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Last weekend I had the pleasure of finally attending Paleo f(x) for the first time. It is a Paleo expo/conference held in Austin, Texas that not only has a bunch of rockstars in the Paleo world speaking about all sorts of interesting topics, but the best part is that there is also new food products galore to try! And I finally got to meet so many of my online blogger friends in person, so that was a major plus. But the food… it is quite rare that I can walk around a huge event center and not worry about what I'm eating. Like rare as in, that's the first time it's happened since I found out I was celiac. Talk about a freeing feeling!!
I started off actually getting down there a day earlier than most because I attended the Health Entrepreneurs f(x) event, which was an intimate event set up for health entrepreneurs to learn more about how to improve and market a health and wellness related business. This blog is my only health/wellness related business, but I am really serious about trying to get my message out that food and lifestyle can heal, so I figured it was time to turn this thing into something more. What that is going to look like I am not yet completely sure, but if you have any ideas of what you'd like to see from me, by all means please let me know! I did also get word while I was at the conference that I am able to turn my Primal Blueprint Certification into a Health Coach Certification, so I think I will pursue working on that and then if anyone wants me to health coach them, then I'm here! (I'm laughing as I write this since if you had asked me 5 years ago if I would be a health coach I would have looked at you like you were crazy as I stuck another cheeto in my mouth and washed it down with some Coke).
Anyway, so the Health Entrepreneurs event was a freakin intense day, but well worth it. I was nervous as all heck beforehand since I didn't know anyone and I'm kind of an introvert (who can extrovert herself on occasion), but turns out everyone else there was exactly the same way! Funny to be at an entrepreneur event for a bunch of introverts, but I guess that's what happens with the magic of the internet. Those of us who would never have started a business 20 years ago are able to now. So lesson # 1 for the weekend “Never assume you are the only nervous/shy/clueless person in the room. Chances are, there are others, if not pretty much everyone else.”
We listened to talks from people like Melissa Hartwig, Craig Ballantyne, Abel James, Mike Bledsoe, Sarah Ballantyne, and John Durant, did some invigorating active stretching exercises, meditated, ate great Paleo food, and networked. My favorite part of the day though was the two 2 hour long breakout sessions with only 9 other people. Each breakout session was headed by one of the speakers, so I had my first one with Abel James and my second with Sarah Ballantyne and it was just such an eye opening experience for me to listen to them having the same struggles as me and to see how they have become extremely successful and have helped so many in the process. I learned so much. But I do admit at the end of the day I was FRIED. Could barely even say my own name. The big takeaway I had from day though was “Be authentic in everything you do and build a community.”
That night it rained 9 inches in 3 hours. I was on the top floor of my hotel and the thunder was shaking the building, the rain was coming down like cuuuraaaazy, and I kept hearing these weird sirens so I was sure that a big Texas tornado was heading towards me. I think I might have gotten out of bed 47 times to check the skyline. So needless to say, not too much sleep happened for me!!
Friday and Saturday were the days I attended the actual Paleo f(x) conference/expo. As I mentioned before, I met up with some blogger friends, walked around tasting tons of food, and sat in on a few talks. Some things that stuck out in my mind were:
These Kitchun cookie mixes were really good. I kinda stopped here multiple times 🙂 For those of you who like cookies but aren't huge on baking or keeping the various baking supplies around, these are PERFECT. The ladies who own this place are super nice too, even being polite when I couldn't put together coherent sentences come Saturday morning due to exhaustion! (though i do bet they think I am a complete freak). You can find these goodies HERE.
I was excited to find this all purpose seasoning from Paleo Powder since a seasoning like this is one of the easiest ways to bring a dish to a great level. Like put duck fat on a chicken, sprinkle with this seasoning, roast. Or cook up some potatoes, sprinkle on some seasoning. That kind of easy to do. But a lot of the seasonings out there in stores have gluten as an anti-caking agent and who knows what else. So it was really nice to find a seasoning I don't have to worry about. They also have no-salt versions and a pink himalayan salt version too. You can find this seasoning at their website or on Amazon.
The Barefoot Provisions table had these Cheezy Galactic Hog Skins (Pork Rinds) that were amazing. I bought 4 bags and my boys have been requesting them nonstop. It was funny to watch people walk by the table though, hardly anyone could resist grabbing a few! This is Paleo snack food at its best! Crunchy, savory, salty, with just a hint of a bacon-like flavor. I do have to say they do not make your breath smell so great, so maybe eat when you have some breath mints nearby! You can find these HERE.
I love me some mug muffins (you put ingredients in a mug and microwave for around a minute, and voila, you have a muffin). Great for those times when you are craving something warm, sweet, and comforting but don't want to mix up a bunch of things and wait 30 minutes. But for people that don't keep Paleo baking ingredients around, these pre-made packets are perfect. All you have to do is empty these into a mug, add some water and microwave. My kids love making these too since it's something they can do (I do the microwave part, but they can add the water and mix). Find these HERE.
I already knew, love, and regularly use the Fatworks products – they make grass-fed, pastured wonderful Lard, Tallow, Duck Fat, Chicken Schmaltz, etc. but it was still great to see them. They introduced me to to this jerky though from Brooklyn Biltong – it wasn't all tough to chew or break off like regular jerky, it was smoooooooooth like buttah. I really liked it and will definitely be purchasing some more in the near future. You can find Fatworks at their website or on Amazon. And Biltong can be found on their website or Amazon.
This green banana flour from Let's Do Organic was a product I had never heard of before, but I'm excited to try it out as yet another alternative Paleo flour. Haven't had a chance to yet, so can't say what flavor it brings to a baked good, but when I do I'll be sure to let you all know! Right now it looks like you can get it on their website.
My final lesson I learned over the weekend was: “When your body tells you you need to take some time and get away from everything, do it”. I hit a total wall on Saturday afternoon and had to go sit down by the river for a half hour (to be in nature) and then went and napped for another hour. Afterwards I felt much better, but there used to be a time I would have pushed through it. I would have had coffee or something because of my FOMO. Now I know that pushing through things leads me to long term ramifications like weeks of recovery, so taking just a few hours to unwind and reset can do wonders for you. Don't be afraid to do it or to worry about what other people think of you or to worry if you are missing out on something. Just take the time you need for YOU. The “I'll sleep when I'm dead” mentality is what leads us to things like adrenal fatigue, so it's important to listen to what your body is saying to you. I still got plenty out of the weekend and as my dad always says “make sure to save something for the next time!”
Awesome recap, Michelle! It was super awesome to hang out with you at Paleo f(x), and you and I had a lot of the same fav products – I loved the MuffinElse muffins and the Kitchun cookies – soooo yummy!
Thanks Heather! Yeah, I think it was actually you who introduced me to both of those. There were so many booths I didn’t get to, but I definitely got to those because you told me I should, and I’m so glad you did!
Thanks for this… I often have to talk myself into going to a gathering the morning of just because I would rather not go. I usually like or love the people, I am interested in the event, but the going and then being there… it is just so exhausting to think about.
I almost always have a great time once there but I have a block in my willingness. No anxiety, just lazy.
So your experience, although different, is familiar to me, right down to the bad sleep.
I am interested in some of these products but I hardly ever buy them because they are cost prohibitive. Really, really prohibitive. This sort of thing is why I hear “I cannot afford to go paleo”. People are conditioned to buy packaged goods. Some people are too sick or too exhausted or too busy to cook from scratch and fall back on packaged food just to get by.
I tend to grab carrots and sausage when I cannot function enough to cook, but we almost always have Kettle chips around and they are a great temptation. I have allergies and must eat low- FODMAP so many quick easy options are out for me.
I don’t know how these Paleo food companies can succeed unless it really is a rich man’s diet.
Oh man, I get it for sure! Paleo and even just gluten-free products are so expensive! You definitely do pay for the convenience and the quality of ingredients too. I look at these things as more of a special treat than the everyday convenience of regular processed goods, but even so they will skyrocket your budget pretty fast if you don’t pay attention. I’m trying to reign in my own budget so if I figure out ways to get good deals on these things, I will be sure to share!