Why was I in Long Beach last weekend, wearing red and looking for the healthiest places to eat?  Attending the largest health coach convention in the world – the Institute for Integrative Nutrition Mega Conference.

Over 5000 attendees, some from places as far away as South Africa and South Korea, gathered to hear  guest speakers present a diverse range of nutrition theory and healthy living.

Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint, shared his way of eating, explaining why a diet focused on animal protein, vegetables and fats is best for effortless lifelong weight management.  While many would argue against so much animal protein, his diet does minimize refined carbohydrates and promotes colorful vegetables, which are key to attaining a healthy weight.

Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint

Julia Ross, nutritional psychotherapist and author of The Mood Cure, spoke seriously about sugar.  In her presentation “Sugar Addiction:  Confronting the Greatest Nutritional Crisis of All Time,” she shared the reality of a diet filled with sodas, sugary coffee drinks and refined carbohydrates.  Diabetes, heart disease and cancer are out of control, leading to kidney disease, amputation, blindness and death.  Sugar addiction is real (four times more addictive than cocaine!) but we can break free from it.  Our health and our childrens’ health depends on it.

You may have seen Geneen Roth, author of Women Food and God and When Food is Love, on one of her appearances on Oprah, 20/20 or NBC, discussing the link betweek emotions and hunger.  Geneen shared her own emotional story and discussed the work that is needed to help people develop a healthy relationship with food.

David Wolfe

Raw food guru David Wolfe did not disappoint, delivering a high energy and entertaining presentation on super foods and super herbs.  Goji berries, maca, raw cacao (chocolate,) micro-algae and super herbs can be part of most everyone’s diet, delivering superior health and immunity.  Blue-green-algae-maca–cacao-medicinal-mushroom-smoothie anyone?

While these nutrition experts may differ in their approach to healthy eating, I came away with three key messages:

Healthy eating is as diverse as we are.  We can each find a healthy way to eat that is satisfying and easy to maintain.

Reduce or eliminate added sugars and refined carbohydrates.  They tend to sneak into an otherwise healthy diet.  Time to check the pantry for unwanted guests.

Eat more vegetables!  To make sure I get the most benefit, I have pulled my dormant juicer out of the box in the basement and put it back on the counter.

As a health coach, I find exploring different dietary theories interesting and rewarding.  By doing so, we can see the similarities between seemingly polar opposite ways of eating.  And by applying what we learn, we can get on our own personal path to wellness.

Do you identify with one of the guest speakers?  Leave a comment below, and share your opinion of Geneen Roth, Mark Sisson, David Wolfe or Julia Ross.