I just attended my second year of Nourish Vermont, an annual symposium about ancestral diets and health research (some of it can seem really out there, depending on your perspective). This year, there were two days of PowerPoint lectures by well-known doctors, researchers, and other health professionals. Lunch is full of local, foraged, and fermented foods and the kombucha flows freely. Attendees travel to the event at Shelburne Farms from all over the country. Several of the presenters had never been to Vermont before and were seemingly baffled by the bucolic surroundings. They presented about electronic smog, how sound and light effect the body, the microbiome, mitochondria, and prehistoric diets. Each morning started off with a guided meditation including an immersive sound experience. Vendors sold electromagnetic mats and CBD products.
I spent the two days vacillating between feelings of anger and intrigue. Many of the attendees treat the speakers like cult leaders or gurus. One of the presenters has a group of fans who follow him to his speaking engagements around the country. You can tell who they are by their orange-tinted glasses and purple t-shirts with “MITOCHONDRIAC” printed on them. Seriously. I was so put off by this that I refused to hear this man speak, and left after lunch on the second day specifically to avoid him. He interrupted the first speaker to interject his opinions about how bad solar panels combined with 5G cell towers will be. He told everyone that if they purchased a house with solar panels on the roof they should move immediately.
Another presenter on the first day, the only woman, spoke about prehistoric animals hunted by our paleolithic ancestors. They thrived on fat, so she advised that the healthiest way to eat today is to eat meat high in fat, some vegetables, but definitely no carbohydrates or even dairy. When I left that day, I immediately drove to my favorite creemee place.
I was surprised on the second morning by the speaker. His name was Zach Bush. He was dynamic, thoughtful, and talked about his work in a global context. I had been feeling like everything seemed so narcissistic. Why do you want to have better health or the best health if not to do something good for the greater world? How can we care about electronic smog when children are being separated from their parents when they are trying to seek refuge at the border? There are just so many horrible things happening in the world. To expend our intellectual capacity on fringe health topics seems inappropriate. I was glad that this one guy was more personable and seemed like he cared about why we should be seeking better health–not just to benefit our personal lives, but to make a better world.
Nourish Vermont always posts the videos of the talks on their Youtube channel. These have not been posted yet, but talks from past years are up.