Ok. For starters, I’m not a ring or jewelry guy. Wearing the Oura Ring for the past week took some getting used to and I’m still not totally used to it. You are supposed to keep it on 24/7 to track your activity, heart rate, heart rate variability, sleep, temperature, etc. So I have been wearing it around every hour of every day. It is also water resistant to 100m, so you can wear it in the shower or swimming. For all the technology packed beneath its shiny titanium skin, it’s really light and actually comfortable. I’m just not used to wearing a ring or the way a ring looks on my finger, so it is kind of weird for me. Basically, there are 3 reasons that I was drawn to the Oura Ring booth at the 2018 Paleo f(x) Conference expo. 1) I previously used a Fitbit tracker to measure my activity. The data and accuracy the Fitbit provides are excellent. My biggest concern was the constant bluetooth connection back to my phone. I had our chiropractor muscle test me with the Fitbit on my wrist and then without it. I was definitely weaker when I was wearing it. I believe the result was due to the Bluetooth signal coming out of it. I also muscle tested with my iPhone and it was even worse. Most likely the extra cell, bluetooth and wifi signals were the issue. So, I sold the Fitbit on Craigslist and now put my phone in airplane mode at night. The Oura ring works a little differently. It is not constantly connected. The ring stores data somewhere deep inside and then shares it out to an app on my phone when I connect it. The ring also uses Bluetooth, but the signal is active less than 1% of the day. I haven’t muscle tested with the Oura Ring yet, but I definitely will on my next visit to Dr Ruzila. We will see! 2) The Oura Ring automatically records HRV (heart rate variability). I was already monitoring my HRV to tell me optimal days to train vs rest days. I noticed distinct HRV patterns based on my sleep and whether or not I had a couple of drinks the night before. My method of measuring HRV was using the Elite HRV app on my phone and a chest strap monitor every morning. Effective, but certainly not convenient. Elite HRV recently wrapped up their kickstarter with the Corsense monitor, which is much easier to use but still a manual process. The Oura ring is collecting HRV data automatically, so it is one less thing to do in the morning. 3) For some reason, I like to measure my sleep. Sleep always seems be a topic of conversation around here. Maybe I like to measure it because I want to know what’s going on inside the ‘ol brain case while I’m checked out. If you want to geek out on sleep data just like me, the Oura ring app really breaks it down. You’ve got your total sleep, you’ve got your sleep efficiency, you’ve got tranquility (how often you wake up), REM sleep, deep sleep, latency (how long it takes to fall asleep), timing (what time you fall asleep based on circadian rhythm). It also keeps tabs on your body temperature, respiratory rate, heart rate and, of course, HRV. Pretty sweet stuff! All this sleep data is presented on some really nice graphs for you to admire. But, in the morning, it all gets distilled down to your Readiness score. The Readiness score basically tells you to either crank it up or take it easy based on how your body recovered from previous activity. The only downside is that Rene now has some true data to say, “Seeeeeee, I told you to stay away from the Malbec last night.” Anyway, here is an example on how I’m using the data through the day… Yesterday, my Readiness was 85 so I did a vigorous yoga class and walked 6 miles. Today, my Readiness is 75 and more of a “take it easy” day.. So, besides work, I’m writing a blog and will do some lighter exercise. During the day, when the ring syncs up, you will get prompts to get up and move around if you have been sitting too long. Some days, the data causes me to be more active and do some extra stairs or walking instead of driving. It’s like a weird competition with myself, but I like it. I suppose that I’ll get accustomed to looking at the Oura ring on my finger. I regularly wear a wristwatch, so maybe I just need a big gold chain to round it all out 🙂
PFX14 – The Expo
Expo areas at conferences are the best way to accumulate a ton of useless swag that ends up in a landfill shortly after you get home. The expo at Paleo f(x) actually exceeded my expectations. The vendor area was full of mom & pop type vendors with some great Paleo friendly products. Paleo is still on the fringe, so it is still untainted by large corporations. Vendors were generous with their samples and it was all useable stuff. The vendor area was flanked by a cooking demo stage and two open stages for sessions. The middle of the room was the action area where you could learn to dead lift properly or even flip a tractor tire end over end. Our very favorite vendor was Kosmic Kombucha. These guys are awesome! I’ve tried to home brew my own booch quite unsuccessfully over the past few months. Kosmic definitely has the process down. Their kombucha has nice effervescence, organic ingredients and tasty flavor combos. I found myself buying a bottle every time we were out and about in Austin. Mint Julep, with organic white grape juice, fresh squeezed orange and lemon juices and fresh mint, is the stuff! What’s not to love? Well, the fact that I can’t buy it in Chicago. They are local to Austin, but maybe we can work on a distribution partnership in the future?? Seriously great booch with passionate owners that love what they do. It’s just another reason to visit Austin again. Ok, I’m done gushing.
Our next favorite, because it’s such an innovative product, was the Exo cricket flour booth. There are a whopping 40 nutrient dense crickets per bar. It’s only gross if you think about it. When I was a kid, we always had crickets in the basement and they freaked me out. I had no idea that they were snacks! Anyway, the bar we tried had a nice deep chocolate flavor but nary a crunch or a creak. The gross out factor is actually pretty fun. I’d be interested in buying some of the raw flour to cook with, but they aren’t selling it separately… yet.
Ever hear of pili nuts? Me either. So, Pili’s are grown in the Philipines. They are nutrient rich from the volcanic soil and super delicious. It’s kind of a mix between a macadamia and a cashew with buttery smoothness. The Amazon of Paleo goods and Pili nuts is Barefoot Provisions. They literally had half a ton of great food samples to try, but the Pili nuts were the standout. They are an exclusive distributor for many of their products and focus on Paleo foods. I’m going to order a few bags of Pilis as soon as I wrap up this blog.
Epic Bar has been one of my favorites since they came out last year. I actually rode my bike 40 miles just to stock up on Epics. They had a great booth and there was always a crowd gathered to check out their innovative meat bars. It’s kind of like jerky, but much easier on the jaw. They have bison, beef, turkey and lamb bars. I had an issue with a bar a couple months ago and spoke with Sarah about it. She promptly replaced the bar and told me how they had remedied some quality control issues. I’m a happy camper. They stand behind their bars and are passionate about it… very respectable.
This vendor just puts a smile on my face… Primal Pit Paste. They included a sample in our registration packs, but I went to the booth and bought some. I eliminated the typical antiperspirant with aluminum last year, but had yet to find a good replacement. Well, the triple P is it. Organic ingredients and no aluminum. I got the kind that you scoop out and rub in your pits all monkey like. Rene got the more civilized stick applicator. They use arrowroot powder and baking soda as drying agents, which my shirts appreciate. So far, so good!
Where would we be without The Dirt? More Paleo personal care products for us to enjoy. They say “100% Natural and 200% Kick Ass”. We got a couple samples of the tooth powder in our registration pack and tried the samples right away. It’s a very different brushing experience compared to your regular toothpaste. You run your toothbrush head through the water and then dip the tip into the powder. It leaves a clean taste in your mouth and smooth teeth, but looks like dirty water when you spit it into the sink. I guess that’s the point. Chemical free and gluten free.
Nick was generous with his sticks. Nick is a salt of the earth cattle farmer from Iowa. Take as many as you want, he said. And I did. Nick’s Sticks are delicious. Good job, Nick. I think The spicy versions of the free range turkey and grass fed beef were my favorite. I took a pack for the road and it got me through an afternoon hunger attack. I’ll buy these when I see em!
The Granilla Bar was another fave. The guy, Kevin, was asked to fill a booth space just a few weeks before the conference. They had to borrow a kitchen and were able to crank out enough bars to satisfy the crowds. The story is good. His wife, Denise, developed the Paleo granola snack recipe as a healthy snack for the kids. The bars are even better than the story. The Maple Fruit Bar was my favorite… moist, crunchy and mapley. One of the buyers for Whole Foods stopped by the Granilla booth and was interested, so they may really have to step up that production!
We had to wash all the great food samples down with something. I almost walked by this booth, but who can say no to free beer?? Gluten free beer hasn’t ever been my beverage of choice. I used to be a huge beer fan with a very discerning taste for microbrews. The GF beers just have a funk that I don’t care for, so I’ve been opting for hard ciders or red wine instead. Omission Beer has really changed my mind and pleased my taste buds. They have a legit IPA and a really good pale ale. Cheers guys!!
PFX14 – Day Two
Today, I was really noticing the vast array of attendees at Paleo f(x). There are people with auto-immune diseases like Celiac, Hashimotos and MS, to peak performance athletes that are competing in triathalons and Spartan challenges, people with weight issues and others that just want to learn more about the Paleo lifestyle. There were medical doctors and natural doctors sitting on the same panels for frank discussions on the heath of our nation and how to talk to your physician effectively. Everyone seems to be here for a common purpose… to improve their minds, improve their bodies and help others do the same. It is a strong community of like minded people gathered together to become better versions of themselves. I was expecting Paleo f(x) to be a conference about food preparation and exercise, but this is so much more. Topics encompass everything from nutrition to healthcare to addiction to sexuality to poop. We have only made it to one cooking demo (thanks Marla, it was great!). The rest of the day was spent gathering a-ha moments and processing all of this new information.
Ask The Paleo Experts Master Mind – panel – (Dr. Terry Wahls, Kirk Parsley, M.D., Chris Kresser, Dallas Hartwig, Nora Gedgaudas)
This was just an open session where attendees could ask the experts any questions.
The first question was a lady asking why she has lost 40 lbs and her breasts stayed the same size. I suppose this could be a problem, I’m not sure. Anyway, she has been confused by it because diets from her past made her breasts smaller before anything else. The consensus from the panel was a post menopause hormonal issue. Makes sense to me.
AIP (Auto-immune Paleo) – question for Chris Kresser – His version of AIP doesn’t eliminate seeds and nuts. Why not? He sees more issues with nightshades and eggs and not really any problems with digestion of seeds and nuts.
One audience member isn’t losing fat around the gut – most likely high cortisol. Premebeability in the gut leading to inflammation. Undiagnosed food sensitivity issues. Strength and interval training will help rebuild hormone levels, but only of sleeping well.
Other random tidbits and thoughts that you can Google:
-After exposure to gluten, you can produce antibodies for 3 months
-Asthma is autoimmune. Correlation between the gut and asthma. Google Kresser and histamine.
-One of the best mood stabilizers for teens is to get good sleep. 80% of teens lack sleep and their circadian rhythms are off. (This is why kids be craaazy)
-Issues digesting kombucha and fermented foods? Possible cause is disbiotic flora in the gut. A test for SIBO was recommended.
-No immune reactivity to camel milk because it is so close to human milk (anybody have a camel?)
US Healthcare: In Crisis or Chaos? – panel – (Robb Wolf, Dr. Grayson Wheatley, Julie and Charles Mayfield, Dr. Richard Maurer, Darryl Edwards)
We all know the answer to this… our system is pretty f’d up. Think of yourself as your own healthcare system be proactive with your own health and wellness.
One panelist had a nice analogy with health insurance and car insurance analogy – you don’t expect your car insurance to pay for oil changes, fixing dings and car washes. If they did, the cost of insurance would be huge. Why do we expect our insurance companies to pay for everything?
Darryl Edwards… Doctor, author and Paleo athlete. On this trip from the UK for Paleo f(x), he got cut above his eye and needed stitches. He got first hand experience of our dis functional healthcare system. It’s not good, people. It would have been cheaper for him to fly back to the Uk first class and have an ambulance pick him up at the airport.
Personal Paleo Meatloaf Cooking Demo – Marla Sarris
Author of Pigskin Paleo, fellow member of the Chicago Paleo Meet-up and creator of Paleo Porn. Marla rocks!
She made some personal meatloaves shaped like little footballs – brussels sprouts, leeks, pork. Mmmmmm mmmm. I can’t wait to try these out at home. Marla made some good points about not needing fancy tools or kitchen gadgets to make good food. Keep it simple and minimal. Good stuff.
Paleo and Addiction – Panel – (Karly Randolph Pitman, Kaila Prins, Susan McCauley,Amy Kubal, Dr. Nicole Avena)
-Symptoms of addiction – Perfectionist, over exerciser, perfect food, prefect body, control
-One panelist is grateful for her addiction (drugs and alcohol) – without the addiction and hitting bottom, she wouldn’t be where she is today
-Root causes of addiction – born this way, root was there and there is a genetic component to it.
-Whatever the type of addiction, if there is a genetic disposition to it, it doesn’t mean that addiction is a destiny
-There is a vulnerability, tenderness and sensitivity with addicts that makes addictive substances much more powerful for them
How do you know if you are addicted vs a healthy habit?
-When your life is being disrupted by your behaviors, then it is time to seek some professional help.
-An addiction never brings what you are seeking no matter how much you do it. Never satiates or brings satiation
-Once you start and you can’t stop it
How do you know when you start to recover?
-Stimulus taken away
-You are able to nourish your body and mind and do things in a healthy way
What do you tell someone that you see struggling?
-It is ok to stop and life is better on the other side
-You are recovering what you lost
Using Paleo as a path to recovery
-In typically recovery programs, nutrition is not addressed (pills are)
-Food addiction is the last addiction
Last thoughts… Paleo is healing and hugs are Paleo
Navigating Your Non-Paleo Physician (What’s Up Doc?) – panel (Dr. Lauren Vigna, Dr. Michael Ruscio, Dr. Richard Maurer,Dr. Daniel Kalish, Dr. Rick Henriksen)
-Most MD’s have only had 2 weeks of nutritional training in 4 year of school
-Why is a Dr qualified to give dietary advice?
-Lack of education and its easier to write out a prescription and say to work on diet and exercise. They want to give good advice, but haven’t had the success. If the patients are on the insurance model and prefer the easy fix of a pill.
-You are your own best health advocate
How do we get over white coat and use dr as a consultant?
-Choose the provider with the skills for what you need. You may need several providers for whole health care.
-You can get all the information and do your research and then find a Dr that you trust to guide you through the steps.
-If you are talking to a Western trained MD, you need to communicate in the same language. Saying “leaky gut” may shut that Dr out. Drs went into the field to help people and genuinely want to help out. There is a give and take between the Dr and patient.
-Find someone that is fully trained and has 3-5 years in practice, it might be worth it to travel.
Where can you find a natural doctor? What questions can you ask a non Paleo physician to see if they would be good to work with?
-What do they do for fitness and what do they eat?
-Check out the cross fit gyms and ask the gym owners if there are any family doctors that workout there.
-Most likely Dr’s you find won’t be following Paleo, but they should know about it.
What do you do if your Dr wants to put you on an unnecessary medication?
-Have object measures so you and your physician can measure results and analyze them. Open to using the drug if the diet/ exercise program isn’t effective.
-Ask if there is anything that will be harmed if you don’t take the medication right away
-Tell your doctor that you don’t what to take a medication… and ask their thoughts
-Work together with the Dr and try to collaborate on the solution. They will be more open to alternatives.
-The right test and the wrong Dr = failure
-Natural Doctor is outside the insurance network and will spend significant time with you as a consultant
Are you Paleo Sexual? – Christopher Ryan
I had no idea what to expect from this session, but I knew I had to go. This ended up being one of my favorite sessions of the day. Christopher Ryan had an insightful and hilarious presentation about how we developed sexually. The opening quote is one of my favorites, “A fig leaf can hide many things, but an erection isn’t one of them” 🙂
We went into the social life and sexuality of the Bonobo. If I’m ever reborn as an animal, a Bonobo would be a great choice. I got to meet Christopher at the end of the conference. He is a really great guy and my kindred Bonobo brother. I’m looking forward to reading his book, “Sex at Dawn“, on the flight back to Chicago.
Other interesting facts:
-Human beings have sex around 1000 times per birth – sex isn’t about reproduction
-We are one of few species that have sex when the female is not able to conceive
-Female copulatory vocalization – more likely in species that are promiscuous.
So much new information and another huge day tomorrow!
Austin Bound and Geeked for the Journey
We are sitting at the airport waiting for our flight to Austin, so I thought I’d take a minute and bring the blog back to present day. We are taking a type of vacation that I never would have predicted a couple years ago. After 14 months of a total lifestyle change, we are headed to the Paleo f(x) conference. It is the self-proclaimed “Superbowl of Paleo”. I seriously couldn’t be more excited!
Rene is “totes geeked out” with anticipation of meeting her “paleo mentor”, Dr Terry Wahls. Not to mention the other Paleo big wigs, Robb Wolf, Jonathan Bailor, Chris Kresser, Sarah Ballantyne.
It will also be awesome to see Paleo authors Michelle Tam, Danielle Walker, Diana Rodgers. We had the pleasure of meeting them on home turf in Chicago for their respective book signings. They are all great people and so rewarding to spend time with them. All we have to do is get there.
So, how do you pack for a Paleo vacation? Airport food is on par with hospital food, so our carry ons always have an ample supply of snacks. Various Larabars, Epic Bars, a couple bananas and apples, Steve’s Paleo Goods grass fed jerky and maple bacon granola (mmmmmm mmmm) are all along for the journey.
I filled a small prescription drug bottle with coconut oil to make it travel size. This is the best use for a drug bottle, in my opinion. And, of course, we now travel with our own castille soap.
To keep up the theme and get a little exercise during the day, we are going to be riding the Austin B Cycles to and from the convention center. Uh, yeah, we’re green? Like I said, a vacation I could have never predicted, but I’m so pumped that it is here!