I attended PaleoFx in Austin April 11-12-13 for the first time and I hope it won’t be the last. It was educational, inspirational and a total geek fest.
It was quite something to be amongst like-minded people, a rare event in my Deep South little town of Greenwood, where sweet tea and fried chicken are staples. The night before the conference started, the organizers threw a social gathering with Paleo friendly drinks and dishes. How often can a stranger notice I’m avoiding fresh tomatoes and ask which auto-immune disease I have?
THE PALEO CROWD: YOUNG AND FIT
Most leaders in the Paleo movement are in their second or third decade. I’ll be dipping my toes in the fifth one pretty soon, and I wish I’d had my current nutritional wisdom back in my twenties. But I’ve no regret; it’s never too late to improve one’s health.
So my goal is somewhat different at my age than a young twenty something looking to lose fat and get fit – and by proxy, get healthy. Don’t get me wrong, I do want to lose fat and get fit, those objectives are not and should not be age related. But I have the end in mind a bit closer in my crossview.
Yes, I have the end in mind. No, I’m not a gloom and doom person.
My grand-mother spent the last years of her life tied in a wheelchair sipping Ensure, blind and deaf. She passed away last year. She was ninety-three.
I don’t want that kind of end. I want to be healthy and strong until the day I die.
Workshops varied from nutrition specificity and cooking demos to fitness and lifestyle. One session piqued my curiosity: Becoming Super Human: Optimizing the Biomarkers of Aging to Create Healthy Longevity, presented by Dr. Daniel Stickler.
Healthy longevity. Suddenly, my Paleo lifestyle goal had a name: youthful longevity.
Great! Now I just need to learn the steps to get there.
Turns out, I’m on the right path. Specific Paleo nutrition – in my case, the auto-immune protocol – and a fitness program designed for the human body (walking and lifting heavy things). The fine tuning is what I need to figure out.
Dr. Daniel Stickler mentioned studies done on telomere length: the shorter they get as we grow older, the higher the chances of disease and premature death. What are telomeres? “Telomeres are the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes that affect how quickly cells age,” says a report by UCSF.
“Our genes, and our telomeres, are not necessarily our fate,” said lead author Dean Ornish, MD, UCSF clinical professor of medicine, and founder and president of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute.
So even if we are predisposed by our genetics to certain illnesses, with diet and lifestyle, there is hope.
MY ROUTINE CHALLENGE
I took note from several speakers as I want to create a new routine to capitalize on my current efforts. For example, I was fascinated by the concept of carb backloading by John Keifer, which consist of eating carbohydrates once a week at nite to maximize fat burning.
Sarah Ballantine gave a wonderful and entertaining talk on eating an autoimmune protocol. She switched the point of view on this brand of Paleo eating: instead of looking at what we can’t eat, she focused on what we can eat. And it’s plenty!
I have only scratched the surface of how nutrition and lifestyle can profoundly impact our health and longevity, and more to the point, a youthful longevity. Because in the end, what we all want, despite which decade we currently are, is to live long and live to the fullest.