Okay, so I’m back from LA and the Ancestral Health Symposium, and I’m going give part of my update in the form of awards. No hurt feelings, please — these are all in good fun. If you have any other good ones, put your nominations in the comments and I’ll add to the list.
- The Old Guard Award: Boyd Eaton, Loren Cordain, Staffan Lindeberg. They opened up the event with their talks, which were hard not to like even if you had heard the basic material before. These guys were beaming throughout the entire weekend, and justly so. Hats off.
- The Lecture That Went From Sensible to Crazy The Fastest Award: Boyd Eaton. After 15 minutes talking about nutrition, Boyd took his well-earned prerogative to speak about whatever the hell he cared about, and started arguing that pretty much all modern ills (in-group/out-group strife, environmental degradation, subjugation of women, and more) did not exist in our hunter-gatherer past and are purely the province of modernity. The science was non-existent and the ideology was overflowing — but everyone gave him a pass because, hey, he earned it.
- The I’m a Scientist, Dammit, And You’re Not Award: Mat Lalonde. Mat reminded everyone that we’re dealing with hypotheses here, and just because people used to do it doesn’t mean it’s actually healthiest for us today. All good points.
- The Most Unexpectedly Good Talk By Someone Assumed to Be a Huge Douchebag Award: Tucker Max. Tucker spoke about the prevalence of violence during human evolution, and it’s relative absence today. Play fighting has been a frequent source of exercise through history, police who are trained in martial arts are less likely to be involved in police brutality, and many fighters learn the importance of self-control. Tucker pointed to MMA one way to let off some steam.
- The Best Dressed Award (female): Denise Minger (Raw Food SOS). Wow. Denise was turning heads, yet completely professional at the same time. Look out, world. She gave a funny talk on how to win an argument with a vegetarian.
- The Best Dressed Award (male): Andrew Badenoch (Evolvify). Scottish kilt, black fingernail polish, jet black hair — what’s not to like? My only worry is that Andrew is going to abandon us when paleo gets too mainstream.
- The Best Combination Mohawk-Ponytail Award: J. Stanton (Gnolls.org). This one wasn’t even close — J. Stanton takes first, second, and third.
- The Most Delicious Food Someone Had Stashed in the Trunk of Their Car Award: Feral Boar Bacon. Somebody brought feral boar bacon to the presenter and volunteer BBQ the night prior to the symposium, and wow, was that delicious.
- The Most Entertaining Cage Match: Taubes v. Guyenet. Taubes challenged Stephan during the Q&A at the end of his talk on obesity. While Taubes got in a few good blows, Guyenet gave a few good ones right back. Taubes is also the more experienced fighter and typically fights up a weight class, but Guyenet is younger, fresher, and almost certainly gets more sleep than Taubes. We look forward to a re-match.
- The Strongest Foreign Country: Sweden. A combination of distance traveled, number of presenters (3), number of attendees (4+?).
- The UCLA Food Court Restaurant that Got The Least Business Award: Sbarro. Fast food Italian is a gluten-fest.
- The Most Fun Couple to Drink With Award: Richard and Bea Nikoley. They’re fun sober. They are just a hoot after a drink or three.
- The Paleo Power Couple Award: Chris Masterjohn and Melissa McEwen. They both gave talks. They’re dating. And are going to dominate the lecture circuit for years to come. Kind of unfair, right?
- The Most Popular Presentation Photo Award: This hunter-gatherer chap. I saw him in at least three talks, and I didn’t see half the talks. What if the photo turned out to be a forgery, just some photo shoot for an old movie? That would be hilarious.
- The Most Popular Restaurant Award (no substitutions): Animal. Thought supposedly everything was covered in gluten, and you couldn’t make changes to your order.
- The Most Popular Restaurant Award (substitutions): In ‘N Out Burger. Animal-style, protein-style, baby.
- The Most Unexpectedly Tall Person Award: Gary Taubes and Jimmy Moore. Truly giants among men.
More nominations? Leave them in the comments. More thoughts to come.