Joshua Weissman is an accomplished real-food advocate and food blogger based in Texas who writes and photographs for the increasingly popular blog Slim Palate. After years of harassment in school for being overweight, he changed his life and lost more than 100 pounds (that’s 45 kilos guys) by eating real food. With this empowering accomplishment behind him he created his food blog and published the amazing cookbook The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook, which he wrote and photographed himself. Here’s the coolest part – he’s only 18 years old. Inspiring or what?
We are so happy to have Joshua as part of our Paleo Journeys interviews. I hope you find his story inspiring and motivating.
Can you tell us about your own wellness journey, and how you discovered the paleo/primal diet and lifestyle?
All through parts of elementary school, middle school, and a brief part of high school I was constantly ridiculed for being overweight. I was literally afraid to enter the doors of the school because I knew the second that I walked in, I would be physically and mentally harassed from morning until the bell rang to go home. I fought through chronic depression and increasingly worse eating habits with junk food, fast food, and lots of sugar. I sought out at age 13 to do something about it but I tried and failed using things like pre frozen “diet” meals, which were just as awful as the junk food out there. Eventually at age 15 I made the decision that I was just going to eat real food. Once the weight loss began I stumbled upon Paleo along the way and ended up losing the rest of my weight, which totalled to about 120-130 pounds (54-58kg).
(Check out Joshua’s before and after pics here.)
I was 17 when I was writing and photographing the book, and it was a bit of a task having to pull this off while in school. I was cooking and photographing about 3-4 recipes a day meanwhile I was writing more recipes to test and then cook a 2nd time to photograph the next day. This was also during school so it was in the middle of testing and exams, which proved to make it even more difficult, but I really wanted it done so I made it happen.
How did you learn to cook so well?
I initially learned to cook from my mother which ignited my passion for food as a whole. It taught me how much cooking for somebody truly meant.
You recently travelled around Europe for 2 months and wrote some great blog posts about your trip. Did you find it challenging to stick to your paleo diet? Did you notice a lot of differences in the food in Europe compared to America?
Well here’s my thing, while I was in Europe I was there to expand my knowledge with food most of all, so I did eat some things that contained gluten like the best pizza in Naples that is in a pizzeria that’s over 100 years old, uses good ingredients without any additives, and ferments their dough. I wasn’t going to deprive myself of a possible once in a lifetime experience, especially when I went there to learn about the food. With that said I do think that the next time I go I could stick to a gluten free form of eating there now that I’ve at least experienced the food. One of the things I did notice though is that I didn’t get sick from the gluten there (with the exception of one place), not really sure why.
What are your favourite ways to stay fit and active?
I enjoy power lifting, muscle mass and strength gaining a lot but I know that’s not for everyone. On off days I like to enjoy early morning walks by the lakes near my house.
When it comes to food, what does your own typical day’s menu look like?
Well the menu is always different for me and it depends if I’m lifting that day or not. On non workout days I eat usually leftover protein, freshly sautéed veggies, and maybe an avocado, for a snack I tend to eat 3 eggs soft scrambled with a packet of tuna mixed in and some chopped parsley, and for dinner maybe a pot roast or the Carnitas from my website with cauliflower puree or lettuce cups. This is just day to day though, sometimes I fancy it up when the time is right.
What is your favourite treat or indulgence?
Ice cream. I love, absolutely love Jenis salted caramel.
What are the top 10 foods/ingredients we are most likely to find in your grocery basket?
I don’t buy a lot of meat at the grocery store, instead I buy all of my meat from Yonder Way Farm. So you would typically find broccoli, cauliflower, onions, shallots, garlic, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, asparagus, and Kerrygold butter. (Irena: Sounds like my shopping)
What are you must have gadgets and utensils for a healthy kitchen?
Although this doesn’t really count as a gadget, a proper 10-inch chefs knife is my most used utensil in the kitchen. With that said, a food processor, standing mixer, and kitchen scale are essential in my kitchen.
What’s the best wellbeing tip you’ve ever been given?
Don’t worry about what you can’t control, and keep on fighting for what you can fight for.
If you could have anyone over for dinner (dead or alive), who would it be and what would you be eating?
I think it would have to be Alton Brown and we would be eating something nice like the Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder from my cookbook with truffled cauliflower puree.
What’s your advice for someone starting their own paleo/primal/wellness journey?
Take it one step at a time and be as consistent as you can. If you truly want whatever your end goal might be then you will do what it takes to get there. Most of all, start cooking and experiencing your food again. Go to farmers markets and take your kids if you have any, visit local farms, immerse your senses in the sights and smells of what drives the real food movement.
Would you be able to share one of your recipes with our readers?
Yes, I’m going to share a recipe from my cookbook, for Fragrant Spatchcocked Roasted Chicken. Find the full recipe here.
We’d love to hear your own success stories. Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below. If you have any questions to Joshua, leave them in the comments and we’ll try to get him to answer those, otherwise head on over to his Facebook or Twitter page.