Finding My Inner Hippie: Attending Paleo f(X)

Last year, when I was working with my amazing and life-changing nutritionist, I was feeling particularly gung-ho about eating clean and getting my health on track, so when I heard about the Paleo fX conference, and how inexpensive the early bird tickets were, I signed up.

From the Paleo f(x) website: “Paleo f(x)™ is a true holistic lifestyle immersion event, encompassing health and wellness, nutrition, fitness, sustainability, self-improvement, and everything in between. Suited for everyone from the novice to the expert, it is the largest paleo health event—and one of the largest holistic health events—in the world.”

 

This was the sort of thing that Younger Me might have made fun of and scoffed at. For the last year, I’ve wondered what I had gotten into… Was this going to be a super hippie dippie conference full of dreadlocks and natural deodorant and tree huggers? Was it going to be all muscle dude bros and crunchy granola moms who refuse to feed their kids gluten? Would I be the least fit or healthy person there and totally not fit in? (Yes, sorta, and not by a long shot.)

 

Well, after just a couple hours at the conference, I knew I’d made an excellent decision spending $300 to be there. IT WAS AWESOME.

 

Yes, it was everything I thought it might be, and so much more. Paleo fX is a conference about healthy, sustainable living with a Paleo focus. Talks ranged from biohacking, getting better sleep, and improving your brain health, to natural childbirth, meditation, the positive effects of psychedelics and plant medicine, and getting more out of your kettlebell workout. I ran out of pages in my notebook as I scribbled down things I wanted to remember and others I needed to google. More than once I lamented not paying more attention in biology class and I plan on increasing my physiological and anatomy knowledge before I go back next year. The overall attitude of the conference was positive, optimistic about the future, body-loving, and community-centered, the general message being that we can heal ourselves and as a result change the world. I loved every single hippie hippie tree hugging crunchy granola second of it.

 

Apparently, I’m a hippie 😛

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So what were some highlights of the conference?

20180428_151611Attending Dr. Perlmutter’s talk on brain health. If you haven’t read any of his work, you should. It’s fascinating, eye-opening and so practical. Brain Maker is an awesome place to start and will teach you so much about how your brain and gut work together. He’s an excellent speaker, engaging and relaxed in his expertise, never condescending. One of the biggest takeaways from this talk was this: the number one thing any of us can do to keep our brains healthy and ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s in our later years is EXERCISE. There are no pharmaceuticals that can be recommended for mild cognitive improvement; the only thing doctors can recommend without warnings is exercise. So get moving!

 

Exploring the expo floor. We’ve all been to conferences and gotten the standard, crappy swag they hand out — pens, notepads, mints, screen covers…. Well this was unlike any vendor floor I’ve ever seen. I ended up taking home well over $100 of samples and probably ate another $100 worth. Seriously, I didn’t have to buy breakfast or lunch for two days, I just sampled my way through 180+ booths — bone broths, collagen drinks, camel milk, paleo chips and treats, keto snacks and drinks, chicken chips, olive oil, meat bars and snacks, smoothies, juices, and coffee for days. I also got to try one of the infrared saunas, CBD oils and sprays, charcoal activated toothpaste, sleep tracker rings, meditation aids, lotions and face washes… plus there were lots of things I just never got around to trying out. The samples I got to bring home included the standard pens, stickers, buttons, and bags but also included tons of supplements, lotion, coupons, tooth paste, snack bars, drink mixes, paleo croutons, zero-calorie ‘soda’ sweetened with stevia, ghee, nut butter, That’s It bars, a “to go” salad container, and a yoga mat! It was like healthy trick-or-treating for adults!

 

 

Feeling welcome. Not once did I feel like I didn’t belong in this crowd. Not once did someone condescend or patronize me. Everyone I met was friendly and loving and kind, eager to share their expertise, experience or product. There was a positive hum in the air, an encouraging “you do you” feel to the whole event. So many different types of people attended, from power lifters and barefoot runners to overweight people looking for a change. There were moms and kids, seeing eye dogs and walkers, executives and college students. The barefoot dad in a man bun guiding his half naked little toddler around the floor. The crazy muscular pole dancer giving lessons. The middle aged mom and her teenager daughter. It didn’t matter where you were in your healthy journey or if you are 100% or 1% paleo, you were welcomed with open arms.

 

Riding a camel. One of the vendors, a camel milk producer, sponsored a camel ride area on day 2, so I couldn’t pass it up. I made friends with Cairo, a super chill friendly camel used to humans petting him, and got to ride Curly; it’s way higher up on that hump than you think it is!

 

 

 

Learning more about a holistic health approach. The paleo movement is not about getting thin or living like cave people. It’s about approaching our health (physical, mental, emotional) holistically, ancestrally, and sustainably, with science backing everything up. Too often people silo their health goals — like losing weight, or improving mental focus, or eating better. But all of those things work together, and as someone who deals with a massive anxiety problem, it’s imperative for me to remember not to try to solve one health problem in a vacuum. I’ve learned over the last several years that my mental health is directly related to my gut health, that my sleep quality impacts every moment of my day, that what I put in and how I move my body throughout one day dictates how I’m going to feel the next. I’m learning how meditation, movement, whole foods, fresh air, etc. can impact us, and how everything we need to for our health can be found in nature, and all of this was the common language of the conference, which was refreshing and reassuring. Ultimately, it all comes down to having a long healthspan (because what is life without health), protecting our ecosystem, and changing the world as you change your body. ❤

 

20180429_093223.jpgMy face wore a giant grin for two and a half days, and I may have taken so many notes my fingers are still cursing me… it was a TOTAL BLAST!

 

I’ve already bought my early bird ticket for next year. Will I see you there?? 🙂