1500 fans = More PaleoFX notes!

My Facebook ‘fan’ page just hit 1500 fans today, which I’m stoked about!

Having more people listening to what I have to say is highly motivating for me to keep posting informative articles, amateur photography, and incoherent spout-offs about whatever I feel like writing about.

As a thank-you to the 1500 of you who care about what I have to say (enough to click a ‘like’ button at least!), I’m publishing another round of notes from the PaleoFX conference last week.

This post features two amazing mastermind sessions.

The first is the Health Care Policy Reform panel, which was one of my favorites of the whole event. The best part was when Robb and Judith started debating what should be done to fix food policy and to change the way our government controls what we do or do not eat. It was a totally respectful disagreement, and I was quite happy that these two got a chance to hash out their ideas on stage. I think if these two teamed up as part of an initiative to reform food policy, it would be a huge win for United States Food Policy. Just sayin’, you guys. 😉

The second is the Performance versus Optimization panel, which mainly focused on the downsides of training for performance, such as high cortisol, inflammation, hormonal imbalances, and just general crappy side effects. The experts discussed how you can avoid some of these problems that arise when you have a performance goal, and how to balance your goals with what’s best for your body.


Health Care Policy Reform (Dean Dwyer Moderator)

  • Karen Folvo, Shannon Ford, Judith McGeary, Michelle Norris, Diana Rodgers, Robb Wolf, Heather Eisley, Amy Myers
  • Michelle – Wants to change food policy, we’re feeding ourselves bad food, being told to eat bad food, and there are people that count on our food policy to eat. We’re paying for this in our healthcare debt. Need to change our thinking from the top down.
  • Judith – 3-4 companies own our food supply. Incredible lobbying power to control what the gov’t does. Need to break level of control that corporations have to reform free market standards. Consolidation in each industry despite variety of labels and ‘food choices’, so our choices are really limited
  • Heather – government food policy driven by politics, money (eg. pharma). Drug companies control disease care that comes from foods we’re eating
  • Amy –  I didn’t get any nutritional training in med school. People think they’re eating healthy so its very confusing on top of all of this. So overwhelming and they try to discuss it with their doctors who have no idea what to tell them as far as nutrition.
  • Shannon – Tried to get a doctor to diagnose her with celiacs and no one would test her.  Doctors aren’t looking at root cause.
  • Amy – many people don’t get a positive test and MDs won’t support dietary changes to help conditions, will probably be considered malpractice in the future. The idea that what we eat has nothing to do with our health conditions will hopefully be malpractice eventually.
  • Michelle – Doctor wanted to ‘cut into her’ instead of just trying a dietary intervention
  • Robb – Doctors can’t go by intuition anymore. They need lab results that will prove things for insurance reasons. We don’t have a market-based system, the third party system prevents people from doing things differently. We know more about medicine, but our healthcare is getting worse, and more expensive. We’re going to either make a policy shift on our own, or it is going to shift for us in the form of a failed state. We’re not unique or immune just because we’re a Westernized culture.
  • Judith – One of the problems is that we think technology is always the answer. A lot of these solutions don’t fit into technological boxes, eg. food systems. Just because its done in a lab doesn’t make it good science (or good for us).
  • Heather – Encourage people to get involved in politics and activism, because if we don’t we continue to be a silent minority. Do food platforms exist in politics?
  • Diana – Farmers pay a tax to the gov’t for being organic.
  • Robb – The rest of our food production is subsidized. Diana has to pay to do things sustainable. This is a huge part of the issue. How do you compete in the market when the government is supporting the status quo?
  • Amy – In order to get people off their meds, I don’t take insurance. But a lot of people can’t afford to come see me. Get a high deductible and go see a doctor that isn’t playing the insurance game. You’ll end up saving money in the end by getting off medication and getting rid of your illness. Your body knows better than any test or technology does. The system needs the sick people coming in. If I relied on insurance I wouldn’t be able to survive. If medicare reduces what they’re going to make, doctors are going to increase their patient load and not be able to help people.
  • Robb – We’re going to need to create an alternate system. We have the infrastructure to allow healthcare providers to take this on.
  • Heather – We need to continue the education. Don’t be scared to provide the information that is against the mainstream. We’re taking on risk when its against government food policy, but people need to commit to providing info without being afraid of the repercussions. The more conversations you have with your representatives, the more control you’ll have over your government.
  • Dean – There are many ways for people to create change.
  • Judith – People want positive solutions, and we’re getting close to critical mass. Level of consciousness is increasing and every person is a good source of information. Food is a nonpartisan issue and there are legislatures out there willing to hear about it. Develop relationships with legislatures who are willing to listen and possibly make changes. Educate your neighbors and your representatives.
  • Diana – Next level of Paleo is looking for sustainable food options, getting involved in advocacy.
  • Shannon – Insurance isn’t going to pay for the testing you need. Get a health savings account so you can go to the doctors you want to go to. Seize upon opportunities to make changes.
  • Amy – It’s difficult when you have something that’s the marker of health (Wholefoods) that is teaching the wrong message. We need to have a conversation with the companies that are sending these messages.
  • Judith – It’s so easy to send a fax to the senator, so it’s not effective. If you want to have an impact on public policy you have to do the work. Call them and have a conversation (not yelling!) meet in person, write a letter, show them that its worth their effort. Take a little bit of extra time to have a greater impact.
  • Robb – Tell your rep that the Paleo diet is the fastest growing diet therapy.
  • Michelle – Vote with your dollars. Shop at your farmers market. Don’t put your money into companies that don’t support your ideology.
  • Amy – Everyone is an individual and we can’t have a one-size-fits-all dietary prescription. (genetics, environment, stressors, diet)
  • Robb – It’s appealing to want the government to intercede on our side but it never goes well. I don’t want the government telling anyone what to eat. I want our physicians to be able to practice their philosophy.
  • Judith – Free markets are based on the premise that all consumers are educated and that there are no monopolies. Regulation is required to keep a theoretical ‘free market’. I hate top down policy but there needs to be some level of regulation in food safety. We need reductions in regulation, who makes these regulations, and one that distinguishes between organic small producers and feedlot production.
  • Heather – We need standards for what things like ‘grass fed’ really means. We need agreed upon definitions that consumers can be assured are accurate when shopping.
  • Robb – We need to tackle it from a farm subsidies standpoint. No one could afford to grain-feed meat.
  • Judith – I don’t think we’re there. There’s so much infrastructure now that the cost of meat would go up and they wouldn’t switch to grassfed.
  • Robb – The economics on this is clear. The infrastructure to do grass fed is available. The sustainability piece is the ‘saturated fat‘ thing for the next 20 years.
  • Judith – A lot of people think organics can’t feed the world. The reality is food will be more expensive, there will be more labor involved (eg. more farmers needed) so very basic changes will have to be made. We have to start respecting farmers as a profession. We can produce enough food organically and sustainably, we just have to change the dynamics.
  • Diana – If we teach kids about the relationship with the planet, then they’ll be more likely to grow up and be conservationists and support sustainable food production.

Performance vs. Optimization

  • Robb Wolf, Jack Kruse, Lane Sebring, Amy Myers, Keith Norris, Amy Kubal, Dallas Hartwig
  • Amy – Endurance athletics is a huge stressor on your body, regardless of how these athletes appear on the outside.
  • Amy K – The physical stress will wreck you. Its an addiction.
  • Lane – You spend so much time improving your life and not actually living it. A more balanced approach will help you lead a better life. Keep a rational perspective with your workout, find something you truly enjoy doing.
  • Dallas – You’re fooling yourself if you think chasing performance is going to lead to longevity. You need to determine what your goals are and how much you really need to be doing to optimize your health.
  • Keith – People equate health to ultimate performance. Clients think that there’s a huge time commitment necessary for health. My job is to reeducate people, elite performance and health are totally different. The surprise is how little it takes to be healthy, if done right.
  • Robb – Finding the middle ground is key. People age really well and have a good metabolic profile when they balance their fitness. Exercise spins wheels in people’s heads so if I can steer people towards a healthier program I will.
  • Jack – The quality of your thoughts on fitness and optimization needs to be considered. Do I want to be an Adonis and live until 70, or do I want to be pretty healthy and make it to 130?
  • Robb – People are swimming in cortisol. Accelerates aging processes.
  • Lane – Downward trend in testosterone levels. Important to have levels checked and make sure its at a healthy level
  • Robb – The wheels fall off the wagon on gym owners first, then the trainers. Maybe we shouldn’t have 6 AM classes from a health standpoint, but this affects the economic viability. It’s a legitimate problem. Encourage more sleeping, periodizing program, taking in carbs to improve the recovery. I know this isn’t optimal for longetivity but it’s the tactic I’m taking.
  • Jack – Diabetics get poor nerve growth because of excessive cortisol. Same with people like military that are coming back with PTSD – caused by high cortisol that blows out the PDNF (?) High cortisol over a long period of time shortens telomeres.
  • Lane – I see low cortisol levels because their adrenals are burnt out. People are obese because they can’t get sugar to their brain when they have low cortisol. People crave carbs to keep themselves standing. We live in a very unnatural world, and we’re not designed for this lifestyle. Use a paleo template to figure out what we’ve been designed to do, both diet and activity.
  • Amy – I see a lot of burned out adrenals too. We live in a very stressful world, and people become addicted to the stimuli and the cortisol. You need to look other places in your life besides just physical performance as a potential cortisol issue. We need cholesterol to detox and many athletes have very low cortisol.
  • Robb – Athletes and millitary are pushed to the outer limits, and we see a lot of PTSD and messed up circadian rhythms. PTSD disappears when diet, sleep, and stress levels are taken care of. People forced into extreme levels of performance and these problems are the result, where these issues are things all of us face on a small scale.
  • Jack – You need to invest time to understand the science of evolution and circadian rhythms. When you live outside of what’s natural, you speed up the chemical clock. We’re the only animals that control our environment and it subjugates our genes. This is why we’re seeing children with heart disease and diabetes. When the clock gets forwarded, this passes epigenetics onto the next generation.
  • Kevin – I got more sleep and dropped from 20% to 12% bodyfat, that was the only change.
  • Robb – You can eat well, sleep well, and square dance, and you’ll be lean and healthy. When we want to lean someone out, we drop the intensity. People say they’re working out more and more but they’re getting fatter. The overtraining sneaks up on people slowly. Then they decrease their food, which becomes a chronic stress. Then they work out more, and its a chronic stress. Then the gut starts to fail, and food itself becomes a stress.
  • Lane – You need to rest more. You need some downtime and reward. Vacations are a necessity.
  • Amy – You need to address the stressors in your life in order to reduce the stress on the adrenals.
  • Lane – I use cortisol for patients that just cant produce enough cortisol even when we fix the lifestyle, and people repair quicker.
  • Robb – Low cortisol leads to more epi and norepinephrine produced during stress, and this leads to panic attacks.
  • Jack – when cortisol is released, so is aldosterone, which drops your blood pressure.
  • Keith – With caffeine, people handle it differently.
  • Robb – when I’m on vacation, I handle coffee fine. But during daily life that doesn’t work so well when i’m stressed.
  • Amy – Caffeine is liquid adrenaline, so why do you need it? If you need it in the morning then your adrenals are shot. I have patients get off of it for a few weeks, and they later find that they can’t tolerate it. Big question is why do you need it?
  • Robb – Tired and wired = flipped cortisol levels. Need to address carb intake, circadian rhythms.
  • Lane – Some people wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. May be a burst of cortisol if its too low. Can’t get sugar into the brain without cortisol, so low cortisol is a serious problem. That can hit the ACTH to release adrenaline, so people wake up in a panic. Brain biofeedback can help improve balance of sleep waves during day vs. night.
  • Amy – A lot of young women have female hormone issues because of their stress, so progesterone can help.
  • Jack – Every biohack i do starts with “how do you sleep” to learn how efficient things are working.
  • Robb – you can look way better with less effort. Modest amount of activity plus sleep and relaxation leads to better asthetics.
  • Dallas – aesthetics are a symptom of disfunction. Let’s fix the diet and lifestyle choices that affect the symptoms, and aesthetics will follow.
  • Lane – Empower people to see their results.
  • Amy – I eliminate all the inflammatory foods and people sleep better, have more energy, and lose weight, when they didn’t even realize they were having these issues to start with.
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