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.” I am hoping to make this a weekly element on my website… 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.
Hope you enjoy!
This week we’re talking with:
I found his website after he contacted me to let me know about an upcoming giveaway (see below for the exciting details!). I was so impressed with the fantastic recipes and photography! The entire site is simple… and simplicity is one of my favorite things. Check out the interview below to learn more about The Domestic Man.
EasyPaleo: Tell us a little about yourself…
The Domestic Man: My name is Russ Crandall and I run the site The Domestic Man. I’m married to my wonderful wife Janey and we have a son named Oliver who will be three in a couple months. I’ve spent the past 12 years in the Navy as a Russian and Indonesian translator, and we’re currently living in the Baltimore/DC area.
EasyPaleo: Tell us your Paleo story…
The Domestic Man: I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder in 2006. After spending several years trying out everything that modern medicine has to offer (including an open-heart reconstructive surgery in 2007), I heard about the Paleo diet and its positive effects on systemic inflammation (which is at the root of most autoimmune diseases). I switched over to the Paleo diet in December of 2010 and haven’t looked back. Within a month my inflammatory markers had dropped astronomically (much to my doctor’s surprise) and I’ve been able to get off most of the meds I had needed for years.
EasyPaleo: What is your favorite Paleo recipe/menu item?
The Domestic Man: I love making sauces, because they enhance both the taste and texture of what you’re eating. There’s only so many ways to eat meat and veggies – but adding sauces can add an extra dynamic to your dish as well as sneak in extra healthy fats and nutrients. For this reason I am completely enamored with thickeners because they’re the secret behind any textured sauce – potato starch, arrowroot starch, kuzu root starch, gelatin, you name it – and wouldn’t be able to cook half the stuff I do without them.
EasyPaleo: Tell us a little about your website…
The Domestic Man: When I switched over to the Paleo diet, I noticed a gaping hole in the Paleo recipe market – traditional foods. Everyone seems so eager to invent new and tasty meals using Paleo-friendly ingredients that we’re forgetting that humankind has been cooking for thousands of years! Not only that, but many traditional foods are already Paleo-friendly. The ultimate goal of The Domestic Man is to prepare well-known foods using wholesome, Paleo-friendly ingredients – and to make the recipes easy enough for anyone to try at home. Using the right ingredients is only part of good cooking, so I try to incorporate as many professional-level cooking techniques as I can into each recipe. Before joining the Navy I worked as a chef at a few restaurants, and so I share some of the tricks I learned over the years into the website. I try to publish new recipes at least once a week, so check back often!
EasyPaleo: Your photography is amazing! Tell us how you get such beautiful shots!
The Domestic Man: Thank you! I am always surprised when people like my photography, since in many ways I feel like I’m breaking a lot of food photography rules – I hardly ever use props (silverware, napkins, placemats, etc), and I tend to take my food pictures straight on instead of trying to do something more angular/artsy. Stylistically, I just like to focus on the food itself, with no frills.
I use a Canon T1i with a 50mm lens for most of my shots. The key to any photography is lighting – and for that reason I always try to take my pictures during the day. To manage this, I usually cook all of my website recipes on the weekends. Our house is in chaos on Saturday mornings because I’m usually cooking several dishes at once! It works out because during the week I can just focus on cooking my family some great meals without feeling pressured to document everything (taking pictures while cooking is really difficult sometimes).
EasyPaleo: What do you wish everyone knew about Paleo?
The Domestic Man: Overall, I just wish people understood more about nutrition and how influential it is on all other aspects of life. It’s an uphill battle when people have been so inundated with bad nutrition advice over the years that no one knows what’s healthy or unhealthy. The Paleo diet is often scoffed at because it seems so extreme or difficult, but I also think many diets are surprisingly inter-related. There’s a reason why people see success with the Atkins Diet or Mediterranean Diet – they have some fundamental similarities to our ancestral human diet. There are other diets, like the Perfect Health Diet, which are nearly identical to Paleo eating but just use a different name. In a sense, we’re all reaching for a common goal, and that makes Paleo eating seem that much less extreme.
EasyPaleo: Paleo-eating does not have to be difficult… how do you make this lifestyle an easy element in your life?
The Domestic Man: There are a few rules we stick to in the house. Number one, we keep our home fully stocked with Paleo-friendly stuff, and try not to let “contraband” foods into the house. We found a few local farms that supply us with grass-fed beef and pastured pork at prices comparable to grain-fed supermarket prices; we have a second freezer full of beef, pork, chicken and seafood on hand at any given time. Our day-to-day meals are pretty easy – eggs and/or nitrite-free lunchmeats/bacon (Applegate Farms brand is the best!) for breakfast, with some fruit, mostly berries; dinner is whatever meal I make that night, and lunch is leftovers of that dinner. When coming up with meal ideas, I tend to think geographically – Asian one night, Mexican the next night, and so on. That helps us keep our meals interesting.
EasyPaleo: Tell us about your new giveaway!
The Domestic Man: In celebration of my first year of eating Paleo, I’m giving away some of our favorite meal items – coconut oil, coconut milk, and curry pastes – as well as a copy of the Easy Paleo: 21 Practical Ways to Simplify Your Paleo Life e-Book. In addition, I’m giving the winner an opportunity for me to create a personalized recipe of their choice. Do you sorely miss a dish that you grew up with, because it isn’t Paleo-friendly? If you win the giveaway, I’ll take a stab at it! The giveaway runs from December 12th-18th. Click here for details.
EasyPaleo: Are all your recipes your own? How do you come up with such wonderful ideas an flavor combinations?
The Domestic Man: Since the overwhelming majority of the dishes on my site are traditional, I definitely can’t take credit for the recipe – but how I tackle each dish is mostly of my own invention. I usually consult a number of cookbooks and websites in preparation, and I also try and research the history behind every dish. To be perfectly honest, I rely on historical precedence when cooking – if this is the way a dish has always been cooked, there’s a reason, and I try to respect that. I also try to use logical pairings of seasonings to produce familiar tastes. I do find myself having to make adjustments for health’s sake sometimes, but I try to do so without compromising on taste.
EasyPaleo: If you could go back to eating a particular food that is now “off limits,” what would it be?
The Domestic Man: After a month of strict Paleo eating, my family has been able to re-introduce some dairy (cream, butter, hard cheeses, sour cream) and white rice into our diet with no negative impact on our health. I’m not recommending that for everyone (especially before doing a month of strict Paleo), but it’s worked for us. This has really expanded our dietary limitations, and for the most part there isn’t anything that I feel is particularly “off limits” if you have enough tenacity and know-how to figure out how to make it with the suitable substitutions. In essence, that’s what The Domestic Man is all about. That being said, I definitely miss Japanese wheat-based noodle soups like ramen, udon, etc!
Thanks Russ! Can’t wait to find out who won the giveaway! Keep up the great work on TheDomesticMan.com.