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Refrigerator Look Book: Melissa Joulwan


Melissa Joulwan
(Photo: Melissa Joulwan)

Before entering her own dietary Paleo era in 2009, Melissa Joulwan, best-selling cookbook author and beloved blogger (of The Clothes Make The Girl fame), was a chronic yo-yo dieter stuck in an unhealthy relationship with her fridge.

“Food was the enemy…I knew food, but I didn’t know how to eat,” says Joulwan, who grew up in a family of restaurant owners and cooks. “I had insomnia, allergies, and stomach aches. My body didn’t feel like it belonged to me.”

But that’s all changed. Joulwan’s now a hardcore Paleo proponent—writing Well Fed and Well Fed 2and curating Paleo boxes with her favorite food items for Quarterly.co every three months.

Her emotional relationship with eating has undergone an equally impressive overhaul. “Food tastes a lot better when it’s savored—and not followed by a chaser of self-recrimination,” she says. Read on for a peek at her modern take on ancient eating habits.

When I think Paleo, I think meat—and, sure enough, your fridge has a lot of it. Where’s it from? I just moved from Austin to rural Vermont, so I’ve been exploring the meat available at the farmer’s market—there’s pastured pork and pastured chicken, which is amazing. I also buy a lot online. It’s very important that all of my meat is either organic or pasture raised—particularly pork (which can be very high in omega-6 fatty acids when commercially produced) and beef (which I want to be grass fed and finished so there is no corn in the diet). I like U.S. Wellness MeatsLava Lake Lamb, and Tender Grass Farms.

I’m surprised by the number of leafy green vegetables in there. Should I be? There’s a misconception that eating Paleo means all meat all of the time, but I eat huge piles of vegetables every day. This photo was taken the day after our weekly CSA visit. We eat vegetables and fruit seasonally, so I’m eating a lot of apples right now.

On the top left hand shelf is a container with what looks like noodles, but I’m guessing it’s some kind of spiralized vegetable…? Yes, those are spiralized zucchini “noodles”—I’ll make a whole bunch once a week. I throw them in a colander and salt them to sweat out the excess water, then I keep them in the refrigerator so I can just grab them and cook them with some fat. They’re good in there for about five days.

 Melissa Joulwan
A peek inside Melissa Joulwan’s fridge reveals a lot of meat, but also a lot of produce.

You have a few jars of pickles, too. Homemade? I’ve been joking that since moving to Vermont, I’ve become something of a homesteader. I didn’t make the pickles (they are from the farmer’s market), but I did make the pickled eggs on the top shelf. A hard boiled egg with a dollop of mayo and a sprinkling of truffle salt is one of my favorite snacks. The other two jars have homemade chicken bone broth and homemade mayo.

What’s the broth for? Bone broth is super nutritious and particularly rich in minerals and amino acids. I make zucchini soup with the bone broth every week, or I simmer it with some garlic and float a little bit of ghee on the top. It’s like a hug in a cup.

What do you eat when you’re craving something sweet? I don’t really have a sweet tooth…. I eat dark chocolate occasionally, but usually I snack on a spoon of nut butter or I’ll put some on fruit. That whole top shelf on the right hand door is full of nut butters. I have sunflower seed, almond, and cracked nut butter, which is made with pecans, almonds, and coconut flakes or honey and comes in great flavors, like cookie dough. —Rachel Marlowe

For more information, visit www.theclothesmakethegirl.com