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Low carb down under paleo primal seminar conference event australia

Low Carb Down Under – Sydney

Saturday was the Sydney leg of the Low Carb Down Under seminar series, that has been touring Australia.

What a fantastic day it was! There were twelve speakers from diverse backgrounds covering a range of topics. I was honoured to be one of the speakers and thoroughly enjoyed the day. Almost 300 people attended the event and everyone seemed really keen to learn and soak up the atmosphere. There seemed to be a significant number of medical and healthcare providers in the audience, which is a great sign that the message is being spread to the right people.

So, here is my brief summary of the day.

Dr Ron Ehrlich—“Lessons from the Past”

Dr Ron Ehrlich is a holistic Sydney dentist who started the day with a great overview of where we are – and where we’ve come from. I found it interesting to hear Ron talking about how he looks for underlying causes – rather than treating symptoms, which seems to be the typical modern method.

Dr Simon Thornley—“Has Dietary Research Helped Us With Our Food Choices

New Zealand Public Health Physician Dr Simon Thornley has written a paper on sugar with Dr Rod Taylor and Dr Ken Sikaris (“Sugar restriction: the evidence for a drug-free intervention to reduce cardiovascular disease risk”). Simon is an academic who has conducted extensive research on sugar, scientifically coming to many of the same conclusions as those of us in the paleo community.
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Jimmy Moore—Update on low carb around the world

An update on the remarkable progress Jimmy is making with his N=1 experiment on Nutritional Ketotis. Interestingly a number of people I spoke to in the audience are conducting similar experiments of their own. It’s going to be extremely interesting to examine how this has gone in a few months time.

David Gillespie—“Sweet Poison and Big Fat Lies”

Author and Lawyer David Gillespie took us through his extensive sugar research – and findings. Many people in Australia were first introduced to the concept of giving up sugar through David’s books, so it was great to hear from him.

Sarah Wilson—“I Quit Sugar”

Sarah is the journalist who wrote the popular I Quit Sugar program. I was very interesting to hear her speak about her poor health, and how quitting sugar changed things for her.

I Quit Sugar Ebook

Costa Georgiadis—“Product Not Produce”

Costa has the most incredible energy! He bought along soil and compost and demonstrated to us the importance of understanding exactly where your food comes from.

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Christine Cronau—”The Fat Revolution!”

Christine is author of the Fat Revolution. Her talk clearly spelt out exactly why we need to have fat in our diets and must not be scared of it.

Dr Rod Tayler—“Doctors, Health, Weight and Carbohydrates”

Anesthesiologist and giveupsugar.com founder Rod Taylor explained how damaging sugar is – and just how much of a problem it is.

Aaron McKenzie from Origin of Energy—”Combining Fitness and Nutrition”

Aaron spoke about fitness, from an evolutionary perspective

Suzanne Crawt – Paleo in Australia

My talk started with my story explaining how I found Paleo and the huge difference it made to me. I then spoke about the growing, thriving Paleo community in Australia and how people can get involved.
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Rob Blomfield—”A farmer’s  journey to primal health”

Rob is an Australian farmer who, on finding this lifestyle, made remarkable health improvements. It was great to hear from someone with an insider knowledge on farming.

Vicki Poulter – “Why grass fed animal foods are good for the planet”

Vicki, from Nourishing Australia, gave a wonderful talk in linking the land, animals, soil and our food. This really made clear the importance of eating good quality grass-fed meat.

We finished with a panel question and answer section. With so many diverse speakers, a great wealth of questions were answered.

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The whole event was filmed, so hopefully those of you who missed out will be able to watch the talks soon.

It was wonderful to meet so many people interested in, and concerned about their health. It’s clear that the message is spreading and increasing numbers of people are finding out about this lifestyle. I wonder how many people will attend the next seminar series?

The seminar was in Adelaide last night and has one more date left. The final conference is in Brisbane this Saturday. There is still time (just) to buy your ticket at the Low Carb Down Under site. I’m heading to Brisbane this weekend, so if you’re there please come and say hi!

Have you been to one of the seminars this year? What was your highlight – and who would you like to hear speak next time?

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All New Paleo Guide To Australia

Just a heads up that I’ve just updated the free Paleo Guide to Australia (and New Zealand) ebook. The current version now stands at 32 pages full of Paleo information – specific to where you are.

Following on from your suggestions, I’ve added more listings of Paleo suppliers in each state of Australia and New Zealand (farmers markets, grass-fed meat suppliers, fruit and vegetable suppliers, organic produce, fish mongers and fitness centres). I’ve also added a whole new section of Paleo Resources.

If you’ve already subscribed to my newsletter, just visit the same link to get your updated version. If you’ve not signed up yet, just subscribe using the link below to get your free copy!

I want to keep the Paleo Guide to Australia & New Zealand up to date with the best local Paleo places and stockists throughout Australia and New Zealand. If I’ve missed anywhere that you know about, please let me know and I’ll make sure I add it to the next edition.

I’d also like to add in restaurants that do Paleo food – so let me know of any suggestions that you have in your local area.

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Best Australian Blogs 2012 Competition

I’ve very excited to be a nominee in the Best Australian Blogs 2012 competition! I seem to be the only Paleo/ Primal blog in the competition, so it would be great to get into the final, so more people find out what this Paleo thing is all about!

If you feel inclined to vote, I’m on the fifth page as “The Paleo Network” and I’d love your support!

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Paleo guide to Australia paleo network primal free pdf-min

The Paleo Guide to Australia

When I first started with my Paleo lifestyle, I found so many fantastic books and blogs to steer me in the right direct.

My one frustration, was that a lot of the information seemed to be geared towards a US audience.  So many Paleo-friendly shops (Wholefoods anyone?)  and products are mentioned – but just aren’t available in this part of the world.  Seasonal fruit and vegetables are in season at completely different times – even the intensity of the sun is different here.

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I’ve therefore been busy putting together a guide to being Paleo in Australia (with a section on New Zealand too, so as not to leave our Kiwi friends out!).  This is the guide I wish I’d had when I started out!

In this free ebook you can find out where to buy all of the Paleo related food and products you’ll need, what’s in season when, listings by state and lots more about Paleo.  The listings identify local farmers markets, organic fruit and vegetable schemes, meat suppliers, fishmongers, meet-up groups, primal friendly fitness centres and much more – all across Australia and New Zealand.

I’m also going to be starting a monthly newsletter.  This is where I can share Paleo related news and events that don’t make it into the blog.

So, if you’d like a free copy of the book, please subscribe to my newsletter in the box below, to get your free download of “the Paleo Guide to Australia”!

This book will be regularly updated, so I’d love to hear of any local tips you think should be included in the next version!

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Is a “Fat Tax” Coming to Australia and New Zealand?

With Denmark having just been the first country to introduce a “Fat Tax”, the online community has been awash with criticism.  Will governments in Australia and New Zealand impose similar legislation onto us in the future?

What’s happening in Denmark?

Denmark already had additional taxes on sugar, chocolate and soft drinks, but they have just introduced a tax on saturated fat.  A tax of 16 kroner ($2.95 AUD/ $3.72 NZD) per kilo of saturated fat, where the product contains over 2.3% fat, will be passed onto the consumer.  This would add about 50 cents AUD to the price of a pack of butter.  So if my calculations are correct, that would add on about $2.50 AUD to the one litre tin of coconut oil I bought last week – but under 30 cents AUD to the same volume of cheap, nasty vegetable oil?  The calculation sounds overly complex and it based on the fat used in creating a product, rather than the percentage fat in the final product.  This sounds like a recipe for Frankenfoods, rather than whole, unprocessed foods…

The motives of Denmark, which are to increase the countries average life expectancy, may be honourable.  However, their execution is based solely on the incorrect lipid hypothesis; despite it now becoming more widely accepted that saturated fat is not the cause of obesity and heart disease.

I also have serious concerns about a government deciding what we should or should not eat.  Where people have access to health information and resources it should be their choice what they eat.  This is even more imperative where the government in question is basing their health views on incorrect, outdated fads such as the lipid hypothesis.  Such a fat tax penalises eating a healthy Paleo diet, despite this being, what I would consider, the healthiest diet going.

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Would a “Fat Tax” target the right fats?

What about Australia?

With 60% of Australian adults and 40% of children being classed as obese, the “Obesity Policy Coalition” is lobbying for a “fat tax”, using the proceeds gained from “unhealthy” foods to subsidise “healthy” foods.  I’ve found it very hard to get to the bottom of what this coalition considers “unhealthy” foods, but have written to them to ask them to clarify this (I’ll keep you updated if I get a response).  Looking on their site however, I fear they subscribe to the lipid hypothesis – which may mean they would endorse taxing on a similar basis to Denmark.

A proposal was bought to the Australian government in 2009 by the “National Preventative Health Taskforce” calling for a tax on “unhealthy foods” (again, I’ve not been able to see exactly what they define as “unhealthy” in this context).  This was not responded to by the government.  Indeed the federal health minister Nicola Roxon has recently said that the government are putting their efforts into tackling obesity using methods other than administration.  Hopefully this means no “fat tax” in Australia in the near future.

And New Zealand?

The “Food Industry Group of New Zealand” last week spoke out on the new tax in Denmark, saying it is very unlikely to have any positive effects on obesity levels.  They feel the tax will make food more expensive and could actually put health of children and elderly at risk.  They will not be recommending a similar fat tax in New Zealand.

So it looks like in this part of the world, we’ll continue to be free to make our own food choices.  I’m interested to see how the new tax is received in Denmark and how it changes the eating habits and health of the nation.

What do you think?  Should government dictate what we eat, using taxes?  Would a tax on all foods that aren’t Paleo be justified?

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How to Get Cheap Vibrams

As I explained in my previous post, I love running barefoot, in VFFs.

My Vibrams

My Vibrams – I’ve got a pair of pink Treksports and black Classics. So far.

When I was in America for PrimalCon & the AHS this year, I was so shocked to see how cheap Vibrams were, compared to here in Australia.  I bought two pairs, the Treksport in pink from a big outdoors store in Texas and a pair of Classics in black from another store in San Francisco.  Each pair worked out at well under $100 AUD, including taxes.  Not only were they cheaper, but the stores stocked so many different models, colours and sizes.  I should have bought more.  It takes going overseas to realise how expensive things are in this part of the world.

The bigger sports shops in Sydney seem to carry just a few models, and you can forget about getting them in exciting colours.  The bigger Rebel Performance stores sell a small selection, for upwards of $169.99 AUD, which is a lot of extra money to pay, especially for a small selection.

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Vibrams can be expensive in Australia

I bought my first pair of Vibrams on Ebay last year.  I carefully researched the model and tried an equivalent pair on in the city, to make sure I ordered exactly the right size.  I still paid about $100, so not that much of a bargain.  They arrived and I was instantly disappointed with Vibrams in general.  The toes were all the same length – meaning only my big toe would fit properly.  The top of my other toes didn’t even reach the bottom of toe section!  I initially assumed this was just how they made them, perhaps I had freaky toes, as they weren’t all the same length?  On close inspection it became apparent that the box and literature in the box was quite odd too.  It was upside down and back to front.  I think I probably spent my hard earned cash on a pair of fake Vibrams.  So my word of warning is be really careful where you buy them from.  If you buy them online, be sure they are genuine!

Luckily I wasn’t put off and after meeting so many VFF owners at PrimalCon I soon realised how they were supposed to fit and behave.  I bought my next two pairs earlier this year.  The difference is incredible!  They are an amazing fit.  Wearing them feels as close to barefoot as I’m realistically likely to get in the city centre.

Prices generally do seem to be coming down in Australia.  I found a sale today at the Adventure Mega Store in Sydney CBD selling VFF’s starting at $99, which seems to be a great deal (but I’d love to find a better price in this country).  They had by far the largest range I’ve seen in Sydney.  I also saw an indoor yoga style for the first time (with 40% discount) which looked perfect for dancing, though I’d need to see how they would compare to my existing dance footwear.  I don’t have the “Sprint” model, and think this might be a good choice for my next pair, I’m very tempted.

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I found a good sale on Vibrams in Sydney today…

If your toes do happen to all be exactly the same length, I could do you a great deal on a second hand pair of VFF’s.  Unworn…

Have you found any good deals on Vibrams in Australia and New Zealand?  Have you found a great stockist with lots of choice?  Have you managed to get any “real” ones shipped here at a good price?  I’d love to hear your tips in the comments below.

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Meeting Real, Local People – Who Lead a Paleo Lifestyle Too

Last night was the fourth meet up of the Sydney Paleo group – and the third I’ve had the pleasure of attending.  We met at a Korean Barbeque restaurant, tucked away down a side street, in the city centre.  A few of us had met before and there were some new faces to meet.  The food couldn’t have got much more Paleo.  We had all different types of meat, which we barbequed ourselves.

I’m becoming more and more obsessed with all things Paleo as time goes by.  I always want to talk about an amazing new blog I’ve found, or find out what others think about the latest research.  But I am aware that a lot of my non Paleo friends aren’t as interested in this as I am!  To be able to meet up with a group of people on the same wavelength is amazing.

We were able to jump straight into topics such as Jack Kruse’s Leptin theories, Nora Gedgaudas’s Australian Primal Body Primal mind conference, the AHS and how we handle social events with our non-Paleo friends.  We discussed our favourite blogs and books, how we do Paleo and local Paleo friendly suppliers & restaurants.

As much as I benefit from & value my online Paleo friends and the online community, there is nothing like meeting Paleo people in real life.

Next month we’ll be meeting again, only this time for an outdoor meet up.  A barbeque by the beach, frisbee, slack line & lots of paleo talk – I can’t wait!

If you don’t know any Paleo folk in real life, I suggest you join your local meetup group – or if there isn’t one – create it yourself!

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It Doesn’t Get Much More Paleo Than Kangaroo…

I’ve started to eat Kangaroo regularly since I began my paleo lifestyle.  Since Kangaroos aren’t farmed in Australia, I know I’m getting free range meat from animals that have been eating a natural diet.  Also, in Australia at least, Kangaroo meat is a cheap very accessible meat – which is a great help in offsetting the cost of more expensive free range meats.

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Fillet cuts of Kangaroo are widely available in Coles and Woolworths as well as local butchers.  Loin and rump cuts are also stocked in some places.  Whilst there are many pre-marinated and processed kangaroo products available too – avoid those and make your own!

Why Kangaroo?

Kangaroo is lean & rich in protein, making it a great protein component of a paleo meal.

For a quick and easy Aussie Kangaroo dinner, make some plum sauce using 4 fresh large plums, remove the pits and add to a blender with 2 garlic cloves, a chunk of fresh ginger, a squeeze of lemon, the juice of an orange and a sprinkling of onion powder, nutmeg, mustard and pepper.  Once blended transfer to a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes.  Meanwhile barbeque your kangaroo to medium-rare perfection, then serve with your delicious home-made plum sauce.

Look out for more Paleo Kangaroo inspired dishes in the coming weeks.  Have a great Kangaroo recipe?  Tell us about it!

And if you aren’t in Australia but want to try some Kangaroo?  You should be able to find some frozen and vacuum sealed – look for an exotic meat dealer, or speak to your local butcher.  Many companies export Kangaroo to New Zealand, so options there should be a lot more plentiful.