• Krista Smith, FNTP

Inside a Health Conference

Updated: May 26, 2018

Last weekend I attended the Take Back Your Health conference in Pasadena with my friend and fellow NTP Andrea Orona.

This two-day event featured speakers including the likes of Zach Bush, Jason Wrobel, Hilary Boynton and Robb Wolf; included exhibits such as FREE infrared sauna and chair massage, and a room full of local vendors with generous amounts of free samples both days. They fed us an amazing gluten-free, dairy-free and primarily vegan lunch, crafted by local Pasadena vendors like Culture Club 101 and Real Food Devotee. I got this great goodie bag for attending too. Robin Shirley did a fantastic job putting on this event.

TBYH samples! Super excited about the travel-size MCT oil and Primal Kitchen collagen packet for my trip.

What stood out most was the demographics of the attendees. So many people we talked to seemed to be locals who were interested in learning how to incorporate wellness into their lives may it be via fermented foods or the knowledge gained from the speakers. Many of the vendors and exhibitors seemed genuinely surprised that we are NTPs, this being despite the fact the conference was sponsored by our nutrition school: The Nutritional Therapy Association!

On the first morning we attended a breathwork session. Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Some breathing, maybe meditation…Nope.

Now if you are familiar with breathwork, you’re probably laughing at me. Knowing what I know now, I would be. According to GoodTherapy.org, breathwork is “a term used to describe any type of therapy that utilizes breathing exercises to improve mental, physical and spiritual breath.” The instructor began by explaining that we would be treating our heart chakra since that is our emotional center, then proceeded to give us a rundown of what might happen: heightened emotional state, breathing through pursed lips, feeling like we are having a stroke... Andrea and I looked at each other and later agreed the look meant “what the F are we getting ourselves into?!” This clearly was not your mama’s meditation shesh.

It. Was. Intense.

We were in a small room with about 12 people. Everyone was instructed to lie on their backs on a mat with our eyes closed. We began a 3-phase breath starting with your belly, “through” your heart and out your open mouth. It sounded almost like we were hyperventilating. For 45 minutes. As this happens, new age music plays and she invoked feelings through targeted statements such as, “Think about a time when you were a child and needed more love. You wanted love and you didn’t get it. Reach out to that child and give yourself that love.”

Deep, right?! I was certainly never neglected but who NEVER felt that way at least once? I totally cried. Unsure if it was the dramatic influx of oxygen or what, but by the middle of this I became super tingly/numb throughout the session, to the point that my wrists and hands felt almost painful. Could be normal or maybe I’m just weird. Who knows…

After this crazy emotional experience where we were asked to face so much stress we had stuffed down deep in our bodies, we were released into the world (conference) and learned all they had to share about nutrition. Pretty sure I can speak for Andrea when I say that experience completely set an odd tone for the rest of the day. Did it feel therapeutic? Would I do it again? My best answer is maybe. I’d have to be prepared to deal with the emotions that come to the surface.

Chillin on the mat.

Skipping forward, there were a few things I felt made this event awesome. One was the cellular regeneration (PEMF) mat we were able to test out. It basically relaxes you at the cellular level to allow nutrition in while completely relaxing the body. Had a great convo with the chiropractor who brought them and he told me all his clients lie on this mat after their visits. Find out more about this technology here.

A couple companies I learned more about and truly admire are Organic Pastures and Organic India. Both use regenerative agricultural practices in their businesses and give back generously to their communities. Organic Pastures even donated raw heavy cream (just show me some money and I will plunk it down for a pint of that…sooooooo good!). One of the guys I spoke with at the Organic India booth was super knowledgeable about their products and we chatted about the use of holy basil for hormonal balance. He also schooled me on Moringa tea, which just recently came on my radar. Got lots of samples from them to try.

If you’re familiar with the Paleo community, then you definitely know Robb Wolf. Although I’ve heard him guest-speak on podcasts and know he’s super-smart, I’m very much keto so hadn’t gotten to his work just yet. Andrea is a huge fan and after hearing him speak about ancestral diets, I am too! I can’t wait to read his books and wished I had bought one for him to sign. For now, all I have is this horrible pic of me to share! LOL

Me, Robb Wolf and Andrea

Here’s a gem I learned from the conference to pass along to you. You know how we are told to eat locally grown produce that is fresh and in season? So here are some (pretty obvious) reasons for this. First of all, it reduces environmental impact by not having to truck it in from elsewhere. Knowing where your food comes from and supporting local growers is good practice. Another reason is because the gut microbiome best corresponds to its surrounding environment and your ideal gut diversity is tied into your locality and the nutrients in the soil.

The amount of light needed to grow produce varies by the season, which is why strawberries, for example, only grow in summer and a butternut squash is found during winter months. But then it got super interesting: When you ingest food out of its season, like this same strawberry in winter, your body perceives a stronger amount of light is present in the environment and will not make as much vitamins, such as vitamin D on its own. Same concept when ingesting winter food in the summer-your body does not respond properly. This also applies when eating produce that is not locally grown. I consume a lot of coconut but since this isn’t my “natural” way of eating because coconuts are found in more tropical regions, my body is probably not utilizing it correctly. Mind freaking blown.

All in all, it was a very informative weekend. We learned about a wide range of topics from glyphosate exposure and how to heal your microbiome; the benefits of fermenting locally grown foods; regenerative farming practices in India; the amazing work Hilary Boynton is doing with kids as a lunch lady at Topanga Cyn. School; to the amazing body of research the Beljanski Foundation is contributing in the fight against cancer. If you’d like to learn more, I’ve included some website links to some of these amazing people so you can help spread the word. Tell em I sent ya! 😉

Resources (in no particular order)

Therapeutic cancer treatment research: https://www.beljanski.org/engl/

Robb Wolf, paleo, keto: https://robbwolf.com/about/

Bone broth, ferments: http://www.realfooddevotee.com/

Dr. Zach Bush: http://zachbushmd.com/

Ferments: http://cultureclub101.com/

Hilary Boynton: http://www.healyourgutcookbook.com/

Debbie Hawksworth, breathwork: www.merakiretreats.com

Raw milk: https://www.organicpastures.com/

Awesome tea with a purpose: https://www.organicindia.com/us/

Take Back Your Health Conference site: http://www.takebackyourhealthconference.com/

Jason Wrobel: http://jasonwrobel.com/

Andrea Orona (my NTP buddy): http://www.eatsbydre.com/

Palmdale, CA



Krista Smith
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Nutritional Therapy Practitioner


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