(Yep, it’s been over a month. But I said I’d write a 3-part recap of the conference, and I will.)
Now to finish up day 1!
After kicking off the conference with Cora Poage and Mark Sisson, we came back from lunch ready for more.
“Psychotherapy, spiritual support are wonderful, but they are not enough. We needed to consider the physiology of addiction.”
Julia Ross, author of The Mood Cure, addressed “the greatest nutritional crisis of all time:” sugar addiction. Sugar is “manufactured for addictiveness” and–like other white powders–is not food, but a high-calorie drug.
Ross’s list of addictive foods includes sugars, chocolate, starches, and foods containing gluten (from wheat) and casein (protein found in dairy). The symptoms of addiction are a lack of control around the substance, continued use despite the consequences of use, and withdrawal symptoms. Sound familiar to anyone?
My takeaways: Sugar is bad, mmkay? You might start noticing a theme here.
“The things you consider the worst things about you are a doorway to the very best things about you.”
I was so excited to see Geneen Roth speak. I have to say, I had actually heard this talk from her already, based on her wonderful book Women Food and God, and I loved it a second time. She doesn’t talk about nutrition, calories, or dietary theories. She talks about our need to be seen, that the food isn’t about the food, and you’re not upset about what you think you’re upset about. This is my favorite part of coaching clients.
No one magically appeared in their current state; it was a journey, and it still is. As Geneen points out, “Anyone who has their shit together is standing in it.” When we dig deeper and discover the roots of the real issues, that’s when real growth and transformation occurs.
My takeaways: “We don’t want to eat hot fudge sundaes as much as we want to be hot fudge sundaes.” Making your life sweeter and more fulfilling will reduce the need for food to fill those needs.
“We study obesity after people are overweight instead of looking at when, how, and why people become overweight.”
Gary Taubes, author of Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It, was also on team Sugary Death. I’ve read some of the science journalist’s articles, and I know he tends to go against “conventional wisdom.” I’m all about challenging the status quo — if you have a reason.
Taubes prefaced his talk with the seemingly throw-away quotation, “If you want to see really bad science, investigate public health.” His thesis for the day: conventional wisdom that eating more calories than we burn is the cause of obesity is WRONG. He then launched in to a physics lecture about energy (though his conclusions were based in biology).
He brushed against social issues like prosperity and poverty — there are many people who are obese and malnourished — and plowed though complex explanations of digestion, hormones, and fatty tissue. The conclusion? Carbohydrates are bad. I’m not sure I disagree with the information or conclusions, but his delivery makes me feel defensive somehow.
My takeaways: Obesity is more than “calories in, calories out.” Taubes wasn’t too far off from what Mark Sission recommends – lots of protein, fiber, and micronutrients, low on carbohydrates of all types (especially those nefarious grapes and bananas!)
“Not everything is for every body. It’s a trial and success method.”
David Wolfe is the Justin Bieber of the health coaching world, but with crazier hair. I’m not kidding. Whether or not you agree with his ideas (and he doesn’t insist that anyone does), you can’t deny that he has intense energy and real stage presence.
Wolfe talked about superfoods, a topic on which he has published books, held conferences, and launched product lines. While entertained, I felt like I was at a Gallagher comedy show, but instead of a watermelon and a sledgehammer, he had a coconut and a Vitamix blender.
Nutrient- and antioxidant-dense foods are fantastic, of course, but I’m leery of people maintaining a diet high in raw foods in non-tropical climates, and of relying on imports and powders instead of local produce. That said, I do enjoy smoothies now that I learned to make them to suit my tastes, and I notice a difference when I focus on adding raw “living” foods into my diet.
My takeaways: It’s hard to disagree with a man who says that chocolate, red wine, and olive oil are superfoods. Maybe it’s time to try some of that crazy maca root.
Though I did NOT rush the stage to sample the smoothie he made, I did enjoy his talk based on spectacle alone. Watching him eat a handful of grapes onstage mere moments after Gary Taubes denounced them was worth it. It perfectly illustrated Integrative Nutrition’s teachings of bioindividuality — no one diet is right for everyone.
I spend a LOT of time reading about nutrition theories and studies, and I’ve heard or read many of the speakers before. Even I find some of it overwhelming. What’s important to me is knowing what my clients might have heard, how to present this information to them, and how to best apply it in my own life as needed. And that was just the first day!