Josh Winnecour is determined to start up Asheville’s first all-paleolithic, gluten-free restaurant-on-wheels, and he needs the help of health-conscious Ashevillans to make it happen.
The “paleo” diet refers to the concept of only consuming local, organic food, which stems from the belief that humans are healthiest when eating in-season food from their own geographical areas, just as the hunters and gatherers did during early human history—no bread, no sugar, no dairy and minimal or smart starches, though according to Winnecour, the specific restrictions do vary.
“Two years ago, I learned of the term and started researching, just cutting back on grain, added sugar and processed food,” he says. “I saw a remarkable change in my fitness and health and weight. All of a sudden I had so much more energy in my athletic endeavors, and I didn’t get sick as often. It was definitely an eye-opening experience.”
Though there are many area restaurants and grocers who supply the ingredients necessary to facilitate the paleo diet, many paleo dieters have yet to find a location that sports a 100 percent paleo-friendly menu — at least for now.
Winnecour is currently running a Kickstarter campaign, which ends Nov. 2, to help raise funds for his all-paleo food truck, Fuel – Feeding Your Fitness. He and the 151 backers of the cause hope to raise $15,000 to fund Asheville’s newest addition to the food truck scene. At the time this article was written, the campaign’s funding sat at $14,323.
“There’s really not any [restaurants] here that are paleo-friendly,” says Joan Sprinkle, who has been on the paleo diet since about May. “There are lot of restaurants that sell organic food or all-natural, but they don’t put it together in a way that supports a strictly paleo diet.
“A lot of times when I was eating out, I’d have to get a salad with a chicken breast added to it, with no cheese or dairy-based dressings or sauces. It [would be] really nice to have the Fuel truck so I’ll have choices. I won’t have to worry about if it’s paleo.”
If fully funded by Saturday, Winnecour says he has plans to park his new food truck daily at the three local branches of CrossFit, as many members of this fitness training program have adopted the paleo diet to support their active lifestyles. Many members of CrossFit have expressed their excitement for Winnecour’s new entrepreneurial endeavor, as not many restaurants around town offer dishes they can eat.
“I think you can pick your way through some menus in town,” he says. “But it’s a huge effort for anyone that is paleo to eat. You’re constantly trying to figure out what the potential hazards are on the menu. It can be really challenging, and you feel like you’re interrogating the wait staff.
“I think [Fuel] will popularize or maybe normalize paleo eating a little bit more, and it will definitely be a go-to option for folks in terms of eating healthier and clean while not having to worry, ‘How manufactured is my food?’”