And it was an experience. A truly awesome experience.
If you aren’t familiar, Paleo F(x) is a conference focused on the practical implementation of the Paleo lifestyle held each spring in Austin, Texas. While this was the third year this conference was held, it was my first year attending.
I can’t compare this year to previous (although I heard lots of comments about there being far more venders in the expo and how great that was, and how there seemed to be so many more attendees and how great that was). But, what I can say is that past weekend was some of the most enjoyable three days I’ve ever had.
Paleo F(x) is truly a celebration of the paleo community, a meeting of likeminded people from all walks of life who are able to bond over a passion for real food and movement, and a collaborative opportunity for the leaders in the paleo movement.
The conference was three days. Friday was both the first day and my busiest day, with my presentation, a book signing, and my cooking demo.
My first presentation was titled “What’s On Your (Paleo Autoimmune Protocol) Plate? The take-home message, was to focus on eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods, including frequently consuming seafood, offal, and large portions of vegetables. I took a bit of a risk with it by actually putting effort into being funny. For those of you who find my writing amusing, that’s completely organic–it just sorta happens by accident. So trying to be funny was either going to be a resounding success or doomed to the sounds of crickets and awkwardness. But, I seem to have succeeded (or the audience was polite enough to laugh at the right places) and I was told by a number of people that my presentation was their favorite of the conference.
I also did a book signing and was astonished by the line-up of people waiting to meet me and get their copies of The Paleo Approach signed. While only a half hour was scheduled, I ended up signing books for nearly two hours. As I told Robb Wolf later that evening, it was lucky for me that his schedule meant he couldn’t make his signing time. I used my slot, his slot, and all of the time that was supposed to be in between.
For my cooking demo, I cooked an autoimmune-friendly American-style breakfast sausage recipe from my upcoming book The Paleo Approach Cookbook. The feedback was very positive and the audience seems pleased to see such a simple and easy recipe for a breakfast staple that they could eat while following the autoimmune protocol. It also made the entire cooking demo area smell fantastic!
I got to talk with so many people that eventually it felt overwhelming. I lost count of how many people stopped me just to thank me for my blog and for the amazing resource that The Paleo Approach was to them. Thank you all for your kind (ego-inflating) words.
Friday night was the Speakers Dinner at a local farm. I loved the atmosphere, dining at picnic tables under beautiful lights wrapped around a giant tree, and only 50 feet away from the chicken coops! It was also a great opportunity to connect with the other presenters (I’ll jump at any opportunity to dine with Chris Kresser! and this was even better with Diane Sanfilippo, Russ Crandall, and Amy Kubal also at my table!).
Saturday and Sunday, my days were filled with making connections with people. I had so many wonderful conversations with attendees, bloggers, authors, leaders in the paleo movement, and vendors. I’m super excited about some of the projects that I got to talk about with various people. And I love love loved hanging out with so many good friends. It became my mission to take as many photos as possible during those conversations, and I think you can probably get a better sense of just how amazing an experience this was for me by those photos than I can possibly put into words.
Crazy awesome, right? You’d think my cheek muscles would be sore from all that smiling, but somehow, I was riding so high (um, probably on oxytocin from all the hugging!) that I just didn’t tire of it. I felt like one of the gang with these amazing and inspirational people, and it just doesn’t get any better than that.
Sunday morning, I was in a panel discussing raising kids in a paleo home. It was a really fun panel that made a serious discussion about the challenges of raising children with different nutrition priorities than their peers both engaging and entertaining (really thanks to Mark Rogers of simplyhumanlifestyle.com who rounded out the rest of us, which included Nicole Rheiner, Sarah Fragoso, and Michelle Tam).
I got to meet so many people who have become good friends over the last couple years finally in person! Including finally getting to meet my talented and amazing assistant Christina!
I got to try Exo cricket bars, meet Barefoot Provisions and Eating Evolved, get the foundation laid for projects with Epic bars and Paleo Pacs, got to feel completely pampered by Primal Life Organics, and finally got to taste Choffy.
I got to stay in a house with both Matt and Stacy and Danielle Walker (how cool is that?!), which included us hosting a great potluck brunch. Matt McCarry literally saved my life; I solidified my girl crush on Stefani Ruper; and Stacy and I finally got some real photos of the two of us (below is the iPhone version but there’s also a real camera version somewhere out there too!).
I will definitely be back again next year.