We met Bobby Gill through our local Meat-Up. It was the night before our 10 year vow renewal and he showed up with a huge smile and perfect hair. Probably also with some pot luck food someone else made that he was pawning off as his own – as he has a tendency to do… But, I knew immediately who he was. People had told me “Oooh, Bobby Gill’s coming to your party?!” as though Fabio’s younger, more cave-manish brother was showing up. And yes, we always refer to him with his last name included.
Turns out, he’s more than just a handsome guy that runs in his underwear. He’s also funny, a good photographer and an active avid supporter of the Healthy Nation Coalition, which is getting stronger and bigger by the day. You want the USDA [stupid] dietary recommendations overturned? This is the group to align with, support and make that happen. Once we started chatting, we realized we had a ton in common. Plus, I enjoy the company of anyone who’s witty sarcasm can go toe-to-toe with my own. Since he knew Laura and me, he totally weaseled his way into the Real World house and graciously took a spot sleeping on the floor. In his underwear.
After all the book business, I was tired and hoping to get a bit of a vacation while in Austin – so I turned over the blog to Bobby and let him give you his “fly on the wall” experience. I’m happy to report, although I’m sure you’re not, that he didn’t throw any of us under the bus. Whew! I was afraid some of my not-very-Mom-like-sarcasm was going to make OK Magazine’s headlines! Hopefully it’s still an entertaining read nonetheless!
The inaugural Paleo f(x) Theory to Practice Conference just wrapped up in the epicenter of physical culture that is Austin, TX. As someone who wasn’t blogging prior to this conference (that has since changed), but has been in this whole ancestral community for a few years now, I was able to finally meet in person all the internet rock stars who I’ve been following day in and day out. By a simple twist of fate, I ended up sharing a roof, a kitchen and a ton of laughs with:
- Bill and Hayley (primal-palate.com)
- Diane (balancedbites.com)
- Nom Nom (nomnompaleo.com) & Henry (fitbomb.com)
- Laura (ancestralize.com)
- Liz (cavegirleats.com) & her hubby Spence
- Diana (radiancenutrition.com)
- George (civilizedcavemancooking.com)
- …and last but but certainly not least, the amazing Stacy (paleoparents.com).
Here are my publicly-appropriate stories from being a fly on the wall in what we ended up naming the “Paleo(fx) Real World House”
I walked into the house on Day 1 and was welcomed not only by hugs from new friends, but also aromas of delicious food. Bill, Haley, George and Diane had all made a trip to Epic Whole Foods earlier in the day, food was cooking in the oven, and our kitchen was stocked with all the paleo necessities a guy could ever want. Score one for awesome new friends!
Once the rest of the crew arrived that evening, we all spread out our laptops, iPhones, iPads, DSLR cameras and full-size touch-screen computers as we got to work blogging, photo editing and typical social media addiction. There was enough gadgetry in that house to make a NASA scientist blush… I called it “Paleo Command Central”. Don’t get me wrong though, Command Central was well-used and was in full effect all week. I’ve never seen such dedication towards blogging in my life. There were professional photos from at least four different photographers at each meal. You can see all the photos here and even more at FitBomb and Primal-Palate‘s posts.
It was particularly cool to see NomNom and her husband Fit Bomb in action as they upheld their ritual of daily blogging with all the food awesomeness they come across and make. FitBomb is the man behind the lens. Having spent all week shooting photos of the exact same foods over his shoulders, I can easily say that he’s got an eye for composition and lighting that makes him fully-deserving of his recent award for Best Food Photography on a Blog from TheKitchn.com.
Once FitBomb finishes his hour(s) of photo editing and prepping for both of their blogs, Dr. Noms takes over (yes, she’s a doctor in real life) to inject her lovable and witty commentary that we have all come to know and love. Oh, and have you tried her recipes? The two “noms” in her name don’t do her food justice, but nomnomnomnomnompaleo.com would have been a bit excessive.
Ok, so enough of all blogger talk. I know you’re all here for the food, so let’s dive right in to the noms.
Burgers (grilled by Bill with George capturing on film too), chicken and salad made up a simple, easy and tasty first meal in the house.
My breakfast most mornings: bulletproof coffee, pastured eggs cooked in butter with smoked paprika and cilantro. And Sauerkraut. YES.
Many pounds of carnitas, barbacoa, and guacamole from a great little hole-in-the-wall recommended by Austin local, Melissa.
I snuck into the speakers’ dinner as Stacy’s +1 (I was good, Matt… promise!) and got to feast on some nice U.S. Wellness Meats brisket, eat amazing sausage and sweet potatoes with bacon.
And schmooze with the big-wigs.
The next night we had a 5 course paleo tasting menu at Wink.
An amuse bouche, spinach and apple salad with bacon, tar tar with egg yolk, scallops with brussel sprouts, amazing duck with apricot jam, NY strip…
And perhaps a few shared desserts including flourless chocolate cake, lemon meringue, chocolate soup with ginger and so much more.
The next night, we enjoyed a breezy beautiful night and the outdoor music of SXSW at 24 Diner.
24 Diner supplied us with a few different meals, including many servings of bacon deviled-eggs, gigantic pork chops, sweet potato hash and bunless lamb burgers.
No paleo trip to Austin would be complete without paying homage to the world-famous Salt Lick BBQ.
Photo Credit (above): Bill Stayley, Primal-Palate.com
We were on vacation, so a little splurge with some grass-fed gourmet ice cream from Lick was definitely in the cards…
Photo Credit (above): Henry, FitBomb.com
…but I won’t tease you with food photos of ice cream!
We also had some good group escapades, including a group WOD at Crossfit Austin
…and a late-night trip to Walmart for a blender and a coffee grinder (must. have. bulletproof) and dark chocolate (and maybe some Star Wars masks… don’t ask).
…oh yeah, and there was that whole Paleo(fx) Conference that we were in town for! Duh. Laura took a metric ton of notes and has summarized it a two part series (Part 1, Part 2), so keep your eyes peeled for what will surely be an awesomely nerdy rundown of the conference talks. Meanwhile, Stacy spent the entire time Tweeting. And Diana, actually listened.
Here is what I took away from the conference: the paleo/primal/WAPF/ancestral/traditional/whatever-you-want-to-call-it nutritional template has reached an incredible amount of growth in the past few years… not due to flashy marketing, but due to the fact that this lifestyle is incredibly effective at improving health, longevity and athleticism. It is rooted in 2 million years of anecdotal evidence and continually being validated through modern science.
A society that relies on local and sustainable foods (meats and veggies) has the potential to bring about not only incredible positive changes in health, but also positive changes in local economies, healthcare, environment, food safety and societal structure. We as a community are loaded with information that could enact a great amount of good in this world. We need to find commonalities with those that appear to be in our opposition and do what we can to work together.
Access to foods we believe to be healthy is continually being diminished, so we as a community need to strengthen our advocacy for food freedoms. We should support our local farmers, participate or establish CSA’s and meat shares, and cultivate entrepreneurship for businesses that support community interests. We all have a particular skill set that can be tapped to help fight the good fight. Blog, advocate, farm, cook, market, develop, teach… whatever you can do, just do it. The demand is there; let’s bring up the supply side of that equation.
Oh wow, I got a little emotional there. I tend to do that when looking ahead at what our community can do. It’s all true though! We’re doing great things. Speaking of, back to being a fly on the wall and all the cool things I saw. Diane gave us all a sneak preview of her new book Practical Paleo (pre-order here).
What I love about her book is that in addition to simple explanations of paleo, handy-dandy how-to guides and some incredible recipes, it also gets into some more clinical applications. In other words, a person with an autoimmune condition, diabetes, FODMAP sensitivity, etc. can pick up this book and see the specific dietary and lifestyle interventions they should implement to improve their health conditions. Too hard to figure out how to put all this info together yourself? That’s ok, there are 30-day meal plans for each of these dietary needs. This book will be a phenomenal reference for giving to friends and family who need careful guidance into the world of improved health.
As if seeing Diane’s book wasn’t enough, NomBomb (that’s NomNom and FitBomb’s celebrity mashup name, BTW) let us play around with their upcoming iPad app! I can’t describe how cool this one was. I already told you about how she needs more noms in her name, but putting her 100+ recipes into a beautifully simple and easy-to-navigate app is pure genius. A few of us in the house confessed that we all now want iPads just so we can get NomBomb’s new app. Legit.
Speaking of brilliance, I absolutely have to mention George (caught tweeting!) from Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations and all of his paleo PR skills. I had only peripherally heard of George prior to arriving in Austin, but man did that guy have a huge impact on me. Our 5-course meal at Wink was in celebration of his one-year paleo anniversary, but in this past year alone he has had not only an incredible personal transformation but he has also built an incredibly loyal legion of followers that would give their first born to defend his honor.
He is “just a dumb Marine that knows how to put together crock-pot recipes” (his words), but you’ll never find a more genuine, honest and welcoming person than him. Oh, and for those of you who think George is an old man with a grey beard (as one would expect from his blog’s logo), you couldn’t be further from the truth. Dude is ripped, covered in tattoos and has a shaved head. Don’t be fooled though, truly one of the nicest people out there!
Speaking of great people, let’s fill you all in on Diana. I didn’t really know much of her story prior to showing up in Austin, but she has what I consider the greatest career ever. She is a nutritionist who lives on a sustainable ag farm! How cool is that? She kept joking that she was the oldest in the house of us youngins, but you never would have guessed it. The wonders of paleo never cease to amaze me!
Since it appears that I’m giving a rundown of every housemate at this point, let’s introduce you to Laura. We met at a meeting for the Healthy Nation Coalition this past summer and we immediately became great friends. I say that I got her started on this whole paleo thing, but she has made a great name for herself with her Ancestralize Me blog, working as a content manager for Chris Kresser, and by some miracle she took 28 pages of notes during the conference. That girl can type! Oh, and I may have thoroughly embarrassed her as she met Robb Wolf for the first time.
Not only can she type, but she can get red as a tomato! Sorry about that, Laura!
Oh, and how did Laura get indoctrinated into the paleo world? Through the magic of twitter I had connected her with Liz for last year’s Weston A Price conference since I knew they’d hit it off as best buds, which of course they did.
This was an easy prediction since, if you’ve never tuned in to her and Diane’s Balanced Bites podcast, we all know that Liz is to comedy as bacon is to taste. They are one and the same. Spence is also a funny dude, but he provides that good balance of calmness to make it all that much better. Also, Liz and Spend high-five each other about every 3 minutes. True story, but it’s cute.
Photo Credit (above): Bill Stayley, Primal-Palate.com
Do I even need to fill you in on Diane from Balanced Bites? Everyone knows her, right?
Super smart nutritionist, teaches paleo seminars, podcaster extraordinaire, badass crossfitter… yeah, didn’t think so. She’s just as awesome in person as you would imagine from her online persona. Btw, subscribe to her podcast and pre-order her book, Practical Paleo. For reals.
Bill and Haley were the masterminds of this entire Real World House, and let me just say that their cooking prowess is no match for the love they have for each other (and we’ve all seen how great their cooking is from their Make it Paleo cookbook).
After the conference was all wrapped up, Bill, Haley and I did some sight-seeing around Austin. We went to Epic Whole Foods for the billionth time, took pictures at the Hope Farmers Market, went on a hike and stalked Lance Armstrong’s house. All in all, it was a nice little Sunday.
I now see why Diane spends so much time squatting (literally and figuratively) at Bill and Haley’s house. If Pittsburgh was any closer, I’d do the same.
Photo Credit (above): Bill Stayley, Primal-Palate.com
And of course, what rundown of the Paleo(fx) Real World House would be complete without the paleo parent herself… Stacy.
Since Matt was doing his paleo parent due diligence by staying home, watching the kids, upkeeping the blog, cleaning, going to bed at 9pm, etc., I got to be Matt’s stand in for the week.
No one bought it since everyone knows the famous authors of Eat Like a Dinosaur, but I was at least able to sneak into the presenters’ dinner and eat a buttload of good food. Thanks, Matt!
I wish I could fill you in on all the “that’s what she said” jokes, paleo gossip, near-death driving experiences *cough*FitBomb*cough* and other stories that were immediately followed with “that one doesn’t go on the internet”… but I guess you’ll just have to join us in person for Paleo(fx) 2013! Scratch that, AHS is coming up next and we’ll be having a mini-reunion there. I’m already dying in anticipation.
Ok, this is getting long, so here are a few numbers to crunch from our week in Austin:
- Porkchops consumed at 24 Diner: ~24
- Ounces of guacamole consumed: 96
- Number of pastured eggs eaten: 90
- Trips to Epic Whole Foods: 1 billion (rough approximation)
- Number of times Diana ate at 24 Diner in 12 hours: 3
- Jars of Green Pasture’s Cod Liver Oil in our fridge: 3
- Average bedtime for the house: 2am
- Average bedtime for NomBomb: 4am
- Number of great memories made: countless
Interesting fact: Diane was the original inspiration for NomNom to start blogging back in the day. After this week, I have been so inspired by all the talent of the Paleo(fx) Real World House that I have no choice but to follow suit and start sharing my own cave-thoughts with the world. So, without further adieu, I present to you bobby-gill.com and my tales of evolutionary endurance. Yeah, I know, not a very original blog name and I don’t really have anything written yet, but I’m a fan of simplicity… so go on and check it out!
…and with that, I’ll leave you with Bill’s video recap of the week: