Paleo FX Wrap-Up: Farewell Austin

Let me start off by saying that I had a fantastic time in Austin and some much needed R&R. It was a pretty last minute decision to go, I booked the trip just a couple of weeks before Paleo FX. Between school and work this year, I’ve done more travel than the last decade combined. I wasn’t sure I could squeeze in another trip but thanks to my amazing support system at home (aka Mr. Mom) I pulled it off. But not without some obstacles. Thursday morning started off with one of the twins climbing into my bed at 5am with a 102 fever. I had a 9am flight. We ended up oversleeping which meant our entire house had to scramble to get ready for school and get me to the airport on time. I barely made it on the plane but got to the conference shortly after it started.

One of the first talks I attended was Dr. Terry Wahls sharing about her experience of healing her MS through a diet she devised. One interesting programming note is that I tweeted something she said which ended up with over 90 retweets.
Kendall ‏@PrimalBalance

If you want stupid kids, feed them sugars and trans fats #PFX13
I want to clarify something. I don’t believe this to be entirely true. I’m not discounting it but it’s an extreme viewpoint. My children have high IQ’s. They’ve also had plenty of sugar in their life (hopefully less these days) and probably were exposed to trans fats before I got a clue. Point is they’re far from stupid. Is sugar toxic, addictive, and unhealthy? You better believe it. And does their behavior post-sugar intake drive me up a wall? Absolutely! But people can be so extreme in the Paleo world and that just creates perfectionism which ultimately leads to shame. It’s all about balance. I don’t want people to take that one tweet and get the wrong idea about what my family eats. I am by no means perfect and quite frankly I don’t want to be.
That brings me to my first highlight of Paleo FX. The amazing Sarah Fragoso of Everyday Paleo. Wow, do I admire this woman. Her first cookbook came out right when I first started eating Paleo. Her website was my lifeline and I just really feel like I owe my family’s success in sticking to this diet to the resources she made available. I caught her talk and a couple of the panels she was on. The takeaway? Take care of yourself first!!! All I can say is AMEN. Any mom knows how difficult this is. We put so much freaking pressure on ourselves to do everything the right way. What does that even mean!? Then we end up sacrificing our own lives and sanity. I’ve been burning the candle at both ends trying to be a student, a voice actor, work in food policy, and most of all be a mom to my 4 girls. People are always asking me how I do it all. I couldn’t tell you! I woke up Saturday completely exhausted. I decided to bail on breakfast and lunch with friends and the morning talks to swim and soak in the hotel’s pool and hot tub. Alone. It was heaven! I’m so glad I listened to my body telling me I needed to slow down and take care of myself.
After my luxurious morning of relaxation I caught Dr. Hamilton Stapell’s talk. You may remember a survey floating around not too long ago. The talk was based on the results of that survey. Some very interesting facts came to light. Turns out that the Paleo community is made up mostly of women. The percentages were in favor of middle-aged, caucasian, highly educated, affluent people who are married or in committed relationships that avoid grains and legumes but not necessarily dairy. People were also mostly motivated by weight loss and health issues. One thing Dr. Stapell noted is that he doesn’t believe Paleo will go mainstream because of the barriers it faces. As someone who works in food policy, I have to agree. He’ll be presenting on the future of Paleo at AHS in August. He’s always one of my favorite presenters so I’m looking forward to it.
There were so many other highlights so for the sake of time I’ll keep them short.
*Seeing old friends and making new ones always tops the list. These conferences are as much about socialization as they are about learning. When so many of us only know each other through social media then we get to actually hang out in person it’s a great feeling! It was nice to meet other food policy folks as well.
*Delicious food! I ate more than my stomach could handle and then I ate some more. Wholly Cow burgers, breakfast hash from 24Diner, dinner and a show at Green Pastures Restaurant, BBQ at Lambert’s, and the Farm to Table Dinner. Plus Paleo Treats at the conference.
*Local Kombucha being sold on site. Must get booch fix!
*Managing to squeeze in a rock show while in one of the greatest music towns. Scott Weiland still rocks it.
*And finally, seeing the people of this community who keep it positive. There are a lot of egos floating around. But those who keep it real and are truly here to help others make this community worth being part of. This is my thank you to them for constantly inspiring me to look past the negativity and remember what I’m doing here.
The charity Farm To Table Dinner for The Homegrown Revival was a great way to wrap up the conference Saturday night. Austin treated us to gorgeous weather for the event. I tried antelope for the first time and enjoyed the family style meal.
If you haven’t experienced a Paleo conference yet I highly recommend you do. Big thanks to Michelle and Keith Norris and all the volunteers who put on a tremendous event. See y’all in Atlanta in August for the Ancestral Health Symposium where I’ll be presenting a poster entitled Connecting Children to Ancestral Food. A City’s Blueprint for Creating a Comprehensive Childhood Nutrition Program.


7 thoughts on “Paleo FX Wrap-Up: Farewell Austin

  1. Thanks for the recap writeup! I’m bummed I wasn’t able to make it so twitter and the recaps are such a treat.

    I’m pretty sure that what Terry meant is that empty calories and transfats aren’t foods that build healthy brains. But the sugar+transfats=stupid kids statement is a better soundbite however incorrect it is. Why is it incorrect? It implies that if we avoid sugar and transfats, our children will be smart and/or have no issues. Coming from the vegetarian/vegan/crunchy parenting movement of the late 90s and early 2000’s, it’s clear that this simply isn’t the case. I think we can all compile quite a list of people we know who ate a sugar free, trans fat free during pregnancy and breastfeeding and whose kids ate that way once starting solids and throughout childhood who have major issues: adhd, learning disabilities, mental health issues and more.

    Without writing a paper on it (ha!), it’s pretty clear that what we *do* get is as important as what we don’t get. A brain that’s not getting enough choline, iodine, vitamin a, vitamin d and zinc during key developmental phases is going to run into trouble….independent of sugar and transfatty acids.

    I’d posit that as long as a mom is eating liver/egg yolks/red meat/dairy, eating transFA and lots of sugar, while not ideal, isn’t going to cause much harm (over the short term). While avoiding transFA and sugar on a low zinc/A/D/iodine/iron/choline diet is going to lead to poor outcomes.

    Just my .02. I know this is a all clear to you….just clarifying for others reading as it’s of foundational importance.

    I was able to catch Hamilton’s presentation on the livestream. It was great! The Q&A brought up lots of good stuff. Looking forward to the third part of his trilogy at AHS.

    Looking forward to your presentation too–I’m so glad you submitted the poster!

  2. Thank you Katherine for saying all of that! I agree completely and couldn’t have said it as factually or eloquently as you did. I highly respect Dr. Wahls so I hope no one thinks differently. There was a long stream of tweets from her talk that put it in better perspective but one sound bite can throw it all off. Can’t wait to see you in Atlanta!!

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