This past weekend, I had the pleasure of participating in the 2011 Ancestral Health Symposium (AHS), a fantastic gathering of academics, scientists, authors, doctors, and the wider paleo community at U.C.L.A. in Los Angeles. The Ancestral Health Symposium was organized under the mission of “Ancestry“, a nonprofit public benefit charity run by a group of dedicated volunteers.
The symposium presenters were first-class. The conference gave me the opportunity to go beyond their blogs and books to hear and see them first-hand…and there were so many! The most difficult thing was to have to choose between two speakers (presentations ran side-by-side all weekend in two separate campus locations). In addition to the well known paleo leaders such as Boyd Eaton, Loren Cordain, Robb Wolf, Gary Taubes, Michael Eades and Mat Lalonde, we heard from a cardiovascular surgeon (Dr Guy-Andre Pelouze), were introduced to a history of zoos courtesy of John Durant, got an introduction to evolutionary fitness through MovNat founder Erwan LeCorre, learned how to spot bad science, gained a perspective on Darwin and dentistry, discussed sustainability, looked at the gut as its own rainforest ecosystem, talked Vitamin D, studies the great apes, and even learned how MMA relates to ancestral health. It was a packed two days, and there were far too many topics and speakers to even list here.
While most attendees represented the paleo lifestyle fairly well, this wasn’t a symposium just to reinforce paleo principles to a crowd of pre-sold people. The topics I found most interesting were the side stories and sub topics. My favourites were Dr. BG, PharmD and Tim Gerstmar’s talk on gut health, Craig Standord’s presentation on chimps and gorillas and the evolution of our own human diet, and Emily Dean’s talk on using an evolutionary approach to mental health. Robb Wolf, Erwan LeCorre and Mat Lalonde were fantastic, but then again, I expected nothing less from them!
Notes from the presenters can be found via Slideshare on the AHS website.
The other benefit to the symposium was the chance to meet and talk with colleagues and friends from all over. I got to say hello to friends from Iceland, Sweden, all over the United States, and of course Canada. We all enjoyed the beauty of the U.C.L.A. campus and the southern California weather.
Thanks to Clif Harski for finding Damon & Pythias, a great little Westwood lunch spot with steak, chicken, sausage, turkey, vegetables, salads and other paleo friendly delights. I don’t think the Ackerman Food Court did much business from the Ancestry Health crowd that weekend…except for the odd sale of bottled water.