates this second point – Mark: “If your only option at the airport is a burger without the bun and a little lettuce, we won’t take your Paleo Card.” Robb: “You will still get into Paleo heaven.” The ultimate goal of each individual should be trying to achieve a better, healthier lifestyle.
Now, let’s get into one of the seminars that I found very important, sleep. Studies have shown the absolute significance of sleep in overall health. It is a super important element. It is often one of the reasons why people feel that they are not getting the health results that they want. There is a reason why sleep deprivation is considered a form of torture and why even the Guinness Book of World Records no longer accepts submissions for sleep deprivation. One panel brought up this fact. They also noted that jumping the Grand Canyon and juggling chainsaws are still acceptable submissions, but that Guinness decided that sleep deprivation was “too dangerous”. I think that speaks volumes about the severity of lack of sleep. I also watched an amazing TedTalk given by Jeff Iliff that helps to simply break down sleep. You can watch it here. Sleep is the time when the waste from cells is flushed from the brain.
In a Sunday seminar on 20 ways to make Paleo fun and easy, Melissa Joulwan talked about making sleep a priority. She offered several steps that work for her specifically, but have mass application. Many of them have shown up in research articles. I think one of the key ones is to stop electronics an hour before bed. This is a difficult one for me because I typically fall asleep to the television. This is not a healthy practice and disrupts the circadian rhythms of the body. This will be something that I start working on to improve myself. Some additional things that can be done to prepare for sleep and sleep soundly are: Epsom Salt bath, meditation, black out curtains, eye mask/ ear plugs, and temperature control. These steps should be included in a bedtime routine. It should become as natural as brushing your teeth.
I think that I will cut this post off here and pick up next time talking about the various vendors that were a part of the expo. If you have any questions about something above or have questions you would like answers to, please feel free to comment below.