So, I’m here in Santa Clara, CA with one of my rockstar clients, Eddie, who is the reason I am here! He basically forced me to attend this conference with him. Just kidding, he didn’t force me. I owe him a great deal of thanks for the opportunity.
To be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect yesterday as we were on our way to Cali. I assumed there would be a plethora of “granola” people in attendance. You know, the “real” Whole Foods shoppers, not the “I shop at Whole Paycheck because it’s trendy and I wanna be seen” types). I was right. I had also joked about people not wearing deodorant and in true ironic fashion, I realized while unpacking my suitcase I had forgotten to pack mine. Hippie jokes aside, it hit me pretty fast that I had landed smack-dab in the middle of some damn genuine people.
Heck, people look at me and assume all sorts of things. We are human. It’s what we do.
There are most definitely no fake, plastered-with-makeup people here! It’s quite refreshing. I have also smiled a lot at strangers. I normally do this anyway, but the environment lends itself to the exchange of a smile with most everyone you meet here. No one is in a hurry (except for when it’s time to get into the line for lunch or dinner, lol). Everyone for the most part seems cheerful and relaxed (except for the grouchy older man who was behind us in the “breaking fast” line yesterday morning). I’m sure he was in better spirits once he got some grass-fed beef broth into his tummy.
So far, I have attended the following lectures
“Seminar on Traditional Diets, Pt. 1″ (partial) – Sally Fallon Morrell, MA
“Gut & Psychology Syndrome (GAPS), Pts. 1 & 3″ – Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD
“The Depression and Anxiety Epidemic: How, Why, and What Works Better Than Anti-Depressant Drugs” – Julia Ross, MA
“The Role of Sugar Intolerance & Addiction in Chronic Illness, Pts. 1 & 2″ – Theresa Vernon, LAC
Some of the awesome foods I’ve gotten to experience
Grass-fed beef broth (people sure line up for this schtuff!)
Grass-fed raw milk (I’ve never been a milk drinker, since one of my friends told me it was “cow pee” in the first grade, but this schtuff is great!)
St. Benoit Creamery French-style yogurt (amazing, and I kept the little crock in which it was packaged)
Cashew sprouted nut butter (yum)
Sauerkraut (they love this schtuff around here)
Kombucha (grape flavor was delish, and there are others to try)
Meatloaf with organ meat (sounds gross, but was yummy)
Mashed potatoes with butter & cream (duh, heavenly)
Pumpkin panda cotta made with coconut oil (quite good!)
Braunschweiger (dad and I used to eat braunschweiger on saltines and when I was older I learned that it was liver and was grossed out…funny how we go through a “lame” stage as teenagers/20-somethings and think we know everything)
Fermented beets (Eddie scolded me for not getting any, so I tried some of his and realized I was dumb to have passed them up)
Cornichons (delightfully-yummy pickled baby gherkins)
Traditional WAPF Conference Cheesecake on almond-date crust (YUM)
We are having curry chicken tonight, and I’m excited about that!
So, aside from the food, my mind is so full of schtuff that I don’t know where to begin! I will probably be breaking this post up into a few parts.
Now, before anyone is quick to assume that I am a fool who is quick to have my head filled with quackery or voodoo, let me just say a few things:
1. I have ALWAYS questioned mainstream thought. I think I was probably rolling around in my crib and very happy with the fact that I was breast-fed and wore cloth diapers. I will probably be talking about breast-feeding somewhere in this series, but let’s just say that I owe my dear mother a debt of gratitude for being as smart as she was in breast feeding me.
2. My inability to simply go along with the crowd made it difficult for me to feel entirely comfortable speaking my mind until I came to grips with my issues. I went through years of being very self-conscious, withdrawn, and skeptical of most everything. Once I was able to come to grips with my demons and was sick of living in fear, I made the decision to just be REAL. It’s been liberating and those who “get” me appreciate the fact that I am genuine, but my haters hate it when I speak my mind. Always gonna be those damn haters, lol
3. I have always had a big beef with the persistent myths and misinformation that plagues the fitness/diet industry. I have been involved in the fitness industry since the age of 17, and began working with clients as a personal trainer at 19. From the get-go, I have been a bit obsessed with learning as much as possible about anything pertaining to exercise/nutrition/health. I still cannot get enough. I find myself poring over books, articles, and blog posts seeking out information on a certain topic one day…and then it’s something else the next. I get overloaded and it’s my own fault, but I don’t know how else to be!
4. I have always felt that it is irresponsible to recommend anything to a client without having a sense of how it affects myself. I am my best guinea pig. As a former anorexic/exercise bulimic/perfectionist who still has her OCD moments and tends to be her own worst enemy, I’ve pretty much experienced it all. Starvation dieting? Yup. Diet pills, laxatives, and all sorts of other scary crap? Yep. Bodybuilding and a bodybuilding diet, including drinking a ton of Met-Rx and eating scads of tuna, veggies, brown rice, and protein bars? Yep yep. Twice-a-day cardio for “getting ripped”? Yeppers. “Eat clean during the week and cheat on Friday?” Yes. Atkins? Uh-huh. (And I felt good on it, go figure) The list goes on and on and always will.
5. I grew up healthy. I was born in 1976. Again, I was breast-fed. Mom was very nutrition-conscious. My brother always seemed to eat whatever mom fixed, and I was the rebellious one who refused to eat steamed artichoke. I remember sitting at the table, having made my stand. Mom made me stay there until I ate it. I didn’t. I’m sure I got a spanking. Yes, we got spankings. Not sure how that ties in, but I feel it does. We didn’t go out to eat except on special occasions. We didn’t get sugary cereals (but every so often we would, and I would inhale the box in two days flat). We played outside a helluva lot. Now, we had our share of dysfunction and I have always struggled with anxiety, but I rarely got sick and didn’t suffer from allergies. I truly believe that my healthy childhood nutrition from day one was responsible for that.
6. I run run run away if anyone comes at me with an MLM pitch. I had a brief career selling Advocare years ago, and I believe the products are top-notch, so please do not take this as a slam. Hell, when I was broke living in Austin, I responded to an ad and found myself in a room with creeps hawking aloe vera juice. I got out of there as soon as I could get away from the shady guy who cornered me and asked if I was “ready to be successful.” Point is, I do not buy into a scheme that borders on suckering people in by preying on their need to create a living. These types of businesses almost always lead to nothing but headaches for the “little guy” and more money for the man at the top. No thank you.
7. I have always felt that Americans, as a society, are impatient, selfish, and lazy.I feel we are slowly killing ourselves and have much to learn from the people of “less amazing” countries (aka all the others) that are healthier and seem to be enjoying life way more than we are. Obviously I am being sarcastic about non-Americans being beneath us, because I feel it is often the other way around. I truly believe that our society is toxic. We have disease rates rising every year, despite the fact that our healthcare is top-notch. The obesity rate doesn’t do anything but inflate, even though we have every stinkin’ resource available to counteract the disease. Yes, obesity is a disease. Big pharma and the GMOs make scads of moolah, so they can afford the advertising that is forced upon us at every opportunity. The messages are so wrong, and we are so busy and stressed to think otherwise. WAKE UP, AMERICA! WHAT WE ARE DOING IS NOT WORKING! Here, have some more processed carbs, stay awake because you’re so stressed that insomnia is your best friend, and continue to experience numerous health issues for which you’re told to pop another pill. IT IS RIDICULOUS!
8. It frustrates me that I have friends and family members who have all sorts of health conditions and never seem to get any better. I want so badly to be able to just take the reins and do it for them. If I could do that, I wouldn’t be living in Baton Rouge, lol…I’d be living it up in a mega-mansion on some sunny beach! Anyhow, it’s not because people do not want to get better, although I do feel that we can become attached to our issues/diseases and they serve a “purpose” as an escape route, means of foregoing responsibility, and/or coping mechanism. Seriously, does anyone actually WANT to smoke? Of course not, but it becomes a very serious habit and the idea of quitting can seem to be too much for many who are addicted. The same rings true for other health issues. Many people become so controlled by their numerous issues that they seem to merge with them. Ever been around one of those people who seems to always talk about their aches and pains, allergies, or whatever? It’s annoying. It’s as if all they can think about are their negative conditions. I can say this because I’ve been there and lived that way for a long time. I was depressed and in a very dark place from the age of 17-25, and even though I rarely talked about how miserable I was, it was clear to those around me. Bottom line: People do not like to be around unhappy and/or unhealthy people! Bottom line número dos: The body and the mind are interconnected. If the mind is sick, the body is sick, and vice versa. Until a person is mentally able to take control of their health, they will do nothing but get worse.
I am going to stop here for now. So, yes…there will be a Part 2 tomorrow! I haven’t even started talking about the schtuff that’s hit more with me (and with my gut)!