Last Thursday, I flew in to Reno, NV, where I was met by one of my cooking assistants, Renee Porter Sullivan of Julian, CA. She and I initially met through the online holistic nutrition courses I was teaching and she was taking through Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in Tempe, AZ. After graduating from my courses and their holistic nutrition program and sharing her enthusiasm for paleo and primal diet, she became my assistant for Primacon 2013 in Oxnard, CA. She did such a great job at gathering and transporting the equipment I needed for my cooking demos and helping me with set up, prep, and cooking for the event that she was invited to do it again for Primalcon Lake Tahoe. We roomed together in a cozy modern cabin about 50 yards from the boathouse and dock this time.
It’s a health and fitness retreat for people with an interest in ancestral health and fitness. The retreats, created by Mark Sisson founder of the popular blog, Mark’s Daily Apple, and the book, The Primal Blueprint. His retreats, blog, and books are designed to help people discover better health and fitness through a whole foods, real foods diet based on our evolutionary needs. Primal diet is similar to paleo diet with a few small tweaks. To read about the differences, click here.
If you want to read more about the Primalcon experience, click here.
If you want to see footage from Primalcon Oxnard 2013 (Renee and I are in there about halfway through), click here.
Why I love going to Primalcon
I go to Primalcon for the great food, great presentations, fun, stimulating conversations, the chance to play more, have a change from my daily routine, meet some of the world's leading health and fitness experts, and to teach cooking classes. I also go for the social interaction with people from around the world who share my passion for living Primally.
Primalcon Lake Tahoe
This was my first trip to Lake Tahoe. I packed a ski jacket, gloves, a scarf, fleece jackets, and long sleeve shirts, things I don’t use much in Phoenix. I was glad I had these because it was crazy cold (43˚F) and windy when we arrived at historic Camp Richardson, in South Lake Tahoe, CA, about 90 minutes from the Reno airport. They’d had a light snow fall the night before that had melted but the cold front was still there. The weather warmed up during the day and with each passing day, which was good because we had a lot of out door activities.
The cabin Renee and I stayed in was literally on the lake with the deck several yards from the water. The first night the wind was so strong that it sounded like ocean waves were crashing on the beach. I led two cooking classes in our little cabin. We packed 45 people in the first morning and about 25 on Sunday for my final presentation. It was a squeeze but we made it work. The guys moved the couch, chair, and coffee table from the living room out onto the deck to accommodate all the chairs in that room and the tiny dining area. We had a few people sitting on the stairs. We had a fireplace. It wasn’t one for putting wood in and lighting but it looked real and it did heat the living room and the rest of the two story cabin.
I made three apple recipes from The Garden of Eating: A Produce Dominated Diet & Cookbook–––Nutty Apple & Green Salad with Fruity-Balsamic Dressing, Baked Apples with Date Nut Filling, and Apple-Apricot Compote with an optional Almond Honey Drizzle. The compote tastes amazing even without the sauce…with just a sprinkle of toasted nuts on top. As usual participants loved the recipes, the shopping and prep tips I presented, and the ideas for working cooking into their busy lives. I’ll post one of the recipes and links to the others this week.
Besides prepping, planning, and teaching, I caught two of the movement classes, one focused on play with presenter Darryl Edwards, the Fitness Explorer, a natural movement therapist, paleo nutritionist, and blogger from the London, England, who teaches people how to add play outs (instead of work outs) into their daily lives. He conducts play shops (instead of workshops) around the world. He shows people how to play in ways that challenge and strengthen your body, making it more equipped to deal with the rigors of daily life. I’ll be checking out his book, Paleo Fitness: A Primal Training and Nutrition Program to Get Lean, Strong and Healthy, later this year.
When it came time to get pictures with people, I was expecting the usual, stand you’re your arm around the back of someone. Darryl didn’t want to do what everyone else did, so he had people lift him off the group or make human pyramids. The one on the right is Darryl with Renee and I. There were a lot of women picking him up over the weekend. It was easier than I thought it would be the way he showed us to do it.
The other class movement class I participated in, led by Vanessa and Adam Labert, focused on some great ways to loosen up tight muscles, including some new angles on stretching and rolling on balls (something like using a tennis ball or pain eraser) to increase blood flow in the legs, hips, and glutes.
The 100% grassfed wagyu beef and the colorful assortment of green salads, cooked vegetables, and fruits were really great. I missed the hike to Angora lake, the night cruise around the lake, and some of the other activities. I did catch the bonfire Saturday night, after listening to Robb Wolf and Mark Sisson speak and having dinner.
I found the weekend rejuvenating. I especially liked having three and a half days away from my computer and the busyness of my home office and work schedule, having a break from planning and preparing meals (we had primal smoothies in the morning and lavish, produce-rich buffet lunches and dinners with wild ocean fish and grassfed meat). They also had the most amazing dark chocolate truffles. I indulged in one and thought it was the best chocolate I’ve ever eaten.
Many of the staff and presenters and some of the parcipants were people I'd met at previous Primalcon events. There were a lot of new faces too, including Karen Clemence, a woman I had done cooking coaching with over the phone in 2011. It was fun to finally meet face to face. I met other people whose books I owned and had read, including Sarah Fragoso. I'm looking forward to Primalon events in 2014.