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  Blog by Harry Mossman

Ancestral Health Symposium 2014 Presentations

See also my general impressions of the symposium

Healthy Foods that are Cruel - Diana Rodgers

Issues with Bananas, Coffee and Chocolate. Warning: Painful to watch but something everyone should be aware of. Most ancestral types don't eat bananas but most do drink coffee and eat chocolate. I drink lots of coffee and eat lots of ultra-dark chocolate. I also usually eat a barely ripe organic banana every day. Most of the world production of these three items is evil.

No one has to consume any of the three, although the fact that you can have dark chocolate and coffee on Primal and Paleo entices many to follow those plans. Personally, I make sure that my chocolate and coffee are fair traded, slavery free, and environmentally responsible. They are expensive. That is a problem for people on limited budgets. But if you don't care about child slavery, deformed people and environmental damage, you are being sort of an ass hole. I buy organic bananas but Rodgers says that frequently they really are not. I will have to try harder.

Lessons from the Vegans - Denise Minger

Minger is always a joy to read or hear, even when you disagree with her. This talk was devil's advocacy - How come some people actually do well on veganism? She started by saying she had been vegan for 3 hours. According to her Facebook page, she is not currently a vegan. She reviewed the history of vegan health advocates such as McDougall and Ornish. Ironic that she is always our knight in shining armor when one of the stupid "meat is poison" studies comes out.

Updating our Definition of the Original Human Diet — Cate Shanahan, M.D.

Try to learn ancestral, not necessarily paleolithic strategies instead of making lists of what is and isn't "paleo."

How We Got Fat (and Sick): Mitochondrial Dysfunction, Adipose Dynamics, and the Ratchet Effect - J. Stanton

This was another favorite presentation. Alas, apparently it did not get recorded. Update: Stanton is working on cleaning up the audio. There is a summary of the AHS talk here. You can also see his presentations at past symposia. I had the pleasure of talking to him at breakfast one morning. He is more "caveman" oriented than I am but a very smart, interesting guy.

Rethinking Fatigue: the Adrenal Myth - Nora Gedgaudas

Very technical talk. Bottom line: The concept of adrenal fatigue is wrong. Taking adrenal supplements won't help fatigue.

Stress and Heart Rate Variability - Jason Moore

Many speakers got 20 minutes when they really needed 40. This is one. Check out his website, where he also discusses the symposium. To learn more about the important topic see Mark Sisson's recent post and his follow-up post.

Zoobiquity: Species-Spanning Medicine — Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, M.D.

This was one of the most fun talks, although it has little to do with day-to-day ancestral health. Dr. Natterson-Horowitz is a professor of cardiology at UCLA Med. School. She is also sometimes called on to help the vets at the LA Zoo.

Epigenetics & the Multigenerational Effects of Nutrition, Chemicals and Drugs — Jill Escher

This was probably my favorite presentation. It was informative, well organized and delivered with passion. Escher had three pregnancies that seemed normal. She wasn't doing anything that should have harmed her children. Yet two of the three are profoundly autistic. Escher was able to get records of when her mother was carrying her and found out that her mother had been given monstrous amounts of drugs. When a woman is born, she already has all the eggs she will ever have. These will be affected by what is happening to her mother and even to her father.