Posted by Jennie
on Mar 29, 2012 in Interview Series
| 10 comments
There are so many bloggers, writers, and smart “paleo-people” out there!
I thought it might be fun to ask some of them a few questions to see what is going on in their “neck of the woods.”
For a look at some previous Paleo interviews, click here.
If you are a blogger, and would like to be featured on EasyPaleo.com, be sure to comment on this post so I can contact you.
This week we’re talking with
The Civilized Caveman
George has, by far, one of the largest Facebook followings of any Paleo Powerhouse out there. His Facebook page is a fantastic community of people trying to do this Paleo thing! And if you think that’s cool, his website is even better. The recipes are FANTASTIC.
One of my favorites is Cannibal Pasilla Peppers. Delicious!
George was kind enough to agree to an interview, and I have been SO looking forward to sharing it with you! So who is the caveman behind the site?
EasyPaleo (EP): If you had to describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say?
Civilized Caveman (CC): I try to be the most driven, dedicated, loyal, caring, unselfish person I can be to anyone I come in contact with in my life.
EP: Tell us about you… anything you want to say!
CC: Wow this is a tough question… I mean honestly, who likes talking about themselves? It’s like listening to yourself on voicemail; you never want to hear your voice, or I don’t at least. I’ll give it a shot and tackle something I don’t think a lot of my readership knows about me: my profession. So for the past 11 years I have been an active duty United States Marine. I have been on multiple deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, and many other countries that I can’t remember to list. I work LONG, LONG, LONG days everyday, and then I dedicate whatever free moments I have to training, cooking, photographing, and website work. I am a one-man show with my website and Facebook page, and I still manage to respond to every single comment and email I can. I think it is important for people to know this for two reasons: One reason is that I know I am far from perfect, and I make mistakes on my site, but I ask that everyone bear with me as I don’t always get the opportunity to make it look like I need, or type the words out like they should be typed, but I try my hardest. The second reason is that I am living proof that, given the toughest of situations in your life, you can still incorporate a healthy Paleo lifestyle and be 100% successful at it.
EP: How did you discover Paleo, and what is the BIGGEST difference it has made in your life?
CC: I actually stumbled upon Paleo while I was deployed to Afghanistan in January of 2011. In my infinite state of insomnia, I was very bored at 2am and was looking around for something to keep me awake. I found “The Paleo Solution” (Robb Wolf’s book) on someone’s desk, and decided to pick it up. Now mind you, I have never read a book without pictures in my life… they just don’t interest me… so this shows the level of delirium I was experiencing from sleep deprivation. Well, I can honestly say that was the best sleep-deprived decision that I have ever made. I read that book from cover to cover in a day, and tried my hardest to implement it in Afghanistan, even with my limited food choices. Once I came home, I was able to dial it in and start reaping the full benefits of the Paleo lifestyle.
As far as the biggest difference, there isn’t just one, but I can narrow it down to the top two. First: all my allergies (that I had been popping pills for going on 13 years) disappeared. I was allergic to dogs, cats, dust, dirt, pollen, mold, seafood, etc., and as soon as I did my first “30-Day Transformation Challenge,” they all disappeared. Second: my body image. I don’t care what anyone says, men have some serious self-image issues even if they hide it. Overall, my body composition drastically changed with Paleo, but that’s not what made the difference. Just knowing I didn’t have to count this, weigh that, portion this, eat at this hour, etc., liberated me to just enjoy food and its place in my life. If you follow a simple Paleo lifestyle and break all the traditional bull crap molds you are taught throughout life, you will really start to enjoy what life has to offer.
EP: Do you have an all-time favorite recipe?
CC: Ok, so I am really bad at answering questions, apparently, because every time you ask for one answer I want to give two or ten. But I will keep this simple and just give two. The first one would have to be the first Paleo recipe I ever made when I got home from Afghanistan. It was the Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies from my amazing and loving friends (family), Hayley and Bill from the Food Lover’s Primal-Palate. They have two websites you can find HERE and HERE.
My all-time favorite recipe of my own would have to be my Blueberry Espresso Brownies. These things were just thrown together in my kitchen using whatever I had around, and they turned out amazing. This is the most-requested recipe for me to make for friends and family, and that is awesome because it stops me from eating them all myself.
EP: What has been your biggest Paleo challenge, and how did you overcome it?
CC: I am sure that after reading the previous question you are assuming this answer would be my sweet cravings, but you are wrong. But for real, if you do have sugar cravings you need to run your butt over to see Diane from Balanced Bites and do her 21-Day Sugar Detox. Oh yeah… told you I was bad at interviews since I can’t even answer this question without tangents – haha. My biggest Paleo challenge, hands down, is my profession. Having to deal with extended operations in the field, deployments, and long nights away from home has proven to be difficult, but doable. My best advice for everyone is to just plan ahead. I always have at least ten packages of assorted stuff from my awesome buddy Steve at Steve’s Original to hold me over if I have failed to plan, or if work gets a little crazy and keeps me. Just ensure that you are always setting yourself up for success. Not planning to bring meals, and limiting yourself to whatever options you have around are a sure-fire way to fail, and I won’t allow myself to do it.
EP: What do you wish EVERYONE knew about Paleo?
CC: Everyone needs to know that this isn’t a diet. It is not about losing weight quick, looking good for a wedding, fitting into a pair of pants, looking your best for your high school reunion, etc. It is ALL about taking control of your health and making the decisions that are going to benefit you in the long-run. Yes, one of the benefits of living a Paleo Lifestyle may be some weight loss or inches lost, but what is happening on your insides is way more important to ensuring the longevity of your life.
EP: Paleo-eating does not have to be difficult… how do you make this lifestyle an easy element of your life?
CC: This is always my favorite question to answer, and the first part of it never changes. BUY A CROCKPOT. I can honestly tell you that I have 7 of them, but the possibilities are limitless. Stressed about recipes? Stressed about food for the week? Stressed about time to cook? Not anymore. Pretty much all of my crockpot recipes start the same way: a mirepoix (onions, celery, carrots), a hunk of meat, some salt and pepper, and then, depending on the cut, sometimes a liquid. I prep it the night before and put the whole crockpot in the refrigerator. At 4am when I am leaving for work, I pull it out, put it in the crockpot, and never worry about dinner. I come home to an amazing meal. If you are curious I have an entire section on my website dedicated to crockpot recipes… find it here.
EP: If you could go back to eating a particular food that you choose not to eat now, what would it be?
CC: I love that you asked me this question, because there isn’t anything. I do not miss anything that I cut out, and I feel amazing. It’s very empowering to know that food doesn’t control your life, but you control what nutrients you are giving your body. All those SAD foods people say they miss, I definitely don’t. I don’t miss the hazy feelings, the stomach pains, the sugar cravings, the irregular sleep patterns, the lack of energy, etc.
EP: If you could drop everything right now and take a month-long vacation, where would you go, and which recipes would you want to be sure and make while there?
CC: I want to go anywhere with enough room to house myself and the following people (and a GIBOSTIC kitchen)… In no particular order, I would like the following people there with me: Bill and Hayley from Primal Palate, Diane from Balanced Bites, Michelle and Henry from Nom Nom Paleo and Fitbomb, Bobby Gil from Ultragrassfed, Liz Wolfe from Cave Girl Eats, Stacy and Matt from Paleo Parents, Laura from Ancestralize Me, Diana from Radiance Nutrition, Anthony from Kasandrinos, and Julie and Charles from Paleo Comfort Foods.
Before we get to the recipes, I have to tell you what the staples in the house would be. We would have to have Fermented Cod liver oil to keep a few people happy. On top of that, I think all of us would need some grass-fed butter for our bulletproof coffee, and dark chocolate. Those would be all of our basic sustenance necessities… and now for recipes. Haha – honestly a lot of people think us bloggers eat all fancy-schmancy, but truth is: we keep it simple. As long as we have bacon, it pretty much doesn’t matter what else we eat. So yeah, that’s my final answer… BACON.
EP: Is there a food item (Paleo or not) that you absolutely can’t stand, or are you pretty “equal-opportunity” when it comes to grub?
CC: So this is a loaded question, but I will stay as politically correct as possible – haha. There are lots of non-Paleo items that I cannot stand now, just because I simply understand how horrible they are for you. I am personally not a parent, but to be blunt, the options that the children in this country are provided at schools is $#(!($)%*$(@*#$&(^($*#&#$… and that is the nice version. As far as Paleo foods, I am pretty equal-opportunity. During Paleo Fx in Austin this year, I happened to hit my 1-year Paleo anniversary, and went to dinner with all those awesome people listed in the previous question. Well, that was the first time I ever ate raw beef in the form of a delicious tartar, and I also had duck breast for the first time. You can see the pictures, as well as all of Austin here.
EP: Tell us what you thought of Paleo f(x). What was the best part?
A. This has to be the easiest question for me, and I already answered it above. I pretty much lived with all those people for a week, and it was amazing. It was the total Paleo real world, and the conversations that took place with the great company into the wee hours of the morning made the whole trip worth it.
EP: Tell how you started Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations.
CC: So my website and page actually kind of all started as a way to deal with an inconvenience. When I returned from Afghanistan in March of 2011, I started eating Paleo and decided that it was time to teach myself how to cook. I started making all this food, and never had anyone to share it with. Solution: I would bring it to the gym with me. Everyone would ask for the recipes, and I didn’t feel like constantly sending emails, so I made a Facebook page. The name was just a quick-witted idea that popped into my head, and I ran with it. Well, I posted strictly on facebook for about a month until I started have complaints about reading the recipes in the notes, and that is when I decided to start a blog. That was April 1st, 2011, and here we are today.
EP: What is your FAVORITE kitchen tool or appliance, and why?
CC: I feel like I have an arsenal of favorites, but as I mentioned above, I think the best “all around bang for your buck” tool is a Crockpot. I personally have 7 of them, and they get used religiously due to my hectic work schedule. For anyone who tells me that they never have time to eat this way or cook, my first question is always “do you have a crock pot?”
EP: Tell us about your current giveaway.
CC: Ahhh, the giveaways. First off, I think everyone should know that you can ask any Paleo blogger (or blogger, period), and they will all tell you the same thing: these things are a pain in the butt to put together. The logistics on the back end are a nightmare, as well as dealing with all state and federal laws and regulations governing giveaways, as well as all the policies and procedures that social media outlets have. But, there really is no hurdle that would stop me from doing them. I love them because it gives people the opportunity to get excited about their health, and in some cases, it affords people the opportunity to win something they might not be able to afford. It is the most rewarding feeling knowing that you touched someone’s life for the better, and makes all the hard work worth it. No one knows about this yet, but keep your eyes peeled for May 1st… I guarantee you that EVERYONE will be excited about the giveaway I have coming up.
EP: Anything else you’d like to add?
CC: Just a final issue I see throughout this community that needs to stop. All too often I see people trying to make the Paleo/Primal movement into a dogmatic society. It drives me nuts. Take a step back and lead by example, don’t try to force feed your beliefs on anyone because you became addicted to the Paleo Kool-Aid. I am a firm believer that actions speak way louder than words, and a slice of humble pie never hurt anyone. You know this lifestyle works for you. You look, feel, perform and just glow excellence… just let those be the words you use to explain the benefits. People will come flocking once their interest is peaked. All you need to do is be supportive.
Thank you SO much, George! You are definitely leading by example. We appreciate all the time and effort you contribute to the Paleo world!