It’s been another exciting and groundbreaking year in the paleo world, and like last year, we’ve rounded-up the top 10 paleo highlights from the past 365 days. If you’ve been a hardcore paleo follower all year, reminisce on all the paleo goodness that was; and if you’re relatively new to the scene, here’s your chance to catch up on some of the things you may have missed. This list is by no means scientific (all items were pulled out of the ‘vault’ that is my brain) or all-encompassing – but if you’re hard-up for some end of the year entertainment; grab a cup of coffee or tea, sit back, and enjoy a (short) trip down paleo memory lane.
1. Keep Things ‘Close to Home’ (and Sustainable): Do you ‘know your farmer’? The local and sustainable movement started growing in 2011 and it’s just gotten bigger this year. As the climate changes, and our economic situation further deteriorates; the local, sustainable push has become even more important. Farming and sustainability champion Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms presented at this year’s Ancestral Health Symposium, the Liberty Garden grew, and there’s been an up shoot in Farm-to-Table dinners. There’s no doubt that this movement is just getting started.
2. ‘Gut’ Feelings: Who knew that our 25-28 feet of intestines we’re such ‘bug-filled’ powerhouses? They aren’t just ‘poop pipes’ folks! Immunity, diabetes, mental health, weight loss… ‘Gut bugs’ have got it going on in terms of health. American Gut debuted on The Human Food Project. The popularity of prebiotics, probiotics, and fermented foods continued to rise and all signs point to even more intestinal growth in 2013.
3. Bringing Paleo to the People: This year marked the second annual Ancestral Health Symposium – an awesome paleo party for the ‘sciency’ crowd; and the debut of Paleo FX – a conference focused on the practical application of paleo, training, and health principles for everyone. It was a great show with expert panels, movement and training sessions, cooking demos, and lots of hands on activities. If you missed out last year, make plans to attend the 2013 event – it’s gonna be big!
4. City Zero – Saving Heros: Police officers and firefighters in Reno will live longer and healthier lives thanks to the city’s sponsorship, Robb, and the entire team that helped get this health risk assessment and intervention off the ground. This groundbreaking project has opened up a major gateway to help save lives through paleo diet and lifestyle adoption. Look for more cities, corporations, and communities to jump on board in 2013. We’ve got work to do!
5. “There’s an App for That”: From staplers to sexual performance – there’s an app for pretty much anything and everything you can imagine. This year brought the introduction of some handy paleo helpers too – all conveniently stored on our ‘electronic leashes’. If you’re a smartphone smarty, be sure to check out Nom Nom Paleo’s awesome cookbook, Only Paleo’s food database, and Food On The Table’s – Paleo Solution apps to get all things paleo in the palm of your hand.
6. Read Any Good Books Lately? It’s been a monumental year for paleo lit. The Paleo Solution is no longer the lone paleo book that’s made the New York Times Bestseller list. Both It Starts With Food and Practical Paleo made rank this year too. And that’s not all! Paleo books, cookbooks, and magazines were sited at airports, Target, Costco, Whole Foods, book stores… Paleo page-turners are showing up everywhere – next stop McDonalds!
7. The “Carb-troversy” Continues: The new year didn’t bring a close to 2011’s ‘safe starch’ debate; in fact, the discussion picked up even more carb-fueled energy. Both Paleo FX and the Ancestral Health Symposium featured heated ‘safe starch’ panel discussions. Carb backloading is the new intermittent fasting (everybody’s doing it), and it doesn’t look like the starch subject is going to be laid to rest anytime soon.
8. Red Meat and Eggs = Death!?!?! The media ran like wild fire with reports comparing egg yolk eating to smoking, red meat to deadly weapons, and telling us that organic foods are a waste of cash. Misinterpreted study data and inaccurate conclusions led to some pretty crazy headlines. If we learned anything from all of this insanity it’s that you can’t believe everything you read…
9. Baby Boom! There was something in the paleo water this year… Robb and Nicki welcomed Zoe; Shawn and Chrissy Gower gave the world Rylee; Charles and Julie Mayfield are (at the time this was written) three days overdue and ready to hatch the ‘mini-Mayfield’ any second; and Dallas and Melissa Hartwig are scheduled for a new arrival coming in March. It’s been a big year for paleo babies and just more proof that paleo pre- and during pregnancy is not only healthy, but a darn good idea!
10. Are You Hungry? This year it’s gotten easier to eat out and keep it paleo. Restaurants are going beyond offering gluten free menus, and some have started offering ‘paleo’ spreads too. Paleo food trucks popped up in Portland, San Diego, Austin, Seattle… Seriously, they are showing up everywhere! Gone are the days of searching the menu for something ‘safe’. Hit up one of these joints and DIG-IN!!!
**BONUS** I know I said ‘Top 10’ but there are some things that warrant a yearly shout out, and others that may not be mainstream, but are just too darn good to miss. On that note, Coffee and Bacon – We salute you!
2012 has been an epic year in paleo and 2013 is only going to get better. Hold on for the ride!