iin mega conference recap, part 1

by Stacy

Wow, what a weekend.

I spent the weekend in Long Beach at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition‘s first West Coast conference. The school that started with a group of 25 people has grown to be the largest nutrition school in the world. Over 4,000 students and graduates attended this opportunity to learn, connect, and share.

The school’s focus on a holistic approach to health and the idea of bioindividuality, that no single diet is right for everyone, is what originally attracted me to the program. The speakers covered a range of topics in nutrition, business, and coaching skills, and I was surprised at times by what the speakers agreed and disagreed on.

School founder Joshua Rosenthal opened the weekend. “It’s not about having answers, it’s about sharing them.” We gained a lot of information over the weekend, but the chance to discuss, debate, and share with other coaches was the real value of the conference.

I did my best to share the content and experience on Twitter with those unable to attend and to engage with other attendees. This is first of three posts to recap my highlights and takeaways. It’s hard to condense it, but I’ll do my best!

Cora Poage: Intuitive Coaching

Cora Poage

“There’s no point in spending 20 minutes talking about greens and grains if the client’s marriage is falling apart.”

First was IIN graduate Cora Poage of Sexy Soul Wellness who shared her journey as a coach learning to listen to her intuition, which allowed her to go deeper and help her clients make more progress.

She stressed meeting each client where they are, giving them a safe space to share and time to think, and focusing on the client’s intentions over our own plan or agenda. Cora instructed us to listen to our voice of inner wisdom.

My takeaway: Shift the energy from the negative voice of fear to the guidance of intuition. I’m looking forward to applying some of Cora’s suggestions in client sessions and appreciate the reminder that it’s not about us, it’s about our clients.

Mark Sisson: The Primal Blueprint

Mark Sisson speaking at the IIN Mega Conference

“People want the best results possible with the least amount of struggling and suffering.”

Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple created the Primal Blueprint eating plan (also called the primal, paleo, or caveman diet) which focuses on the foods our ancestors ate: plants (vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds) and animals. Not allowed? “Modern” agricultural inventions like grains, sugar, dairy, legumes, or seed oils.

From what I know of the diet, I was nervous that Mark Sisson would be be banging the meat drum. One of his recent blog posts details how those with allergies or dietary restrictions can “eat primal,” including vegetarians and vegans. He says that even though a vegan diet isn’t completely compatible with primal eating, many primal concepts can be used to improve some vegan diets.

I can appreciate that attitude. The goal isn’t to make people eat one certain way, the goal is to help people find a way of eating that supports their best health. Though directed at his Primal Blueprint, I think Sisson’s words apply to any healthy way of eating: “This is not a diet; this is a way of life that is sustainable through your lifetime.”

My takeaway: I enjoyed Sisson’s talk and was impressed when he suggested “Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re not,” a common-sense rule out of the pages of intuitive or mindful eating. In contrast, Sally Fallon of the Weston A. Price Foundation spoke last fall in New York. She speaks strongly against any type of meatless diet in a fairly combative tone; my reaction to Sisson was much more positive. He was also the first of several speakers to address gene expression and how eating and exercise can change your “genetic fate.”

And that only gets us up to lunch! I’ll be back with parts 2 and 3 very soon.

Meanwhile, check out what the other live bloggers have been saying about their Mega IIN experiences:

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