**This contest is now closed. Thank you to all who entered and congratulations to Allison T!**
At the weekend I attended an Everyday Paleo workshop held by Sarah Fragoso and Jason Seib.
Sarah wrote one of my favorite paleo books, Everyday Paleo, a book I recommend everyone read as a paleo primer because it lays out everything in a comprehensive, accessible way: her personal success story, shopping lists, menus and, of course, her famous recipes – her Giant Stuffed Mushrooms dish is on our family menu at least twice a month.
But she didn’t stop at one book, she wrote a book for kids. Paleo Pals is a cute story for younger kids that I’d recommend everyone wanting to paleo-ize their family read to their children regularly. Then have them read it themselves when they’re old enough. It too has kid-friendly recipes in the back. Now we just need someone to devise a paleo board game and the family will be set!Jason Seib
All I knew about Jason was that he writes posts in a strident, tough-love paleo fashion similar to Robb Wolf, had an arm of tattoos and was passionate about women lifting weights. But I didn’t know much else about him. Now I’ve met him, I’m not sure why! He should have a higher profile, he has a lot to teach.
Meeting paleo peeps
I figured the workshop would cover the basics and perhaps more. I’d likely learn something and meet some paleo people (I know no-one outside my family who is paleo) and for the price, $50 for four hours, that seemed an excellent deal.
The seminar was held in a Crossfit gym just a fifteen-minute drive from my home but was, in fact, the first time I’d ever set foot inside one. The place was full and the attendees were probably equal in terms of the number of male to female, the young and hip to older and more conservative.
Ripped and overweight
Some were ripped, some were overweight, most were in the middle. Some had been doing paleo for a while, some were new at it or ‘off and on.’ All in all, they were all over the map and there was nothing at all for anyone to be intimidated by. You could guarantee someone, somewhere in that room was like you.
I noticed Sarah immediately and introduced myself to her. Although I’ve guest-posted on her site, it was the first time I’d met her, or any paleo leader, in real life. Her photos don’t do her justice – she is gorgeous!
For some reason, I expected her to be wearing sweats and tennis shoes but in fact she was wearing a drapey top, high wedge heels and boot-cut jeans that I liked so much I emailed her later to find out where she’d got them!
Jason, like Sarah, was funny and jam-packed full of info. I had no idea he was so knowledgeable about the science side of paleo. And it’s clear, like he says on his site, he thoroughly enjoys his role as a heretic in the nutrition and fitness industry. I’d say he revels in it. Don’t argue with this man!
The four hours was full-on with Sarah and Jason tag-teaming the presentations, a cooking demonstration and giveaways at the end. There was virtually no marketing, just some of Sarah’s books to buy if you wanted. It was information from start to finish.
Comprehensive and thorough
The presentations were targeted assuming the audience knew nothing but covered broad ground such as a pretty detailed presentation on the insulin response and cholesterol, getting kids on board with paleo, and the importance of sleep and stress management. You could enter the workshop knowing nothing and leave it knowing everything you needed to start paleo right away. You’d also understand why.
Although I’ve been immersed in this stuff for twenty months now, I still learned plenty new and it’s clear that although Sarah abandoned her original plans to use her B.Sc in Psychology when she discovered paleo, she still uses what she learned to inspire herself and her clients and keep them on track.
These are the points I wrote down during the workshop that struck me as particularly interesting and noteworthy. And some hadn’t pierced my consciousness before which is amazing because I’d thought I’d read it all.Sarah talking about her paleo journey with her ‘before’ picture in the background.
1. Paleo for life! Sarah’s “before” and “after” pictures that are used in her book were updated in the presentation with another one last year. You can see she is smaller and more toned. Sarah emphasized this is a lifestyle switch not a temporary eating strategy. There is no reverting back to old habits and the typical regain.
2. ‘Fathead’ is a movie you should see and Malcolm Kendrick is a name you should google.
3. Avoid fruit for fat-loss.
4. White meat should not be a meat staple. Pork and chicken will cause a low level of inflammation so take fish oil to balance it out.
5. Eggs should be considered meat.
6. Don’t cook with olive oil. Olive oil peroxidizes (goes rancid) with heat. Use it as salad dressing. What’s more, cooking with olive oil is a sign that you are still scared of saturated fat. Use coconut oil, butter or bacon grease instead.
7. Take fish oil to counteract omega-6’s. Restaurants use vegetable oils to cook with so balance out the omega 6′s in the oils by getting omega-3′s in fish oil.
8. Milk is always bad and the jury is out on whether fermented or ‘hard’ dairy causes problems. So you could eat it and it may or may not give you issues. But if you don’t drink or eat it, it definitely won’t cause you any problems. So the recommendation is to not eat it.
10. Get in the mindset of earning your paleo treats through exercise.
11. Paleo fitness is a three step process. Spend the first two months getting paleo eating down, then reduce calories by 200 per day and finally, work to build muscle.
12. You can eat starchy carbs during the 30 minutes following a workout session without spiking insulin.
13. If you are into chronic cardio including running, Jason recommended the article ‘Women: Running Into Trouble.’ It explains the problem of overtraining with cardio, thyroid problems and subsequent issues relating to poor weight-loss results. The article comes complete with 80 citations.
14. Send paleo food with your own kids when they have playdates at friend’s houses. Make enough for the other kids, please.
15. Get the kids involved in the kitchen. They can make place mats, take out the garbage or recycling or other jobs around the kitchen if they are not cooking.
16. Trust your kids to make good decisions about food when they are away from you. Don’t control their every move (or bite.)
17. Looking good naked happens as a by-product of other goals that focus on health and feeling good.
18. Adjust your attitude. You have control over your food, emotions and habits. You have no control over your birth, death and the weather. Choose to be happy, all day, even if you don’t want to.
19. Sarah also mentioned something that I have talked up over and over but bears repeating – you have to be prepared. Always, always have paleo food on hand and a menu plan. Don’t leave things to chance or the gods.
20. Sarah’s favorite jeans are Lucky Brand, Sofia bootleg cut. So cute I’m going shopping for a pair of them myself! (Update: they didn’t look nearly as good on me as they did on her. )
It was a great afternoon, I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned plenty. It was delightful to finally meet Sarah after so much emailing back and forth and Jason was a gem of a find. Amity Crossfit did a fine job of hosting and Sarah’s husband, John Fragoso, did sterling work with the technology so that nothing went wrong – something I always appreciate heartily. It was also fantastic to confirm there are paleo people in the Bay Area. There have been rumors but to finally meet some in person was a big deal for me. Awesome!
Sarah kindly gave me a signed copy of Paleo Pals: Jimmy and the Carrot Rocket Ship to give away. To enter, please leave a comment about this post below or ‘like’ the PaleoNonPaleo Facebook page. I will leave this open until 8pm PST, Sunday June 17th, 2012 and will choose one person at random to win the book. The winner will have 24 hours to respond to me before another winner is chosen. Good luck!