I was very gratified and surprised to find two evolutionary medicine psychiatrists who had come to the conference and went out of their way to speak to me. We talked some shop and how to safely integrate evolutionary medicine principles - and how to document it, which in a medicolegal sense is absolutely key. They had some terrific ideas, and it was encouraging.
But the psychiatrists and the other people, the ones you know from the internets, they were amazing. Stephan Guyenet and Clifton Harski both noted in their most recent blog posts that overall it was a fit, attractive, and healthy-looking group. Obviously radical ancestral health enthusiasts will be self-selecting for health conscious people - but it was a stunning advertisement for the lifestyle. There was also, in general, a high level of positivism and intelligence.
Now some pictures - from my iphone 3GS, so don't expect too much.
|Paul Jaminet and Danny Roddy
|John Durant, Lindsay and Dave Csonka in background. Shou-Ching Jaminet in foreground.
|Tall one is Dr. Eenfeldt, Chris Masterjohn, Stephan Guynet, Dave Csonka
|MovNat's Clifton Harski
|Denise Minger (sorry I caught you with your eyes closed!)
|Andrew (Evolvify), Lindsay, Jamie Scott
|Me trying pemmican
|Most shocking thing eaten at the ancestral health symposium
|Jamie Scott and Dave Csonka
|Best Hair of the conference (was a close one with J. Stanton's long flowing mohawk)
… I'm back. All right! Now the dirt! Just kidding. I just wanted to mention my impressions of the many I met - and if I skip you, I'm terribly sorry.
Jamie Scott - Awesome, humble fellow who came all the way out from New Zealand to help liven up my presentation and to meet and connect with the other AHS folks. I knew up front with the presentation we were going to have to hang out a bit, which can be a risk with someone you have never met. However, we were buddies from the get-go, and it was terrific to present with him and to show him around Los Angeles a little, as it was his first visit to the States. Jamie is a skeptic, as I am, and an excellent person to discuss ideas with. He also (fortunately) never seems to tire of talking paleo!
Folks from the presenter/volunteer party: Dr. BG - amazing, vibrant and gorgeous as we knew already. Down to earth and practical, which I actually wouldn't expect from her blogging, which is aways a cross between rock and roll, hotness, and amazing anthropology and pharmacology. Her sister was also very nice and gave me her extra chcocolate bar after my presentation. They both came to MovNat, and that was an amazing experience. Denise Minger - I had a chance to chat with her later on Saturday night, but I just have to echo everyone else's sentiments about her being bubbly and delightful. Richard and Bea Nikoley - who looked great, tanned, and were among the first (of many) to remark about how young I am. Let the record now show that I am 37. So younger than some, and older than many!
The Drs. Eades - formidable presence, lovely to talk to. I do admire their ability to practice the medicine they felt was right in the low-fat heyday of the 80s and 90s. Were I an obesity doctor back then, I would have lost my mind and wandered off into the wilderness. Bryan Barksdale - this young man is starting life as an MD/PhD student. Funnily enough, we both went to the same high school. Aaron Blaisdell and Brent Pottenger - I can only imagine the amount of work that went into organizing the symposium. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Andrew "Evolvify" - I still haven't got you figured out; I respect the genius and mostly just sit back and absorb the blog. He reminded me of some of my friends from back home in Austin, who tend to be brilliant and a bit off the beaten path. Stephan Guyenet - I hate to use the term "adorable" for him, but it describes him completely, from his relaxing zen personality to his amazing brain. I owe Stephan a lot as his blog helped me get a holistic head or tails of the evolutionary medicine piece - and his blog drives a lot of traffic to mine ;-)
Melissa McEwen and Chris Masterjohn I had met before, and I greatly admire their persistence in chasing down truth, and excellence in analysis of papers. John Durant and I had a discussion about writing books - his sounds well on its way. He's very down-to-earth and approachable. Clifton Harski and Erwan Le Corre - I will talk more about them in my MovNat post. Dr. Pendergrass had called me before to discuss the neuroregulation of obesity, he is not a blogger, but teaches biochemistry to med students, and is intense and enthusiastic about the evolutionary medicine movement. Jimmy and Christine Moore - we stayed at the same hotel, so I got a chance to speak with them several times. Very sweet and enthusiastic - loved Jimmy's twitter coverage of the event. I felt for their recent losses. Paul and Shou Ching Jaminet - of course I've met them before, but I love talking to them so much I have to pull myself away to meet some of the non-Bostonians. Their combination of genius, humility, and gentle disposition is a terrific antidote to the typical slash and burn academic types.
At the conference proper I met a bunch more people: Julianne Taylor and her husband Mark, the other part of the New Zealand contingent. I loved talking to Julianne and Mark - and I love her clothes (actually, Mark was a very sharp dresser too). Danny Roddy, Chris Kresser's sidekick in the Healthy Skeptic Podcast - very nice young man who seemed to know everyone already, and introduced me to a lot of people. Dave Csonka was terrific and easy-going. J. Stanton was unsurprisingly intense and very tall! Lindsay Starke was as cute and smart as her @gone2croatan twitter feed would lead you to believe. It was great to hang out with her and with Andrew. Lex Rooker, famous for his raw paleo living, is actually the one who gave me a cookie. He told me it was a "paleo cookie" - but as I told Danny Roddy, I've been around the cookie block a few times, and I know a neolithic cookie when I see one. I'm sorry to say it tasted much better than the pemmican. Basil G from Atlanta brings knowledge together from Greece, the Atlanta Roller Derby scene, Emory University biologic sciences, and photography. I hope he and Jolly took only good photographs of me ;-)
On the second day of the conference, I spoke briefly to Tom Naughton, who surprised me by knowing who I was. I also met The Lazy Caveman… and my memory is failing me at this point. I'm sure I am leaving out someone very important.
The culinary high point (besides the steaks on the first night) had to be going to Animal with Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, Julianne Taylor and her husband Mark McNeill, and Jamie Scott on Friday night. I was able to sample some foods for the first time - including brains (which was sort of like a crispy succulent custard), pig's tail, and fried pig ear. Everything was excellent, but not gluten free. Dallas and Melissa defy definition - they are superlative with respect to health, vibrancy, beauty, drive, organization and intelligence. I was very delighted to spend time with them. I loved the dinner Saturday night, sitting at a table with 20 of the presenters and good friends. I was very happy to meet Rhys Southan of Let Them Eat Meat - his blog is consistent and excellent. Most from this dinner group (which included, among others, Durant, Guyenet, McEwan, Minger, Southan, and Masterjohn) were younger than I am - I felt like the paleo big sister (though they might be young enough that I could be their paleo mom). Our party was crashed by some enthusiastic protestors of the Rawsome raid that happened Thursday morning.
You've probably had enough of the name game, and I'm running out of positive adjectives - next post will be about Day 3 of the symposium - the MovNat one day seminar at Venice Beach.