I love many things about the work that I do: savoring rich whole foods, geeking-out with the latest in nutrition research, and testing all sorts of unique products that bring a bit of hunter-gatherer flair back into our fast-paced modern world. But, of all these elements, working with a community of innovative, impassioned, remarkable individuals is by far the most powerful and moving. At the recent Ancestral Health Symposium, I was deeply humbled to be in the presence of many visionaries in the field, and positively thrilled (if not a bit starstruck) to watch them present some of the cutting-edge concepts they have been working with. There were so many fabulous folks there, but today I thought I would share just a few snippets from the information they presented, and perhaps give you a couple of thought provoking topics to look forward to discussing together in the coming months.
Paul Jaminet, Ph.D. Tasty Food & Circadian Rhythms
An astrophysicist turned software entrepreneur turned diet and health expert, Paul Jaminet, Ph. D is co-author of the fantastic book The Perfect Health Diet and also maintains a blog. Pulling from his wealth of knowledge, he presented on not one, but two major concepts at the conference. The first was the idea that healthy eating is not just about calculating the proper tally of nutrients, but rather the entire experience of returning to the kitchen and making food that actually tastes good! Next, he spoke on the significance of circadian rhythms and the various factors that influence their patterning. Did you know that different types of light bulbs are better for the day, and others for the night? Pretty fascinating stuff.
Chris Kresser, M.S., L.Ac. The Hidden Costs of Modern Hygiene
Could some parasites be important to our health? Is dirt actually good for you? According to this presentation, more and more research is pointing to the answer: yes. As an integrative health practitioner and revered blogger, Chris Kresser is known for his rigorously researched articles, radio shows and insights in combining a variety of philosophies and approaches to provide health solutions. In Atlanta he warned of the looming consequences of our separation from the microbiome, which has increased with our modern infatuation with hygiene.
Chris Masterjohn, Ph.D. Fat Soluble Vitamin Interactions
Vitamin D has been recently sported as a superstar nutrient that everyone should take in high doses. However Chris Masterjohn warns us not to take these recommendations without thinking twice. Currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Illinois, he studies the interactions between fat-soluble vitamins A, D and K. We watched him prove his points on the dangers over-supplementing with vitamin D, and the need to keep vitamins A and K in balance as well. Bringing modern science and technology into the foundational work of Weston A Price, Chris Masterjohn frequently writes about his findings in the Wise Traditions Journals and blog, The Daily Lipid.
Terry Wahls, M.D. Minding My Mitochondria
If you haven't seen her Ted talk (above), it is definitely a must-watch. Dr. Terry Wahls is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa and the Veterans Affairs (VA), where she conducts clinical trials testing the impact of a Paleo Diet in the setting of multiple sclerosis (MS) and sees patients with traumatic brain injury. In her presentation she shared a bit about her own journey in overcoming secondary progressive MS and how she now uses these insights to integrate care programs for others. We were fortunate enough to also share a dinner with her and were deeply inspired by her strength and courage. You can learn about the protocol on her website.
Will Lassek, M.D. Why Women Need Fat
Don't you just love that topic? Although he isn't female, Dr. Lassek sure seems to have it right when it comes to women's health. With a career as Assistant Surgeon General in the US Public Health Services, an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and a Research Associate at prestigious universities, he has spent a great deal of time studying the human sex differences in evolutionary biology and psychology. In this particular talk he explained why fat (in our diet and in our body) is important to health, and why it is natural and necessary for women to get heavier after their first child.
Georgia Ede, M.D. Brain Food
We often discuss the power of nutrition in healing the body, but we can't forget about the mind! In her work, Dr. Georgia Ede reminds us the role of essential fatty acids and other nutrients in mental health, and demonstrates the shocking connection between food sensitivities and conditions such as autism, depression and ADHD. In this presentation she focused on maximizing the brain's potential by discovering which dietary changes are the very most important and why. Visit her at Diagnosis: Diet.