Paleo isn’t So Scary: Chatting with the Civilized Caveman
Paleo really isn’t so scary. Last month we introduced you to former marine and paleo blogger, George Bryant, also known as the “Civilized Caveman.” Bryant’s cookbook, The Paleo Kitchen, written in collaboration with Juli Bauer, provides an introduction to the paleo diet complete with 125 low-gluten, high-protein, and processed foods-free recipes.
We talked with Bryant about his writing process, must-haves for any paleo kitchen, and even a breakdown of what exactly the paleo diet is.
How/why did you start your site?
I started eating a paleo diet while I was in Afghanistan as an active duty US Marine in 2010… My goal was to use my site to share my life journey to inspire others to really take control of their health and lives. My journey has included losing 100 pounds, overcoming a 12-year battle with bulimia, and almost losing both of my legs due to injuries from a deployment in 2004. I share my life and stories so people get inspired and motivated to cook food and nourish their bodies.
What’s the cookbook all about? Is it more for newbies or seasoned Paleoites?
This cookbook is for everyone. The title has the word “paleo,” but the recipes and information are for everyone….We have recipes that newbies can whip up in a flash and eat leftovers for the week and there are recipes for the seasoned chefs to indulge in…We think that everyone should be smiling while cooking and we put our heart into every page to make that happen.
What are some of the most iconic/important recipes to take away from the book?
The recipe that Juli and I both decided was our absolute favorite is the four layer bacon beef casserole… It is such an amazing comfort food dish that you can't help but be full of joy and love while eating. Speaking of comfort food, we also have the most amazing fluffy blueberry pancakes known to this world. They are so simple to make and good for you.
What are the three things you want people to know about paleo? How it has changed your life?
Paleo is not intended to be dogmatic or strict. Paleo does not mean tasteless foods. Paleo is not expensive. I lost just over 100 pounds from my heaviest weight, all my allergies went away, all my migraines from my traumatic brain injury went away, and I was able to overcome my 12-year battle with bulimia.
Paleo is a buzzword these days and often misunderstood. What’s the biggest misconception you find yourself having to debunk?
The two biggest misconceptions I find with paleo that I have to debunk all the time is that we actually eat like cavemen ate and that it is too expensive…It is just a label for easy representation of a time before the agricultural revolution. We encourage people to eat a variety of in-season vegetables, fruits, meats and seafood. For the expensive myth, if you shop smart and only buy food that you will cook and not throw out as well as utilizing amazing health food stores or farmers markets, you will end up saving a lot of money.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when you took on a paleo lifestyle? What foods, if any, did you most miss?
The biggest challenge I faced adopting a paleo lifestyle was my belief that it had to look a certain way. I was so set that it could only include certain foods or amounts that I was afraid to deter… I like to refer to paleo as a template that you get to tailor to suit your individual needs. The foods that I thought I would miss the most disappeared and all the new foods I got to experience took control of my cravings and opened up unlimited possibilities of taste.
What are 5 must-have paleo staples to have in the kitchen? 5 things to rid your kitchen of if you really want to go paleo?
My five must-have paleo staples to have in the kitchen are: bacon, coconut oil, grass-fed beef, broccoli, and asparagus. My five things you must rid from your kitchen if you want to go paleo: all grains, beans, dairy, refined oils, and processed foods.
Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi