Last weekend I had the absolute pleasure of attending Robb Wolf’s Paleo Solution Seminar. More importantly, I was able to bring my mom who has heard my continuous praise of the Paleo lifestyle for years and has slowly been transitioning to this lifestyle herself. I was super fortunate to attend a dinner hosted by my friends at Academy of Lions with Robb and Nicki a couple days before the seminar at Enoteca Sociale. My friend Cindy at PALEOdish did a recap of the dinner, so you can check out her post here.
This was my third time attending one of Robb’s seminars and I’m so glad I decided to attend again because the content has really evolved (incl powerpoint! Loved that addition) and I learned so much more. The first half of the seminar was UBER-science-y pulling from the books of Mat Lalonde. EVERY mechanism related to digestion, gut permeability, autoimmunity, hormonal responses to food/sleep/stress and metabolic derangement were covered at length. I think my mom wanted to kill me at the halfway point….thinking this was some kind of sick punishment for not having read the book yet. But alas, I saw her taking some notes whenever Robb said something in laymen’s terms and that made me smile.
My friend Joey Shillolo from JS3PT did a great job of summing up many of the key takeaways in practical terms, so I will direct you to his blog to read about them. Aside from what he noted, I want to share a few key things that I took away from this seminar. Of course, I highly recommend reading the book, the blog and listening to the podcasts if you want to learn more. Here we go:
Science – It works bitches! It is time to put this whole cavemen thing to bed and come into the 21st century. The Paleo Solution is based on science, not what cavemen ate. Sure, it draws the hypotheses by looking at evolutionary biology, but the physiological mechanisms must be proven in order to make the recommendation and this is what Robb has done. If you have/had any doubts on the protocols, Robb put the ‘nail in the coffin’ and then buried the coffin 10 ft under by helping everyone understand the mechanisms behind EVERYTHING….from why we get fat to gluten to CVD to infertility to autoimmunity to cortisol….and backed them all up with scientific journal references. I also learned so many new Scrabble words including, but not limited to: Sepsis and Zonulin! I should note that there were doctors and RD’s in the audience who said they NEVER learned these things in school. I can relate.
The Evil Trifecta: Gluten, Linoleic Acid and Fructose. Where do I begin? In short, avoid these like the plague. Each of these things contribute to metabolic derangement, inflammation, autoimmune conditions, obesity, mental health etc etc….and why you feel hungry 2 hours after you’ve had your Kashi crap. This applies to EVERYONE. Much of this was similar to what Mat had in his seminar which you can buy and view online from Academy of Lions (I highly recommend this if you want to geek out!). Does this mean that you should avoid fruit? No…fructose really applies to things like corn syrup (or agave!). But it does mean that you should limit your fruit consumption and stick to fruits that are lower in fructose. And if you suffer from any metabolic derangement or excess weight, then you should severely limit fruit in favour of veggies (try Jicama!). If you’re wondering what fruits are best, Loren Cordain has a nifty chart that sums it all up here.
Eat Your Veggies! Oh ya, grow them TOO! There is a stigma (yet another) that people who eat Paleo devour meat like Fred Flinstone after a tough day at the quarry. Yes, part of the equation is to eat animal protein….this includes sourcing it from local and humanely raised/wild sources. But the other part of the equation is to eat LOTS OF VEGGIES. I was so happy to hear Robb talk about how many vegetables he eats. Personally, I love vegetables….I seriously probably eat more than most vegetarians….Whole Foods applauds when i walk in and rolls out a red carpet through the produce section for me. Alas, this brings up the point of Nutrient Density. Robb talked about the nutrient density of the diet and showed a RDA comparison between a conventional diet and the Paleo diet. This applies to babies, kids, elderly…the point is that you are not missing any nutrients by following the Paleo approach. Want more proof? The fabulous Krista at Stumptuous did a blog post about this after attending the seminar which sums it up nicely. The other great thing that Robb talked about was growing your own food or supporting local farms via farmer’s markets and CSAs. He has started the Liberty Garden initiative on his blog to promote eating locally and growing your own food.
The proof is in the pudding. Robb shared some of the transformations from his clients (and himself) and a plethora of these are available on his site. It is truly amazing to see people reverse disease with food. It’s a simple concept if you think about it….heal the gut via foods and heal yourself. Despite it being so easy to understand, there is still a huge polarization in the nutrition world. Rather than wasting time on a never-ending argument, the answer is really to try it for 30 days…. Assess how you “look, feel and perform” and whether your biomarkers of health have improved. PERIOD. We are (I am) better off spending my time with people willing to listen and change. Life is short and there are way too many sick people in this world looking for help to waste time on those not willing to give up 30 days to try something that could change their lives.
We are all Unique Snowflakes. Robb did a good run-down on how the diet can be tweaked to satisfy various people’s goals/conditions. He also spent time talking Supplements and protocols for using them. Robb talks about this stuff every week in his podcasts, so if you’re looking for details on your unique situation I would encourage you to tune in. But what I love about this is that it illustrates that there is still an element of customization involved in the process and you need to tweak and play around with it. I am constantly ‘tinkering’ with myself (wow, that sounds inappropriate) to see what works/doesn’t.
OK, that was a lengthy run-down and yet I feel like I only scratched the surface of everything that I learned. I’ll end by saying that one thing that really stands out about Robb….aside from the fact that he is the “King of all Paleo Media” (i just made that up)….is his passion and drive for helping people recover from disease and get healthy. He shared some amazing stories about helping people reverse their diseases and his quest to change conventional thinking. Hearing these stories fired me up to continue my journey to help others get well.
LASTLY, I’m proud to announce that my mom has gone “Fully Primal” since attending the seminar is already reaping the benefits! She even did a test (a la Robb) where she stopped including Stevia in her coconut milk smoothie and then added it back in after a week to see how she would react. Sure enough, it caused a sugar craving a couple of hours later. She has now removed it from her roster. I am so proud of you Mom!