A Paleo Comfort Foods 2012 Year in Review

As we’re but 12 days from our “guess date” of bringing a paleo critter (of the human kind) into the world, we thought it appropriate to do a sort of recap on 2012 – a kind of “did you miss it?” posting. Because, if what friends and readers have told us is true (and we’re guessing that is the case), our lives are about to turn upside down – in the best possible way – and long-winded posts might be fewer and farther between for a spell! 

2012 started off with some bumps in the road (as we detailed here) which meant it certainly wasn’t the best of times, but we are so thankful to be closing out 2012 with what will hopefully be one of the greatest highs yet as we welcome a paleo baby into the family! Thank you to all of you for your constant love and support through our 2012. Though we haven’t met 99% of you, we feel the love, support and prayers…and are so very grateful.

During those early parts of the year, we took that time to do things like move our house (and subsequently our gym), updated the table of contents and index in Paleo Comfort Foods, cleaned up our eating with a Whole30, and generally just felt much better finishing out the first quarter of the year, and headed off to Austin for the first ever PaleoFX. We had a great time catching up with old friends, meeting new ones, and we like to say it was because of our matchmaking skills that the very popular podcast “A Controversial Truth” hosted by our dear friends David Duley and Robb Wolf came to pass. You really should take a listen to this one…it’s not a paleo podcast, rather, much more about big issues facing our country. All that aside, we are optimistic we’ll be able to participate again in PaleoFX in 2013, so stay tuned for that!

2012 was also a HUGE year for paleo books and other cool stuff on the market. If you don’t have all of these yet, then you should make sure you have added them to your holiday wish list for folks to buy for you. I promise they are WAY more useful than a pair of Uggs! Or better yet, support the paleo movement and give some of these as gifts this year…you never know whose life you might change!

The Nom Nom Paleo iPad App by Michelle Tam (and I’m guessing hubby Henry might have helped just a wee bit). It’s beautiful. It’s sassy. It’s step-by-step food prep/cooking photos with hilarious narrative that will inspire anyone and everyone to make some delicious paleo meals. And yes, it’s only on the iPad, but once you see all that went into creating this app, you will tell family members that you need an iPad just so you can get this app. Seriously. With embedded tips and tricks included in the step-by-step instructions, along with shopping list creators, links to go online to buy certain products, and basic info on stocking your paleo kitchen, this first-of-its-paleo-kind is amazeballs. Just watch the video and salivate or admire Michelle’s pretty hands. Go and check out her incredible website Nom Nom Paleo if you’re  unsure of the kinds of recipes she includes, but trust me when I say you will not be disappointed with this app!

Paleo Slow Cooking by Chrissy Gower. How Chrissy managed to write and create this book while pregnant and welcoming Rylee into the world – along with raising Kayden and running NorCal Strength and Conditioning – serves as a total inspiration to me! Chrissy is real, down-to-earth, and very open about how picky an eater her dear husband Shawn is (one of the bigger challenges paleo households face!) but how they’ve made things work. This book is a gem for the busy household that says they have no time to cook. Chrissy provides you with great recipes that are pretty much as easy as measuring out some things, putting them in the slow cooker, and VOILA – food is done. Not to mention how creative she is with the slow cooker. Banana bread in the slow cooker? YES PLEASE! With a foreword by Robb Wolf who goes on to explain some of the nutritional values of slow cooking, this book is indeed one you’ll want to have in your paleo library. And be sure to check out Chrissy’s website, Growing Up Paleo!

Eat Like a Dinosaur by the Paleo Parents (Stacy and Matt). First of all, Stacy and Matt are two parents that Charles and I hope to be like once we welcome this wee one into the world. Second of all, their book is so spot on for those with little ones running around at home. Their family story is one a lot of families can relate to (behavioral problems with one of their sons that was very much improved by going paleo, their own personal weight loss journey, etc.), and I have gifted this book more than once. The book includes a little illustrated story helping kids to understand that their family is “eating like dinosaurs,” as well as a ton of family-friendly recipes sure to please. My favorite part? The recipes include details on how to involve the kids safely in helping to prepare family meals, snacks and treats. If you haven’t yet checked out their website, or Stacy’s podcast with The Paleo Mom (Sarah Ballantyne) – The Paleo View – you really should!

The Civilized Caveman’s Caveman Feast eBook. First of all, thousands of people flock to George Bryant’s Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations site for free recipes and outstanding giveaways all the time. George is a sweetheart and so dedicated to the paleo movement, and has done a boat load to help folks with adopting recipes into their families to make this way of eating manageable. Now he’s compiled 200 of his recipes into a gorgeous eBook for under $30…everything from tantalizing grain-free goodies to a variety of entrees, side dishes, sauces and more with photos that make you want to lick your computer (if you’re into that kind of thing). Really and truly, the content is fabulous, and it’s another resource to add to your arsenal.

Sweet Potato Power by Ashley Tudor. Ashley not only gives you a bunch of sweet potato recipes, but much of her book is focused on self-experimentation and ways to assess whether the eating/training plan you are on is working for you, helping you to make informed decisions about the path you are on, and how to truly optimize your health/training. The recipes are great, and give you a ton of ideas for how to incorporate sweet potatoes into your life in a bunch of different ways. Personally I think the sweet potato noodles are delish, but then again, it’s hard to go wrong with sage brown butter on most things! Go check out Ashley’s site at Sweet Potato Power.

It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. Our favorite Whole9 creators bring you this New York Times Bestseller that has changed thousands of people’s lives for the better. Charles is now on his third Whole30 this year, and I did two Whole30s (one just post miscarriage, the other during my second trimester with this pregnancy), and I can tell you that their program is such a great way to reset the system, beat some sugar cravings, and just feel better  - and this book helps explain why you would even want to consider. While it can be mentally challenging to say “no” to a glass of wine or chocolate or paleo sweet treats, or harder still – giving up grains for good – Dallas and Melissa explain to you the whys, they discuss the emotional connections we have to and with food, and give you great insight as to how to be successful in making huge changes. Countless clients of ours at the gym have seen tremendous success in implementing a Whole30, and It Starts With Food has been a go-to resource to help folks really affect some dramatic changes. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the fabulous recipes and photos by Melissa Joulwan and Dave Humphries of Well Fed and The Clothes Make the Girl fame. If books aren’t your thing, at the very least go and check out the Whole9 website and where you can find Dallas and Melissa presenting one of their fabulous workshops.

Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo. Another New York Times Bestseller to hit the market this year, Diane has created what some have called the ultimate paleo guide with several 30 day meal plans to help those tailor things specifically to their needs along with recipes, explanations as to the whys of taking a paleo approach, and more like the fabulous tear out guides! Indeed this book is incredibly practical, and you won’t feel like you’re reading a textbook (though there is so much information contained it’s like a textbook – that’s a good thing, I promise!). Diane poured her heart and soul into making this book something that will resonate with just about anyone and everyone, and we think it’s well worth your time and energy and pennies! Be sure to check out Diane’s site as to new recipes and where she’s presenting her Balanced Bites seminars – perhaps somewhere near you!

Paleo Indulgences by Tammy Credicott. Every now and again, it’s nice to have some treats that don’t upset your stomach and leave you running to the bathroom during a family gathering. Thanks to Tammy Credicott, you now have all sorts of great recipes to make for that Super Bowl party or kid’s birthday party or holiday gathering that don’t include grains or legumes (some of Tammy’s recipes do include dairy and/or sweeteners like honey or maple syrup, so if you’re trying to lean out I wouldn’t suggest trying every recipe right this week!). We are firm believers that it’s nice to be able to join in some celebratory occasions and indulging, but we also know that in the past when we’ve indulged with something that contained gluten it made us miserable for days. The recipes in Tammy’s Paleo Indulgences are the perfect antidote for that! Be sure to check out her site, The Healthy Gluten Free Life, too!

Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook by Sarah Fragoso. Sarah hits yet another homerun with this book tailored to the family and providing you with even more recipes to add to your paleo arsenal. As a busy mom, Sarah’s information, tips and ideas for things like school lunches are an invaluable resource to those busy families trying to feed their families in a paleo-centered way. Her recipes are simple, easy to follow, and best of all, family-friendly meaning that even those younger pickier eaters are sure to find something in this book that will please both young and old alike. Sarah runs the ever-popular website Everyday Paleo and has authored other paleo books Everyday Paleo and Paleo Pals. Go on and check them out!

2012 also brought the second annual Ancestral Health Symposium (AHS). While Charles was not able to attend this time, I had the great fortune of listening to speakers who continuously amaze and contribute so much to the ancestral movement. Highlights had to include Joel Salatin’s keynote address, the Sustainable Dish Farm Dinner hosted by Diana Rodgers, having your brain so full of information it wants to explode, and generally just getting to catch up with friends from throughout the country. Fortunately, AHS has posted all the videos for free online, as it’s such a huge resource for those like me who attended but couldn’t be in concurrent sessions or just want to relive the memories or refresh fatigued ones. We are beyond thrilled that AHS2013 is being held right here in Atlanta as that means for certain we’ll be able to attend. We can’t wait to introduce friends to some of our most favorite restaurants and chefs and the little bambino!

2012 also meant us deciding to take the plunge and yes – we are currently finishing up our second cookbook! More details will follow, but suffice it to say that the anticipated publication date is fall of 2013, and we’ll have much more information for you about this in the coming weeks and months!

Let me close with saying that this list is in no way a complete review of all that took place in 2012, as there were many other celebrations and births and so many more paleo-centered programs, events, and other great things that helped to make this year the year that it was. There were also some hard times not just for us but for many we know, and these individuals and families showed us what it means to be strong, what it means to persevere through adversity. All of these experiences make life into what it is, I suppose.

What has 2012 brought your way? What milestones, events, occasions, resources or news made a difference in your life? What are you setting forth as a goal in 2013? What did 2012 bring you that you’re thankful for?

We are thankful for all the experiences (highs and lows), for the growth of this community, for the support from friends and strangers, for feeling healthy and strong, for the soon-to-arrive member of our family, and for all of you! Wishing you all much health, happiness, and love throughout the holidays!

(Full disclosure moment as per the FTC: if you do use the links above to make a purchase of something – and we hope you will! – we do receive a small commission. Such small commissions help us do things like pay shipping costs of prizes, keep this website up and running, and do what we can to come up with new recipes that will keep you all happy!)

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