This week’s Gluten Free School Podcast chats with The Paleo Kitchen Cookbook authors George Bryant and Juli Bauer. You may know them as the creators of their respective websites CivilizedCavemanCreations.com and PaleOMG.com. However today, they’re dishing on how to have fun in the kitchen, kick refined gluten-free products out of your diet and why you’ll love their new book.
You’re going to love our conversation! These two are incredibly sweet and fun.
The Paleo Kitchen Cookbook with George Bryant & Juli Bauer
The following points were discussed:
00:20 — Jennifer introduces Juli Bauer and George Bryant, authors of The Paleo Kitchen.
01:50 — Juli’s transition to eating Paleo and what Paleo means to her.
04:18 — George’s transition to Paleo to overcome bulimia, to regulate his hormones, improve his sleep patterns, and having fun with your diet as opposed to being dogmatic.
07:19 — George’s key Paleo pantry staples
10:06 — Juli’s key Paleo pantry staple items
12:41 — Good fats to use in cooking.
14:36 — How The Paleo Kitchen is different from Juli and George’s other books.
18:35 — The inspiration behind The Paleo Kitchen.
20:26 — The importance of having fun while cooking and why George calls cooking therapeutic.
23:16 — Juli’s favorite recipe.
24:39 — George can’t choose just one favorite recipe.
27:45 — Getting in touch with George and Juli and where to find their book.
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Jennifer: Welcome back to the Gluten Free School Podcast. I’m your host, Jennifer Fugo. Today, I’m speaking with Juli Bauer and George Bryant, authors of The Paleo Kitchen.
Now many of you know that I find paleo to generally be a healthier approach to cooking, which typically requires fewer ingredients and of course, healthier ingredients than the standard gluten-free version.
I have to tell you, our guests today, these guests are just awesome. You’re probably familiar with them and you might even follow them. I do and have for quite some time, so it’s a real pleasure to have both of them on the podcast.
Juli Bauer is the creator of paleomg.com that she created while competing in CrossFit and looking for ways to improve her performance in the gym. She updates her blog four to five times per week with really awesome new Paleo recipes ranging from breakfasts, dinners, snacks and desserts. Her website was created not only to help others become healthier with their food, but also to make others laugh. She’s got great stories and wonderful life experiences that she’s willing to share.
And George Bryant is the creative genius behind the award-winning Paleo Food Blog, civilizedcavemancooking.com. Aside from being an author, in his free time, you can find George eating bacon and being a true inspiration for living a healthy life.
Now as I said, both are authors of the very newly released book, The Paleo Kitchen. Thank you, guys so much for being here. I really appreciate it.
Juli: Thanks for having us.
George: Yeah, it’s our pleasure. It’s awesome!
Jennifer: So let’s just dive into things because I know you guys are super busy promoting the book. I love what you both do and I love your energy about living healthy and getting out there. So what does eating and living Paleo mean to you both? Juli, let’s start with you.
Juli: Eating Paleo, I think, over the years – I’ve eaten Paleo for four, maybe five years now (but I think four) – I think it’s changed and evolved each year. So the first time I did Paleo, I was really nervous. It took me months and months to get there. I went gluten-free and then it took me some time to take out oats and took me some time to take out my snack binging I did on the weekends, my “cheat days” I had. It took me some time to take out those days.
And then I was so strict Paleo and would never go off the Paleo track. And then started kind of adding in more things to my diet that were more like Paleo treats. So I was still having little snacks that weren’t in the Paleo strict guidelines.
And then over time like now (now that I don’t compete in CrossFit and I just want to feel good and want to look good and work hard in the gym), I eat more gluten-free things. Sometimes, I get gluten-free bread. Eating Paleo to me is just creating a “diet”, just pretty much an eating plan that works for you. So whether that is a gluten-free sandwich or you’re having strict Paleo with just meat and vegetables every day and nuts and seeds, eating Paleo is just what you make it.
It’s taken me almost four years to kind of create my own style of “Paleo” and that’s eating some gluten-free baked goods sometimes and kind of going off the track when I go out with friends with different alcoholic beverages, but I’ve created a diet that works for me and a lifestyle that works for me.
Jennifer: Very cool! I follow you on Instagram. I love that you’re willing to post the things that you’re eating. You guys are funny, you both talk about the Paleo police, the people that go around and say, “That’s not Paleo.” You’re not dogmatic about the way that you do things. You allow there to be (at least what I gather) a sense of ease in your life around this. I really appreciate that.
Juli: Thank you.
Jennifer: So George, what does eating and living Paleo mean to you?
George: Juli really nailed it. We both have really similar journeys. I’ve kind of been on the plethora of both sides of it.
When I started Paleo, it was to continue my health journey and overcoming my bulimia that I had struggled with for 12 years. It was a control measure and I was really, really dogmatic about it in the beginning. I would’ve arrested myself if I didn’t eat strict Paleo all the time and it got really, really exhausting because it was done for the wrong reasons.
I would stress about the wrong things. I’d just get really stressed about it. Obviously, it increased my cortisol. It was really hard to maintain hormonal balances and sleep regulation and all these things.
Over time, just like Juli, I kind of evolved my lifestyle to really, really cater to what I do in life. I think Paleo strict is amazing for people when they’re just starting because it allows them to kind of jump into a protocol, have some guidelines, cure their chronic inflammation or diseases or whatever they have going on.
But after that, I’m a huge advocate for really tailoring it as a template for yourself. If that means you’re eating really delicious chocolate (which I love) or having alcohol occasionally or gluten-free bread like Juli said or anything, being happy and not being restrictive and really being able to make a choice for your body and follow through with that without guilt or shame is the best way to live this lifestyle.
When you couple that with any activity (whether it’s working out or cross-fit or going to the gym or just going for a walk or doing hand stands in your yard), really the benefits are absolutely amazing.
So I just try to really keep this free-spirited, loose approach and really get the Paleo police fired up when I’m posting all my chocolate. But it’s what works for me. It keeps me really, really happy. It’s like the exact way that we took the approach to The Paleo Kitchen as well. We brought our styles together and we made fun recipes with fun ingredients. There are strict things in there for people. There are some not-so-strict things in there for people that want to go wild on the weekend. I’m just really excited for everyone to see it.
Jennifer: Well, it is a beautiful book. And I have to say, the one thing that permeates through both of you that I have noticed is there is a sense of joy. I think you sort of touched on that, George when you were saying we want to find happiness and as I was saying, a sense of ease and going along and finding a diet that works for you because being really strict and rigid for many people is not always the healthiest way to be.
Now obviously, everybody who’s listening, yeah, we all need to be gluten-free. No one’s debating that. No one’s telling you to go out and go and eat some whole wheat pasta. No one’s saying that. What we are trying to say is that there is room for having fun with your diet.
And what I take from both of you is that there’s a really great way to do that. That’s what I really like about the book.
So for people who have not gotten started in, say, a more Paleo way to cook or bake, George, what would be some key staples? If they go out and they buy The Paleo Kitchen, what are some key staples that one should stock their pantry with.
George: That’s one of my favorite questions because we thought ahead and we put a tear-out guide in the book for that.
George: Yeah, we were really on it because I remember when I went Paleo, I just got home from Afghanistan and I was like, “I’m going to dive in and do all of this.” I did the ‘let me throw every single thing out’ that I just had left over and let me start fresh. I remember that grocery bill, it was not an easy day to go with that.
So for us, I like to tell people (just like your question) pick some staples, pick a couple of recipes that really resonate with you and dishes that you like that aren’t intimidating, that are simple and stock up on those ingredients. Really become a master of those recipes, which will allow you to slowly implement it.
For me, I love chicken thighs because they’re really easy to do – bone in, skin on, sprinkle with some salt and put in the oven. I love crock pot pulled pork because it takes five minutes and you have it cooking all day and you can feed yourself for four or five days.
And then simple spices. You don’t have to go crazy. I like to use a little bit of salt, pepper, garlic, maybe a little bit of paprika and not get too crazy.
And then, vegetables. Whatever suits you that’s green. I’m a big fan of asparagus and broccoli. I like to just pan fry them or roast them in the oven in some bacon fat.
And of course, bacon. Of course, bacon.
Jennifer: We can’t forget bacon.
George: And then with people, when it comes to the baking (once they start implementing things with the baking), you’re going to see that there’s a few different variations on how you can do things with either coconut flour and almond flour. And now recently, we’ve been getting into the tapioca flour and sweet potato flour and things along those lines.
You can really pick one to start with it and there’s hundreds and hundreds of recipes. We have a ton between the two of us and in our book. You could just go with almond flour or just go coconut flour, so you’re not breaking the bank and you still get to have your sweets and your treats and enjoy them and use it all before you move on and become an expert elsewhere.
Jennifer: So wait. Before I go to Juli, I have to ask. You said ‘sweet potato flour’?
George: Yeah, sweet potato flour.
Jennifer: Where do you get that?
George: I get sweet potato flour online. It’s really similar to coconut flour and tapioca flour, but it’s not as dry as coconut flour, so you can do a few things with it. I’ve experimented with it a few times making pancakes and stuff. I’m still mastering it, which is why I don’t have a recipe coming out yet.
Jennifer: But it’s coming?
George: It’s coming. It’s coming. Look in the future, it’s coming.
Jennifer: Okay. Cool! So Juli, what are some key staples in your kitchen. You play around a lot and I know you’re really into Cuban food? What are some key staples that you would suggest to people if they want to get a little more Paleo they stock their kitchen with?
Juli: That’s funny you mentioned the Cuban food because I was just writing my post-up for tomorrow and I talk about how much I love Cuban food and I’m kind of talking about that.
So when I’m not creating recipes for my blog, I eat really simple. We have a ton of ground beef in our freezer and ground bison. Usually, when I’m sick of cooking since I’ve been doing for my website all week, by the end of the night after I’ve done everything in the day, if I don’t have something from my blog, maybe I made a dessert and I need some kind of dinner, I always have some kind of vegetable.
I love broccoli. I love sweet potatoes. I love asparagus. So I keep all three of those things in my refrigerator. And then I just throw some ground beef in a pan and then add my vegetables. I just add some garlic powder and salt and pepper. That’s pretty much what I do on a regular basis. I do a ton of stir fries like that whether it’s with chicken, ground pork, all kinds of different stuff.
Also, I’ve been making a lot of frittatas lately, so I will get some different kind of ground pork or maybe just a different ground meat, maybe hot Italian sausage – something that has some flavor to it that I add to a frittata. I’ll just cook it up with some vegetables and then mix it with eggs and then I just bake it for a little while. And then I have that for the week. So I can just cut off a slice in the morning, heat it up in the microwave and I’m ready to go. I don’t really have to think about breakfast.
So I’m just kind of a person who keeps key components in my house, just simple ingredients that you can just mix together to make it more flavorful. I have a ton of spices, so that’s pretty easy to do. But I’m just a very simple ground meat, some kind of vegetable at all times and some kind of fat like avocado or olives.
Jennifer: I love it. It sounds like we eat a lot the same. I think everybody thinks that because you’re in the food world, you make all these very decadent, crazy, wild, multiple ingredient dishes for yourself, but when I want to cook and I just need food on the table, it’s like, “What can I throw together in like 10 or 15 minutes?” What you’re both describing is very similar to the way that I cook.
And actually, I want to just ask (let’s start with you, Juli), I just got duck fat. I finally found duck fat. I was so happy. What type of fats do you like to cook with?
Juli: I love duck fat. I have a specialty store down the street for me and that’s the only place I can usually find it at, so I don’t have it all the time just because it’s obviously more expensive to buy, but it lasts forever. So I like that.
I cook with grass-fed butter. I use a lot of Kerrygold Butter. And then if I have it, I’ll use bacon fat as well. But usually, I use butter because I think it’s the best-tasting thing and I think it’s just as good as any fat.
Jennifer: And George, do you have a – I’m going to guess bacon fat, but do you have any other favorite fats to cook with?
George: Why would you guess bacon fat? I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Jennifer: You’re like the bacon king.
George: Yeah, I have a plethora of bacon fat, but just like Juli, I love duck fat. I actually love avocado oil. It’s really amazing. I tend to use avocado oil more than anything now when I’m baking my vegetables. Even when I’m doing some fries, a little shallow deep fried sweet potato fries or plantain fries, I’ll always use avocado oil.
But yeah, bacon fat, duck fat, avocado oil. You can never go wrong with grass-fed butter either.
Jennifer: And when you say avocado oil, I’ve seen it in the store and I personally have not used it because I’m always a little suspect of oils in the store and in jars because I don’t know how refined they are, what kind of flavor (and I’m sure a lot of people may not be familiar with it), what kind of flavor does avocado oil have?
George: It’s really neutral. It’s almost pretty close to olive oil. It’s actually a little milder. And the company that I have – I have a local company where I am in California that harvests and makes it all here in California and they do flavors. I have lime, lemon and garlic and they’re all absolutely amazing, but avocado oil itself, the plain kind is really, really neutral. It takes on whatever flavor the food you’re making.
Jennifer: Cool! That’s awesome. Now I want to switch gears because I definitely want to spend some time talking about the book because it’s such a fun book and it’s beautiful. You guys both have other books out, which I’ll certainly post up what the books are in our transcripts so people can find them as well, but now you’ve created The Paleo Kitchen, which is out. So Juli, how is this book different than your first book?
Juli: My first book “OMG, That’s Paleo?” was the chance to get recipes that I’d put on the Internet for so long into a book that many of my readers had asked for. I always thought it was so strange that people wanted a book when all the recipes were free, but they said they’d love to have the book that was actually printed on their table that they can go to at any point instead of having to search the Internet, which I totally get and that’s amazing.
It was an opportunity to bring many of my PaleOMG recipes to paper, as well as recipes that have never gone on to my website. It has 70 old recipes with 30 brand new ones that were only released in my cookbook.
So it was very much a learning experience and just kind of like my first child, really learning what I was doing and how I was bringing this book to life. It has so much of my personality into it. I share stories in it. My voice is very much in it, just like my blog.
And then the second book that George and I did together, The Paleo Kitchen is more of a grown-up book, I guess you could say. I learned a lot of things going through my first cookbook. The second cookbook is over a hundred recipes that we had made specifically for this book. None of the recipes are from our actual websites. And so, it’s full of a ton of different things like tear-out’s like George said and sections in the book to help you eat Paleo while you’re at restaurants – all kinds of different things that it’s more of our little encyclopedia for our Paleo book.
So that’s what I kind of see it as. It has everything that you would want in one book along with recipes that you can’t get anywhere else.
Jennifer: And George, how about you? What do you think differentiates The Paleo Kitchen from your first book?
George: Me and Juli kind of went the exact opposite with our first book. She went out and published it and did an amazing job. And then, me, I was still an active duty marine, so I was like, “I don’t have the time,” so I did an ebook. We turned it into an app, Caveman Feast. It was amazing!
But just like Juli, everybody kept asking for all of the recipes from my website in one place, so we just made this master collection and then added a few new ones occasionally. We update it all the time, but it was just this big collaboration of all the recipes on my website. There was no intro’s or information. It was just really recipe-based.
I loved how Juli said this is the grown-up book because it totally, totally is. We learned lessons in both kinds of the field and then we got to come together with everything that we’ve learned and put our heads together to just create this beautiful book.
I learned so much from Juli. She travelled out to my house and stayed with me for weeks at a time. We were coming up with these recipes. I learned about different cooking styles and techniques from her. And then we got to bounce ideas off each other and create recipes together and just a flavor combination, having the two different creativity pieces together, different cooking styles. It’s completely dynamic and unmatched and I think the results that we got are absolutely amazing.
I mean, I loved eating all the food that we created. We definitely had our favorite dishes. It’s definitely amazing to take two different people with two different cooking styles and blogging styles and audiences and take the best of everything and combine them into one book. I feel like we nailed it perfectly. I’m jumping up and down right now. I’m excited to share this book with everybody.
So yeah, that would be my takeaway. I like adult book. I’m going to keep that going for now.
Jennifer: So Juli, what do you think was the inspiration behind The Paleo Kitchen?
Juli: George and I, when we met, we met over the Internet just because we were both bloggers and we found each other’s websites and cooked from each other’s websites, so that’s kind of where our friendship stems from, but we’ve also have a very similar cooking style.
We were both into cross-fit at the time. We both really like eating really healthy, but then indulging in treats as well. We just had a very similar feel to each other’s websites. And so when we met in person, it just came pretty natural when we did a cooking demo together.
The cooking demo came really natural. It was fun and exciting. And so when we had the chance to do a cookbook together, it just kind of made sense because our styles are very similar. George has such an eye for photography and makes amazing recipes and can shoot them in such amazing ways. I just bring something a little bit different.
So we balance each other out and that’s kind of what was easy about it. When we balance each other out like I had a bad day and couldn’t figure out something to cook, George had something to bring to the table.
So that’s where the inspiration came from. We both were able to bring something to the table in different ways. Then you make a cookbook, double the fun, I guess you could say.
Jennifer: Yeah. And I have to tell you, I saw you both last year at PaleoFX doing your cooking demo together. You both have a very great energy and are completely hilarious together. It was like you were laughing at one another and with one another at the same time. It was so wonderful to get to see your demo.
I remember there was some sauce and you didn’t have an ingredient and you’re like, “Whatever… we’ll just make something up. That’s fine.” I like that sense of ease in cooking.
And so, George, do you feel that that’s an important thing when people are trying to get in the kitchen and cook and they haven’t cooked and now they’ve got to change their diet? Because my audience is primarily people who need to be gluten-free for whatever illness or issue or autoimmune disease they may have.
What is important to you? Is it ease of cooking, joy of cooking? How do you infuse that into a room that you might not be that comfortable using all that often and it might invoke dread in someone who’s afraid to cook?
George: Yeah, this is actually my favorite question. I get really fired up about it, but you nailed it. I think the only important thing to do while cooking is to have fun.
We’re all busy. We’re commuting home. We have work. We have kids. We have school. We have life. We have all these things. Cooking, in its own nature is really fun. It’s a creative process. It kind of allows you to dive into something and really immerse yourself. You can’t be talking on the phone and reading a book and responding to emails while you’re cooking on the stove, so you really get the time to relax and get into it.
I know this may sound like a really, really scary thing, but the worst thing that’s going to happen is your food might not taste good. That’s the worst thing. End of the world, biggest mistake, you have to slather some bacon on it or just eat bacon for dinner instead and maybe you’ll never make that mistake again.
I really do believe that at the base of everything (which is why I love Juli dearly. She’s absolutely amazing) is she has this energy that just surpasses the fun level – I mean, the joy, the fun, the excitement, it’s always peaked. And when we have that together like the recipes are made and cooking is fun, she gets to dance around the kitchen and make messes and I get to sneak in behind her and interrupt her cooking while I try to clean it. It was great! I absolutely loved it!
I think everybody should have fun while cooking and I think in itself, it’s really therapeutic. It really prepares your body for the meal that you’re going to eat and it creates a positive anchor for you. When you can associate cooking as being fun, you also start to associate your meals with being fun, which makes eating a healthy lifestyle or living a healthy lifestyle fun, which is kind of what we all want to do in the end anyways.
Jennifer: I like that. I like that idea of shifting that block in one’s mind about negative attitudes toward cooking and how that then translates into your approach to your health. That’s a really great idea or thought for maybe everyone to – if they at least walk away with one thing, The Paleo Kitchen is great and they should shift their mindset because getting in the kitchen and cooking isn’t that hard.
And I will tell you, I like what you guys said about the idea that you’re friends and you’re enjoying the act of cooking together because that was how I learned to cook, with my friends. It became such a powerful moment for me that it brought joy into the act of being able to feed myself. I love that you were able to pinpoint that for all of us.
I want to put you guys on the spot. Juli, what is your favorite recipe in The Paleo Kitchen?
Juli: I need to get one answer down for this because I swear, whenever I get that question, I say something different every single time.
Because I like comfort food, probably my favorite was – sorry, if I’m taking this from you, George, but the 4-layer Bacon & Beef Casserole (I think we named it). It’s layers of bacon and ground beef. And then we did a cauliflower mash and a sweet potato mash and we just layered it kind of like how you would layer lasagna. You just use a big spoon or ladle and scoop it in and put on your plate. Just the flavors were just perfect. And the texture in your mouth – I don’t know, it’s just awesome!
We had leftovers for days and we just ate that out of the container we had it in. So that was probably my most favorite because it was really good comfort food.
Jennifer: And is that something that one would bake or did you guys use a crock pot?
Juli: Yup, we cooked – I believe we cooked the beef in a pan. This was like nine months ago I think when we made it. We cooked the beef in a pan with the bacon. And then we layered it and then you bake it for a little while to kind of get a little bit of brown on top of the sweet potato. So it looks almost like cheese a little bit.
Jennifer: Oh, that sounds good.
Juli: On a stovetop and oven.
Jennifer: Oh, nice! And how about you, George, what’s your favorite recipe?
George: Well, she called it because she stole my thunder. But you know what? I really have a ton. I think I’m going to drop like two or three right now just because I can and I want to.
George: So number one – mad props to Juli because she made these fluffy blueberry pancakes (the ones that are on the cover) and they are to die for. I shared this before, but I had to reshoot that photo for the cover to get a few different dimensions on it about a month ago. Juli wasn’t here. She was in Colorado, so I made double the recipe and I shot it to get the perfect photo. And then when I was done, I ate every single pancake. So I probably ate about 16 pancakes in one sitting and it was absolutely amazing. It changed my life!
Jennifer: And wait real quick. What are those pancakes made from? Is it coconut flour, almond flour?
George: We have in those pancakes eggs and almond milk, a little bit of honey and then coconut and tapioca flour.
Jennifer: Wow! It’s easy. It’s simple.
George: Yeah, it’s super, super easy. The only other things in there were a little bit of honey and some lemon juice and of course, some salt and things like that. They’re absolutely amazing.
And then I have a personal favorite because it was the one recipe that I continued to work at and had like four or five trials to get perfect. We made a Perfect Paleo Cinnamon Roll.
Jennifer: Ooh… I don’t do much with desserts, but your pictures of desserts make me hungry. They do.
George: Yeah, this cinnamon roll was like knocked out of the park and the filling was with coconut oil and some maple sugar and some cinnamon and some toasted pecans. And then it was drizzled with coconut cream or coconut butter and they were absolutely amazing.
Jennifer: So what you’re telling us is that even though one might be gluten-free or Paleo that you can really have your treats too and you don’t necessarily have to feel like it’s a death sentence to the crunchy granola idea of healthy eating.
George: Yeah, totally, totally. We have an entire session dedicated to all of you people that miss your desserts. We have cakes, brownies, cookies. We have three or four different ice creams like a Blueberry Rosemary Ice Cream. We have a Macadamia Nut Chocolate Chip Cookie Chocolate Ice Cream.
Jennifer: Wow! That sounds really good. Oh, my gosh, you guys. Oh, my gosh! I can’t wait to start diving in and cooking from this.
I just have to say, I know what it’s like to write a book. It’s like I think – well, I haven’t had a kid, but I’m sure it’s like giving birth. It’s a lot of work. So kudos to both of you for getting this out there because I know you’ve been working on it for a while.
I really am so appreciative and I feel so honored that you both were willing to come on and share your awesome energy and information about your new book with everybody because like I said, I’ve been following you both for a really long time and I’m glad that I had the opportunity to be able to sit with you guys for a little bit and chat.
I want to let everybody know too that you both have great websites. George, you’re civilizedcavemancooking.com, yes?
George: Yes, civilizedcavemancooking.com.
Jennifer: And Juli, you tell me. Is it Paleo OMG. Am I saying the O twice?
Juli: You can say it however you’d like because every single person says it differently. I just say it PaleOMG. So you like say them all together.
Jennifer: PaleOMG. Yeah, it flows together. I love both sites. Everybody, please go check them out and bookmark them. You can go and get a copy of The Paleo Kitchen at thepaleokitchen.com. It is available and it’s beautiful.
So thank you, guys for joining me. I really appreciate it.
George: Thanks for having us.
Juli: Thank you.
Jennifer: So remember, everybody to stay in touch with George and Juli. You’ve got their websites. And I promise, we’ve got a lot of social media links for both of them and I will post everything below this podcast.
Remember to subscribe, rate and review this podcast. And then head on over to Gluten Free School and leave your questions and comments for Juli and George on the podcast.
Thank you, guys so much for joining us. I hope to see you again the next time. Bye bye.
The links referred to in this episode are:
The Paleo Kitchen Cookbook — Get it HERE –> www.thepaleokitchen.com
George Bryant – www.civilizedcavemancooking.com
Juli Bauer – www.paleomg.com