So I had a great (but very tiring) time at AHS12. In fact I was useless for about 36 hours post-event, with the extra day making it a bit grueling compared to last year, but part of that was entirely my own fault for staying up so late on multiple days. It was nice to catch up with the personalities and folks and meet all sorts of new ones. I'm definitely going to miss some folks and for that I apologize in advance.
I was delighted to spend some quality time with:
Mark Sisson: I was fortunate enough to spend nearly an hour learning a bit more about Mark and his history of athletic endeavors, and how he transformed his experiences and success with primal eating into his Primal Blueprint, and a bit of what his motivations are. As I mentioned in the last post, most people have an angle. My disclosure is my paid blog over at Psychology Today, for example. For the most part, this blog has been a very expensive but fulfilling hobby. That will change soon when I will make an exciting announcement. And sure, Mark wants a successful business, but it is also extremely important to him to help folks eat better and live better. He has always done a good job advocating for balance and common sense. I've heard him say multiple times… the goal is not to get the body of a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. It's to be happy and healthy, and *not* to be obsessed with food. It's to eat well in such a way that you don't have to spend so much time thinking about it, counting, or carrying around little snacks to eat every three hours. It's to be able to tolerate a fast every once in a while if you are traveling and there's nothing that good to eat. It's to eat well most of the time so that you can enjoy champagne and cake at your great aunt's 100 birthday party (barring alcohol problems or wheat allergy) without worry or recrimination. In any event, Mark is good people and it was a great pleasure to get to know him better.
Stephan Guyenet: I really enjoy talking with Stephan each time I have the opportunity. He's thoughtful, careful in his writing, and an exceptionally kind person.
Chris Masterjohn and Denise Minger: We were able to talk a bit about Chris' successful defense of his dissertation (on a topic I have a great deal of interest in, certain specific aspects of glutathione metabolism) and Denise's writing project. They seemed a bit more relaxed than others at the conference, maybe because Chris got that PhD...
Chris Kresser: Somehow each time I talk with Chris I tend to be fired up about something, so I'm not sure the impression he has of me! He understands the dilemma of a clinician, that things aren't always so simple, that lab tests aren't always accurate, and that the answer isn't always more supplements or less sugar or whatever the paleo flavor of the week is. I'm always eager to see his new writings and ideas. It's also nice to talk shop about babies and parenting.
Rick Henriksen MD, Catfish MD, Primal Mountain (Jacob Egbert, DO), Vlprince, and Dr. Lucy: I can't say enough about this crew of doctors. We were pretty much inseperable during the event, and various folks did everything from help me with my sinus infection, share chocolate, phone chargers, buying dinner, introducing me to all sorts of great practitioners, and even bringing me farm fresh rendered lard and putting me up for a couple nights in town so I wouldn't have a 45-90 minute commute each way. The three day event would have been nearly impossible without their support and company. I love them all a great deal and can't wait until we all meet again.
My sister in law, an emergency room nurse who volunteered for the event and by the end seemed to become friends with everyone. (And a special thanks to my husband for wrangling the kids alone as he is always happy to do when I'm away for these shindigs.)
I had a few moments (and would have loved to spend more time) with:
Ned Kock, Beth Mazur, Paul Jaminet, Keith and Michelle Norris, Basil G, Aaron Blaisdell, Jamie Scott and Anastasia Boulais, Grayson Wheatley, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, Kamal, Don Wilson, Lindsay, Colin Champ, and Squatchy and countless others.
Someone I would love to chat with more, but I figured it would take some time to do it justice and he was always mobbed: Robb Wolf. One day, maybe!
Finally, I wanted to address some concerns that have come up on the Internet about our physician's forum. Some great practitioners (chiropractors, RDs, nurses, etc.) felt left out because our little endeavor is for MDs/DOs, medical students, and the international equivalents. We think other practitioners are terrific, incredibly valuable, and certainly have skill sets we do not possess, and an eventual plan would be to have several nested forums with all clinicians and researchers or whoever able to share ideas, grant funding, experience, resources, etc. Our forum is quite small at the moment and is focused on addressing specific concerns and needs of physicians, having to do with medicolegal questions, evidence-based practices, case studies, etc. For various legal and traditional reasons, this model can only work with a confirmed set of physicians. We're not trying to be exclusive or leave anyone out because we are jerks. This model meets our current needs and we hope to collaborate with all kinds of practitioners in the future.
There has also been a lot of discussion about AHS12 and the quality of speakers, the lack of diversity, and the judgmental atmosphere. I felt the speaker list was more diverse than last year, and interest from many ethnic groups is growing. These events filled with nutrition fanatics and folks who work out for a living is always a bit of a beauty spectacle. Many folks get into evolutionary styles of eating and living for reasons of vanity (hey, I did…). I'm not perfect by any means, being a middle-aged mother of two, but I personally felt comfortable and that people weren't judgmental to my face, though I'm not going to be walking around the AHS in spandex any time soon. Its unfortunate that others felt judged or uncomfortable or excluded. I thought the talk by Dr. Eaton about ageing gracefully living a paleo lifestyle was a nice antidote to the youth obsession… but I'm one of those folks who generally assumes others are thinking kind thoughts and giving people the benefit of the doubt, so maybe I'm not the best one to judge these sorts of things…
|Jacob Egbert and Rick Henriksen|
|Victoria Prince and Lindsay Starke|
|Me, relaxing in New Hampshire a few days after the conference|