I was excited to hang out at the Symposium for the final day of talks and networking so we grabbed our cameras, MacBooks, iPhones, iPads, cooler, and mugs of coffee and set off for UCLA early in the morning.

As soon as we got to the Ackerman Grand Ballroom, I spotted Diana Hsieh of Modern Paleo sitting at the other end of the aisle.

She was a prolific participant in the Twitter peanut gallery all weekend, and her tweets (along with those of Jimmy Moore, Melissa McEwen, and Diane Sanfilippo) kept me entertained all day – even if I started to drag a little after sitting through so many lectures. I did perk up for Mat Lalonde’s O-chem-heavy lecture on the importance of boning up on the science behind Paleo lest you look like a dummy. He’s definitely one of my Paleo nerd crushes.

At the lunch break, Fitbomb and I went outside to chow on the grub that we brought in our handy-dandy cooler.

My brother-in-law’s smoked turkey is so good – he needs to sell it so other people can die happy. It would be a public service!

After lunch, we checked out Melissa McEwen’s fascinating talk on how everyone’s individual colonic microbiomes make us unique snowflakes. She’s one smart, snarky cookie wrapped up in the darling guise of a pint-sized hipster Lucille Ball.

Next, we attended what turned out to be my favorite talk of the day. Cutie-pie Denise Minger taught a packed room (filled with Paleo heavyweights like Robb Wolf and the Drs. Eades) how to win an argument with a vegetarian. Her talk was funny, informative, and spot-on. (Also great: Robb Wolf’s advice to not waste our collective breath arguing with vegans in the first place.)

Another talk I enjoyed was given by Richard Nikoley who talked about his extensive experience with self-experimentation. It inspired me to not freak out when we run out of shampoo, and to try things out for myself instead of just parroting the Paleo party line.

During the breaks, we mingled with some our favorite folks and got (at least one of) them to show off her best Blue Steel pose…

…while the rest of us displayed our fierce Rollergirl faces.

Clearly, Melicious has it down pat and the rest of us look like a bunch of amateurs. We were much better at playing it straight:

At the end of the day, while Fitbomb pranced around in the grass outside with the MovNat folks, I attended the talk by Sarah Fragoso and Chrissy Gower about raising a Paleo family. Both women gave terrific advice on how to deal with sabotaging grandparents and other Paleo land mines. 

When ASH11 was finally over, we grabbed some quick and casual grub at O! Burger with Bill, Hayley, Diane, Caitlin, Brad, and Michelle.

I ordered a Super Bowl (grilled veggies topped with two grass fed patties) topped with extra guacamole, fried egg, and mushrooms.

My meal was definitely Paleo-friendly, but taste-wise, I’m afraid it was only meh. Plus, it was pretty expensive for what you got (e.g. $1 for a thimble-sized portion of guacamole???). However, just like our last two dinners in L.A. (at Animal and at Jar with some of our favorite cavepersons), the company was wonderful, which made dinner a blast.

Although I fed my brain really well these past two days, the BEST part of the symposium was connecting with folks that I’d obsessively cyberstalked admired from afar on the Interwebs. None of them disappointed in person. 

On another note, THANK YOU to all the readers who came up to me to tell me they read my ramblings on this site. I was humbled, perplexed, and secretly delighted to meet people who actually read my crap! I was running on fumes on Day 1 so I sincerely apologize if I acted like a spaced-out zombie. (Eating brains and not sleeping will do that to you.)

I can’t wait until next year (or sooner) when we can get together again!

About Michelle Tam

Hello! My name is Michelle Tam, and I love to eat. I think about food all the time. It borders on obsession. I’ve always loved the sights and smells of the kitchen. My mother was (and is) an excellent cook, and as a kid, I was her little shadow as she prepared supper each night. From her, I gained a deep, abiding love for magically transforming pantry items into mouth-watering family meals.

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