Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ancestral Health Symposium 2011 - Dreams, Memories, Reflections

OK, here's my take (and I stole the second part of the title from Carl Jung).  First, I am STILL trying to get caught up after clearing a couple of days from my calendar to attend.

First Impression

Everyone is shorter, thinner, younger, healthier-looking and just plain all-around-better-looking than their internet photos.  Oh, and so nice!  I disagree a bit with Dr. Emily Deans on the personalities.  People are lots tougher on their blogs.  Come to think of it, I wasn't all that snarky either.  Maybe it was in the water.

Second Impression

Despite being global trekkers, Paleo rock stars, or credentialed researchers, people don't know how to drive in LA.  Lots of serious misunderestimation of the time it takes to get to the next town, or just a short stretch down the highway.  Hope it goes better for you next time.  We want to see you there early and refreshed so we can get more pictures and stalk you better.

Third Impression

Some people were there to attend a technical/scientific conference.  Some were there to attend a festival and meet and mingle with rock stars.  At times, there wasn't alot of mingling between the two groups, both in space and in thought.  I was at the back of the room during the Guyenet/Taubes exchange and said to my neighbor, "Wow, did you hear that?" and he said, "Yea, what a jerk!"  But it was obvious to me that Taubes was attending a technical conference.  I found that the exchange was similar to the Feinman/Lustig exchange.  They were attending a technical conference, too.  For people at technical conferences, this is no big deal.  Hey people, if you don't want controversy and can't take the heat, don't let people like Taubes or Lustig into your audience.  Just do your webcasts and delete their comments. 
My neighbor was attending the rock festival, and hadn't read either Taubes books or Guyenet's food reward hypothesis blogposts.  He also seemed to not have much of an idea as to why some people are on low-carb paleo plans.  It was also clear to me that he doesn't attend technical conferences much.  But it was probably a good idea that we were sitting next to each other.
I was personally in the rooms where these exchanges took place, so my impression is not based on heresay.  I did hear about Dr. Kruse's exchange after one session.  Some people reacted negatively to that exchange as well.  I am sure that if I had heard it first-hand, I would have heard more the passion than anything.

Impression 4

Mark Sisson is HOT!  No not just that way, he has a really high metabolism.  I sat next to him during Dr. Eades presentation, and I needed a fan!

Fun Story

I told Gary Taubes that I had actually read his WHOLE book GCBC.  He told me I didn't need to read the other one.  I feel like I got a free hall pass.  How cool is that???  (Gary, if you are reading this, I want to know that I did read your cold fusion book, too, just not all of it yet.)

After-Impression 1

I read a bunch of stuff on the internets about the possible discovery that people on low-carb diets have puffy red faces.  I saw Dr. Kruse face-to-face and he looked sunburned to me.  The original post is  here.  I don't think stuff like this moves the cause forward.  I haven't responded online yet to this issue, but what I will say here is that since I went low carb, inflammation everywhere has gone down considerably.  Everyone knows that Dr. K was bobbing up and down into the salt water the day before, looking for his phone.  I don't know how the OP knows what everyone eats unless there was a macro-nutrient scanner at the entry doors.  They were cell-phone-scanning tickets, but I was not aware that phone technology has progressed so far.

After-Impression 2

Are black people all neolithic?  Where were they?  There were a couple of Latino's, a handful or two of Asians, and the rest all white.  This doesn't bode well for the paleo movement.  Some go on about how we don't need to eliminate entire food groups, but have we eliminated entire races?  There was lots of talk about Inuits and Kitavans, like people to study, not people to sit next to at a conference.
Most people I know get into paleo to lose weight and get healthy.  Many do this through a low-carb version.  I am troubled by what I have been reading the past few days on the internets.  Paleo folks, we can't expect a movement to grow if we trash the very people out there are are the most likely to try it.  We can't trash women, gays, fat people, old people with puffy red faces, vegetarians, Dr. Oz viewers, or others we currently disagree with.  If it is just by and for 30-year-old men and their six-packs, it will never lose the cult-like impression.

I have introduced several people to paleo, but frankly, too many people think it is some sort of weird cult.  I can't get some of my science buddies to even take a look.  I have sent some friends to the Mark's Daily Apple forum or to Paleohacks, but they come back telling me that the are full of alot of creeps.  Paleo's need to decide if they want to be the next big movement, or last years' faddish clique.


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