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New Year New You Health Fest Recap

I love conferences. The New You New You Health Fest in Marshall, TX did not disappoint. The fest combined nutrition classes, cooking demos, and exercise classes jam packed into one weekend with delicious food. It was like my dream conference!! And I happily joined in on everything it had to offer. Since I’ve been at this vegan thing for a long time, go to vegfests and conferences every year, and continue to self-educate the information is typically a review but I always learn something new or get new inspiration. I kind of know everyone so this conference was special in that there were many speakers I hadn’t met before. It was nice to catch up with old friends too. The festival got a shout-out in the New York Times! I really hope you’ll join us next year where I’ll be a speaker!


One of my favorite talks was from Brenda David RD (author of Becoming Vegan) on The New Paleo Diet: Facing Facts. In her research comparing the new “Paleo” diet with the original Paleolithic diet, she found that the vegan diet is actually more closely related. Paleolithic people were more gatherer-hunters, rather than “hunter-gatherers”, with about an average 2000 of their daily calories coming from plants. If anything they were flexitarians, not the high fat, high animal flesh diet the Paleos consume today.


  • They did not drink the milk of other mammals. Their diet typically was 30% protein, 45-50% carbs, 20% fat. 104g fiber!! Which means they at a ton of roughage (i.e. vegan foods).
  • New Paleo – mostly meat, veggies, nuts, seeds, some fruit; so at least they don’t do dairy and they do eat veggies but their diet is far too high in saturated fat than is healthy.
  • New Paleo diet is closer to protein to real Paleo diet, but closer to vegan diet in terms of carbs, fat, fiber, omegas, and saturated fat. So if anything the vegan diet is closer to what the Paleolithic people ate on a regular basis.
Photo by: Austin Barbisch

The fitness classes were a big highlight for me because I love to be able to workout while I’m out of town! It was even more special because the best gym ever, Beyond Fit, was there to give classes and Chad gave a talk on building muscle on a vegan diet.

I loved meeting Pam Popper and Del Sroufe. They are the the brains behind the Wellness Forum. I’ve always wanted to meet them! I had the pleasure of assisting Del on Saturday morning for his cooking class and it was such a blast. We got along so well it’s like we had known each other for years!

Pam’s talk on deciphering research studies was very enlightening! So many people cherry-pick or misinterpret studies to further their agenda and others just believe them. If you are looking for help in understanding studies you can visit Cochrane Collaboration who takes all the studies and helps us understand the research. I’m really excited to dive into this website!


  • Dietary pattern that includes many elements not just eating certain nutrients.
  • Correlation vs. cause and effect relationship. Correlation means two factors exist but aren’t related.
  • Short term changes in bio markers are often not indicative of long term improvements in health.
  • Atkins works for weight loss but so does cocaine addiction and chemotherapy. No one is going to sign up for those things so why would you do a fad diet? How about a healthy lifestyle?
  • B12 is only necessary for those who eat no fortified foods. But there is no studies that show b12 supplementation will harm you.
  • We put way too much faith in what our doctors say. Are the benefits worth the negative long term effects of meds and is it your best option.


I wish I could have attended EVERYTHING but there just wasn’t enough time. That always happens at conferences; you have to pick and choose. Special shout-out to Miyoko and Kathryn who’s cooking classes were awesome and the food was delicious. Seriously that nacho cheese sauce is now going to be my go to and that tofu chocolate pie made my heart sing! Also loved seeing Dr. Greger speak for the first time, running into Scott Jurek, doing my first Insanity class, and eating so much tasty food. Thank you Good Karma Kitchen for fulfilling all my vegan, gluten-free needs during the conference! Such a blessing!

Mark your calendar to attend this event next year! Not sure the date yet but you gotta come. And I’ll be teaching 🙂

Thanks to all the volunteers, speakers, and especially to Ed and Mandy Smith for making this event happen. It was a blessing the week I first spent with you on that fateful vegan cruise some 7 years ago! I heart you both so much!

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  1. This looks like a fantastic conference! I love the line about fad diets and cocaine 🙂 I always tell my nutrition students that the best way for weight loss is the 3 C’s diet: cocaine, caffeine, and cigarettes. Of course everyone can see how silly this would be as a recommendation- but some of the fad diets are just as ridiculous. Thanks for the recap! I’ve bookmarked a few of those websites for further reading 🙂

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