Early in December, I was in New Orleans for a different type of conference: ShiftCon 2016. ShiftCon is a social media conference which has a primary focus on what they call ‘eco-wellness.’ Eco-wellness is another way of saying those attending are committed to embracing a better way of living.
Note ~ My blogger pass was provided in exchange for volunteer time and sharing about the conference. All opinions are my own. Any links to Amazon are affiliate ones. Additionally, photos of the speakers and the staff/volunteers are thanks to ShiftCon Media.
ShiftCon 2016: Learning to Embrace a Better Way of Living
My experience entailed a variety of things. I’m going to highlight the different components here. And, more of the knowledge gained and connections made will be visible in the future here and on Life Beyond Kids.
ShiftCon 2016: Sessions
I am so happy to learn that all the sessions were recorded on video. They will be available to purchase soon. I’m probably picking them up as there were times when it was hard to pick which to attend.
Compared to other conferences I have attended, this one had 2 definite types of sessions you could attend. There were ones which focused on social media and there were ones that focused on the eco-wellness.
Even though some of the social media focused sessions sounded quite interesting to me, I elected to attend more of the eco-wellness ones. And, those often were quite focused on the science behind things. Like WHY organic products make a difference.
I’ll admit that some of them left my head spinning a little even though I have 2 science degrees. It wasn’t that the material was hard for me to grasp. Rather, some of the speakers crammed SO much into their short talk. All that goodness in 45 minutes was a bit much.
Along with breakout sessions, ShiftCon had panels and individual speakers during meals and snack times. I walked away from each of them with golden nuggets (and pages of notes!)
The 2 speakers that really impacted my thought process were Ron Finley and Tieraona Low Dog, M.D.
ShiftCon 2016 Speaker: Ron Finely
Ron Finley was inspirational. He shared how his decision to grow a small garden in South Los Angeles has led to a grass-roots movement. His desire to encourage others to have small gardens and his willingness to share his bounty is admirable. Growing your own food allows you to know what you are eating. And, in areas with few options for good produce, it is the best path for healthy living.
But what struck me the most from his speech is about the need to have organic food labels. This is something which some family members have said was ludicrous. After all, everything grown for food is organic…right? Well, sadly the produce we buy at the store is not always the same as the produce our ancestors ate. And, I’m referring to our grandparents or great-grandparents who lived 100 years ago. The food labeled as organic means it is being grown in a way that is more closely aligned
Well, sadly the produce we buy at the store is not always the same as the produce our ancestors ate. And, I’m referring to our grandparents or great-grandparents who lived 100 years ago. The food labeled as organic tells us about how it is grown. Basically, it is being grown in a way that is more closely aligned
The food labeled as organic tells us about how it is grown. Basically, it is being grown in a way that is more closely aligned to the way it grew for hundreds of years. No GMOs. No harsh chemicals sprayed on the plants.
Ron also reminded us that we need to design the life we want to live. And, to remember that “Beauty In, Beauty Out.”
I found a few documentaries available through Amazon with Ron in them.
ShiftCon 2016 Speaker: Tieraona Low Dog, M.D.
Tieraona Low Dog, M.D. is an incredible woman. She studied midwifery, herbal medicine; massage therapy and martial arts before earning her medical degree from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. She is recognized as an expert in the fields of integrative medicine, dietary supplements and women’s health. And, her passion for all of this is visible when she speaks.
Her talk was titled “Fortify Your Life” and there were some shocking facts shared in it. Overall, the theme was that
Overall, the theme was that we can not get everything our body needs from our food sources. You can be fully vested in living a healthy lifestyle including buying only organic or growing your own food and still suffer from inadequate nutrients in the body. And, a lack of nutrients can have catastrophic results.
You can be fully vested in living a healthy lifestyle including buying only organic or growing your own food and still suffer from inadequate nutrients in the body. And, a lack of nutrients can have catastrophic results.
Fortification of food or the use of high-quality nutritional supplements or vitamins is the only way to ensure we get what we need.
There were a few tidbits which other attendees were talking about for a while after the talk. One is how we need iodine. If we are avoiding iodized salt, then we need to have it in a supplement. The second is how many of the non-GMO and organic cereals do not have fortifications. Those fortifications of our food sources were done to help ensure the nutritional needs of people, especially kids, are being met.
Everyone in attendance at that lunch received a copy of her latest book, Fortify Your Life: Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and More.
I am eager to dive into the material which she loosely covered in the talk. For anyone who is serious about making sure their body is optimally supplied with nutrients, this is a must read.
What I really like beyond seeing all the research which has gone into the book, is that she includes an appendix in the back of the book which lists common medications and the nutrients they deplete.
ShiftCon 2016: The Vendor Hall
I’ll admit up front that I wish there had been just a little more time each day for the vendor hall. Unlike some conferences I’ve attended, it was only open for about 2 hours per day. As ShiftCon ran for 3 days, that meant a total of 6 hours to do your best to meet the brands which caught your eye. Some time was lost on that first day as they decided to do a Mannequin Challenge which took almost 30 minutes for multiple takes. So…5 1/2 hours maximum to visit everyone.
Now, some of the vendors were visible outside of the hall. Some of them attended sessions or were speakers on panels.
Some vendors had samples to eat at their booth while others had samples or even full sized products to come home. Applegate had a different product focus each day.
I did my best to stop at each booth, but still missed a few of the vendors. Some companies were familiar to me whether I’ve purchased their products (Annie’s Homegrown, Real Salt and Stonyfield Organics), reviewed them (
Some companies were familiar to me whether I’ve purchased their products (Annie’s Homegrown, Real Salt and Stonyfield Organics), reviewed them (Boiron and Plant Therapy), or have just seen them on the grocery shelf.
ShiftCon 2016: Volunteering
As I had to spend 10+ hours of time volunteering for the conference, there was time spent working which allowed for a different level of networking.
I fulfilled part of my time in advance by helping to stuff the influencer swag bags. This was done a few days prior to the conference starting. Not only was it fun to see what brands had provided for attendees, I also got to meet some of the other influencers.
I also spent time working the registration desk. This allowed me to spend a few minutes chatting with different bloggers, speakers, and vendors as they came to check in.
ShiftCon 2016: My Overall Takeaway
In advance of attending, I had chatted online with a few other bloggers who are definitely the target market for this conference. Yet, they have never attended and don’t see it in their future. A big part of it is the cost of getting to the conference and the cost of being there (hotel and meals that are not included.) For those who said the cost seemed higher than they wanted to spend, I found that the value of ShiftCon was amazing.
First off is the potential to bring home hundreds of dollars worth of product from ShiftCon. The VIP bloggers received 2 HUGE bags of goodies provided by a variety of brands. We also had some product shipped directly to us as well as products given out in the vendor hall during the event. I was staying at my parents’ house in the area. When some of the vendors had a product that could help my mom, I was given it to bring to her.
Secondly, someone like me who is trying to embrace a healthy lifestyle this conference opened my eyes more than they were. This included some of the science behind why and the different companies with products to help you get there. I overheard another influencer make the comment “Once you see a truth, you can’t unsee it.” I’ve always found that to be true, even though my stubborn nature sometimes requires being hit over the head a few times with it.
So… now that I have seen some truths I am doing my best to let ShiftHappen in my life. Depending upon when our family’s move to Colorado happens, I may or may not have a small garden this year. I am going through my cabinets and getting rid of products that now scare me. And, I am hoping to share more of my personal journey as well as feature some of the awesome brands I met at ShiftCon 2016.
Finally, I am already making plans to attend the next ShiftCon. It is set for February 1-3, 2018 in Irvine, CA.