Four Things I Learned from PaleoF(x) 2017

PaleoF(x) is the world’s largest paleo conference, and for three days in May, I was bombarded with education, community and support from other people that like me, have gained from this movement.

This is a recap of one of the most memorable weekends of my life!

It all started early in the morning of May 19th, I arrived at the Palmer Center and registered for the conference. Immediately, I was greeted by the PFX staff, who recognized me as one of the featured speakers, and that’s when the fun began.

I was scheduled to be a panel member for the Botanical Healing Panel, the second scheduled session for the first day. They immediately warned me “Do not be late, Michelle Norris always starts on time”. With the fear of the gods instilled in me, I didn’t even have time to look around, I immediately went looking for the “Sunlighten Mastermind Stage” and waited for my queue to go on. I was so nervous!

I have been on conference panels before, but being part of a PaleoF(x) panel was a dream come true. Eventually I saw some familiar faces, Ryan Frisinger who’ve I had a couple of conversations with in the past, and one of my best friends in this space, fellow Floridian Tony Federico. We chatted for some time until it was time to go on.

 Me and my friends at PaleoF(x) 2017: Billy Mitchell, Me, Adam Kozin and Tiffany Turner (left to right)

Me and my friends at PaleoF(x) 2017: Billy Mitchell, Me, Adam Kozin and Tiffany Turner (left to right)

 The Botanical Mastermind Panel.

The Botanical Mastermind Panel.

My big moment

We had a super amazing time sharing our experiences with the paleo community, and I was so happy to see my friends in the audience. I swear, when the mic was passed my way to share my opinion on the topic, I thought that I was going to drop it because I was shaking!

Eventually, the shakes went away, and I hope the attendees were happy with the content we provided.

There are so many moving parts to a show like PaleoF(x). For example, juggling of presenters, cohesiveness of sessions, curation of vendors and so much more. Even the weather was a player this year! The event was so cohesive, if there were any hiccups, I don’t think anyone ever noticed.


 

2. Community is the Most Important Part of PFX

 

After talking to hundreds of fellow health enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds, I learned that they are the reason this conference exists. Everyone has a story, everyone is excited, everyone contributes. Maybe they were drawn to this space because they are trying to maximize performance (not just in the gym, but in their own business or health goals). Maybe they attended the conference to learn more about saving the world, maybe they just want to fraternize with other likeminded people.

During my first year of medical school, one of my professors put up a single picture on the classroom screen. It was a picture of a rope, pulling a tree by its roots. Professor Nick told us that a single hair-like strand of twine is very delicate, and in no way, can accomplish what a collections of strands can do if we intertwine them by braiding them together.

This is true of the Paleo Community, the differences and the disagreements don’t matter. What matters is that by weaving together our qualities, we make this movement stronger, and we are able to make changes to our environment.

 
 After my awesome first BJJ session!

After my awesome first BJJ session!


 Ok, I might have taken more than one sticker. 

Ok, I might have taken more than one sticker. 

3. The only thing that is constant is change

 

One of my favorite souvenirs from PFX is the “ADAPT OR DIE” sticker that I picked up from the Kresser expo booth.

One of the best qualities of the Paleo movement is that is founded in science, and science is guided by evidence, as the evidence changes, we change with evidence. This does not make us “flip-floppers”, the paleo movement is not a religion. It is an ever evolving, unstoppable force.

And on the first day of the conference, we learned that the World’s Largest Paleo conference is rebranding. You see, within Paleo, there are no sacred cows. Prepare yourself, Healthf(x) is taking over Austin Texas next year!

But, before you flip your table and think that this change is a bad idea, check this chart out:

 Paleo vs. Meditation as a search term. Graph courtesy of Google Trends. 

Paleo vs. Meditation as a search term. Graph courtesy of Google Trends. 

These are the google searches for the term “Paleo” and “Meditation”. Paleo had an exponential growth, up until 2014, where it peaked. In contrast, “Meditation” has been pretty steady, and it is now making a resurgence. Meditation is trending upwards, it is being used as a biohack for performance, and performance improvement is part of the “Paleo Movement”. Sure, the term "Paleo" might have hit a critical point, and now is on a decline; but health as a global concept (independent of the many silos that encompass it) has not. 

To quote Michelle Norris CEO of Paleof(x):

“Our Paleo standards and roots will not waiver.  This rebranding in no way indicates a watering-down of what we believe is *the* optimum template for a vibrant life.  It is, quite simply, a way to more effectively reach those who might otherwise not be reached or have pre-conceived notions about Paleo. Our message remains solid, and our mission remains as ever: to optimize lives through the power of health and wellness.”

Let’s embrace this change! Let’s cast a wider net, remember, our vegan friends are only one type of protein source away from being “paleo”. We have bigger fish to fry, Monsanto, Big Pharma, Big CAFO. Why waste our time fighting each other? In other words, let’s adapt or die.


4. I stand on the Shoulders of Giants

 

My journey to the big show started a long time ago. Listening to podcasts, reading blog posts, dreaming of one day being able to contribute to this space. 

I remember remember sitting in the audience during the "State of the Union" address by Robb Wolf and Mark Sisson, and they encouraged us to be active participants of the movement. This inspired me, but I could not have done it without a little help from my friends. 

Thank you for supporting me through this journey. Thank you for downloading my podcast, for your advice, for giving me a chance to share my ideas. I hope that the free e-book "The Top Supplements for your Natural Medicine Cabinet" which I put together with the help of Tiffany Turner and Billy Mitchell helps you get over an acute illness. I hope that the peer-reviewed research that I've published with the help of the SCNM Research Department helps advance science. I hope that my blog posts help to guide people into better health. 

I promise that as long as I am part of this movement, I will continue to help my patients achieve true health. I also hope to pay it forward, and help those that need a platform to enrich this space. In the end, the goal is to help as many people as possible.