Last month, Beth Illingworth (of the 6am class) took a trip to Austin, Texas. But this wasn’t just any trip. . . she flew down specifically to attend the annual Paleo f(x) conference. Paleo f(x) is an annual 3-day expo about food, nutrition, and wellness. (Their motto: “Heal thyself, harden thyself, change the world.”) Beth has been CrossFitting over 4 years, works as a nurse, and also does nutrition consulting (specializing in clean/paleo eating.) When she heard about the conference, attending was “a no-brainer.”
According to their website, Paleo f(x) is: “An expo of hands-on learning, networking, and a feast for the senses. The expo includes a Strength and conditioning demo and workshop floor, a Paleo 101 stage for beginners, a strength and conditioning stage, a cooking demo stage, the Paleo f(x) store, and a huge fair of health-oriented, paleo-friendly vendors.”
Beth printed a basic itinerary online before she left, but was not prepared for the master schedule boards in the event center detailing dozens of options- 9 hours a day for 3 days. There was so much going on that choosing which panels to attend posed a major problem. Beth filled me in a with a brief synopsis of each of her favorite speakers.
Fem: What was the most interesting seminar?
Beth: “There were so many incredible speakers, but I will give you some of the highlights. The first was 6 Reasons Why Calorie Counting is Crazy, by Jonathan Bailor, author of The Calorie Myth. The author talked about focusing on food quality and forgetting about counting calories. He brought up that the cavemen didn’t know what a calorie was, and no one was obese! Prior to the 1900’s no one paid attention to macro-nutrients and no one was overweight.”
The second was Sustainable Living: the Ethics of Preserving the Future. The take-home message here was thinking about sustainability in all aspects of your life- not only what you’re eating, but where it comes from. Does it come from Mexico, or your local farmer’s market? Is your coffee fair trade or is your chocolate from West Africa? Where did your water bottle come from and where will it end up when you’re done with it? Were your clothes made overseas in a sweatshop? Can you grow some of your own food? These are all probably things we don’t consider on a regular basis. Detoxing from technology is an another important lifestyle consideration. No cell phone in bed or computer screens at night. Another message was to embrace imperfection. For example, a hole in your shirt is okay!”
The third one I enjoyed was Hacking Stress: Under Pressure. This was a panel discussion on how to deal with stress in our modern world. They discussed meditation, exercise, and sensory deprivation. One interesting point that one of the speakers suggested: list 5 things you liked to do as a kid. Those are the things you should do now to relieve stress!”
Fem: What message resonated most clearly with you?
Beth: “There were so many incredible speakers and discussions in addition to the ones I already mentioned. It’s hard to list everything here but trust me, it was information overload. A big take-home message for me was the systems thinking. It made me realize I could be riding my bike to work, going to the farmers market each week, or joining a CSA. There were also meditation seminars, breathing workshops, talks on sleep, mobility stuff, and Olympic lifting workshops. The swag bad had lots of coupons for paleo goodies like epic bars and supplements, as well as organic deodorant, and a ‘dirty’ toothpaste (a mineral-based powder to clean your teeth). The expo floor was so much fun! Tons of sampling goodies, jerky, cookies, skin care, and bulletproof coffee! So delicious!”
Fem: What was the cost?
Beth: For a premier ticket, it was $324. This covers all workshops, seminars, expert panel discussions, as well as the expo floor.”
Fem: Was it worth it? Would you go back?
Beth: I would definitely go back next year! It’s only going to get bigger and better. It would be awesome to get a group of people to go to split the cost of housing. I actually stayed at a place I found on Air BnB. It was near the venue and we walked everywhere! Great restaurants and music scene (which I didn’t check out due to lack of time!)”
Thanks so much for sharing your one-of-a-kind experience, Beth! So who’s up for a road trip to Austin next spring?