5 Things I Re-Learned at WAPF 2012

by Steven Wright

WAPF-2012

Why am I doing this again?  I’ve had that thought about a million times in my head.  As I begin a new idea, the excitement, the anticipation and novelty all draw me in like a perfectly grilled steak.  Then sometime later I’ll inevitably start having thoughts like… Why?  Is this necessary?  Really?!? How much longer?

As the holidays approach I could feel some of these ideas bubbling up.  Luckily, the Weston A Price Foundation swooped in to save the day.  This year was the 13th annual WAPF conference and it was held in sunny Santa Barbra, California.  Having never attended I wasn’t sure what to expect.  It turned out to be an awesome mix of learning, re-learning, networking and making new friends.  Oh and the food was GREAT!  As I traveled home yesterday I looked over all my notes.  I realized that the majority of my notes where ideas I needed to re-learn.  Here are my top 5 takeaways:

A diet with proper nutrients must include animal foods.  Chris Masterjohn started his talk off covering his experience with being vegetarian and how after adding back in animal products, he saw a dramatic rebound in health.  He then went on to cover the complex interplay of various vitamins and other nutrients in our foods.  In addition to that, Stephanie Seneff spoke on taurine from animal products and how much our bodies need it.  Together, they summarized why a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle will not support health:

  • Low dietary cholesterol intake
  • Inadequate long-chain essential fatty acid
  • Inadequate B6, B12, Zinc and fat soluble vitamins A, D and K
  • Inadequate Sulfur amino acids (methionine and cysteine), glycine and taurine

Want better skin, digestion, immunity and hormones?  Then stress management should be a major focus of your daily lifestyle.  Presenter after presenter echoed the same theme from different research angles.  Stress is crippling our health much more than most will admit.  It causes flares in our health problems and is a major contributor to every health condition we know.  I’ve read lots of research in this area and have been focused on trying to lower my stress levels for 2 years now (I can still do way better).  And I was blown away by presenter after presenter mentioning stress.  This topic is hot on the heels of nutrition and health.  It was great reminder to be even more diligent in my daily practices.

Eat lots of organ meats.  Whether the talk was on immunity, brain power or hormones, the general take away I got was eat more organ meats.  Traditional cultures placed such high value on these organs and their consumption without having any of the knowledge we do.  Several presentations focused on the importance of having plenty of vitamins and minerals in the diet and organ meats are the most nutrient dense place to get them.  This is going to be a focus for me over the next couple months.  Prior to this I was eating about 1 to 2 lbs of grass-fed beef liver a month, but I’m going to do my best to mix it up with other animals, new organs and try it on a weekly basis.

A standing desk can help you burn A LOT more calories.  At this point I think most of us have heard that sitting all day is really really really bad.  I swear every time I turn around I hear how sitting is killing me slowly, making my heart fat, and robbing years from my life.  Then Chris Masterjohn showed a study in which standing desks increased calorie expenditure by over 30%.  Finally something that might get me off my butt!  I can’t find his study right now but I did find this one also apparently showing that just standing all day might get me closer to my 6-pack.  Oh and save my heart, brain and hips.  Anyways, I think the evidence is stacking up pretty fast and getting rid of my sitting ways is on my short list of to-dos.

We are all Health SUPERSTARS.  And we got this way by suffering, trying and doing our best to beat our health problems.  No one is on a pedestal nor should they be put there by anyone else.  And I’m very guilty of that at times when I’m in my own little isolated world dealing with my issues.  It’s so easy to look out and forget how we are all so alike.  And by “we” – I mean you and also the many other Paleo/Primal/Real food bloggers that you might read and the presenters at WAPF or AHS.  Even Chris Kresser and Robb Wolf have been very open about dealing with their own health issues as they try to serve as many people as possible.  We are all working on something at any given point, tweaking and testing.  I’m sort of rambling but the point is we are all freaking awesome because we are doing our best to own the responsibility of our health.

You’ve likely heard these before; I doubt any of these ideas will blow your mind.  But like the title says in their own subtle ways I re-learned the importance of them and how they can add to my life.  Not only that but I made a ton of new friends and always enjoy being surrounded by like-minded people.  I highly encourage you to go check out these types of conferences.

Where you there?  What was your favorite talk? Who would you have liked to see? Tell me in the comments below.

Steve Wright

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About the author

Steven Wright Steve Wright is a health engineer and author. In 2009, he reached a breaking point when IBS took over his life and the doctors didn't know how to help. Since then, he has transformed his health and started SCDLifestyle.com to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan November 15, 2012 at 10:47 am

I just attended one day of the Santa Clara conference. Wish I could have spent more time with “my people” as I call others seeking health through a WAP diet. I really enjoyed Jerry Tennant’s talk and wish I had access to the slide section he showed on the false studies on cholesterol and heart disease. My husband is appalled at the level of fat in my diet and I just feel so much better and wish he would allow himself that, too.

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Andrea November 15, 2012 at 11:42 am

On the standing desk point: there are definite compensations made by our bodies, and obviously it will vary from person to person.

When I set up a standing desk at work I changed nothing else in my life. No more food, no more exercise, and no less of anything. Yet despite some tiredness and a slow increase in lower leg swelling on some days, there was nothing to indicate I was burning more calories – certainly no weight loss. FWIW I am a late-30s moderately active female, BMI=22, and 25% estimated body fat.

So, your mileage may vary. Sorry to be the downer. :-/

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Lisa @ Real Food Kosher November 15, 2012 at 11:53 am

Hi Steve,
I would have liked to have met you – I must have passed you a bunch of times without realizing you were from SCD lifestyle … next time!!
Great recap – very similar to what I wrote as well. My favorites were Julia Ross, Chris Kresser, and Chris Masterjohn. And there were a ton more that I didn’t get to see. Can’t wait for the conference recordings to catch up.
I did miss Chris M’s second talk so didn’t get to hear the research on standing desks – thanks for sharing!

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