Fueling Adventure in Denver, CO (Weekend Update)
Oh my gosh, words cannot describe my amazing weekend in Denver, Colorado. But, I’ll give it a shot. Anything for you guys!
On Thursday, I let myself sleep in a bit and got up for a quick gym secession before heading to the airport. I did some chin ups and a superset of weighted squats and push-ups. Afterwards, I made a quick breakfast and got ready to leave.
I like to get to the airport early. If I’m being honest, I like to be early no matter where I’m going. I’m a little bit of a spaz when it comes to timing. Needless to say, I had bit of time after getting through security. I pulled out my laptop and worked on a post about Nutritional Therapy. After a while, I started getting antsy, so I grabbed a coffee and talked to Andrew on the phone for a bit. Before I knew it, my flight was boarding. And I got a window seat, SCORE!
The flight was quick! I landed in Denver around 1:15 p.m. and met up with my friend Jennifer of Simply Health by Jenn. We grabbed our rental car and headed to Modern Market for a quick meal. It had been awhile since we’d seen each other, so we used the car ride to catch up. I order the Basil Chicken sandwich on gluten free bread. The chicken was juicy and I loved the basil aioli.
After lunch, we headed to our Airbnb. It was just outside of and the perfect location for a long weekend. We got settled in, changed into workout clothes and drove 30 minutes south to the Red Rock Amphitheatre and Park. There was a concert Thursday night, but we still able to hike around the park. Breathtaking.
Once it got dark, we headed back to our place and got ready for dinner. After a long day of travel, we wanted something quick and casual. Yelp lead us to the True Food Kitchen in Cherry Creek. I ordered the Turkey burger, with smashed avocado, tomato, smoked gouda and jalapeno remoulade with a side of sweet potato hash. Though it sounded good, the food was just ok. My hash was overcooked and the turkey burgerleft something to be desired. We were pretty pooped. After dinner, we went home and crashed.
Friday, I woke up to my stomach in knots. As a Celiac, the stress of travel tends to take its toll on my digestion. BUT, it’s usually not until the end of a trip. This was only day two! What gives?! I kept thinking, ‘no, this is not supposed to happen! I’ve been looking forward to this trip since June!’ I drank some roasted dandelion tea and laid down. After a while, Jenn woke up and was nice enough to give me a few drops of peppermint and lavender oil to rub on my belly.
I’ve never used essential oils and was surprised how well they worked! After an hour or so, I started to feel a bit better. I was impressed.
Once I started to feel better, we made plans for the day. They started with breakfast at Just BE Kitchen, a gluten free restaurant located in Denver. I was lucky enough to try Just BE on my last trip, but was so excited to share it with Jenn.
I ordered the breakfast burrito and a cup of coffee. Since my stomach was still not 100 percent, I ate about half of it, with the plan to finish it off Saturday morning.
After breakfast, I guided Jenn on a walking tour of Downtown Denver. The first stop was Union Station, a historic train station that houses the Crawford Hotel and a collection of Colorado restaurants, bars and shops.
We walked around, checked out a few vendors and went over a few blocks to the 16th Street Mall. It’s a pedestrian mall that is 1.25 miles long. It’s packed with shopping, restaurants and attractions. After a couple of hours, it was time to head back to the car to pay the meter. Instead of going back to our place, we decided to rent a couple of Denver B-cycles. We rode around town for an hour and hopped in the car and headed to Whole Foods.
After an afternoon of movement, we were ready for lunch, so we grabbed a few things off their salad bar and went back to our place. We ate, filled up our water bottles and cleaned up a bit before taking off on another adventure. Next stop, Chautaqua Park, in Boulder for some hiking.
We decided to hike the First and Second flatirons. It was a beautiful 2.5 mile hike across a green meadow and up through a notch between the flat irons. Our hard work was rewarded with an amazing view of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. The hike took us about an hour and a half and was a good combination of hiking, climbing and a few stumbles.
Our day was packed with activity but we wanted more! Downtown Boulder was just a few miles away and we were hungry. We jumped in the car and headed into town. Jenn had been there before and recommended we check out Pearl Street, a four block mall in heart of the city. Restaurants and shops are everywhere you turn. We walked around, window shopping and reading menus of local restaurants before stumbling upon Next Door, a casual farm-to-table restaurant, serving up comfort food and craft beer.
I ordered their classic burger, adding avocado and bacon. Instead of chips, I asked extra greens. The food was good but the server was less than friendly. As a couple of people with food allergies, we are used to getting the side eye from servers, but this girl was so over us. Although we were polite and quick with our questions, she wasn’t having it. We ate our meal and got out of her hair.
After an hour drive home, we were pretty whipped. I talked to Andrew for a bit and crashed.
Saturday was the NTA Fuel Adventure Summit! The day we’d been waiting for! We woke up early, went on a slow run and got ready for the day. Before heading to the conference, we stopped to get coffee at a local shop. I ordered a coconut milk latte and a piece of gluten free pumpkin bread. I sipped on my latte and saved the treat for later.
The conference was held at Hilton Denver Inverness Hotel and Conference Center in Englewood. It was about 20 minutes from our place. And since I’m an early bird, we got there with plenty of time to spare. I was so glad we arrived early. We ran into our NTA instructors, Christy and Janelle and were introduced to John Tjenos, a nutrition educator who has been a practitioner in the healing arts for more than 25 years. A celebrity in my eyes, as I watched countless hours of instruction videos as an NTP student. He recently launched a line of essential oils, Meo Energetics.
As soon as hands parted, he looked at my instructor and said, ‘she’s a type-A, isn’t she?’ Christy, my instructor looked at me and we laughed. Yes, I’m a type-A.
He looked into my eyes and saw that my pupils were dilated, a sign of high cortisol and went on to call me ‘Sympathetic Stephanie’. According to Dr. Axe, cortisol is often called the primary stress hormone. While producing cortisol is necessary for life and helps keep us motivated, awake and responsive, maintaining abnormally high circulating cortisol levels can become dangerous and contribute to long-term problems.’ These symptoms include weight gain, anxiety, sleep disorders, hormonal imbalances and fertility problems, to name a few.
Tjenos said, ‘you need Vegal Tone, the Vegal nerve activates the branch of the autonomic nervous system called parasympathetic. Digestions, detoxification and immune functions are only turned on when the body is in the parasypathic state.’
Before I knew it, he applied the oil on my head, where the neck meets the skull. He then asked me to take a deep breath. It was amazing. After a dot of oil and a deep breath, I felt a weight lift. I relaxed into my body and felt and felt an almost internal peace. It was haunting. Shortly after this interaction, we rushed out of the room and into the conference.
We took a seat near the front of the room and prepared for a day filled with amazing speakers. I am going to do a quick highlight of each of them. Not many pictures, sorry. I was busy taking notes and soaking in all of the information.
The day kicked off with Dr. Diane Mueller and Dr. Miles Nichols, of Living Love. They got us centered with an inspiring talk on accessing calm during stress and struggle. One of my favorite quote of the day came from their talk; ‘Stress isn’t the problem. The lack of resilience is the problem.’ If we build a daily practice, to deal with stress, we can be the calm center in the storm.
Their amazing talk was followed by Cathy Eason, another NTA super star. She shared her lessons in Fueling adventure with Fat. She talked debunked keto myths and stressed the importance of bio individuality. As an athlete and nutrition educator, she brought a pragmatic approach to fueling. She said, how you optimally fuel your performance depends on your type of performance. ‘There is no such thing as just a sugar burner or a fat burner. We need both sugar and fat to perform.’
Victoria LaFont, an NTP and athlete followed. She talked about the importance of movement; ‘you train, you change, you perform more optimally.’ The act of training changes our cells, counteracting aging and disease! LaFont also stresses the importance of balance. She said, balance is key. Maximize, don’t overdo for adaptation and long term health.
DeAnn Laube was next. Her presentation was an adventure in wild foods and edible plants. It was really interesting and insightful. After Laube’s presentation, it was time for lunch. The hotel created an amazing banquet, complete with roasted beets, sautéed green beans, roasted potatoes, chicken, salmon and fresh berries. I grabbed a little of everything and sat down with a few new faces. We chatted about what brought us here and our experiences with the NTA. It was great to meet new people.
After lunch, we headed back into the conference room and prepared for an afternoon of speakers. Britni Johnson, an NTA grad, kicked off the afternoon with a heartfelt talk on hitting pause. She spoke about progress, not perfection. Reminding us to enjoy the process.
Wayde Jester, an entrepreneur followed. He discussed his adventures in opening a health-conscious restaurant. As he spoke, I was reminded of power we hold as consumers. Voting with our dollars. If you’re in Boulder, CO, check out his restaurant Zeal.
After Jester, we took a quick break. I caught up with Tjenos and purchased a couple of his oils. Giddy as a school girl and he greeted me as ‘Sympathetic Stephanie’.
We settled in again to watch a presentation on Collagen for Sports by Traci Mitchell. She’s the marketing director for Vital Proteins, a product a support and often recommend to clients.
They did a quick Q&A panel and ended the day with a talk by Dr. Allen Lim, the co-creator of Skratch Labs. His presentation was amazing and words cannot do it justice. In a nutshell, he guided us through his work with professional athlete Floyd Landid, a former professional road racing cyclist, hungry to win the Tour de France. The creation of the biological passport and start of Skratch Labs, a manufacturer of performance hydration mixes.
Once it was all said and done, we went to the next room for a reception. Jenn and I grabbed a drink and made our way around the room, mingling with fellow NTPs.
We were introduced to Cathy Eason, an amazing speaker and NTA instructor. I joked throughout the program that we were best friends because I spent so.much.time listening to her audio recordings when studying for exams. Meeting Cathy was one of my highlights of the trip. I gushed, thanking her for her work and spent a good 30 minutes talking all things nutrition, training and health. So. Fun.
After all a long day, we were hungry and tired. We went back to Modern Market for dinner and stopped at Whole Foods before heading home. I had the Basil Chicken sandwich and whipped sweet potatoes. So satisfying. The perfect ending to an amazing day.